Is Living Together a Good Foundation for Marriage?

TWO people of the opposite sex living together without the benefit of marriage “has become a common phenomenon in industrialized societies across the world,” says the Journal of Marriage and Family. And “about half of cohabiting individuals view living together as a way to assess compatibility prior to marriage.” Seemingly, then, this arrangement “should eliminate poor matches and make subsequent marriages more stable,” notes the Journal.

“The evidence, however, suggests the opposite conclusion,” the Journal goes on to say. “Among married individuals, premarital cohabitation is related to lower marital satisfaction, less time spent together in shared activities, higher levels of marital disagreement, less supportive behavior, less positive problem solving, [and] more reports of marital problems . . . Furthermore, compared with couples who enter directly into marriage, couples who cohabit first have a higher risk of marital dissolution [divorce].”

As this study demonstrates, what might seem prudent from a human standpoint may in reality be very unwise. This fact underscores the truth of the words at Jeremiah 10:23: “It does not belong to man . . . even to direct his step.” How much wiser it is to look to God’s Word, the Bible, which provides much fine counsel on the subject of marriage! (2 Timothy 3:16) For example, regarding the marital relationship, the Bible says: “A man will leave his father and his mother and he must stick to his wife and they must become one flesh.”​—Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5.

Heeding that divine directive, instead of following flawed and often fickle human reasoning, greatly improves prospects for a truly happy and lasting marriage.​—Proverbs 3:5, 6.