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Debate: Living together before marriage

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Should couples live together before deciding to get married?

Background and context

For centuries, the question of whether it is appropriate to live with a significant other before getting married has been a prominent one. It has become increasingly relevant recently as more couples find it important to "test" how they will do living with one another, and feel fewer of the social and religious constraints that used to surround doing so.

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Arguments:

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Pro

  • Living together before marriage ensures day-to-day compatibility. Marriage involves living with a person constantly. It is important, therefore, to test out how this will work with a partner before making the decision to get married.
  • There is nothing immoral about premarital sex. Our perception of morality is derived from our cultural and social values, thus if young people voluntarily have sex before marriage, it is their free decision in accordance with their values.
  • Trial period is important. It is better to live together for some time and break up if the relationship does not work, rather than get a divorce and - possibly - frustrate children or other family members.
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Con

  • Living together before marriage is immoral. Living together before marriage goes against many moral traditions that prohibit pre-marital sex. Living together generally involves sexual relations. This, therefore, can run contrary to the moral traditions of certain individuals, families, cultures, religions, etc.
  • Living together before marriage tempts immoral premarital sex. "Seven Reasons Why Living Together Before Marriage is not a Good Idea" My Lord and My Blog: "For centuries, the question of whether it is appropriate to live with a significant other before getting married has been a prominent one. It has become increasingly relevant recently as more couples find it important to "test" how they will do living with one another, and feel fewer of the social and religious constraints that used to surround doing so."
  • Living together cause many couples to not get married. "Those who live together before marriage are least likely to marry each other. Forty percent of couples who live together will end their relationships before marriage."[1]
  • Cohabitation before marriage results in higher divorce rates. "2 Those who live together before marriage have higher separation and divorce rates. The Journal of Marriage and Family reported marriages that are preceded by living together have 50 percent higher disruption rates than marriage without premarital cohabitation.[2] The Universities of Chicago and Michigan reported that those who cohabit before marriage have substantially higher divorce rates than those who do not; the recorded differentials range from 50 to 100 percent.[3] Researchers from Yale University, Columbia University and the Institute for Resource Development at Westinghouse revealed the divorce rates of women who cohabit are nearly 80 percent higher than the rates of those who do not.[4] The University of Wisconsin at Madison researchers report that cohabitors perceived greater likelihood of divorce than couples who did not cohabit before marriage and the longer couples live together outside of marriage, the higher likelihood of divorce.[5]"[2]
  • It is unneeded for an emotionally healthy couple. If a couple is truly compatible enough to get married then they should be mature enough to live together regardless because of their love for each other. We live in a day and age that we know so much about other people and such that emotionally healthy couples should not need to live together to be together. For thousands of years, couples could easily marry before living together because they were both committed to the relationship for one reason or another. Living together before marriage promotes a lack of discipline in commitment. If they could easily go from living apart to living together without much ramifications or change in daily life it wouldn't matter in their minds after getting married (announcing commitment) if they started disliking the other person and simple moved out destroyed their emotional health (in most cases) and hurting families as well as the couples.

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