The term cohabitation is used to mean a relationship between couples who have moved in together prior to marriage. The couple is involved with all the activities that married couples engage in but they are not legally married. They live in the same house; they engage in sexual activity and do everything other thing that is entailed in an intimate relationship. Different individuals have different reasons why they cohabitate. This ranges from determining whether they are compatible for marriage; founding for financial stability before marriage to their incapacity to get married lawfully because they are either of the same sex or there bond is not acceptable religiously. (Wadsworth, 2008)
Other reasons for not being involved in marriage are avoiding heavy taxation that is imposed on married couples this is especially true in the United States, cohabitation is convenient for polygamists because they can avoid going against marriage laws, some feel that there is minimal difference between living together and being married legally, others cohabitate to avoid the procedures and the policies that are involved with divorce and finally others believe that marriage only involves the certification by the government which is just expensive for nothing. Cohabitation is also preferred because it does not drag with itself legal responsibilities that marriage contains and is very easy to disband in comparison to marriage. (Schacht, 2007)
Others find it very expensive to carry out a wedding and prefer to cohabitate until they can afford it. To others cohabitation is used a practice tool for marriage life ahead and to others cohabitation and marriage are at per. This are just a few examples, others could be involved with the cultural activities, norms or values; where some cultures make it a requirement for two individuals willing to get married to cohabitate first so that the community can prove them as right for each other. (Wadsworth, 2008)
Critics for Cohabitation
In the early times cohabitation was not accepted in the communities it was taken as unethical and going against the rules of social interactions. But with the present evolution of culture cohabitation has become a daily affair and there are no rules against them.
However those against cohabitation are mainly religious groups and the feminists. The religious leaders in their argument say that it is against religious practices to be sexually involved with someone and to live in the same house with them and not be married. They say that God advocated sex for the married only and those who are involved in premarital sex are sinners and should repent there sins. According to religion, marriage should be officiated in front of the altar and with witnesses. According to the feminists, cohabitation is wrong because it leaves room for the men to back out of the marriage and to be unfaithful to their partners. (Schacht, 2007)
They say that marriage has vows that need to be followed to the latter and that men use cohabitation as a way to avoid these vows. They argue that the bond of marriage is stronger and gives the couple a sense of belonging together. Critics of cohabitation use statistics that indicate that those who live together in cohabitation have a greater chance of divorce and separation than those who are legally married. According to the feminists cohabitation is just a golden opportunity for those undeserving, unfaithful, worthless and controlling men to get a chance to be with caring women who will take care of them and give birth to their children, which is very unfair because according to the feminists the number one cause of any broken and frustrated marriages and cohabitation is solely the male. (Wadsworth, 2008)
Supporters of Cohabitation
On the other hand supporters of cohabitation are usually the male, especially the male groups that have in the recent times come up in protection of the male from the unequal obligations and commitments that have been imposed to them by the women. According to this men, laws on marriage are very unfair are impact negatively on the man. They argue that the penalties and responsibilities that come with the marriage institution highly favor the women. (Schacht, 2007)
Men are inflicted the burden to take care of the woman they were married to and the children after instance of divorce and separation. Therefore to avoid the risks and unfairness that come with marriage men prefer to cohabitate. Other supporters of cohabitation say that it is a good practice prior to marriage because it prepares the couple psychologically for marriage and it gives a chance to know whether the couple is compatible to each other. To others cohabitation comes in handy especially in situations where a couple engages in premarital sex and the woman gets an unplanned pregnancy, and they both agree to live together and build there lives first as they wait to attain the marriage age. (Wadsworth, 2008)
In conclusion, cohabitation is one among the many areas that bring a lot of debate and uncertainty. Different jurisdictions have different cultures and rules that apply to cohabitation. In the United States cohabitation in the recent past has become a matter of individual perception and choice; those who believe in it practice it and those who don’t, avoid it. (Schacht, 2007)
Cox Wadsworth, (2008), Human Intimacy: The family, and its meaning, Research Update, 10th Edition, Cengage Learning Publishers.
Knox, Schacht (2007), Choices in Relationships: Introduction to Marriage and the Family, 9th edition, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning Publishers.
Strong, Devault (2007), The Marriage and Family Experience: Intimate Relationships in a Changing Society, 10th edition, Wadsworth, Cengage Learning Publishers.
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