Two weeks ago there was another study finding that the number of couples living together before or outside of marriage continues to climb in the US. In just the last ten years, there has been an 83% increase in the number of cohabiting couples who have had children while living together.
There are reasons to be concerned about the avoidance of marriage in society because there simply is no substitute for a married husband and wife in terms of their benefit to society and children. As I once heard William J. Bennett observe, “the family as a married mom and dad, is and always has been, the nation’s best Department of Health and Human Services.”
Scholars at the Heritage Foundation, the nation’s premiere think tank, have an outstanding study on cohabitation with findings that might surprise most people who mistakenly see this as a trial step before marriage or an alternative to marriage, or who see marriage as something done later on when the cohabiting couple is ready.
Here are some of Heritage Foundation’s findings:
• Cohabiting couples are more likely to separate and less likely to reconcile afterwards than married couples;
• Cohabiting couples are more likely to experience infidelity than married couples;
• Compared to women who did not cohabit before marriage, those who did are 33% more likely to see their marriage end in divorce or separation;
• Cohabiting couples who do not plan to marry have poorer relationship quality than married couples;
• Among mothers with infants, those in cohabiting relationships fare worse economically than married mothers;
• Men in cohabiting households tend to have significantly lower earnings than married men with families;
• Those who cohabit tend to have higher levels of depression than those who are married;
• Those who are cohabiting tend to have more problems with alcohol than their married peers.