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Daryl's Poncho • 9 years ago

You learn an enormous amount about a person by living with them. The thought of marrying someone without living with them first almost seems irresponsible, or at least ill-advised.

Danny DeGuira • 9 years ago

From this old geezer's standpoint, cohabitate but each needs their own private place or a room to retreat to.

Julie Osborne • 9 years ago

Yes, but having some personal space is also needed in a marriage.

Danny DeGuira • 9 years ago

In reality, most marriage "contracts" restrict couples before they know for sure. Living together helps a person decide how much they are willing to "tradeoff". And we all know there are tradeoffs in a marriage!

KP AD • 9 years ago

cohabitation is more about reproductive practice and convenience than anything else.
try it. if you like it, keep it.
if not, try something or someone else until two of you decide you want to co-parent.
quite often it results in 'premature' birth. 2nd kids are always full term.

Christina Miller • 9 years ago

Why is it about reproductive practice? The couple places the focus on that. They don't have to. They choose to.

If you have kids before you're ready, that's the fault of your own choice. Use protection or cohabit with abstinence.

There are tons of non-cohabiting couples getting pregnant before their time.

KP AD • 9 years ago

Learning about reality, are you? Life does give one a good education.

Adam Smith • 9 years ago

I certainly see things the other way around. If one isn't serious enough to marry someone then it seems highly irresponsible to start a life together--to put each other in a situation where one might begin a human life together, or prevent one another from other relationships where there might be a better fit.

Truly caring about someone, to me, means putting their interests above one's own--and if one isn't willing to let them have the opportunity to have the kind of absolute life-devotion that they deserve then one shouldn't be in that kind of relationship with them.

Daryl's Poncho • 9 years ago

I agree with you Plebus. I don't think anything you mentioned (save for "starting a life together"- though that can mean different things) is mutually exclusive with cohabitating first.

u04hmm9 • 9 years ago

The obvious solution here is that if someone gets pregnant they either get married or have an abortion. Where is the risk?

Suzanne Lambert • 9 years ago

The risk is that they are only getting married because she is pregnant -- which means divorce is pretty much guaranteed.

Son ofab • 9 years ago

Oh the pull coercion of society. Push push, and then they break. It's sad people get married because of pregnancy indeed.

Suzanne Lambert • 9 years ago

It's all mutually exclusive with cohabiting first. You implied that the purpose of living together is to decide whether to you're serious enough -- which means that there is some doubt about it. It also means that you're holding back on putting their interests above you're own -- you're still deciding whether to take that step.

Certainly living together prevents the partners from dating others -- doesn't it? Everyone I know who lives together would consider that cheating.

Brim Stone • 9 years ago

Legal marriage is a three way contract between two people and the government. It is outdated and unnecessary and, with the modern ease of divorce (a very <>good thing) doesn't even fulfill its intended purposes. It is more a hindrance to happiness than a help. People can live together, have sexx, have children, share or not share finances and legal rights without marriage and be free to make a decision to move on with much less stress if that is the best thing.

Delta York • 9 years ago

The ease of divorce does not null the purpose of a marriage. The purpose of a marriage - depending on which region, religion, time period, and ethnicity you're talking about - was anything from the purchase of a girl as a wife, to the joining of households of the rich and meaningless to the poor and illiterate, and every possible interpretation in between.

Brim Stone • 9 years ago

Yeah- I (and everyone else here) am talking about legal marriage in modern America. Not religious marriage, which is symbolic, or about how they did it in the bad old days.

The purpose of legal marriage is to foster a stable family unit so that the next generation of successful taxpayers can be raised without becoming a burden to the government because the breadwinner ran off. In return for its interest the government gives certain financial and legal incentives. And retains the right to not allow the contract to be dissolved without its approval.

Delta York • 9 years ago

No, the purpose of legal marriage is to gain legal benefits from the government.

rbruenin • 9 years ago

Why on earth do you think the government provides the legal benefits of marriage? For the hell of it?

Suzanne Lambert • 9 years ago

Speak for yourself -- seriously. If that's how you view marriage, don't get married.

But please refrain from imposing your view and definition of marriage on every one else.

Michael Stuart • 9 years ago

I respectfully disagree, Brim Stone.
The way many Millennials view marriage & cohabitation seems quite troubling to me. As a born-again Christian, I think marriage should be a sacred COMMITMENT that 2 reasonably mature adults make to each other & to God. It's NOT a contract; it's a covenant. The couple COMMITS to loving each other with unconditional "agape" love. I think kids do best in a stable loving intact family led by a committed married couple. I assume most cohabitation involves sex. I think sex is supposed to be a very special activity in which a husband & wife (figuratively) become "one-flesh" and bond for life. If I can cohabit & sleep with my girlfriend only as long as she keeps me happy (with no commitment) and then move on to the next sexual relationship without commitment, and so on, then sex is cheapened--- it's less special. And isn't it harder to bond to a lover when memories of 3 or 4 or 5 previous lovers are running through one's mind? And how can a man objectively discern whether a girlfriend is compatible for marriage if he has already made an intense emotional & sexual bond to her?
I was an inner-city missionary for 9 years, and I've worked with kids from broken homes, some of whom were the offspring of dead-beat dads who had viewed their girlfriends as sex-objects. Sometimes uncommitted men who treat their girlfriends as sex objects leave and become dead-beat dads when an illegitimate child is born-- right when the mother most needs the support of the father. I understand that not every man who co-habitats views his girlfriend just as a sex object, but I still do not think that any cohabitation is God's plan.
If I return to teach science or health in another Christian school, I hope to teach my students a plan something like this:
1st: Make peace with God.
2nd: Finish vocational school or your four-year degree.
3rd: Date a responsible, loving, mature individual who shares your faith.
4th: Get pre-marital counseling.
5th: Get married.
6th: then enjoy sex.
I think if everyone followed a plan similar to this, we'd have a lot less STDs, teen pregnancies, abortion, dead-beat dads, divorce, and troubled children.
Like most people, I prefer to be happy in life. However, as a Christian, I don't think marriage's purpose is solely to satisfy my selfish desire to be happy. I think marital commitment teaches us to love unconditionally and to sacrifice for another person.
(Note that I'm neither a Fundamentalist nor a Republican. I just try to follow Jesus, and I think His plan for marriage is best.)

Adam Smith • 9 years ago

That's only partially true. Marriage obligations encompass also obligations to children who may result from the relationship. Did you seriously fail to consider them too?

Brim Stone • 9 years ago

Obligations to children are regardless of marriage and are there whether there is a marriage or not and whether a marriage endures or not.

Son ofab • 9 years ago

The only problem here is that you started your message off presuming you know the lack of seriousness of one of them. (some would claim straw man, I'm sure your intentions were better however)
The steps required for marriage have change from "oh let's get married first" to something more complex.
You don't simply "oh let's live together."
You have to first know each other. Have feelings that transcend living apart from each other. You both have to agree that you desire to live together for a specific purpose. After all, you are both cognitive humans who make choices that you feel positively affect your life outcome.
I haven't even got to the move in part and I feel I've said a lot...but left out much more.
Truly caring about someone indeed.
I'm sure you have reasons for why you feel it's better to live apart and get married and then finally to move in.

If you truly care, and truly wish for marriage. Then you will consider yourselves married prior to marriage. For what is a piece of paper. A contract? Who needs binding words on paper? Is that really what holds Your marriage together? A piece of paper? Your religion? Your god?

Marriage is between you and your other. Your contract is with them through them, in thought, presence and action. Marriage on paper is a legal contract that only some care about.


Adam Smith • 9 years ago

If one is truly committed then why not get married? If there is no difference then why would someone whine and make excuses? Promises without consequences aren't really promises. They're just hot air.

badmoodpixie • 9 years ago

If one is truly committed, then why is marriage even necessary? You don't have to sign a government form to solidify a commitment.

Adam Smith • 9 years ago

Apparently its important enough for many people that they were willing to fight decades for just this right. Why else would people fight for equal marriage recognition laws?

Son ofab • 9 years ago

Hearsay is correct.
I don't think marriage means what you think it means. Not anymore anyway. It's been turned into something...else. Something political. Something to be data mined. Something to be taxed.
But some can dream. Marriage is the answer to their accidental pregnancy. Marriage is the answer to keeping them together while he's away to war. It's the answer to the fighting, the yelling, the adultery...etc..

Marriage means something alright. It's just not what most want to believe.

hearsay • 9 years ago

I believe people are fighting for marriage recognition laws because they'd like to see more equality. Whither we need marriage to be subsidized by government in the first place is a separate issue; and one that many don't consider. Also granting tax benefits to a minority of the population is politically much easier than removing tax benefits from a majority.

Meadowlark • 9 years ago

Your comments seem to indicate that you think one person in every cohabiting couple really wants to be married, and the other one is denying them marriage and commitment. In reality, for most cohabiting couples that I know (including myself and my partner), the choice to live together before marriage is mutual.

In fact, I feel more valued in my relationship because I know my partner is choosing to be with me even though he has seen my flaws and strange habits and my off-key singing in the shower. The fact that we are together is an active choice-- which to me feels very meaningful. On the other hand, if we had simply made a lifelong commitment before we truly knew each other, well, that would feel a little hollow to me. It would mean that our union had more to do with a sense of contractual duty and obligation.

Craig Rheinheimer • 9 years ago

Time to do away with marriage.

Let's replace it with cohabitation contracts. Start with a 6 month contract. At the end of 6 months, you have an option to extend, revise, or dissolve the contract. No messy divorces, just treat it like a business arrangement. You don't like it, let the contract expire and find a new vendor..

Topics like this bring out the romantic in me. ;-)

Tim Foster • 9 years ago

I think a security deposit is in order in case some one leaves early and still has their share of the bills to pay.

Have_a_Heart • 9 years ago

That'll be great for the kids...

wwjbrickd • 9 years ago

Studies show staying together for the kids isn't the best plan. http://greatergood.berkeley...

Brim Stone • 9 years ago

Yes, it would.

Delta York • 9 years ago

At least it's traditional.

"It was an ancient custom in the Isles that a man take a maid as his wife and keep her for the space of a year without marrying her; and if she pleased him all the while, he married her at the end of the year and legitimatised her children; but if he did not love her, he returned her to her parents."

Suzanne Lambert • 9 years ago

Except we've moved on from thinking of the children as solely "hers."

Daryl's Poncho • 9 years ago

Definitely the free market version of marriage, which is very American!

Christopher Stuart • 9 years ago

I believe Geraldo on Fox News talked about this but the liberals reflexively were up in arms at what he said (well, anything Fox says generally elicits this response). It's a great idea for men, he noted, but the problem is the woman barters away her precious commodity - youth, which is a precious commodity for child rearing.

What man wants to sign a contract with a 50 year old woman with 3 kids? 6 months or otherwise?

Sorry, representing women on this, you are going to have to put more on the table, Craig. Perhaps a $100,000 bond escrowed, while we are in negotiations, that is. My client will not agree to this.

Adam Faris • 9 years ago

Why shouldn't couples be able to choose a longer agreement if they want, including indefinitely until one person wants out?

Adding other options may be a good thing, but banning one many people really like makes no sense (legally or socially).

Forlorn_Hope • 9 years ago

On the contrary, when couples marry after cohabitation they don't take the change as seriously. When a couple marries then moves it is a drastic life change: they have the same home, things, address, phone number, eat almost every meal together, settle finances together, etc. The change is profound and symbolic. They understand that they accept the lesser qualities of their spouse, while cohabiting couples can leave if it wasn't exactly what they signed up for.

The attitude of couples that marry and then move if is commitment.
Cohabiting couples are looking to confirm hope or erase doubt.

Megan Kilbourn • 9 years ago

"when couples marry after cohabitation they don't take the change as seriously." This is absolutely not true for everybody. After two years of cohabitation we were MORE conscious of the level of commitment, not less. My husband and I were fully aware that we were making a big change and took our vows very seriously. We realized that there is a big difference between living together for a few years and planning to spend the rest of your life together.

Suzanne Lambert • 9 years ago

I have heard the same from a few friends -- but not most. Most just finally get married because of family pressure or financial issues (wanting to put both people on one health insurance policy, etc.). It's much more common to hear that "marriage is just a piece of paper/just a legal contract/made no difference" than it is to hear that it make a change.

Forlorn_Hope • 9 years ago

Cherry picking your personal experience doesn't make you correct.

Meadowlark • 9 years ago

Broadly generalizing about people's personal lives and decisions doesn't make you correct.

Forlorn_Hope • 9 years ago

Makes me correct more often than it doesn't. Also, if you've read any of my posts you would have seen that I said over and over that cohabitation does work for some.

Brim Stone • 9 years ago

"...while cohabiting couples can leave if it wasn't exactly what they signed up for."

And it never is.

Suzanne Lambert • 9 years ago

Precisely -- profound and symbolic.

WhatDuz D'FoxSay • 9 years ago

It seems to be working, Eric. I think you can get through the infatuation stage to a more meaningful relationship that way. I also believe it is best not to have children during the cohabitation--primarily in fairness to the kids. I did it the old fashioned way, had a daughter with my first wife, and then we fell apart when we really got to know each other. Got it right the second time around, and even my daughter likes her step mom better. We didn't cohabit, though. We just worked together (not in the same office) for five years. That's another way to get to know someone well.

Suzanne Lambert • 9 years ago

Not just "another way" -- a better way. It used to be called "dating." The real problem is that people today jump into bed/living together/marriage after just a few months, rather than spending the time it takes to get to know each other.

Previous generations -- before the Boomers -- tended to date and marry people they'd known most of their lives, people they'd grown up with, people who were friends first. We've lost that with the emphasis on "romance" and sexual attraction.

badmoodpixie • 9 years ago

Previous generations also had higher instances of abuse within marriage, as women tended to be dependent upon their husbands and unable to leave even dire circumstances without great difficulty. It wasn't all rosy way back when...