Friday, September 21, 2007

From Cohabitation (living together) to Marriage Part 1

Back to my endless hope for marriage especially among fellow Gen X'ers. Over 90% of Americans will get married at least once in their lifetime despite all the doom and gloom of divorce rates. The business of marriage is booming and for that I'm thrilled!!!

A recent trend in premarital counseling (i'm a church counselor & marriage educator) shows more couples are living together before the wedding day. Its not just non-religious couples living together, some Christian couples are choosing to live together as well. They do not want to experience the horrors of divorce showcased by their parents, they believe it makes financial sense and they are testing sexual compatibility. A longer list of reasons is listed here though in small script. Here are some marriage myths as well - it's marriage friendly :)

Divorce statistics are consistently higher among couples who lived together before marriage. Researchers have listed some reasons here. If possible avoid serial cohabitation - statistics show women suffer the most. If a couple who cohabited before marriage stays married for 7 years, their chances of divorce revert to those of regular couples.

Good news - to give your relationship a great chance at marital satisfaction - consider marriage education, avoid serial cohabitation and pay attention to your spiritual needs as a couple.

Some couples feel premarital counseling means there's something wrong with their relationship. Premarital counseling and premarital education (skills-based instruction) are preventive measures for a relationship and they are worth every dime! Some marriage programs such as PREPARE-ENRICH have a component for couples living together (PREPARE CC) which helps with transitioning to marriage. If you are planning your wedding and are living together, you should definitely consider premarital education! There's always hope for a happy marriage despite unwise decisions.