Why Living Together Isn't a Test-Run for Marriage

Research shows how cohabitation sabotages lifelong intimacy

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. If marriage is a lifetime commitment, then why not have a "trial run" before making it official?

More than 50 percent of couples do exactly that. In fact, living together before marriage is becoming increasingly common, even among Christian couples. They reason that living together before marriage just makes sense. This is particularly a strong argument for those who are hesitant about a lifetime commitment. Having witnessed the pain divorce creates in many families, they know that a fairy tale wedding in a packed church doesn't guarantee happily-ever-after ending.

If your goal is to someday have a loving, stable relationship, living together before marriage is far more likely to sabotage life-long intimacy than be a stepping stone for it. Here are a few reasons why cohabitation isn't the wisest decision.

If your goal is to someday have a loving, stable relationship, living together before marriage is far more likely to sabotage life-long intimacy than be a stepping stone for it.

What the Research Says

In spite of those who say cohabitation is a wise test drive, the research indicates that living together before marriage may actually increase your risk for divorce in the future. Many experts believe that the "squishy" approach toward commitment represented by cohabitation sets a couple up for bailing on marriage when things get difficult. Holding sexual fidelity and the marriage covenant as sacred before God impacts your willingness to work through the challenges of life together.

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Juli Slattery

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger. A widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional, she co-founded Authentic Intimacy and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?

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May 25

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