By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY An analysis of cohabitation, marriage and divorce data from 13 countries, including the USA, shows that living together has become so mainstream that growing numbers of Americans view it as an alternative to marriage. The National Marriage Project study of a sampling of Western European and Scandinavian nations, Australia, Canada and New Zealand found that cohabitation elsewhere is far more common and indeed viewed as an option to matrimony. The study found that anywhere from 15% to 30% of all couples identified themselves as living together, compared with about 10% right now in the USA. “We’re still the most marrying of all these countries, but the data are clearly headed in the one common direction. It’s headed in the direction of cohabitation as an alternative,” says David Popenoe, the report’s author and co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, which studies marriage and child well-being. Because the most recent data analyzed from some countries is two years old or more, and because increasing numbers of celebrities are living together, Popenoe says his projections take into account slight increases over time. “Today, celebrities from Hollywood and elsewhere are looked up to,” he says. “They have become role models. They are far more influential today than ever in the past.” A previous study by the same group showed that since 1970, the number of Americans living together has increased from about 500,000 opposite-sex couples to more than 5 million. Using databases of Census-like information in the countries studied, the new analysis found that the marriage rate is down in all countries except Norway and Sweden, which have had traditionally low marriage rates. In the USA from 1995 to 2005, the marriage rate declined almost 20%. The report will be posted online Wednesday. Joselin Linder, 33, of Brooklyn is living with a boyfriend now and has lived with two others in the past. Now she’s co-author of the new book The Good Girl’s Guide to Living in Sin and says many women her age and younger view living with a romantic partner as a convenience. She says it’s not about avoiding marriage. “It’s what’s happening in the world of dating, and it’s not necessarily a path anywhere,” she says. The new report cites Census data showing that about 40% of all opposite-sex, unmarried couples live with their own child under 18. “We often think of cohabitation as a phenomenon of young adulthood before people start having kids, but â€¦ as marriage is being delayed to later and later ages, more children are born before marriage, and many of the couples are cohabiting before the birth,” says R. Kelly Raley, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Texas-Austin, who did not participate in the study. Raley isn’t convinced that cohabitation is being viewed as a marriage alternative, citing a 2001 study of her own. The evidence, she found, didn’t suggest people cohabit to start a family, which she says is what would be expected if cohabitation were considered a marriage alternative. The National Marriage Project report also citesfindings from earlier studies showing that children of cohabiting couples are more likely to experience emotional problems, alcoholism and drug abuse. But Raley says the research leaves unanswered questions. “Many cohabiting couples use cohabitation to weather economic uncertainty or uncertainty about a relationship,” she says. “We can’t tell if the negative outcome for the child is due to the cohabitation or to the economic uncertainty or maybe the relationship uncertainty. That’s a limitation of the data.”
The following article is alarming but not really shocking. We all knew that what we read here is true and more and more so each day. As born again Christians we will always want to honor God in holy matrimony. God’s plan is one man, one woman, one lifetime! That is repeated several times in the Bible! God’s plan is that a man marry a woman for a lifetime and that they honor Him with their Holy view of their marriage vows. We are called not to be conformed to this world nor to think like them! In other words you are to not go with the flow or follow the customs of your culture but to seek to please God! It is also alarming to see how boldly the article proclaims (however true) celebrities are now role models and so looked up to that it is scary! As Christians we need to seek other role models that honor and serve God. In the following article the bold print was put there by me. I wanted to emphasize some things for you.