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  • Does a Live-In Setup Strengthen a Marriage? It's Complicated

    According to research, there are three main factors that impact a union's strength over time.
    by Rachel Perez .
Does a Live-In Setup Strengthen a Marriage? It's Complicated
PHOTO BY Solis Images/Shutterstock
  • Despite the so-called modern times, Pinoy couples who cohabitate or live together before marriage can still be faced with someone who frowns on sex before marriage, which is not surprising in this predominantly Catholic country. But, for many couples who went through the experience, it's a set-up they would gladly go through to get a real glimpse of a "happily ever after," and even if past research shows that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce or separate. 

    However, a paper published in the Journal of Marriage and Family found that it is not living together per se that affects the success of a relationship, but the age when the couple decided to move in together. The study was presented to the Council on Contemporary Families (CCF), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of family researchers and practitioners in the U.S, 

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    Arielle Kuperberg, assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, compared the ages of the couples who went and married right away and the age of couples when they started to cohabitate even without getting married. 

    "It turns out that cohabitation doesn’t cause divorce and probably never did. What leads to divorce is when people move in with someone -- with or without a marriage license -- before they have the maturity and experience to choose compatible partners and to conduct themselves in ways that can sustain a long-term relationship," Kuperberg wrote for CCF

    The latest research showed that couples who live in before they turn 23 years old are most at risk for getting divorced, added Kuperberg. The longer people waited to get married or live in together, the better the chances of their union to stick, insisted economist Evelyn Lehrer. Her findings showed that women who marry in their 30s are less likely to end up divorced or separated.

    In another research, the length of time the couple has been together before moving in together is also a factor. Sharon Sassler of the Cornell University found that college educated women usually wait until after a year while non-college educated women wait only for six months before moving in together.  

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    But the biggest factor for all couples when it comes to relationship success, in a live-in situation or marriage, according to sociologist Kristi Williams of Ohio State University, is the arrival of kids. "Marrying in response to an unintended pregnancy is hardly a recipe for relationship stability, especially for low-income women," she said. More than 64 percent of women ended up divorced after marrying because they were pregnant or had a child. 

    Happily ever after still boils down to age and maturity plus the quality of the relationship -- not necessarily the length -- before you make any commitment. Passion is bliss, but it's always advantageous to have a good head on your shoulders  

    What do you think? Sound off in the comments below. 

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