"Living Together Before Marriage" Essay
It is known that one out of two marriages will end in divorce. According to Dr. Harley, in "Living together before Marriage", eighty-five percent of the divorced couples were cohabitating before marriage, otherwise known as: living together. With these kinds of statistics, why would people want to live together before they get married? It's a perfectly logical question, with a perfectly logical explanation. Couples naturally want to know each other before they take the big plunge. Some may say, "You have to try it before you buy it". It leads a very good point: couples should know each other before they vow to spend the rest of their lives with one another. However, it's been proven to be more harmful than helpful to a relationship, because of the habits that are inevitably created. Whether they are good or bad, habits are hard to break and may cause problems throughout a lifetime.
Cohabiting is a month-to-month agreement, says Harley, theoretically saying there is always an easy way out. People believe if things get too tough it's easier to separate rather than divorce. Yes, this is true, but what happens when the couple decides to get married? Now, they've transformed their minds to be weak, to give up when the going gets tough, and to leave when things aren't working out. That is why living together before marriage is harmful. On the other hand, married couples who have not cohabitated together have a different perspective on things, and it is easier to make decisions based on what is good for the marriage and not just for themselves. This is because they go into the marriage believing it is for life, and not a month-to-month agreement.
Marriage can be tricky because the decisions that are made are no longer for yourself, they are for the good of the marriage. Cohabitating before marriage is the very source that diminishes the meaning of marriage: oneness. A marriage is when two become one, a reading from the book, One Flame. Couples who live together before marriage have a hard time understanding the concept of oneness. There is a definite single mindedness, "My problem is my problem and your problem is your problem!" Why change the current agreement, if it works? By not changing the agreement, hypothetically you're not truly married. All of the stages are there, but they are not connected spiritually, which is the very reason couples get married or should get married to begin...
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The purpose of this essay is to compare and contrast marriage and living together. Initially, the essay provides a comprehensive definition for marriage and living together, and then, highlights the similarities and differences between marriage and living together. Finally, the essay draws a conclusion based on the mentioned information.
Difference Between Marriage and Living Together
Marriages refers to a social institution, relationship, state, condition, intimate or close association, a legal or religious ceremony, where a man and woman agree to live together as married couple. Traditionally, marriage is regarded as a permanent institution that cannot be dissolved unless of a partner demise. From a legal perspective, marriage is a contract that binds two parties that is recognized by the government, and it can only be dissolved through divorce. Undoubtedly, in the modern world, it is complicated to define marriage.
Living together is also referred to the notion of cohabitation. This is where individuals of different sexes engage in a come-we-try union without any binding decision to stay together as husband and wife. Obligations and rights of each partner that are founded on original intentions guide the agreement. The living together agreement is not legally enforceable; thus partners should seek legal advice on how to share the property that is owned jointly.
The Benefits of Living Together Before Marriage
Majority of marriages in the world today evolve through cohabitation before maturing into a wedding. The number of people engaging in cohabitation before being married is on the rise since young adults who are single prefer living together before marriage. The idea of living together is beneficial for couples since they get to understand each other, and establish if they can go along together well. However, the much-held beliefs that cohabitation will improve a subsequent marriage quality are false. It is established that cohabitation does not improve stability in marriage or increase satisfaction. Compared to marriage, living together creates disadvantages for couples, children, and individuals.
Couples cohabit due to a number of reasons such as convenience, sexual and emotional intimacy minus marriage obligations, to test compatibility, sharing of cost of living, preparing for marriage, as well as understanding each other's fidelity, character, and habits. Young adults perceive cohabitation as a union that facilitates intimate relationship without the risk of being locked-up in a miserable marriage or divorce. However, in most cases, those who engage in cohabitation do not marry, but among those who marry, they have a higher likelihood to divorce. There is no evidence that cohabitation ensure future marital stability. Cohabitation elevates chances of divorce since cohabiters are more unconventional compared to other, and at the same time less committed to the institution of marriage (Diduck 78). These factors will make it easier for couples to leave marriage in case of dissatisfaction. Conversely, marriage is different because of permanence vows. People living together are not ready or fear permanent relationship; thus opt for cohabitation because of easy exit and few responsibilities. Regrettably, those individuals from failed marriages perceive that marriage is fragile, and divorce is common. As a result, young adults who fear permanence and commitment, as well as those who believe that these qualities are absent in a marriage and prefer cohabitation. In addition, living together is short-term because cohabiting adults break up after five years. Those who marry each other have a higher likelihood of divorce compared to those who did not cohabit. In marriage, there is a higher chance of permanence and commitment. The life span of a marriage is longer than that of cohabitation. Furthermore, the break-up after living together is not less easier or cleaner than divorce. In both cases, breaking up involves household break-up, and obviously leads to conflicts in regard to past due bills, leases, property, among others. Break-up results in emotional difficulty for both children and couples.
When people live together, they have a higher chance of independence compared to married couples. Cohabiters have lesser responsibility to support or even finance their partner. Partners living together maintain separate bank accounts, unlike married couple who maintain joint accounts. In addition, male cohabiters value individual freedom and personal leisure; however, the freedom comes with a price of lacking more intimate and deeper relationship. Moreover, young adults who live together develop a negative attitude towards childbearing and marriage, and they believe that the ultimate solution of marriage problems is divorce. Serial cohabitation is regarded as a hurdle, rather than an overture, to marriage. Such individuals have low tolerance for dissatisfaction or unhappiness in marriage, and choose to "walk out" rather than solving the issues amicably (Waite and Maggie 123).
The Advantages of Marriage
Marriage wins over living together in terms of relationship costs and benefits. The permanence of marriage encourage emotional investment by partners; thus increasing security in their union. Cohabiters have a higher likelihood of engaging in infidelity compared to a married couple since they view their sexual relationships as temporary. Living together also affects the emotional development of children because of the high risks of divorce. During break-up children pay economic and emotional price, and sometimes there is a high chance of child abuse, when children live without both parents. Similarly, married women are less likely than cohabiting women to suffer sexual and physical abuse. In terms of financial management, married couples are better off than cohabiting partners. Married couples utilize budgets and spending plans to monitor the use of finances.
Furthermore, cohabiters and married couples gain emotional benefits from their association; however, the benefits are lost during break-ups and divorce with equal emotional cost. The foremost reason for living together and marriage is love and sex. The two forms of relationship satisfy the objective, even, though; cohabiters tend to enjoy worse sex lives than married couples. Marriage and cohabitation involve intimate partners sharing a single household; thus, they pool resources together, there is a gender-based division of labor, as well as, sexual exclusivity. Both people living together and married people are in solemn relationships since they are all sure of and know the people they are living together. Both cohabiting and married partners are in close relationships, and thus incorporates sexual intimacy.
In a nutshell, marriage benefits husband, wife and their children more than cohabitation. Cohabitation provides less of the benefits and rewards that are available in a committed and strong marriage. When individuals are married rather than cohabiting, they are better off to gain personal wealth, physical health, and emotional health. Cohabitation is becoming more popular among the young adults; though, it has numerous costs than benefits. Cohabitation does not guarantee happiness and stability that is purported in an intimate relationship.
In the current world, young adults dream of the stable and satisfying marriages; however, they are nervous about their capability to attain them. These fears can only be solved through counseling and pre-marriage education, but not cohabitation. Cohabitation cannot be regarded as the best alternative of marriage, though it appears attractive and reasonable. Cohabitation fails in fulfillment of their promise compared to marriage. Communities, countries and organizations should prop up marriage culture; this is because the benefits of marriage are attractive and rewarding. Young adults should resist the cultural shift and development, as well as weigh the benefits of each option. The costs of cohabitation are evident and affect both couples and children.
- Diduck, Alison. Marriage and cohabitation. Aldershot, Hampshire, England: Ashgate, 2008. Print.
- Waite, Linda J., and Maggie Gallagher. The case for marriage: why married people are happier, healthier, and better off financially. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000. Print.
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