Tracy Clark-Flory of Salon.com’s Broadsheet calls out the New York Times for misrepresenting statistics in the title of their article, “Living Together First Doesn’t Make Marriage Last, Study Finds.” Clark-Flory examines the statistics of said study and looks to other sources to sum up with her title “Living in sin not so bad after all”.
Now, a little something from revelations…for those living in sin, marriage isn’t always the end goal. Whoa. SHOCKER. How do I know this? Live in an overpriced metropolis where rent-controlled apartments are as hard to come by as the Holy Grail or the Ark of the Covenant and you find a lot of people shacking up for reasons other than a trial run for a walk down the aisle. Some of these reasons include freedom from rooommates, convenience, mobility, economics, and well, just plain old lust. So, what’s important in moving from “living in sin” to making an “honest man/woman/etc. out of someone/yourself”?
Having co-habitated a time or two, experience has taught me that what makes or breaks your relationship isn’t decided from the day to day stuff of living in each other’s space. It’s about sharing basic values and goals as a couple. It’s also about knowing why you moved in together and realizing that can change for both people. The day to day stuff just exacerbates an eventually doomed union. Really, even if someone keeps a clean house and finds your keys, it’s not going to fix your fear of commitment or the fact that you hate their work ethic. However, if a relationship is already working on the inner levels, leaving the cap off the toothpaste or drinking out of the orange juice carton isn’t such a big deal. Whether or not a couple lives together isn’t going to break them so much as reinforce what they already know – good and bad. As Clark-Flory notes “you’re better off following your own heart than any supposed make-or-break marital rules.”
The couples who do end up married after first living together most likely would have gotten married anyways – whether they both saw marriage as a possible end goal or they were the type to ignore doubt and just push forward. I am actually curious to know how many couples move in together and break up before the point of marriage. If living in sin is bad for anyone, it’s most likely divorce lawyers.
Just don’t forget the pre-prenup!