Cohabitationis when two people who are romantically involved choose to live togetherwithout making the formal commitment of marriage (Gilles 1988). In these days,cohabitation becomes a norm in Western world with the number or people livingtogether before tying the knot is rising rapidly. The number of unmarriedcouples shacking up with their partner in America increased tenfold from 1960to 2000 and currently, U.S Census estimates that about 10 million people arecohabiting. The first reason that come to mind when couple decide to move inbefore marriage is to test the viability of the partnership in the long term.In this sense cohabitation is a pragmatic and beneficial option because itspotential to weed out bad matches, with the hope of lowering the rate ofdivorce.
It provides no evidence for their happiness together over a lifetime (Harley2017). This paper, with the aim of providing some background knowledge ofcohabitation, will center on the definition, current situation, the negative andpositive effects it brings about in Western countries.2.
Discussion of findings 2.1. General information about livingtogether before marriageCohabitation canbe defined as a period of living under a roof of two people who are dating,thus, there is no commitment or formal obligation between them. Couples mostlydecide to shack up as a way to know more about their haft’ life as well as tospend more time together. In most instance, cohabitation is seen to be atransition stage between single and marriage life because they are actuallydating but living together in a home and experience the spousal relationshipsuch as doing the household chores, joining money to pay living expenses,taking responsibility to take care of each other and sharing the bed ().
Inrecent years, there is an ongoing number of people moving in together. Forexample, in Britain, from 1965 to 1969, just about 6 percent of British wereexperienced a period of cohabitation, this figure climbed with a fast pace andreached approximately 58 percent from 1958 to 1988 and now it is significantlyhigher than that in the past (Kiernan et. Al. & Estaugh 1993). In anothercountry- U.S, in 1960, 500,000 couples cohabited, while on 2012, 7.8 millioncouples shacked up and now, more than 60 % of all married couples are precededby a period of cohabitation.
This reality can be traced to the shift inpeople’s attitude toward marriage. According to the result of the study called”European values study” in 2008 detecting the opinion of people about marriage,surprisingly, about one third of people interviewed in several Westerncountries agreed with the assertion that “Marriage is an outdated institution”.Evidently, people nowadays become more open-minded, they prone to somethingwhich is convenient and free, in this point, living together completely meetsthis demand whereas marriage require a sophisticating procedure and a heap oflegal commitments and obligations. So it is understandable that cohabitationnow becomes so popular in these areas. 2.2The negative effects of cohabitationFirstly, living together’ life can be very stressful.According to the study taken by the Alabama Policy Institute (API study) in2004 interviewed more than 1,300 married couples, the result shows that peoplewho cohabited before marriage tend to be more likely to be depressed as comparewith married couples who didn’t shack up. The API study indicates that in timeof stress and conflict, couples cohabiting are more likely to handle themcontradict with heated arguing, hitting and throwing (Litton 2007).
In the veryfirst stage of cohabitation, people may especially find spousal relationshipstrange and they have to take some time to accustom to it. So if they areinexperienced, they have to face with a lot of difficulties in terms offinance, emotional and physical issues and time. As a consequence, sometimesthey may be put in dilemma and feel extremely tucked.
This situation is feasiblyto happen with young people who are still studying at university or justbeginning to start their career because they will have to handle a large amountof work, exercises and simultaneously take care of their small home while theyactually make a little money or still have to depend on their parents. Soworking out the way how money is shared and spent in order to cover all themonthly expenses is not an easy task anymore and of course takes them a largeamount of time and effort.Another disadvantage of living together before tyingthe knot is the romance and novelty of marriage often go away after a period ofcohabitation. As reported by the result of the API’ study mentioned in theprevious paragraph, the longer a couple cohabit before marriage, the lesssatisfied they are with their matrimony.
So what are the factor contributing tothis reality? Obviously, in any era marriage is considered to be sacred. Thethings people undergo during their wedding are their very first-hand experiences.These are the first time they cook meals together, do the household chores,contribute money to pay living expenses and join hand to overcome up and down.
Butwhen they move in together, they all go through it hence they may find it dulland boring because it has nothing special different from daily life with theirpartner and also there is no formal documents and commitments hence, sometimesthey may not cherish them. So, marriage after a period of living under a roofseems to lose its sacristy and novelty while these all are the importantfactors in a happy marriage. These implements are the motivation to encouragepeople to overcome thick and thin throughout their rapport. Hence, it isunderstandable that the reason why many couples come to divorce is they find nointeresting in their spousal relationship.
Last but not least, one of the repercussion ofcohabitation is it leads to the high rate of abortion and possibility to sufferfrom contagious diseases. When a couple shack up, they will practice premaritalsex, as a result, they may have higher risk of getting contagious diseases- thediseases spread from person to person through direct physical contact liketouching, kissing an infected person and unwanted pregnancy as opposed tosingle one. It is partly because cohabiting couples rarely have such thecommitment made by the couples who decide to get married and build a futurelike planning to have a baby. This reality can be proved by the research donein…. to find out differences in U.
S. Abortion rates based on marital status.Currently, there are 28.9 abortion cases per 1000 unmarried women per year, incontrast to 6.1 for married women. From this number, it can be rounded offthat, cohabiting women are approximately five times more likely to have anabortion than a married woman.
2.3The positive effects of cohabitationTesting the compatibility is probably the firstbenefit that comes to mind when couples start thinking about moving intogether. It’s really a trial test for a lifetime of living together withoutany legal commitment or documents. They can discover how are their half’s life,their habits, expectations and quirks. As well as how well they both cope withthe practicalities of things like cooking, cleaning, home maintenance andsharing responsibilities. By doing such things in the period of moving intogether, couple will have chance to see how they would adjust to each other’habits and living patterns on a more extensive basis. So that they know whetherthey are compatible or not. Of course in the period of living under the roof, theywill probably come up with some of their partner’ bad habits or characteristicbut the important thing cohabitation bring about is you will discover howtolerant you can be or whether you can accept these bad temper or notBetter preparation is one of the positive effects ofmoving in together.
Those who become engaged after they cohabit have bettercommunication skills, fewer interactions, higher relationship quality, and moreconfidence in their marriage post-wedding (). Living together gives peopleopportunity to learn how to divide up the chores, take turn to do errands andwork together to manage the budget. That is to say, they will learn to takeresponsibility not only for their life but also for their partner.
By doing so,people will have more time to deal with problems, adapt to spousal relationshipand join hand to balance their life. Additionally, couples living under the roofbefore tying the knot can also see what marriage will be like. Marriage is notall romance, sometimes you will have heated fighting or argument with yourpartner and every day is pretty boring. Thus cohabitation will prepare them for these less-than-exciting momentsso that when stepping in real matrimony, they won’t be surprised and know whatis good for their relationship and what is not as well as the skills needed tosolve problems. This kind of skills is also essential for their social life.Besides, living together before marriage has abeneficial impact on couple’ financial status.
You will set aside a considerableamount of money by just paying for one house instead of two. Not only money forrenting but spending for food and other living expenses are also saved. Forinstance, cooking for two make far more economic sense than preparing meals foronly one and it really is smart money saving move if you drive sharing a careand insurance policy (Gordon 2012).
The study “This is money reporter”conducted in 2013 found that those living together are 102 pounds wealthier perhead than single people. That means cohabiting people have an extra 1224 poundsper year to add to their savings or spend on luxury items. Equally important,in time of cohabiting before marriage, you will be equipped with valuableskills to make stable spending, good saving habits and cover unexpectedexpenses or pay off debts. By implementing these smart spending method, couple’life will be more and more easy and comfortable because they don’t have towrestle with a heap of question in term of finance3.ConclusionOver a short period of time, cohabitation has emerged andgradually turned into a norm in many parts in the world, growing in bothawareness and popularity.
In some cases, it helps people to check theirviability, save money and have more preparation in their post-wedding marriagein the future. However, every coin has two sides and moving in together is notout of this rule. Cohabiting couples often encounter various problems in termsof finance, mental and physical issues. Actually, there is no exact solution toalleviate the negative effects of cohabitation, but thinking carefully andpreparing for the challenges are waiting for them is a wise step that peopleshould take into consideration before starting a road test with their partner.