Cohabitation before marriage
Moving in together before getting married? No! It could increase the risk of the marriage failing. These are the results of research conducted by the National Health Statistics Center based on data from the National Survey of Family Growth in 2002: couples who went to live together before bonding in the sacred marriage bond saw the legal bond last 6% less in the first 10 years. The study also revealed that around 61% of women in their thirties are living together today and have doubled in the past 15 years.
Other study findings include the following
- Half of the cohabiting couples marry within three years.
- If both partners are college graduates, they will get married and their marriage will last at least 10 years.
- Those who marry after the age of 26 will have a child eight months after marriage and are more likely to last for more than 10 years.
- About 62% of women between the ages of 25 and 44 are married, while 8% are cohabiting; among men, the figures are 59% and 10% respectively.
One in five marriages fail within five years, and one in three lasts less than 10 years.
It therefore seems, and it is no longer surprising, that people really tend to want to experience a trial period to understand if you really get along or not and if you are really made to be together until death do us part, before say the fateful yes before, if not God, the state. This period is seen as natural, like a condom, something that prevents you from stepping any longer than your leg.
And indeed, contrary to what happened at the beginning of the century, it is young people who embark on marriage immediately, driven by love and the certainty that it will last, who are considered naive. Living as a couple without getting married was then a way to demonstrate that one could do without the Church.
A de facto relationship
Today, the discourse seems perhaps a little anachronistic and the question of “de facto couples” seems to reawaken the concepts of early 20th-century socialism to readjust it to today’s consumption. While on the one hand one is really unwary to get married without thinking about it for a moment, on the other hand, at times, one tends not to do so, perhaps for fear of committing oneself as in the past, however, one was proud to do.
But as in everything, one can be reckless in preventive coexistence, just as one can be mature enough and aware of what one wants from life and from one’s partner without having to declare it to the world. The fact is that “as a result of the growing prevalence of cohabitation, the number of children born in de facto couples has increased,” concluded the study’s authors, according to the Times.
Following the marriage tradition
Whoever gets married, there is no doubt, follows in the wake of tradition, of which they want to follow in the footsteps: according to another research, conducted by sociologist Shannon Davis of George Mason University, married couples tend to differentiate their roles more so than couples who live together, who tend to maintain the equality of roles.
The sociologist hypothesized that the marriage union in itself would push the two partners to assume canonized attitudes and to impersonate almost stereotyped roles as if marriage were really a sort of theater in which to play roles preset by tradition. Which is, at times, even a little bit true.
Tradition by itself implies the repetition of rules and roles, otherwise, it would not be a tradition! But it is not always a bad thing, on the contrary: it serves to convey and enrich the underlying ideologies. And if the fact that the woman doing the jobs at home while the man takes care of her outside the home by procuring money and food made the marriage last longer, I don’t think feminists can turn up their noses here too.
Marriage in itself is something ritual
Yes, but that most of the time people underestimate and, in these cases, then perhaps it is better that we really go to live together. “It is possible, continues the doctor, therefore that people select themselves first: those who are intrinsically more traditional may, in fact, decide more frequently to get married than more modern and nonconformist individuals”.
But beyond the preconceptions and exasperation of the roles of the “woman at home” and of the “man at work” – roles that, if not exasperated, but in any case blunted by female careers and by a propensity for domestic activities even of some men (I said some!) – Marriage remains a bond, perhaps the basic one, on which the whole society is founded, beyond political and/or religious ideologies.
Now and the future of marriages
With the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of marriages in the world has been decreasing to date, and it is destined to rise. It would then be appropriate to look upstream: why do people no longer want to get married? Why do people disavow tradition? Why do you consider yourself modern and nonconformist who denies the bond on which society has always been based? Let’s stop and think about what drives a couple to start a family.
Beyond the love for the partner, however, it must be recognized that everyone is part, in fact, of the much and always criticized society, both as an individual and as a couple. And certainly, nothing changes, in fact, between being married or not. And it is not the liturgical function or the state signature that gives security or added value to the bond between two sincere people.
Therefore, if in practical terms there is no difference and, indeed, the real guarantees come from the person and not from the paper, however, declare publicly and legally that you want to spend the rest of your life together with another person, could be a good way to become an active part of the society in which you live to allow others to recognize us in our new role as a married man and woman: roles are not always a bad thing especially if you think that no man is an island – as confirmed by Hugh Grant in his historical About a Boy – and that society binds us all together like an archipelago.
Each person is the one who is also thanks to others and each transmits and takes something from the other that makes them unique and special. This is the basis of coexistence, not only of the couple but of all humanity. Today, perhaps you are never fully prepared for the issues of married life and perhaps, even if you are not a believer, attending a prenuptial course in any parish could help. On the other hand, to take the big step, you need to be prepared.