Since the 1970’s cohabitation has steadily increased, the cohabiting rate has increased to approximately 5 million people (U.S. Census 2001). According to Murrow and Shi (2010), over the years cohabitation has become part of the social norm. Some people in society defy this notion for moral and religious beliefs. In response to the increasing rate, cohabitation has become part of the social norm. Researchers have examined the effects cohabitation has on relationships and the side effect's couples may have who do cohabitate, eventually committing to marriage. According to a study on these links Brown, Sanchex, Nock, and Wright (2006), found couples who do cohabite in order to test the stability of his or her relationship before committing to marriage experienced an unstable marriage and in the end divorced compared to couples who did not cohabite before marriage.
The following paper will look at twenty three studies and analyses of pre-martial cohabitation and the effects it has on the martial quality and stability of the relationship. The research will illustrate nuptial instability and a decrease in marital quality due to the effects cohabitation has on the couples. In addition, the research presented will show selection factors and characterizes of the individuals who chose to cohabitation, which causes a decline in marital instability and quality. Furthermore, identify limitations on both sides of the issue. Also, examine cohabitation, martial quality, and stability through the lens of Family Systems Theory to better understand the issue. It will concluding with identifying which side of the issue is greatly supported by the evidence and why it is best supported. As a result from this paper the reader will gain knowledge on cohabitation and identify the profits and shortcomings portrayed to relationships who do cohabitate before marriage.
Cohabitation is not clearly defined by all researchers who have conducted studies on this type of relationship. However, it was defined by Teachman and Polonko (1990), as an individual who lives with his or her partner for more than one month before marriage. Furthermore, cohabitation is not just explained by the definition a researcher provides it is also defined by the couples who chose to cohabite and what the purpose of cohabiting is for them. Some view cohabitation as a step to test the relationship should and determine if they should proceed to marriage (Rhoades, Stanley, & Markman, 2012, p. 348). On the other hand, other couples view cohabitation as a long-term relationship or an alternative to marriage (Murrow & Shi, 2010).
The first set of literature examined will be selection factors and the effect it has on cohabiting relationships. This is supported by Woods and Emery (2002) who explained that cohabitation itself does not relate to divorce. But the social factors, attitudes, and beliefs of individuals who chose to cohabitate decreases the intentions of marriage and the intentions to remarry...