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Tuesday, January 5, 2010


In Blessed Union?

In the United States, cohabiting unions formed in the early 1900s were usually transient as cohabiting couples rapidly married or separated. (L. Bumpass and and H. Lu, Population Studies 54, 2000) Always a short-lived state, cohabitation became less stable and less tied to marriage as it spread as just over half of all cohabiting couples married within 10 years.Cohabitation without marriage began to bloom as old beliefs and practices changed.

Christine Bachrach (C. Bachrach et al., 2000:3) explained sexual unions in the Western world used to follow a normative sequence: the couple fell in love, the couple married, and the couple had children. As this trend changed, couples began to cohabit before or instead of marrying, and, of course, they had children in relationships from marriage to casual sexual partnerships. Plus, today, those couples who do choose to marry often do so at historically late ages, often after having become parents. The decision to delay marriage vows produced some natural complications.

Ken Dempsey and David de Vaus de Vaus , said (Journal of Psychology, June 1 2004) until the early 1970s, separated and divorced men and women were the principal cohabitants. At that time cohabiting was largely statistically invisible and it was also socially invisible beyond the local community (Kiernan, 2000).

From the 1970s onwards what had been the behavior of a small minority transformed into the behavior of the majority. Now, many consider it is almost a deviant act to marry without first cohabiting. Cohabitation has expanded to half of all women ages 15-44 in 2002. (A. Chandra et al., National Center for Health Statistics, 2005)

As a result of this change in social behavior, direct marriage as opposed to cohabiting and then marrying is now becoming the behavior of a minority of couples in society. R. Kelly Raley, (Demography, Volume 38, Number 1, February 2001) stated, "Cohabiting before first marriage has become the norm." Today the practice has become much more socially acceptable as a "trial" alternative to marriage partly as an effort to cut significant divorce rates.

Some New Reality About Cohabitation

Julie Scelfo of Newsweek reported (December 2, 2004), "Living with your boyfriend is fun. It also can be practical, meaningful and a sign of deep commitment. But as if to confirm the fears of nervous parents around the country, a new study in the Journal of Family Issues says that couple who live together are much less likely to wed than they used to be. That's right, Mom: according to the study, entitled "First Comes Cohabitation and Then Comes Marriage?"  two thirds of (all) cohabiting couples in the 1970s married within three years. Now only half as many women (all cohabiting) walk down the aisle with their live-in mate that quickly. Among all cohabiting women, one out of four says she doesn't ever expect to marry ..."

And a similar study, according to AScribe Health News Service, a relatively new study (Ohio State University, February 2 2004) found that couples who live together before marriage may be less likely to eventually marry than previously believed. The study confirms that only about 40 percent of all cohabiting couples studied ended up marrying within four to seven years. And 42 percent of all cohabiting couples disagreed about the future of their relationship, the study found. Moreover, contrary to popular belief, men with the best economic prospects and couples who were the most similar were not more likely than others to marry after living together. (AScribe
Newswire, 2004)

Some Findings Relating to Cohabitation

Thanks to a lengthy research report, some interesting findings have come to light as they relate to cohabitation. (M.D. Bramlett and W.D. Mosher, "Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage in the United States," National Center for Health Statistics, 2002) Here is some food for cohabitation consumption:

1. For all women, the probability of a first premarital cohabitation becoming disrupted in 39% within 3 years of cohabitation and 49% withing 5 years of cohabitation.

2. For all women, the probability of a first premarital cohabitation becoming a marriage is 58% after 3 years of cohabitation, and 70% after 5 years of cohabitation.

3. For first marriages, marriages are more likely to succeed if the female grew up in a two-parent home.

4. The probability of marriage is lower for non-Hispanic black women than for other women.

5. Early marriage is more likely for women in communities with higher male unemployment, lower median family income, higher poverty and higher receipt of welfare.

6. The probability than an intact first premarital cohabitation becomes a marriage is higher among white women and lower among black women. and higher for couples with higher incomes than for couples with lower incomes.

7. The probability that an intact first premarital cohabitation becomes a marriage is higher for women with any religious affiliation than for women with no religious affiliation, especially among white women.

8. Women with no children at the start of the second marriage are the least likely to experience second marital disruption.

Divorce Rates In America -- You Decide the Best Bond

Here is some recent information on the divorce rate in America. According to Dan Hurley of the New York Times (April 19, 2005), "Part of the uncertainty about the most recent trends derives from the fact that no detailed annual figures have been available since 1996, when the National Center for Health Statistics stopped collecting detailed data from states on the age, income, education and race of people who divorced."

Hurley stated the divorce rate in the United States has never reached one in every two marriages, and new research suggests that, with rates now declining, it probably never will. So read this information without the knowledge that it may not be credible and view it with some skepticism.

Current divorce statistics in America are estimated at 50%. This data is not accurately correct, however, it is "reasonably close to actual" according to the source.The following information is from

Age at marriage for those who divorce in America
Under 20 years old
20 to 24 years old
25 to 29 years old
30 to 34 years old
35 to 39 years old

The divorce rate in America for first marriage, vs second or third marriage
50% percent of first marriages, 67% of second and 74% of third marriages end in divorce.
According to enrichment journal on the divorce rate in America:
The divorce rate in America for first marriage is 41%
The divorce rate in America for second marriage is 60%
The divorce rate in America for third marriage is 73%
* Source of this Divorce Statistics: Jennifer Baker, Forest Institute of Professional Psychology,Springfield

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