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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Assumptions about Cohabitation

Have you heard the old story of individuals who work to put their spouse through medical school, law school or to help them get that chance at a career, only to find that once the goal has been achieved, they are dragged to divorce court while their spouse moves on with their lives with someone else?  I know people who have had that happen, don’t you?  

Well, imagine that same scenario, only this time, they did not get married, but only “cohabitated” (as the term goes).  The same breakup, the same broken hearts, the same person being taken advantage of and left high and dry.  But what is NOT the same, is that there is no legal recourse. 

There is no court to insist that the spouse deserves some financial support to compensate for all the years of sacrifice and commitment that were made.  There is no opportunity to make a case as to who should keep the house or the furniture.  If one person decides to try to hide away all the money, or unfairly take advantage of the situation, there is no recourse to make address any such wrongs that have been suffered, no judge to make sure that each person is treated equitably, because there is little or no legal standing to help. 

Beyond that, when a couple living together split up, it is unlikely that they will receive the kind of compassion, support and encouragement that sometimes comes to those whose marriage fails, because it appears to people to be not much different than a simple dating breakup.  But for those who have entangled their lives with another, the emotional baggage can be as devastating as a divorce.

Many people today ASSUME living together before marriage is the best way to go.  In fact, many consider it the norm today.  They often believe it will give them better success if they do get married, as it gives them a chance to test it out, so to speak.  But, as I regularly share during pre-marital counseling sessions with individuals who are living together, the facts are just the opposite:  those who live together first actually INCREASE the likelihood of a divorce, and more!  

Let me give you some sources and let you look for yourself.  Below I offer three webpages, easily found in any search, that explain what is real and what is not in terms of marriage, living together first, and divorce.  

I think it will surprise you.  

You can jump to the pages by clicking on the picture above the statements from the website.  I especially want to emphasize these truths to folks who have been divorced already, because very often, since they are already divorced, they can come up with a mindset that it really doesn’t matter, since they have been divorced before, or because of the divorce they are even more hesitant to commit.  I especially urge those of you who are in that situation to consider the information below very carefully.

First Things First

 First Things First:

This website lists the following, and explains that these are untrue beliefs:

Living together is an easy way to “try out” a relationship before committing to marriage.
Living together will give us a stronger marriage.
Sharing finances and expenses will make things easier on our relationship.
Your sex life goes downhill when you get married.
Marriage is just a piece of paper. 
It’s only temporary.  (60 percent don’t get married…39  break up and 21 just never commit.)

Love to Know

Love to Know
“A couple who does not live together prior to marriage has a 20 percent chance of being divorced within five years.  If the couple has lived together beforehand, that number jumps to 49 percent.  If a couple chooses to live together as an alternative to being married at all, the likelihood that the relationship will break up within five years is 49 percent. At the 10-year mark, a married couple has a 33 percent chance of breaking up.  For the unmarried couple who is living together, the likelihood of a breakup is a whopping 62 percent.”

The Spruce

“Living together is considered to be more stressful than being married.”
“In the United States and in the UK, couples who live together are at a greater risk for divorce than non-cohabiting couples.”  
“Cohabiting couples had a separation rate five times that of married couples and a reconciliation rate that was one-third that of married couples.”

The more you read on the topic, the more you realize that many people today are falling for a lie, and it is ruining their lives. Living together, without the honest commitment of a lifetime, in a relationship that still maintains “mine” and “yours” mentalities, or the option of a supposedly easy exit, does NOT accomplish what most believe it will.  In fact, it often undermines the very thing they are hoping for:  chances for a stronger marriage.  If you are considering this option, I advise you to rethink your plans.  And if you know someone else who is considering this option, you may save them a lot of heartache if you tell them the truth that nobody else is saying. God knew what he was doing when he designed marriage as a permanent cleaving together of husband and wife.  None of our supposed improvements are really improvements at all!

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