Dear Dr. Bill,
My boyfriend and I are both from broken homes and we want to divorce-proof our future marriage. Is living together a good test of future compatibility?
That’s a question a lot of young people are asking these days. According the National Marriage Project, about sixty percent of young adults in American say they plan to live together before marriage.
Many of them grew up in homes where divorce occurred and experienced a tremendous amount of pain and insecurity as a result of their parents’ break up.
They are determined not to repeat their parents’ mistakes, and more than anything they want to find a “soul mate” that they can be married to for life.
You and your boyfriend may believe that living together is a good way to find out if you are compatible—sort of a “test drive” that will improve your chances for martial success.
While this seems to make sense, actually just the opposite is true. Research indicates that couples who cohabit before marriage have a fifty percent higher divorce rate than those who don’t.
These couples also have higher rates of domestic violence and are more likely to cheat on each other.
If a cohabiting couple gets pregnant, there is a high probability that the man will leave the relationship within two years, resulting in a single mom raising a fatherless child.
The best way to test your compatibility for marriage is to date for at least one year before engagement, and participate in a structured, premarital counseling program that includes psychological testing.
Thanks for writing, Heather.
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