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Cohabiting Before Marriage: Reasons and Benefits Research Paper

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Updated: May 15th, 2020


The concept of cohabitation is traditionally looked down at by the representatives of the contemporary society, which is quite weird given the fact that the phenomenon of diversity and plurality of opinions have been promoted actively as the foundation for judgment. Although cohabitation is traditionally viewed as an intrinsically negative phenomenon, it, in fact, serves as the tool of making relationships stronger and, thus, needs to be promoted as a necessary step to make before the marriage.

Cohabitation: Cultural Roadblocks

The reasons for the lack of tolerance toward cohabitation to exist may vary; as a rule, people refuse to accept the significance of the experience received in the course of cohabitation for religious reasons. Indeed, most religions indemnify the very idea of cohabitation as the sinful and undignified one. For instance, the given point of view is supported substantially by every denomination of the Christian religion, including the Orthodox, the Catholic, the Protestant, and the Baptist ones. Similarly, the very idea of cohabitation is rejected immediately by the Muslim religion. Buddhists also view the concept of cohabitation as inadmissible and reprehensible, although not immediately punishable, behavior (Vincett, Aune, and Sharma 175).

Reasonability of Cohabitation

Despite the traditional perspective on the phenomenon of cohabitation, researches show that it has its benefits (Heard and Arunachalam 79). In fact, most of the advantages of cohabitation are supported by impressive rationales and common sense (Fine-Davis 41). First and most obvious, the identification and evaluation of the challenges of married life become evident to the people involved. As a result, one is capable of making a conscious choice between the married life and the one of a single man.

The financial issues serve as another crucial reason for people not to become married immediately. Given the current financial situation in the global economy realm and the recent prognoses, the idea of making life-changing decisions does not seem sensible for the people, who lack financial support and may face a serious crisis once bound together.

Much like with the supporters of marriage, though, personal beliefs also play a crucial role in the choice made by the couple (Fine-Davis 209). According to a recent survey, a range of people claim that they do not believe in marriage as the tool for binding people together. Instead, they view cohabitation as the only legitimate obligation that may serve as the foundation for marriage.


When comparing the two perspectives on living together, one must admit that the arguments of the people opposing the idea of cohabitation are mostly one-note and are typically restricted to their concept of morality, virtue, and traditions. Indeed, aside from the concept of purity, the phenomenon of cohabitation is not interpreted by the people arguing against it in any specific manner.

The supporters of the given idea, in their turn, view the phenomenon from a variety of perspectives, starting from the sociocultural one to the financial and economic viewpoints. As a result, the arguments of the latter party are not as stiff and rigid as those of their opponents. The fact that the concept of cohabitation is not supported by any of the common religions also invalidates the phenomenon to a range of people. Changes do not occur fast in the designated area (Stavrova 81); therefore, it is expected that the adepts of the above denominations will require a substantial amount of time to reconsider their idea of cohabitation as a sinful and wrongful decision to make.

To put it differently, the views of the supporters and opponents of the phenomenon of cohabitation are barely possible to compare as they are powered by entirely different ideas. While the people supporting the concept of cohabitation attempt at exploring the phenomenon of cooperation of a couple and identifying new tools for improving the relationship between the people involved, their opponents cling to the traditions that do not have any substantial validation outside of the concept of sin and wrongdoing.

It would be wrong to assume that traditions are a negative phenomenon that hampers progress. In many ways, traditions serve as the glue that holds the community together, creating the culture that people can relate to and be a part of (Muehlenbein 459). Tin this sense, traditions, in general, and the ideas related to marriage, in particular, should be viewed as positive. However, at some point, the traditional viewpoints and the innovative one clash in a conflict, the issue regarding the marital rituals being the case in point. Studies show that by choosing cohabitation prior to getting married people increase the chances for their marriage to last longer as they learn in the process how to make their relationships work. Even in the worst-case scenario, in which the couple fails to find common ground, separation is a better option than being joined in the holy matrimony with the person that one has never had anything in common to begin with. To put it differently, the phenomenon of cohabitation may be used as the tool for preventing people from making drastic mistakes that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

One must admit, though, that the concept of cohabitation does not necessarily mean that marriage should ensue. Quite on the contrary, researches show that a substantial number of people are quite happy living as cohabitants as opposed to being involved in matrimony (Berrington and Perelli-Harris 328). The specified phenomenon can be explained by the fact that the very concept of marriage represents the conventional link, which is not necessarily related to the idea of commitment.

Research results, however, can be viewed as a graphic proof of the fact that cohabitation is an essential part of any relationships’ development. Moreover, the subject matter is crucial to the people who are going to get married as it helps them prepare for the challenges that they are most likely to face after the wedding.

Indeed, due to the over-romanticizing of the concept of marriage, very few people realize that its practical aspects involve addressing a range of practical issues. As a result, marriage may fail due to the inability of the couple to handle the routine and accept the latter as an integral part of their lives.

In addition, the contemporary society has witnessed a significant shift in gender roles, which has found its way to the married life as well. Since the issue regarding the change in roles and the perception of a male and a female image still remains controversial to conservative denizens of the population (Heard and Dharmalingam 22), the couple may face the lack of understanding and support among their friends or family members. More importantly, the incompatibility of the spouse’s views of gender roles may finally lead to a discord between them as well. Herein the necessity to discuss the issues above prior to getting married lies.


Although cohabitation is often viewed as the tool for destructing the social concept of a family, it, in fact, cements the further relationships of a couple, making them more resilient to the influence of negative factors. Cohabiting, people find out more about each other and learn to respect their partner. Therefore, the society should not only stop looking down at cohabitation but also encourage it as the means of making families stronger.

Annotated Bibliography

Berrington, Ann, and Brienna Perelli-Harris. “Commitment and the Changing Sequence of Cohabitation, Childbearing, and Marriage: Insights from Qualitative Research in the UK.” Demographic Research 33.12 (2015): 327-362. Print.

Berrington and Perelli-Harris address the alterations in the patterns of marriage-related relationships. In light of the recent shift from clearly outlined male and female family roles, the article manages to capture the nature and the essence of the specified changes. The authors study both areas (i.e., marriage and cohabitation), making it clear that the line drawn between the gender roles is getting increasingly blurred. The study helped understand the communication process in a modern family. Published in 2015, the research can be viewed as relevant and trustworthy.

Fine-Davis, Margret. Gender Roles in Ireland: Three Decades of Attitude Change. New York, NY: Routledge, 2014. Print.

Fine-Davis explores the changes in gender roles that the contemporary world has suffered over the past decade. According to the research results, a significant shift in the definition of male and female roles in the family setting can be observed at present. The author attributes the observed phenomenon to the introduction of equity principles into the contemporary society. Published in 2014 and carried out by a scholar, the research is credible and relevant.

Heard, Genivieve, and Dharmalingam Arunachalam. Family Formation in 21st Century Australia. New York, NY: Springer, 2014. Print.

Although the research addresses primarily the issues that Australian families face in the contemporary society, the observations made by the authors can be viewed as applicable to the environment of other countries and cultures, including the European and the American ones. The study points to the fact that people belonging to different age groups and cultures have different concepts of marriage, yet these ideas my alter once people are exposed to other types of environment. The study was conducted in 2014 and can be viewed as academic and relevant.

Muehlenbein, Michael P. Basics in Human Evolution. San Antonio, TX: Academic Press, 2015. Print.

Although Muehlenbein focuses primarily on the phenomenon evolution in his study, he also addresses the marital traditions that have been developed in the course of human development. The study, therefore, reveals a range of essential concepts related to marriage and relationships. More importantly, the author provides the reasons based on the theory of evolution to substantiate his conclusions. The study was published in 2015 and, thus, can be considered relevant.

Stavrova, Olga. Fitting In and Getting Happy: How Conformity to Societal Norms Affects Subjective Well-being. New York, NY: Campus Verlag, 2014. Print.

The book addresses the issue of marriage and relationship, focusing on the societal prejudices and expectations toward a married couple. Particularly, Stavrova addresses the inconsistency between the descriptive and the injunctive norms, thus, pointing to the conflicts of opinions that emerge as a result of the collision of individual needs and the societal norms. The book can be deemed credible as it has been published recently and was written by an expert in the specified field.

Vincett, Giselle, Kristin Aune, and Sonya Sharma. Women and Religion in the West: Challenging Secularization. Burlington, VT: Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2013. Print.

The book sheds light on the way, in which the phenomenon of cohabitation is perceived in different religions, including Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity. According to the authors, religions are intolerant to the idea of cohabitation for the most part, although some variations of the Muslim faith allow it. The book helped view the concept of cohabitation from a religious perspective. Written in 2013 by scholars, the book can be considered credible.

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