Cohabitation less stable for families than marriage worldwide, though more doing it

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 6, 2017 12:12 p.m.

    One of the problems is that with divorce rates rising, you start seeing more people having a visual of marriage that is a source of stress. For instance, my parents and both my step-siblings have had divorces. If all your closest examples of marriage collapse in some way, the downside risk of marriage starts looking pretty prominent.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Feb. 6, 2017 11:52 a.m.

    Another thought:
    One of my uncles lived with a woman for something like 30 years, had a kid with her, and they were, in all ways but the legal one, a married couple.

    Because they had philosophical opposition to legal marriage.

    They are not the norm. Most couples that are cohabiting (but not marrying) are doing so not because of philosophical issues, but because they're not committed yet. Married couples, on the other hand, *have* decided to commit.

    So the "problem" isn't that cohabiting couples aren't as stable/committed, it's that the stable/committed couples decide to marry. Convincing cohabiting couples to marry before they're ready probably isn't going to help. And arguing that folks should put off sex until marriage isn't going to work (especially with the average age of first-marriage being pushed up to 28/29).

    If you want to reduce the number of kids living in "cohabiting" households, you'll have to push comprehensive sex education and take steps to expand access to long-lasting birth control available among poor women.

  • UtahTroutStalker Draper, UT
    Feb. 6, 2017 10:20 a.m.

    Divorce rate is still pretty high (even amount LDS). The article fails to mention the effects of a deteriorating relationship on children, society, etc...

    Having worked with youth from time to time I have found the problems at home will often manifest as behavior problems with children. Lying, fighting, stealing, sex, drug/alcohol use are all things I have seen due in part to bad relationship between married mom and dad.

    I think time would be well spent on improving the marriage before worrying about cohabitators.

  • EscherEnigma Ridgecrest, CA
    Feb. 6, 2017 10:09 a.m.

    The Millenials today weren't born in the 70s, they were born in the 80s and 90s, and have only heard and seen the 70s on TV. But there is a fairly prevalent message regarding marriage, sex and children that they *have* been hearing for most of their lives.

    Gay folk, and how they don't need marriage, even if they're having sex and raising children. Heck, they argued (in court even) that it was preposterous to think that gay families (and their children) were being disadvantaged by not being allowed to marry. Why even today there are folks saying that it's not discriminatory to deny marriage to gay people.

    So don't blame the 70s, which Millenials have only seen on TV, for Millenials ambivalence towards marriage. Blame the moral and self-righteous folk that spent the last two decades saying it wasn't that important.

  • Steve C. Warren WEST VALLEY CITY, UT
    Feb. 6, 2017 9:59 a.m.

    I'm relieved to hear that marriage is more stable than cohabitation because "families are forever" sounds much better than "cohabitators are forever."

    The article failed to mention this, but it's a well-known fact that cohabitators is short for "couples who habitually eat potatoes." (I suspect a more comprehensive study of marriage would find married couples eat better and consume fewer potatoes than cohabitating couples.)

  • morpunkt Glendora, CA
    Feb. 6, 2017 7:09 a.m.

    Listen to the teacher's comments, readers. It says it all.

  • Third try screen name Mapleton, UT
    Feb. 5, 2017 7:02 p.m.

    The Free Love arrangement that sprang up in the 1970s is very appealing. The idea that either party can terminate the arrangement for any reason solves all sorts of problems for people.

    Same sex marriage was an easy evolution since children were not key elements of a Free Love relationship.

    Government created the Child Support model to deal with the financial fallout from Free Love, but couldn't really decree "stability."

    Reading conference talks from the 1960s will reveal a clear voice of warning about the problems society would face (and is now facing) when traditional marriage was disregarded by the people.

    There is no good substitute for father, mother and biological offspring living together for the duration. "It takes a village..." is a nice sentiment but not an adequate solution.

  • hankel Butte, MT
    Feb. 5, 2017 6:47 p.m.

    I've always thought that is very unfair to children, living in a home where two adults cohabit, to have to live with the fact that their parents aren't married. I remember reading some research many years ago that that said many marriages have seemingly insurmountable problems in the early years , but after so many years, if they hang on, the problems level out. Marriage does take a lot of commitment, and I doubt that there are many "marriages made in heaven". But isn't it all a learning/maturity process, and if given a chance, love for one's spouse will begin to take precedence over love of oneself? The problem with cohabitation, is that there just isn't an "official" vow of commitment beginning on day one, and that makes it so much easier to give up when things get tough.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 5, 2017 5:30 p.m.

    My two most difficult students this year are in unstable homes. Some would say there is no correlation, but I think a stable home life can make all the difference for a child. When Mom and Dad split, they move on with new relationships, and new families. The kids are left to adjust to new people moving in and out of their lives. They often live in 3 homes each week-Mom, Dad, and Grandma. How many adults would like to pack a bag 3 times each week?

  • water rocket Magna, UT
    Feb. 5, 2017 4:15 p.m.

    The legal protections marriage brings are good for both the man and woman (I should mention the children, too!). When a man "shacks up" with a woman long enough for her to get pregnant, he has to prove paternity in order to have any say in the welfare of the child. As for the woman, she has to prove his involvement in order to collect child support. There are other issues, too, and those "issues" can be avoided with a little foresight. Far too many "couples" live only in the moment, and don't consider the long term.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    Feb. 5, 2017 11:05 a.m.

    Working on the front lines with children, in school everyday, it becomes very obvious who has a stable structure at home. By and large married parents do better than singles or cohabiting couples. Whatever the structure, the hardest part of watching kids, is seeing boyfriends and girlfriends in and out of the picture with children. Kids need stability, and it is heart wrenching to see a family fall apart! Marriage should always be a cause for celebration because it means that two people care enough for each other to want to commit themselves for the betterment of each other and humanity. Marriage isn't just about two individuals, but about creating a stable environment for children.

  • Middle of the road Mormon South Jordan, UT
    Feb. 5, 2017 9:33 a.m.

    I remember studying cultural anthropology in college.

    There are many tribal groups where families are very strong, but there is no "marriage" in the traditional Judeo-Christian sense of the word.

    I don't think the problem is with cohabitation vs marriage, but rather the very nature of the society we live in today. It would be very hard to have a small tribal type society where beliefs are largely controlled by elders and there are very few challenges to the predominate world views of the tribal leaders.

    Today people move freely all over the world, bringing with them different ideas, values, etc.. Then you add written materials,TV, and the internet and people start to question more traditional values. There is nothing wrong with this. People should always question why we do something. The next 50 years is going to be a really interesting time for our species.

  • Utah_Happyman Orem, UT
    Feb. 5, 2017 8:30 a.m.

    Stereotypes and biases do not make good research...

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Feb. 4, 2017 11:22 p.m.

    Yeah, people shack up.

  • worf McAllen, TX
    Feb. 4, 2017 11:21 p.m.

    Less stable, because there are no commitments, and no trust of a partner who is freely permissive.

  • toosmartforyou Kaysville, UT
    Feb. 4, 2017 10:32 p.m.

    This is pretty obvious. Laws protect women that are married a lot more than those who are willing to just live with some guy who can walk at any point. Then again, at night it is dark and in the daytime it is light. Obvious......