Posted on Mar 29, 2010
Traditionally, a couple should share a home before they tie the knot – but is there a reason for this rule to exist? While many perpetuate the myth that living together before marriage will lead to divorce, a new study shows that whether or not a couple chooses to cohabitate before taking their vows doesn’t have a significant impact on the fate or success of the marriage.

A new study released by the National Center for Health Statistics and based on the National Survey of Family Growth conducted in 2002 shows that while couples who don’t live together before they are engaged or married have a slightly better chance of staying married, living together before the wedding day does not significantly hurt your chances at happiness.

Out of the 13,000 people surveyed, 65 percent of women were married successfully for ten years, while 66 percent of women who waited to live with their husbands lasted a decade without divorce. For me, 69 percent lasted ten years married while 71 percent lasted ten years married after waiting to move in with their partner. Generally, an unmarried couple who lives together but never makes it official has a 55 percent chance of staying together for ten years.

While the differences between couples who live together before marriage and couples who wait are very slim, all couples who marry have an advantage over those who move in but don’t make vows. This adds weight to the importance of defining a relationship and making official plans for the future. In the end, making a commitment remains to be a more important step than sharing rent or a mortgage.
Molly B. Kenny
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Divorce and Child Custody Attorney Serving Bellevue and Seattle Washington