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Back the 1970s there was a lot of talk that living together before marriage was a “wise” thing to do.

After all, said its proponents, “You need to try a shoe on before buying it” and “You take a car for a test ride before negotiating the deal.” Never mind that human beings are a little more dignified and complicated than shoes or cars, and that we don’t “buy” one another.

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Cohabitors have higher divorces rates when they later marry.

They are less prepared for marriage, not more prepared.

In a recent article in the New York Times (of all places), Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist at the University of Virginia shares some statistics and insights as to why cohabitation does not work.

As usual why I share articles, the excerpts from the original article are in Cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the past half century.

In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation.

This shift has been attributed to the sexual revolution and the availability of birth control, and in our current economy, sharing the bills makes cohabiting appealing.

But when you talk to people in their 20s, you also hear about something else: cohabitation as prophylaxis.

(Prophylaxis is a fancy clinical term for “preventative,” as in “preventative of divorce.” And this is the dirty little lie about cohabitation, it doesn’t prevent it).

I would also add to the list of causes: a general decline in religious observance, the decline moral standards, decline of the family, and the decline of maturity and ability to make commitments.

While some will prefer to call my additions judgmental, it is hard to argue that widespread promiscuity and the unwillingness to make and keep commitments, having babies outside of marriage or aborting them, are signs of a healthy culture.

No there is something basically wrong with us In a nationwide survey conducted in 2001 by the National Marriage Project, then at Rutgers and now at the University of Virginia, nearly half of 20-somethings agreed with the statement, “You would only marry someone if he or she agreed to live together with you first, so that you could find out whether you really get along.” About two-thirds said they believed that moving in together before marriage was a good way to avoid divorce.

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