If you are planning to attend a wedding this summer, there is a 65 percent chance that the couple getting married is already living together. That is a 500 percent increase since the 1960s. At one time cohabitation was frowned upon. Now, it is no longer shameful, but a common practice that comes with its own challenges.
The Council on Contemporary families says that those couples that do live together have a 33 percent higher likelihood of divorce, specifically those under the age of 23. Psychology Today says, “for most people (61.2 percent), the number one reason to cohabitate is quite positive: they want to spend more time with the person they’re dating. Others cite that cohabitation makes financial sense (18.5 percent), that they want to test out the relationship (14.3 percent), or that they don’t believe in the institute of marriage (6 percent).”
For the 14 percent of individuals citing that they wish to test drive the relationship, this is also termed as “sliding into marriage.” It’s a way to not make a conscious effort towards marriage but to just let it happen without fear of failing. Maybe my idea of marriage is too tainted by Hollywood endings, but honestly, who wants to slide into matrimony?
My mom married her husband (my step father), after four months. When they first got married, I thought they were insane. Until one day I envied everything they had, because the day they got married they were madly in love with one another. There was no sliding into marriage for them. They made the conscious effort to do whatever they needed to do to make their relationship work.
Check out what these six local Moorhead millennials had to say about their upcoming marriages, cohabitation, and how they’re making a conscious effort to be happily married couples.
Taylor Monk & Stephen Glasser
Taylor and Stephen are a couple that have decided to not share keys. “We both have awesome roommates that we wanted to spend our time with while we were engaged,” said Monk, “along with religious reasons. We are waiting until marriage to live together and fully give ourselves to one another in every way possible.”
Monk also commented that, because they are not living together, the relationship process has sped up considerably. “Since we are waiting to live together and sleep together, it speeds up the relationship and engagement for sure. But it also makes everything more exciting for us because everything will be so new.” Glasser and Monk have been together for a little over a year and became engaged just six months into their relationship.
Leandra Schmidt & Chase Zeller
Leandra and Chase have been together for two years, but they became engaged shortly after just a year of dating. “We both have the same values and liked the traditional way of not living together until marriage,” Schmidt commented. “We may have waited longer to get married if we were already living together, but I am glad we are getting married when we are and I wouldn’t want it any other way.”
Both couples agreed that cohabitation needs to be something that is decided upon by the couple. Neither expressed whether they felt cohabitation was right or wrong, but for them moving into together was never something they considered.
Jeff & Lisa
I’m using the pseudonyms Jeff and Lisa for this last couples, as they wished to remain anonymous. “We just wanted to be together, but I also wasn’t willing to move in with him. So I said, yes, when he asked to marry me after only three months.” Lisa knew Jeff was the one just weeks into meeting him, but she didn’t want to the risks that living together sometimes causes. “I am at the age that I want to get married and have a family…I don’t want another roommate.”
She went onto say that although not living together was not the main reason why they were speeding up the engagement, it did play a factor. “He was spending a majority of his time at my place, but his family wouldn’t value our relationship if they knew we were ‘playing house.’ It was important to us that they took our relationship seriously, because we are serious about it.” She continued with, “I have no opinion one way or another what others are choosing to do. I can only speak for us.”
Finding Your Own Norm
Although these couples may not represent the norms of today’s society, they do make up a small percentage of young people who reflect more traditional values. In addition to not living together before buying a ring, Arielle Kuperberg, a graduate student from the University of Pennsylvania, noticed a correlation between age and longevity upon researching the subject. Kuperberg found that couples committing to marriage or cohabitation at the age of 18 had a 60 percent higher chance of divorce, but by 23, it declines to 30 percent. By 23, a person is more likely to be graduated, financially stable, and settling more into life.
The local millennials I interviewed appear to be headed in the right direction. All six are college graduates from Minnesota State University of Moorhead and are looking forward to being married this year. They are proving that some norms of living are not for everyone, and it’s okay to travel off the beaten path when it leads to a successful marriage and union.