Question and Answer

My boyfriend and I are both from broken homes and want to divorce-proof our future marriage. Is living together a good test of future compatibility?

According to the National Marriage Project, about 60 percent of young adults in America say they plan to live together before marriage. Many of these individuals grew up in homes of divorce, 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 desire to find a "soul mate" to whom they will be married for life.

You and your boyfriend may believe that living together is a good way to find out if you are compatible a sort of "test drive" that will improve your chances for marital success. While this seems to make sense intuitively, actually the opposite is true. Research indicates that couples who cohabit before marriage have a 50 percent higher divorce rate than those who don't. These couples also have higher rates of domestic violence and are more likely to be involved in sexual affairs. 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 abstain from sex, date for at least one year before engagement and participate in a structured, premarital counseling program, which includes psychological testing.

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