As more and more American couples choose to share the bills and a bed without a marriage license, a major question looms. In playing house and stocking up on premarital Ikea furniture are we all heightening our risk for divorce?
A new study from the nonpartisan Council on Contemporary Families says no. Moving in before marriage doesn’t automatically make you a divorce statistic. Choosing a partner too early, however, just might.
The study, which will appear in the in the April issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, could redefine how researchers look at cohabitation, but the science shouldn’t change the way couples think about living together. Experts warn it’s hardly something to be taken lightly.
Arielle Kuperberg was a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania when something in her sociology textbooks caught her eye. In research on marriage longevity, Kuperberg observed that the age a couple said “I do” was among the strongest predictors of divorce.
All of the literature explained that the reason people who married younger were more likely to divorce was because they were not mature enough to pick appropriate partners, she says.
That’s when a lightbulb went off for Kuperberg. If younger married couples were more likely to divorce, did that mean that couples who moved in together at earlier ages were also at increased risk for broken marriages?