Though wedding vows still traditionally contain the phrase, "till death do us part," a high percentage of marriages nonetheless end in divorce. It is therefore understandable that research is being continually conducted regarding which factors make marriages more or less likely to withstand the test of time.
If these factors are identified with great accuracy, it may be possible to proactively lower the divorce rate nationwide. However, one factor which was once tied to a greater likelihood for divorce later on is no longer considered a precondition for marital instability.
The positive news for engaged couples is that living together before marriage no longer puts marital unions at greater risk for divorce later on. New federal research, which involved the survey of more than 20,000 American couples, indicates that living together before tying the knot is no more risky than choosing to live apart until partners have exchanged rings.
Unfortunately, couples who are not engaged do have a higher risk for eventual divorce if they choose to live together before becoming engaged. Researchers suspect that loose attitudes about commitment, pessimism about marriage and lower educational levels among these couples may contribute to this disparity.
However, those with college degrees are more likely to make the transition from cohabitation to successful marriage generally than those without these degrees.
Many view living together first as a sort of "trial marriage." For those who are engaged or college educated, this test may be helpful rather than harmful. In America today, approximately 60 percent of spouses live together before walking down the aisle.
Source: NPR, "Moving In Before Marriage No Longer A Bad Omen?" Mar. 22, 2012