See what one focus group revealed about living together.
“I do” feels complicated. What can you learn from a focus group of millennial women who live with their boyfriends? You can really find out about their relationships, their thoughts about marriage and how they think cohabitation differs from marriage.
Only one of the six women had ever married. Some had children with their current boyfriend. Others brought children into the relationship. They discussed the following questions, and more.
Most of the women agreed that living together and marriage were practically the same thing. They said it really boiled down to commitment to the relationship. And, they wondered why someone needs a piece of paper to prove their commitment to each other.
They also wondered if they could make a marriage work. For instance, only one of the women came from an intact family. She said everyone in her family had been successful at marriage so far except her.
Regarding the differences in cohabitation and marriage, they discussed missing benefits because they weren’t legally married, even though they thought of themselves as married. They also said people treated them differently when they discovered they were unmarried.
The National Center for Family and Marriage Research indicates that 41 percent of cohabitors express pessimism about marriage. More than half (64 percent) of Gen-Xers and millennials agree that living together before marriage may help prevent divorce.
Interestingly, only about 35 percent of individuals who married first believe that cohabitation may help prevent breakups.
If your boyfriend asked you to marry him, would you?
Surprisingly, all but one woman enthusiastically said yes, despite saying they believed there was really no difference in cohabitation and marriage.
While these women and many like them believe living together and marriage are basically the same, consider these statistics:
The overall rate of violence for cohabiting couples is twice as high as for married couples. Plus, the overall rate for “severe” violence is nearly five times as high, according to the Family Violence Research Program at the University of New Hampshire, the nation’s leading institution studying domestic violence.
Studies conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health found that women in cohabiting relationships had depression rates nearly five times higher than married women. Those rates second only to women who twice-divorced.
Children living in households with unrelated adults are nearly 50 times more likely to die of inflicted injuries as children living with two biological parents, according to a study of Missouri data published by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Most of the women in the focus group said they want to avoid the pain of divorce. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand that relationship dynamics without relationship structure increase that risk.
If you’re in a serious relationship and wonder if you should take your relationship to the next level, think carefully. Instead of moving in together, consider taking a class that will help you know if you have learned all of the different skills that can help your relationship last a lifetime.
What makes a marriage really work? Is there any way to guarantee that love can last forever? Here’s how you can get your marriage off to a great start.
It has been said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail.
Many people are in love with the idea of marriage. However, many couples fail to prepare for inevitable bumps in the road ahead. Some are just not ready to handle the tough times. Before you take a walk down the aisle, consider making some wise choices that will help ensure a successful marriage.
Get premarital education.
Education allows couples to identify potential areas of conflict and discuss them before saying “I do.” Experts say that some premarital inventories can predict with 80 percent accuracy which couples have the potential for divorce. These inventories can give couples an idea of what issues to work on, therefore avoiding the divorce pitfall. Premarital education can resolve some important issues before they get out of hand and make it easier to seek help down the road. Some of the most hotly debated issues among couples are finances, in-laws, sex, employment, expectations and children.
How you manage conflict is a strong predictor of marital success or failure. Danger signs include withdrawing or leaving during an argument, attacking the other person’s character instead of focusing on the problem, and escalation. When you listen to each other and talk as friends, you can learn a great deal about your partner and what is important to them. Resolving problems together is a win/win situation that encourages intimacy in the relationship.
Learn what your partner expects from marriage.
Knowing what you expect from each other can prepare you for the years ahead. Unrealistic and unmet expectations often lead to resentment. Knowing what to expect and how to meet each other’s needs can be the glue that holds your marriage together.
Be committed to the permanence of marriage.
Commitment, as well as love, is a choice. Couples who believe that divorce is not an option are less likely to take steps toward ending their relationship. In addition, older, more experienced couples can provide much wisdom and support through the years. Sometimes, mentor couples can give insight on handling difficulties constructively within the marital relationship. Marriage is not a 50/50 relationship, as we often hear. It requires 100 percent from both partners. If you want to make your marriage last, it must be a top priority for both of you.
https://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/foto-pettine-IfjHaIoAoqE-unsplash-e1584033598782.jpg4091280Julie Baumgardnerhttps://firstthings.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/ftf-logo-300x186.pngJulie Baumgardner2018-06-14 00:00:002022-04-28 09:28:40Getting Your Marriage Off to a Great Start