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Cohabitation vs. Marriage Essay (Critical Writing)

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Updated: Sep 4th, 2018


Cohabitation comprises of coexisting couples in a sexual liaison without the legal acknowledgement. Marriage is formally composed of a husband and wife who legally, traditionally or religiously vow to commit themselves to each other. Family formations have modified where many people prefer to cohabit as an alternative to having a marriage commitment. Some views cohabiting as a way to acquire freedom, some chose it over marriage due to personal reasons while others just finds themselves in it.

In most cases, a decision to cohabitate is determined by financial status of the partners. Those with low income prefers it since they take it as being inexpensive to maintain and incase one needs a break up, there are legal procedures involved but just ends the relationship. Proponents of cohabitation emphasize that cohabiters should be allowed to enjoy rights and legal protection similar to those of marriage since the difference is minimal.

They claim that marriage is procedural, restrictive and expensive when starting and ending it. However, these attitudes completely destroy marriage institution which is meant to be sacred. Marriage is more preferable since couples are more contented, healthier, have legal protection and enjoy social approval as opposed to cohabiting which deinstitutionalizes the traditional family setup.

Marriage is legally recognized and provides a sense of security and social stability within the family. It is not only crucial to the couple but also to the whole society since it is the foundation by which a society is based. Various nations encourage marriage by offering particular rights and inflicting repercussions for those compromising the institution. Marriage persuades emotional investment and thus more secure than cohabitation.

Cohabiting is sometimes taken to be a prerequisite to marriage although such a relationship ultimately breaks up. Others prefer cohabiting due to its fragility where they are natured and this makes the partners enjoy short-lived emotional and material benefits. Nevertheless, Failure to abide to each other requirements mostly leads to a sudden end since the couples have nothing to lose especially when children are out of question.

Many people prefer cohabitation since there is a likelihood of having multiple partners under such conditions unlike in marriage where there are strict rules to be followed and one is answerable if he or she fails to abide. On the other hand, as compared to marriage, cohabiting couples have a less likelihood of neither attaining marital satisfaction nor amassing wealth since they feel that they bear no responsibility of securing each other’s future by wise spending, investing and career maintenance.

Living together appears to many people as better than having to commit to one another and then eventually break up. In cohabitation, couples are able to enjoy from the advantages that come with marriage such as dividing expenses among themselves, sexual intimacy and at the same time learn whether the partner is suitable for a lifetime commitment.

If they are not comfortable with each other, they can easily part ways without having to claim a legal approval. However, cohabiting disregards the marriage institution which is detrimental in maintaining the family cohesiveness.

It has been noted that cohabiting before couples settle in marriage not only alleviates the probability of divorce but also, it is attributed to domestic violence, sexual assault, psychological problems and even child abuse. Although it appears so attractive to the youths, there is a tendency that serial cohabitation is possible where one will keep on searching for the right partner, which increases promiscuity and sexual infidelity.

Cohabitation is comparable to marriage in that it establishes physical and psychological attachment although it is not legally, traditionally or religiously approved. Many people prefer not to bear children but just live together for purposes of intimacy while determining the appropriate partner. All the same, cohabitation is not socially approved in some regions and doing so is considered a violation of values or norms.

These relationships are temporary and this is risky for the children who will experience their parents’ break ups. This forms a habit which is not only destructive to an individual but also, socially unacceptable and should be avoided when children are concerned. This is because children’ needs have to be met, their financial future has to be secured and they have to be guided through example on how to fit socially and become a responsible person in the society.

In marriage, this is made available where both parents take up their parental roles in upbringing their child. Incase a child is disrupted by serial cohabitation, there is insecurity where a foster parent may subject the child to physical, sexual and psychological abuse which is risky during his or her cognitive, behavioral and even physical development.

In conclusion, contemporary cohabiting reflects individualism, which compromises marriage values in which the society is built upon. This is attained while in pursuit to satisfy personal goals at the expense of social values. Happiness should not be sought in cohabiting but efforts should be invested to revitalize marriages.

This may be achieved through restraining unilateral divorce by state or by imposing penalties on the partner who violates the rules. It is therefore essential if youths are educated and counseled on the benefits that marriage puts at their disposal as they are guided on the right marriage partner and are informed of the benefits of having a permanent marital dedication.

Therefore, marriage is more preferable than cohabitation since cohabitation inadequately supplies the rewards that are completely enjoyed through marriage. Marriage environment encourages procreation which basis a society and therefore should be awarded the right value as a social dogma. Although its popularity is on the rise, cohabitation is not the appropriate basis to family life where children are supposed to grow up to become socially responsible adults.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Cohabitation vs. Marriage." September 4, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/cohabitation-vs-marriage/.


IvyPanda. (2018) 'Cohabitation vs. Marriage'. 4 September.

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