Not long ago, the belief was that couples who lived together before marriage were more likely to get divorced. Turns out, exactly the opposite is true, and living together before getting hitched could potentially make your relationship last longer.
Research published in the Population Research and Policy Review journal states that couples who live together for at least four years prior to tying the knot are 56 percent more likely to stay together for longer than 12 years. The study included people who were getting married for the first and second time.
Age also plays a part. While women who are 18 when they live with someone for the first time are 22 percent more likely to stay in a relationship for at least 12 years compared to women who do not live with someone before marrying, this probability increases to 52 percent for women in their mid-twenties and 68 percent for women in their 30s. The older you get the wiser you are? The more tolerant you are? The better you know what you want? Maybe. Turns out women who are getting married for a second time – presumably having a better idea of what kind of relationship and person will make them happy – and live with their spouse first are 148 percent more likely to stay in a long-term relationship.
Making Marriage Work
Ultimately, even though the previously held idea that living together before marrying is a relationship killer has been debunked, cohabitation in any form isn’t absolutely necessary for long-term success in a marriage. Living together may simply remove the pressure of wondering “where the relationship is going” because a major commitment has already been made.
Cohabiting may also help solidify a person’s desire to be married to the other person, giving them insight into their partner’s habits and lifestyle – which you can never truly know until you live under the same roof. While infidelity, addiction, and other major causes of divorce are common, simply living life differently than your spouse and realizing that you have much less in common than you thought can easily lead to the dissolution of a marriage.