Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Cohabitation VS Marriage

Cohabitation has become rampant in our society and is defined by dictionary.com in three different ways. 1) to live together as husband and wife, without legal or religious sanction. 2) to live together in an intimate relationship. 3) to dwell with another or share the same place, as different species of animals.

Marriage on the other hand, is sometimes seen as an unnecessary or outdated practice and is defined by dictionary.com in three different ways as well. 1) The social institution under which a man and a woman establish their decision to live as husband and wife by legal commitments, religious ceremonies, etc. 2) the legal or religious ceremony that formalizes the decision of two people to live as a married couple, including the accompanying social festivities. 3) a relationship in which two people have pledged themselves to each other in the manner of a husband and wife.

The book, "Marriage and Family: the Quest For Intimacy" 7th Ed. by Robert Lauer and Jeanette C. Lauer specifically discusses cohabitation in comparison to marriage (pg. 149). Some of their main points include:

  • Married couples report more sex and more satisfying sex
  • Married couples have a better-quality relationship than do cohabitating couples, particularly than do those cohabitating couples who do not plan on marrying
  • A woman in nine times more likely to be killed by her cohabitating partner than a husband
  • Married couples report greater happiness, less depression, higher levels of commitment to the relationship and better relationships with parents
From class discussions, course readings and my personal observation, the institution of marriage is crumbling. This can have a dramatic (negative) impact on society as a whole. Marriages create stability. Stability in individual's lives, in relationships, in communities and in society. While cohabitation does appear to make sense, it also appears that in the long run, it is less effective, less stable and less safe than marriage is. It is my view that marriage is divinely instituted and serves a necessary function. When people decide to get married, they are pledging and committing to themselves, to their spouse, to their family and friends and usually to God that they will stay faithful and committed to their marriage. It is this commitment that creates a stronger structure for the family unit. This is why marriage is SO important!

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