For decades, researchers have warned couples against moving in together before they marry, claiming marriages are more likely to last when partners begin their lives together with their wedding vows. But how accurate is that?
New studies have taken a closer look at the cohabitation question, taking into consideration the effects age, economic status, and unintended pregnancy also have on a marriage’s life expectancy. Unsurprisingly, newer findings are blowing the older ones out of the water.
The Importance of Age
Researchers now believe age may be the most important factor in a marriage’s long-term outcome. They’ve found those who marry before 23 are most likely to divorce, whereas those who marry closer to 30 are more likely to enjoy long, successful marriages.
A little maturity goes a long way in a relationship. Being old enough to know what you want in a marriage can help you make better choices, including who you choose as a lifelong partner.
The Reasons Make a Difference
Studies also found that those who married due to financial reasons were less likely to last, as were marriages resulting from unplanned pregnancies. Younger and poorer couples tended to move in together in order to pool resources, with older and wealthier couples having the resources to wait. Younger, poorer couples also tended to marry due to pregnancy more often. These factors, of course, had notable impacts on the outcomes of younger marriages.
One study found that the number of months a couple dated before moving in together could also help to predict its outcome. Those who moved in together sooner rather than later tended to see their marriages fail, whereas those who waited 14 months or longer were far more successful.
How to Make That Choice
So, you and your guy have been talking about stepping up your relationship. Fantastic. Use these four questions to help you decide how to move forward:
- Have you been dating long enough to reasonably discuss this?
- Are you doing this for the right reasons?
- Are finances or other factors affect your decision?
- Are you both mature enough (and wise enough) to know this is the right choice?
If you find yourself left with uncertainty or more questions, you might want to hold off on making that leap. Your future self might thank you.