Cohabitation doesn't cause divorce after all


What I am trying to understand is the following paragraphs:

Previous studies compared the divorced rates of couples who cohabited with those who didn’t by using the age of marriage. Kuperberg did something new: She compared the relationships using the date of first moving in together. That date, she reasoned, is when a couple really takes on the roles of marriage, regardless of whether they have a legal certificate.

Using this method, she found no link between whether people had cohabited before marriage and their rate of divorce. The turning point in age for picking a life partner seems to be about 23, Kuperberg said.


What those paragraphs mean is that, essentially, the author has used a “fudge factor” by taking the date of “moving in together” (what an ugly euphemism :() as the starting date for the marriage, rather than the date of the actual marriage.

This is, of course, intellectually dishonest. If they meant to get married, they would - uh - get married, not “move in together”.

That said, even if this study is true, it doesn’t prove a thing.

We need to stop using the consequentialist ethics of the modern world.

For too long, we’ve been arguing that “Contraception is wrong because some contraceptives cause abortion” or “Cohabitation is wrong because it leads to unstable marriages and divorce”. Both those statements are true, but they are secondary arguments - open to being refuted by dubious “research” like the above - and they fail to get to the heart of the matter.

Contraception is a sin. Fornication is a sin. This remains true even if a thousand scientists publish papers saying that contraception and fornication make for “happier” marriages. Being “happy” will not set us free - the Truth will.


As RPRPsych said, the morality of cohabitation and the pre-marital sex invariably associated with that is immoral independent of its statistical effect on marital stability. That being said, it’s often the sex that blinds cohabiting couples because the body releases chemicals during sexual activity that attach a person to the sexual attentee of the individual. This why people get addicted to impersonal porn. In a marriage, the body’s physiology serves to fortify a relationship that properly should have been evaluated without the chemical influence. Thus, pre-marital sex can lead to blinded decisions when it comes to choosing a suitable mate because reason is forfeited in exchange for a chemical addiction. Also, the insinuation that comparison of cohabitors vs. non-cohabitors is measured based on length of marriage is also not quite true. For instance, there are studies that show out of divorced women, 81.8% had engaged in pre-marital sex as opposed to 17.8% who remained abstinent and did not cohabitate.

For more data, see 4 ways pre-marital sex is harmful.



Not surprising, because cohabitation rates are incredibly high in Latin America, but they have some of the world’s lowest divorce statistics. It’s an incredibly common practice there.


That’s a very good write-up. Kudos! :thumbsup:


I think the problem is that the numbers aren’t there anymore to gather any reliable data. Too many couples cohabit before marriage and those that don’t often rush into marriage, which increases risk of divorce. Not to mention, divorce rates are high across the board due to recession. Sex before marriage? Again, most people do have sex before marriage, and those who do not are often more likely to rush into marriage (people get married to have sex), which messes up the data. How many people are virgins on their wedding night AND dated for a reasonable amount of time (not too long or too short)? Very few. Which is why modern research will show more and more that there is no difference. That is why we need to use older data when there were high enough numbers on both sides to make a definitive statement: cohabitation leads to higher rates of divorce, sex before marriage leads to higher rates of divorce, and people who rush into marriage (date for less than a minimum of 12-18 months) have higher rates of divorce.

And morality isn’t determined by these studies anyway. :thumbsup:


The old adage that “Statistics don’t lie but liars use statistics” is true …

I have always wondered what the ‘divorce’ rate would be if they counted the number of times cohabitating couples broke up …

if the person doing this study wants to count the move in date as the marriage date … then they should also count the number of times cohabitating couples break up and move on without benefit of marriage a divorce in their study/statistics …

I know people who have lived with several people before finally getting married … when they get divorced later … they are considered to be divorced only once … but in reality they have cohabitated and ‘divorced’ multiple times …


Good point. I imagine that cohabitating would have a much higher “divorce” rate than marriage. Heck, I have a relative that last year alone lived with 8 different women.


It is not hard for me to understand that people who practice living without commitments find it easy to break the commitments they do make.

As many coaches tell their teams, you play the way you practice.

Credit histories work the same way. People with a history of not keeping their word are very likely to pay late or not at all.


NOTE: I am inventing the numbers here because I’m too lazy to find the actual paper.

The claim is that the probability of divorce increases with duration of cohabitation (does not matter married or not) by (say) 1% each year. So the probability of break-up (divorce) after 7 years of cohabitation is 7%, and after 10 years of coabitation it is 10%.

Now, say that you look at divorce rates 7 years after marriage. You have two groups. One group moved in after marriage, the other group cohabited for 3 years before marriage. You will find that the first group has 7% divorce rate while the second group has 10% divorce rate. And you will end up concluding that cohabitation before marriage increases divorce rate, right?

Well, then you must remember the old adage that correlation does not equal causation. What is actually happening is that you are comparing 10 year couples with 7 year couples. So cohabitaion between marriage increases divorce rate in the sense that if the clock starts ticking before marriage, it will count down to zero sooner.


Who said that cohabitation causes divorce? I’ve never heard anyone make that strong of a claim. What a stupid headline. Correlation doesn’t imply causation.

  1. One study trumps years of studies?

  2. Cohabitation is wrong intrinsically, not because of it’s effects. Put another way, if a study showed that satanists lived longer than believers, would you become a satanist?:wink:


Well said…I shall requote to my elder boys…being happy will not set us free-the Truth will…put that on a poster at every university!


Why is it an ugly euphemism? Sounds like an accurate description.


Thank you. :o


Thanks. Too often, in today’s world, we are told that what feels good, or make us feel good, is what we need. Unfortunately, there are many things that can feel good, but which are sinful and wrong.


It’s part of the ugly, euphemistic language of our times, in which sin is transmuted into something “nice-sounding” by linguistic alchemy:

Moving in together = fornication / living in sin
Right to choose = murdering unborn babies
Marriage equality = Sodomite “marriage”
Political correctness = censorship of discourse on virtues and morals
Hate speech = calling a spade a spade

The longer I live, the more I regret ever having supported such terms in the first place. :frowning:



I lived with my husband to be before we were married.

We lived together for two years.

So, what the article is saying, is to compare how long we have been together, marriage plus 2 years, when comparing us to people that didn’t live together.

So, my husband and I have been “together” for 24 years. They are saying people should compare our divorce rate with those that have been married 24 years, NOT 22 years.

It probably isn’t a big difference now, but it probably was 15 to 20 years ago.


Yes, because it demonstrates that previous studies contained a methodological error which changes the outcome.


The study was not using the date the couples started fornicating, which in most cases was probably much earlier, it was using the date they moved in to the same residence.

As for “living in sin,” that is actually a euphemism: useful enough for its purposes, but the authors were comparing both married and unmarried couples, and the term does not apply simply to both groups.

“Moving in together” is what it says, not a euphemism, and is the most obvious phrase to describe the date in question.:shrug:

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