Pre-marital cohabiting increases divorce according to articles in ScienceDaily 14 July 2009 and 5 February 2010, and Journal of Marriage and Family, 20 January 2010.

Psychologists at the University of Denver have conducted a survey of married couples and found that couples who live together before marriage were more likely to divorce compared with couples who waited until they were married or at least engaged.

This study has been followed by a group of researchers from the State University of New York at Stony Brook who carried out a meta-analysis of a number of similar studies examining the link between premarital cohabitation and marital stability and marital quality. They found “Cohabitation had a significant negative association with both marital stability and marital quality. The negative predictive effect on marital stability, however, did not remain when only cohabitation with the eventual marital partner was analysed, suggesting that these cohabitors may attach more long-term meaning to living together.”

Scott Stanley, one of the Denver researchers, commented: “It seems wise to talk about commitment and what living together might mean for the future of the relationship before moving in together, especially because cohabiting likely makes it harder to break up compared to dating.”

Meanwhile researchers at UC Berkeley’s Institute of Personality and Social Research have found that couples who used pronouns such as “we,” “our” and “us” behaved more positively toward one another and showed less physiological stress, whilst those whose language emphasised their individuality by using pronouns such as “I,” “me” and “you” were found to be less satisfied in their marriages. Robert Levenson, who was involved in the study commented: “Individuality is a deeply ingrained value in American society, but, at least in the realm of marriage, being part of a ‘we’ is well worth giving up a bit of ‘me’.” Benjamin Seider, another one of the researchers explained: “The use of ‘we’ language is a natural outgrowth of a sense of partnership, of being on the same team, and confidence in being able to face problems together.”

Science Daily: 2009, 2010

Editorial Comment: These studies fit with God’s created design for marriage, i.e. the union of one man and one woman, for life fully committed to one another. When challenged by Jewish leaders who were looking for an excuse to get out of this commitment, Jesus said: “at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female’, and, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’ so they are no longer two, but one. Therefore what God has joined together, let man not separate.” (Matthew 19) Casual cohabiting and maintaining one’s single identity do not fit in with God’s design for marriage.

The more studies that are done on marriage the more researchers find that it works best according to God’s instructions. This is no surprise because God invented marriage and all things work best according to the maker’s instructions.

Evidence News, 28 April 2010

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