Common for couples to live together before marriage

June 12, 2012 1:57:10 PM PDT
June is the month for weddings, but nearly two thirds of couples who get to the altar spent time living together first.

What once was considered living in sin is now common and accepted in most communities.

"Perhaps our culture has become much more accepting of this, some of the religious taboos are falling away, and I think partly because people understand that relationships are difficult. They're dipping their toes into the water by cohabitating, rather than jumping into the deep end and getting married."

The CDC reports the percentage of women under 45 who are living with a boyfriend has quadrupled over the last generation. The reasons are as different as the couples. But with half of all marriages ending in divorce, some studies suggest that couples who live together first are less likely to split up. Psychologists say that's because people don't learn enough about sharing and compromise, before they wind up in a relationship.

"We don't teach much about communication. We don't teach much about commitment and we don't teach much about acceptance. We get married hoping our partner will change to delight us. We're probably better off if we can negotiate how we can accept one another lastingly, stay committed and communicate consistently about what's going on in our relationship, rather than losing sight of it or being distracted by so many other things in our culture."

Some experts suggest candid, honest marriage counseling with a couple's counselor before the wedding might help newlyweds avoid some of the common pitfalls that often end in divorce

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