Divided House of Cards: Why Many Marriages End in Disaster

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The youth needs to know, living together before marriage has statistics attached that not only increase, but more than doubles the chances of divorce.

After 5 years of marriage, spouses who did not live together before marriage have a 20% chance of divorcing. For spouses who cohabited before marriage, there is a 49% chance they will divorce within 5 years.
After 10 years, those who did not live together have a 33% chance of going through a divorce, while 62% of married couples who lived together before marriage end up divorcing. (Source: US Attorney Legal Services)

Of course, this isn’t exclusive to young couples. Couples over 50 are cohabiting in greater numbers than ever, with an estimated 1.8 million seniors who are divorced or widowed, who are unwilling to tie the knot with the significant other they reside with. 

The challenging thing about speaking to millennials, which I too am guilty of, is the “it will never happen to me,” mentality. The greatest excuse to cohabit is also the worst reason to get married, “Finances.” Most young couples living together without being married, will simply tell you that it was the wisest financial option they had at the time, but likewise, the foundation of their living together is then built upon financial stability. This is why after 5-10 years they are so likely to end up in a divorce, because they simply realize they aren’t willing to love the person anymore.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, national surveys indicate that 15 percent of married women and 25 percent of married men have had extramarital affairs. As we know, being unfaithful is generally the result of dissatisfaction, and a likely factor in all of this is the prominence of pornography in our culture, even with 1/3 of addicts being women. 

A study found that over 60% of Millennial couples, live with at least 1 person before marriage. 

The fact of the matter is, you either commit, or you don’t. Cohabiting is usually the result of anything BUT love, there’s always a good reason to move in with each other. However, seldom is that reason to “take the next step of commitment in your relationship.” Which in turn, causes the marriage to begin for all the wrong reasons. You begin to become comfortable, and feel secure with someone, who you’re not married to, which dramatically increases the difficulty of leaving the person due to their character flaws. 

“Well I’m not shallow and I won’t leave my boyfriend over character flaws, I love him just as he is!”

Okay, run that by me again in 5-10 years, about how his excessive drinking or compulsive lying isn’t bothering you. If you don’t examine a persons character, and decide if it’s something you want to put up with or not for the next 50 years, then you really have no business getting married or even having a relationship. 

“I wouldn’t know about the pros and cons if I didn’t live with them before marrying them.”

That a load of crap.

You can know everything you need to know about a person without living with them. Are the virtuous? Is the person honest and transparent with you? Where do they stand with God? How does he/she serve God when they’re in public? What are their bad habits? Do they have goals in life, and do they align with your goals? You don’t even need a drop of discernment to see these things, you simply have to put down your smartphone and pay attention to them when they’re talking to you.

I don’t know, maybe I’m coming off a little harsh here. However, I have a genuine concern about how my generation views this issue. My wedding is 10 days away.. and to be honest, I’m beside myself with terror especially when I write to you about these issues and see the statistics surrounding divorce. My wife and I didn’t live together before marriage, we went through premarital counseling, and we had just about every hard conversation we needed to have. This isn’t getting a roommate where the lease agreement will expire in 2 years, this is a “rest of our lives,” commitment, and we’ll be damned if we contribute to these heartbreaking statistics.

“‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Mark‬ ‭10:7-9‬)

I sometimes see people use this verse to defend themselves from a family member who doesn’t approve of their marriage, or an invasive Jezebel.. and while those reasons aren’t wrong, likewise, when Jesus says, “let no one split apart what God has joined together,” he means even you. You and your choices, your decisions, your weaknesses. God has brought you together for a lifelong relationship where the two become one. So you have to move your own self interests out of the way, you have to not look at it as a financial benefit, or “getting to know the person.” This person you enter into a relationship with will reveal everything you need to know, their work ethic and character will give you insight into your future financial positions. 

I urge you, brothers and sisters, not to live together before marriage. It’s not that divorce becomes a guarantee, because it doesn’t.. but it doubles the chances of heartbreak, and that’s been statistically proven.

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