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Making the decision to live with a significant other can be a big commitment. There are many benefits to living with someone you love but there are also some negatives to making that decision as well. While some may argue premarital cohabitation leads to marital dissolution, I believe great aspects of living together before marriage are figuring out if that person is right for the other, sharing costs rather than carrying the load individually, and it is more widely acceptable to live together before marriage. To start, premarital cohabitation is a great way to get to know the person one may think about starting a life with in ways one wouldn’t be able to know if they lived separately. Wendy Manning found “nearly 70% of high school seniors reported that living together before marriage is a good way to test compatibility, and cohabitation rates have been increasing steadily over the last 30 years” (Journal of Marriage and Family). If such a large majority of high school seniors are agreeing that living together to determine how they work with their significant other, this must be a major benefit to premarital cohabitation. Alongside living with someone else for the benefit of unifying, there’s the perk of sharing costs. To elaborate, sharing costs of living is extremely beneficial in the sense of discussing things that could be potentially uncomfortable to talk about. Dividing the costs amongst two people can also eliminate problems of one feeling like they are the backbone of the relationship. Sophia Bera, founder of Gen Y Planning, a financial advisory firm, says that having regular talks about money can help if there are differing opinions on how it should be spent (Maddox). Maintaining a calm and effective conversation regularly about the way money is spent can strengthen the relationship and show that the two can work through potentially touchy subjects. To continue, living together (especially as time goes on) is more common and less frowned upon. America was seemingly shaped around a puritanical society, basically meaning doing anything marriage-like before marriage was a big no-no.
With the idea of that being passed down and shaped differently from generation to generation, that idea is still a bit present but significantly less. Of course, when most people think of couples living together before marriage, their brain automatically goes to premarital intercourse. For those with a negative outlook on this idea, there’s just even more proof that it’s being passed down from a puritanical viewpoint. “All non-marital, and non-reproductive sexual activities were forbidden (referring to puritanical beliefs)” (Wade). Considering that the people who began to shape America were puritans, it is almost guaranteed for their beliefs to follow throughout time. However, some may argue that living together before marriage can lead to divorce. It has been shown that many factors are related to marriage dissolution, including women’s increasing financial independence as their role in the labour market grows and the gender inequalities in wages gradually diminish…changes in gender roles…factors relating to parental home, including separation…personal characteristics, such as educational qualifications…religious attitudes…the duration of the union…the partners’ age at union formation…the age gap between partners…the number of previous unions…and the place of residence and migration histories. (Boyle). While men are used to being the breadwinners of the household, change of the norm could throw them off and cause them to lash out at their significant other, leading to marriage dissolution. This is true; however, with enough maturity and commitment they should have what it takes to adapt to the shift in society with women coming out on top or on the same level as men. As this shift in gender roles continues to grow, gender equality will become something that doesn’t affect relationships in a negative way. All in all, premarital cohabitation is better than waiting until marriage because one can figure out if they are compatible with one another, money is distributed evenly, and it is becoming more respectable; but, some may dispute that living together before marriage leads to divorce. Determining whether an individual is compatible with someone else is easiest when one is living with that person and sharing most experiences with one another. With high school seniors in agreement, it is safe to say that younger generations are coming into the world with an open mind and changing beliefs. Couples become even closer and have stronger relationships when it comes to sharing money in the form of bills, gas, groceries, etc. As mentioned previously, changing beliefs as Americans evolve are making premarital cohabitation become much more common and widely accepted. Although some people think living together can lead to divorce, with changing judgements, people are much more forgiving of developing gender roles. As long as people continue to evolve in the way of being more accepting and understanding, premarital cohabitation will become even more effective.
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