Kate Middleton and Prince William: Marriage made in Heaven? (Part 23)

I really do wish Kate and William success in their marriage.  Nevertheless, I do not think it is best to live together before marriage like they did, and I am writing this series to help couples see how best to prepare for marriage.

Albert Mohler wrote an excellent article, ” ‘The Cohabitation Trap’–Why Marriage Matters,” August 16, 2005 and I  wanted to post a portion of it everyday and here is part 2:

Cohabitation prior to marriage serves to undermine, rather than to strengthen the marital bond. Here’s how Wartik summarizes the research: “Couples who move in together before marriage have up to two times the odds of divorce, as compared with couples who marry before living together. Moreover, married couples who have lived together before exchanging vows tend to have poorer-quality marriages than couples who moved in after the wedding. Those who cohabited first report less satisfaction, more arguing, poorer communication and lower levels of commitment.”

Social scientists are alarmed at these findings. Some now believe that cohabitation before marriage undermines the very notion of commitment. As Wartik explains, “The precautions we take to ensure marriage is right for us may wind up working against us.” 

There seem to be two major theories offered as explanations for this phenomenon. Wartik describes the “reigning explanation” as “the inertia hypothesis.” This theory suggests “that many of us slide into marriage without ever making an explicit decision to commit. We move in together, we get comfortable, and pretty soon marriage starts to seem like the path of least resistance. Even if the relationship is only tolerable, the next stage seems to be inevitable.”

The inertia theory suggests that marriage just “happens” to couples who have been cohabitating for some time. Paul Amato, a professor at Penn State University, suggests, “There’s an inevitable pressure that creates momentum towards marriage . . . . I’ve talked to many cohabiting couples and they’ll say, ‘My mother was so unhappy until I told her we were getting married–and then she was so relieved.'” Amato also suggests that issues like shared financial arrangements and shared offspring also build the momentum towards marriage.

The inertia theory may offer considerable insight into the way cohabiting men understand marriage. Some researchers suggest that cohabitating men demonstrate a high level of uncertainty about the relationship and bring that same uncertainty into marriage. Wartik cites a 2004 study by psychologist Scott Stanley that found “that men who had lived with their spouse premaritally were on average less committed to their marriages than those who hadn’t.”

The other major theory suggests that the experience of cohabitation itself weakens the marital bond. As Amato explains, “A couple of studies show that when couples cohabit, they tend to adopt less conventional beliefs about marriage and divorce, and it tends to make them less religious.” As Wartik expands the idea: “That could translate, once married, to a greater willingness to consider options that are traditionally frowned upon–like saying ‘so long’ to an ailing marriage.”


Benefits of Attending a Weekend to Remember

Adrian Rogers – Simplicity of Salvation (2 4)

Tim Hawkins talks about Moms

Monarchy: The Royal Family at Work_Part 5 of 7

April 30, 2011 |  2:33 pm

Official royal wedding photo of Prince William, Kate Middleton and family

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