Kate Middleton and Prince William: Marriage made in Heaven? (Part 2)

Adrian Rogers – [1/3] A Magnificent Marriage

The Save Your sex Summit took place in Chicago featuring author and Speaker, Josh McDowell. Teenagers and youth groups came from all over the city to hear him speak on the Importance of Saving sex til Marriage. (Part 1)

I wish Kate and William the best of luck in their marriage. However, the fact that they lived together in college and about a year ago openly moved in together is not the best way to go as far as statistics go. You may notice the last paragraph in the article below which may apply to Kate and William. 

I am starting a series today that will look at this issue of living together. It is based on the article “Should We Live Together? What Young Adults Need to Know about Cohabitation before Marriage,” by Josh McDowell. Here is a portion of the article below:

“How Living Together Before Marriage May Contribute To Marital Failure”

“The vast majority of young women today want to marry and have children.  And many of these women and most young men see cohabitation as a way to test marital compatibility and improve the chances of long-lasting marriage.  Their reasoning is as follows: Given the high levels of divorce, why be in a hurry to marry?  Why not test marital compatibility by sharing a bed and a bathroom with for a year or even longer?   If it doesn’t work out, one can simply move out.   According to this reasoning, cohabitation weeds out unsuitable partners through a process of natural de-selection.   Over time, perhaps after several living-together relationships, a person will eventually find a marriageable mate.”

“The social science evidence challenges this idea that cohabiting ensures greater marital compatibility and thereby promotes stronger and more enduring marriages. Cohabitation does not reduce the likelihood of eventual divorce; in fact, it may lead to a higher divorce risk.  Although the association was stronger a decade or two ago and has diminished in the younger generations, virtually all research on the topic has determined that the chances of divorce ending a marriage preceded by cohabitation are significantly greater than for a marriage not preceded by cohabitation. A 1992 study of 3,300 cases, for example, based on the 1987 National Survey of Families and Households, found that in their marriages prior cohabitors ‘are estimated to have a hazard of dissolution that is about 46% higher than for noncohabitors.’  The authors of this study concluded, after reviewing all previous studies, that the enhanced risk of marital disruption following cohabitation ‘is beginning to take on the status of an empirical generalization.’”5

“More in question within the research community is why the striking statistical association between cohabitation and divorce should exist.  Perhaps the most obvious explanation is that those people willing to cohabit are more unconventional than others and less committed to the institution of marriage.  These are the same people then, who more easily will leave a marriage if it becomes troublesome.  By this explanation, cohabitation doesn’t cause divorce but is merely associated with it because the same type of people is involved in both phenomena.”

“There is some empirical support for this position.  Yet even when this “selection effect” is carefully controlled statistically a negative effect of cohabitation on later marriage stability still remains.6  And no positive contribution of cohabitation to marriage has been ever been found.”

The reasons for cohabitation’s negative effect are not fully understood. One may be that while marriages are held together largely by a strong ethic of commitment, cohabiting relationships by their very nature tend to undercut this ethic. Although cohabiting relationships are like marriages in many ways-shared dwelling, economic union (at least in part), sexual intimacy, often even children-they typically differ in the levels of commitment and autonomy involved.  According to recent studies cohabitants tend not to be as committed as married couples in their dedication to the continuation of the relationship and reluctance to terminate it, and they are more oriented toward their own personal autonomy.7  It is reasonable to speculate, based on these studies, that once this low-commitment, high-autonomy pattern of relating is learned, it becomes hard to unlearn.”

“The results of several studies suggest that cohabitation may change partners’ attitudes toward the institution of marriage, contributing to either making marriage less likely, or if marriage takes place, less successful.  A 1997 longitudinal study conducted by demographers at Pennsylvania State University concluded, for example, “cohabitation increased young people’s acceptance of divorce, but other independent living experiences did not.” And ‘the more months of exposure to cohabitation that young people experienced, the less enthusiastic they were toward marriage and childbearing.’”8

“Particularly problematic is serial cohabitation.  One study determined that the effect of cohabitation on later marital instability is found only when one or both partners had previously cohabited with someone other than their spouse.9   A reason for this could be that the experience of dissolving one cohabiting relationship generates a greater willingness to dissolve later relationships.  People’s tolerance for unhappiness is diminished, and they will scrap a marriage that might otherwise be salvaged. This may be similar to the attitudinal effects of divorce; going through a divorce makes one more tolerant of divorce.”

“If the conclusions of these studies hold up under further investigation, they may hold the answer to the question of why premarital cohabitation should effect the stability of a later marriage.  The act of cohabitation generates changes in people’s attitudes toward marriage that make the stability of marriage less likely.  Society wide, therefore, the growth of cohabitation will tend to further weaken marriage as an institution.”

“An important caveat must be inserted here.  There is a growing understanding among researchers that different types and life-patterns of cohabitation must be distinguished clearly from each other.  Cohabitation that is an immediate prelude to marriage, or prenuptial cohabitation-both partners plan to marry each other in the near future-is different from cohabitation that is an alternative to marriage. There is some evidence to support the proposition that living together for a short period of time with the person one intends to marry has no adverse effects on the subsequent marriage. Cohabitation in this case appears to be very similar to marriage; it merely takes place during the engagement period.10  This proposition would appear to be less true, however, when one or both of the partners has had prior experience with cohabitation, or brings children into the relationship.”


5.  Alfred DeMaris and K. Vaninadha Rao. 1992. “Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Stability in the United States: A Reassessment.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 54: 178-190.

6.  See: Alfred DeMaris and William MacDonald. 1993. “Premarital Cohabitation and Marital Instability: A Test of the Unconventional Hypothesis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 55: 399-407; William J. Axinn and Arland Thornton. 1992. “The Relationship Between Cohabitation
and Divorce: Selectivity or Causal Influence.” Demography 29-3:357-374; Robert Schoen. 1992. “First Unions and the Stability of First Marriages.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 54:281-284; Elizabeth Thomson and Ugo Colella. 1992. “Cohabitation and Marital Stability: Quality or Commitment?” Journal of Marriage and the Family 54:259-267; Lee A Lillard, Michael J. Brien, and Linda J. Waite. 1995. “Premarital Cohabitation and Subsequent Marital Dissolution: A Matter of Self-Selection?” Demography, Vol. 32-3:437-457;  David R. Hall and John Z. Zhao. 1995. “Cohabitation and Divorce in Canada: Testing the Selectivity Hypothesis.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 57:421-427; Marin Clarkberg, Ross M. Stolzenberg, and Linda Waite. 1995. “Attitudes, Values, and Entrance into Cohabitational versus Marital Unions.” Socia
Forces 74-2:609-634;  Stephen L. Nock. 1995. “Spouse Preferences of Never-Married, Divorced, and Cohabiting Americans.” Journal of Divorce and Remarriage 24-3/4:91-108.
7.  Stephen L. Nock. 1995. “A Comparison of Marriages and Cohabiting Relationships.” Journal of Family Issues 16-1:53-76. See also: Robert Schoen and Robin M Weinick. 1993. “Partner Choice in Marriages and Cohabitations.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 55:408-414.

8.  William G. Axinn and Jennifer S. Barber. 1997. “Living Arrangements and Family Formation Attitudes in Early Adulthood.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 59:595-611. See also Axinn and Thornton. 1992. op.cit., and Elizabeth Thomson and Ugo Colella. 1992. op. cit.

9.  DeMaris and McDonald. 1993. op. cit.; Jan E. Stets. 1993. “The Link Between Past and Present Intimate Relationships.” Journal of Family Issues 14-2:236-260.

10.  Susan L. Brown. “Cohabitation as Marriage Prelude Versus Marriage Alternative: The Significance for Psychological Well-Being.” Unpublished paper presented at the 1998 annual meeting of the American Sociological Association. Author is at Bowling Green State University, Ohio;  Susan L. Brown and Alan Booth. 1996. “Cohabitation Versus Marriage: A Comparison of Relationship Quality.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58:668-678.


“The National Marriage Project”

“The National Marriage Project is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian and interdisciplinary initiative supported by private foundations and affiliated with Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.”

“The Project’s mission is to provide research and analysis on the state of marriage in America and to educate the public on the social, economic and cultural conditions affecting marital success and wellbeing.”

“The National Marriage Project has five immediate goals: (1) publish The State of Our Unions, an annual index of the health of marriage and marital relationships in America; (2) investigate and report on younger adults’ attitudes toward marriage; (3) examine the popular media’s portrait of  marriage; (4) serve as a clearinghouse source of research and expertise on marriage; and (5) bring together marriage and family experts to develop strategies for revitalizing marriage.”

For more information or additional copies of this publication, contact:

The National Marriage Project Rutgers
The State University of New Jersey
25 Bishop Place
New Brunswick, NJ 08901-1181
(732) 932-2722
marriage@rci.rutgers.edu


Newly Married Couple

Britain’s Prince William and his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge stand outside of Westminster Abbey after their Royal Wedding. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

Soccer star David Beckham and his wife Victoria arrive for royal wedding. (April 29)

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