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While the terms ‘Cohabitation’ or ‘Living together’ could refer to any circumstance in which any number of people reside in the same home, they have traditionally been used to refer to a situation in which an unmarried couple who are sexual partners share the same dwelling. The point of this terminology was not just to describe the factual situation but to contrast it with that of regular marriage which was thereby presumed to be the proper situation for those in an ongoing sexual relationship. Cohabiting couples are sometimes said to be in a ‘common law partnership’ and in some legal codes this is deemed to be a form of marriage conferring legal rights on the parties. Traditionally the moral case against cohabitation was that it lacked the commitments to exclusive fidelity required by formally recognised institutional marriage, was without legal responsibilities, and rendered any children illegitimate thereby stigmatising them and denying them certain protections conferred under law. Indicative of the historic negative connotation of the term is the fact that as more people chose to live together unmarried so use of the term to describe that situation has declined.

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    The Opinion Pages Cohabitation Is a Shaky Foundation W. Bradford Wilcox is director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia and the lead author of the report "Why Marriage Matters: 30 Conclusions from the Social Sciences." August 30, 2011 Judging by the relationship status of the current occupants of Gracie Mansion in New York City and the Governor’s Mansion in New York, cohabitation is enjoying unprecedented acceptance among American adults. Indeed, the number of cohabiting couples in the United States has grown 14-fold since 1970. Millions of adults seem to enjoy the freedom and flexibility that cohabitation affords them. Cohabitation is harmful because it does not institutionalize commitment in a way that is easily understood and honored by romantic partners and their friends and family. But cohabitation looks a lot less appealing from the vantage point of children who find themselves in a household headed by cohabiting parents. Children in cohabiting families are about twice as likely to drop out of high school, use drugs, or end up depressed, compared with children in intact, married families. They are also at least three times more likely to be physically, sexually or emotionally abused, according to a recent federal report. Yet today, more than 40 percent of American children will spend some time in a cohabiting household — either by birth or because one of their parents moved in with a new partner — more than will see their parents divorce. These trends led a group of 18 family scholars, led by me, to conclude that “the rise of cohabiting households with children is the largest unrecognized threat to the quality and stability of children’s family lives,” outpacing even divorce as a risk to the well-being of today’s children. Why is cohabitation so risky to children? Compared with marriage, cohabitation furnishes less commitment, stability, sexual fidelity, and safety to romantic partners and their children. Consequently, cohabiting couples are more than twice as likely to break up and four times more likely to be unfaithful to one another, compared with married couples. All this has obvious implications for children in these homes. W. Bradford Wilcox on why marriage matters. But is cohabitation really the problem, or some deeper factor — like poverty or relationship troubles that predated the cohabitation? The truth is that these other factors account for some of cohabitation’s negative impact but the best studies suggest that cohabitation also has an independent negative effect, precisely because it does not institutionalize commitment in a way that is easily understood and honored by romantic partners and their friends and family. Anyone who disagrees should answer this question: When was the last time you saw a cohabiting couple enter their relationship by vowing, in front of their closest friends and family, to love and cherish one another, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, till death do they part? Join Opinion on Facebook and follow updates on twitter.com/roomfordebate. Topics: children, divorce, family, marriage Previous Cohabitation Doesn't Cause Bad Parenting Stephanie Coontz Next It All Depends on Marriage Ralph Richard Banks Should Parents Marry for the Kids? Maybe marriage contributes to a stable environment. Or maybe it's just that couples in stable environments tend to get married. Read More » Debaters Cohabitation Doesn’t Cause Bad Parenting Stephanie Coontz, Council on Contemporary Families A Shaky Foundation for Families W. Bradford Wilcox, National Marriage Project It All Depends on Marriage Ralph Richard Banks, author, "Is Marriage for White People?" Cohabitation Is a Symptom, Not a Cause Sharon Sassler, Cornell University Humans Haven’t Changed. Society Has. Amy L. Wax, University of Pennsylvania Law School Children Are Resilient Philip A. Cowan and Carolyn Pape Cowan, University of California, Berkeley Related Discussions Recent Discussions When Do Consumer Boycotts Work? New Terms for Nafta? Media in the Age of Trump From Their Pens to Donald Trump's Ear Western States, Federal Land

  • The Future of Christian Marriage

    Marriage has come a long way since biblical times. Women are no longer property, and practices like polygamy have long been rejected. The world is wealthier, healthier, and more able to find and form relationships than ever. So why are Christian congregations doing more burying than marrying today? Explanations for the recession in marriage range from the mathematical--more women in church than men--to the economic, and from the availability of sex to progressive politics. But perhaps marriage hasn't really changed at all. Instead, there is simply less interest in marriage in an era marked by technology, gender equality, and secularization. Mark Regnerus explores how today's Christians find a mate within a faith that esteems marriage but in a world that increasingly yawns at it. This book draws on in-depth interviews with nearly two hundred young-adult Christians from the United States, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Russia, Lebanon, and Nigeria, in order to understand the state of matrimony in global Christian circles today. Regnerus finds that marriage has become less of a foundation for a couple to build upon and more of a capstone. Meeting increasingly high expectations of marriage is difficult, though, in a free market whose logic reaches deep into the home today. The result is endemic uncertainty, slowing relationship maturation, and stalling marriage. But plenty of Christians innovate, resist, and wed, and this book argues that the future of marriage will be a religious one.

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    Is it ok that so many couples live together before marriage? Watch and learn about cohabitation. Download the OPWest App: https://www.opwest.org/app/

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    We-Before-Me: The Best Marriages

    Recorded: Nov. 9, 2019. Princeton University. We-Before-Me: How husbands & wives who put family first have the happiest marriages, the best sex, & the lowest divorce rates Who are the happiest and most sexually satisfied wives in America today? W. Bradford Wilcox, the Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, will answer these questions by discussing the role that religious faith, father involvement, and feminism play in fostering higher-quality marriages among women today in the United States. His research is regularly featured in the New York Times, The Atlantic, National Review Online, and other outlets. Wilcox is also a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Family Studies and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He invites you to follow him on Twitter @WilcoxNMP. W. Bradford Wilcox (Princeton University, Ph.D.) is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Professor Wilcox’s research has focused on marriage, fatherhood, and cohabitation, especially on the ways that family structure, civil society, and culture influence the quality and stability of family life in the United States and around the globe. His research has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Slate, National Review Online, NPR, NBC’s The Today Show, and many other media outlets. Wilcox consults regularly with companies such as Nestle, Procter & Gamble, and Kimberly-Clark on fertility and marriage trends in the United States. As an undergraduate, Wilcox was a Jefferson Scholar at the University of Virginia (’92) and later earned his Ph.D. from Princeton University. Prior to coming to the University of Virginia, he held research fellowships at Princeton University, Yale University, and the Brookings Institute.

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    America’s Marriage Divide: Cohabitation

    America’s Marriage Divide: Why Marriage is Flourishing among the Upper Middle Class and Floundering among Everybody Else Tuesday, April 9, 2019 Colorado Christian University When it comes to family life, men, women, and children in educated and affluent communities are thriving: they enjoy strong and stable families, low rates of divorce and nonmarital childbearing, and comparatively high rates of marital quality. By contrast, working-class and poor families are floundering: divorce is high, single parenthood is common, and marital quality is comparatively low. This talk by U.Va. Professor Bradford Wilcox explains why there is a marriage divide in America, and why it matters that so many children, men, and women in poor and working-class communities don’t have access to “The Marital Privilege.” Dr. Wilcox is Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia and a member of the James Madison Society at Princeton University. As an undergraduate, he was a Jefferson Scholar at U.Va. His research focuses on marriage, and on the ways that gender, religion, class, and children influence the quality and stability of American family life. He has published articles on marriage, cohabitation, fatherhood, and religion and family life in The American Sociological Review, Social Forces, The Journal of Marriage and Family, and The Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion. His research has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, Time, CNN, NBC’s The Today Show, and numerous NPR stations.

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    Is Living Together Before Marriage Ever Okay?

    Jason Evert talks loving the Eucharist, confession, the sacraments, and prayer. He also answers the question: Is it ever okay to cohabitate before marriage? This interview was recorded via Facebook LIVE at the #SEEK2019 Fellowship of Catholic University Students' (conference) conference.' To learn more about Jason Evert's mission, visit chastityproject.com.

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    How Far is Too Far Before Marriage?

    When it comes to relationships before marriage, if you’re asking the question “How far is too far?”, you're asking the wrong question. Try taking a different approach to the matter by asking, “How can I help this person get to heaven?” Jackie explains that the person you are dating may be someone else’s future spouse, or may become a priest or nun, and they’re definitely someone’s son or daughter. Selflessness is essential to wholesome relationships, and that includes relationships before marriage. We don’t want to lead someone into sin; we want to lead them to heaven. Jackie also gives some practical guidelines to help us differentiate between affection and arousal, saying that if you wouldn’t do it in front of your grandma or the pope, just don’t do it at all. MORE FROM ASCENSION: Ascension’s main website: http://ascensionpress.com Ascension Media: https://media.ascensionpress.com Ascension Presents: https://blog.ascensionpress.com/category/ascension-presents/ Ascension Blog: https://blog.ascensionpress.com/category/ascension-blog/ Ascension Podcasts: https://blog.ascensionpress.com/category/ascension-podcasts/ SOCIAL MEDIA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AscensionPress/ Twitter: http://twitter.com/AscensionPress LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ascension-press Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/ascensionpress/ Subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/c/ascensionpresents