www.mozilla.com Weather Central
Voices
Headlines

'Transcendence' fails to connect elements -4/22/2014, 4:39 PM

Spring gallery walk schedule -4/21/2014, 4:37 PM

Parents can teach children skills for coping with stress -4/21/2014, 4:38 PM

Law enforcement works to further decrease fatalities -4/20/2014, 5:48 PM

Public record, April 18, 2014 -4/18/2014, 4:39 PM

Roadwork to begin in Phillips/Smith counties -4/18/2014, 4:45 PM

Public record, April 17, 2014 -4/17/2014, 4:39 PM

Public record, April 16, 2014 -4/16/2014, 4:39 PM

Enjoying high school memories -4/16/2014, 10:27 AM

Public record, April 15, 2014 -4/15/2014, 4:39 PM

New ponies, warmer weather welcome in spring -4/15/2014, 8:47 AM

Coping strategies, including healthy eating, can reduce stress -4/13/2014, 9:46 AM

Winners chosen for Hays art exhibition -4/10/2014, 12:12 PM

Putting parent burn-out into perspective -4/10/2014, 11:08 AM

-4/8/2014, 8:35 AM

Many factors can cause stress in families, including divorce, death -4/4/2014, 9:23 AM

God brings life to dry bones -4/4/2014, 8:27 AM

Aging issues addressed in April Extension programs -4/3/2014, 9:51 AM

Quilting, eighth-grade activities make up Eicher family time -4/1/2014, 9:15 AM

Many stressors exist in several types of families in United States -3/31/2014, 10:11 AM

Power of vegetables and fruits -3/27/2014, 8:46 AM

A few more expensive pinot noirs, but ones well worth the cash -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Early start to morning leads to busy day for Eicher family -3/25/2014, 9:27 AM

Families need to find proper ways to deal with stress -3/23/2014, 9:20 AM

Birthday -3/19/2014, 9:19 AM

Trichomoniasis in cattle herds increasing -3/15/2014, 12:07 PM

Wines and consumer behavior -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Propane refill hits budget; hog butchering on tap -3/11/2014, 3:03 PM

Workplace, workforce sees changes through decades -3/10/2014, 9:56 AM

The Church is called to reflect Jesus outside of church -3/7/2014, 3:49 PM

Extension workshop features estate planning -3/6/2014, 3:49 PM

Enhance employee wellness with Walk Kansas -3/5/2014, 3:49 PM

Change your clocks, smoke alarm batteries -3/4/2014, 3:49 PM

Winter blues continue for Eicher family -3/4/2014, 1:53 PM

KDOT announces approved February bids -3/3/2014, 4:28 PM

K-23 pavement replacement project to begin -3/3/2014, 4:19 PM

Celtic guitarist Barlow performing at library -3/2/2014, 4:10 PM

Walk Kansas program offers health benefits -3/2/2014, 12:08 PM

Reflections on my 5 years in Hays -2/28/2014, 7:54 AM

Preserving the Family planning event March 14 -2/27/2014, 3:49 PM

Nex-Tech hosting Tech Edge Conference in June -2/27/2014, 4:28 PM

-2/27/2014, 7:54 AM

Student graphic designs featured in exhibit -2/26/2014, 3:49 PM

Remembering snow days -2/25/2014, 8:26 AM

Adjustment period can take time in step-families -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Birthdays -2/24/2014, 11:21 AM

Extension offers financial planning programs -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

FHSU alum to host pitch fundraiser -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Program to focus on parenting teenagers -2/20/2014, 9:56 AM

Snow continues to pile up for Eichers as they hope for warmth -2/18/2014, 4:44 PM

Business Briefcase (Feb. 16, 2014) -2/16/2014, 2:53 PM

To strengthen relationships, celebrate success -2/14/2014, 10:04 AM

Sternberg Museum to offer summer camps -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Natoma girl promotes state program -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hansen Museum displays students' artwork -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Symphony showcases 3 young artists -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays Eagle Scout earns award -2/13/2014, 4:00 PM

'The Lego Movie' has all the right pieces -2/11/2014, 10:23 AM

Cold makes for long days for Eichers -2/4/2014, 4:23 PM

Divorce can have dramatic effect on children -2/3/2014, 10:13 AM

Whitetail agent has message -2/2/2014, 4:00 PM

Hays native wins award at bioscience symposium -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Be aware of earned income tax credit -1/30/2014, 11:26 AM

Learning to make the most of every day in 2014 -1/29/2014, 10:00 AM

'I, Frankenstein' a monstrously bad movie -1/28/2014, 10:15 AM

Snow still piling up for Eicher family; vacation time extended -1/28/2014, 8:54 AM

Adaptability, self-regulation key for divorcing parties -1/27/2014, 9:59 AM

God gives us gifts, wants us to share with others -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

Celebration Church announces new series service -1/24/2014, 11:16 AM

'Jack Ryan' lays new foundation -1/21/2014, 10:01 AM

Eicher family rings in New Year in style -1/21/2014, 8:48 AM

Seeding to begin on I-70 in Sherman County -1/17/2014, 5:39 PM

The memories behind a bottle of wine -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Eichers gather as one big family for holiday -1/14/2014, 9:27 AM

Process of divorce can leave families in limbo at times -1/13/2014, 10:15 AM

KDA creates easy-to-follow guidelines for farmers, ranchers -1/8/2014, 3:34 PM

Eichers busy during holiday season -1/7/2014, 8:18 AM

Kansas online tax filing now available through KS WebFile -1/6/2014, 4:22 PM

Rep. Huelskamp announces military academy nominations -1/6/2014, 2:42 PM

Traveling Lincoln Exhibition coming to Hays library -1/6/2014, 2:24 PM

Whatever happened to Amelia Earhart? -1/6/2014, 2:24 PM

Divorce, remarriage can have drastic outcome on development -1/6/2014, 3:41 PM

Commerce Bank names O'Connor market president -1/3/2014, 2:02 PM

Fatalities on Kansas' roads hit all-time low in 2013 -1/3/2014, 10:15 AM

Dreams abound for a happy, peaceful new year in 2014 -1/1/2014, 12:45 PM

Kansas ends 2013 on target -12/31/2013, 3:02 PM

Remarriage, divorce can change family structure significantly -12/30/2013, 9:08 AM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 29, 2013) -12/29/2013, 1:56 PM

Reflections on all that made my Christmas merry -12/25/2013, 11:37 AM

'American Hustle,' 'Anchorman 2' worth seeing -12/24/2013, 9:10 AM

Instability in many forms can hamper family development -12/23/2013, 9:39 AM

Bridge replacement project to start on K-27 in Wallace County -12/23/2013, 8:30 PM

Business Briefcase (Dec. 22, 2013) -12/22/2013, 11:19 AM

Management minute -- Mentoring 101 -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Hibbett Sports prepares for new location -12/22/2013, 11:18 AM

Another year's FHSU graduates find 95-percent rate of success in jobs, advanced study -12/20/2013, 11:42 AM

Public record, Dec. 20, 2013 -12/20/2013, 10:42 AM

What the Bible says: Is it really OK to OMG? -12/20/2013, 10:05 AM

FUMC to host night service -12/20/2013, 10:04 AM

Nex-Tech Wireless hosts annual holiday toy drive -12/19/2013, 10:04 AM

myTown Calendar

SPOTLIGHT
[var top_story_head]

Rutgers project gives idea of cohabitation, marriage

Published on -5/13/2013, 9:27 AM

Printer-friendly version
E-Mail This Story

This is the third in a series about understanding cohabitation and its relationship to marriage and divorce.

Q: What are the comprehensive results from the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University?

A: The National Marriage Project is an interdisciplinary initiative privately funded and associated with Rutgers State University. Authors David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead conducted a comprehensive review of contemporary research. The authors reported on available research and then attempted to offer principles for young adults to help them make decisions about whether to live together.

Cohabitation has become more significant because it has such widespread acceptance. Keeping in mind before 1970 cohabitation was illegal, today the prevailing viewpoint supports cohabiting as a progressive approach to intimate relationships. It is believed to be helpful to prepare couples for marriage and thus to help reduce the number of divorces. However, social science research conclusions do not support these assumptions.

Cohabitation is not always the same process for different couples. For those persons who move in together after engagement or premarital commitment, cohabitation does not have an adverse effect on their marriage that follows living together. There are a couple of qualifying factors that are exceptions. If persons have had prior experiences as cohabiters with others or if one or both parties have children, then the risk of adverse effects in marriage is greater.

Cohabitation with an intended partner is not the only pattern. The greatest growth in cohabitation is as an alternative to marriage. Since research documents that marriage is generally more satisfying than cohabitation, some sociologists have concerns about the growth of cohabitation as an acceptable option to marriage. Cohabiting couples report lower levels of sexual satisfaction, lower levels of sexual faithfulness, lower levels of general satisfaction, and poorer parental relationships. Several sociologists have concluded that the level of certainty in cohabitation is lower than marriage.

Not widely known among the general public is the finding that married couples have benefits not available to cohabiters. These include labor force productivity, better physical and mental health, high levels of happiness and longevity. University of Chicago demographer Linda Waite has summarized reasons why married couples have more benefits than cohabiting couples.

First, the long-term commitment in the marriage contract nurtures an emotional investment and the monitoring of one another's behavior. Longer-term commitments also make role specialization more likely. There is more sharing of social and economic resources in marriages, and thus more protection for both parties against adversities and economic downturns. Another advantage of marriage is the connection to the larger community, informally with friends, coworkers and extended families, and formally with social institutions such as churches and synagogues.

Statistics reveal cohabiting women have three times the depression of married women and are more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse. The National Marriage Project documented there are two basic causes for cohabitation having more problems than marriage. First is the dynamic of who chooses to cohabit and second is the nature of the relationship itself.

There are many reasons why cohabitation has grown so rapidly in such a short time. Adults marry later and thus there is an extended time of sexual activity. The sexual revolution has made cohabitation more popular because it does provide a cost savings to living alone, as well as safer sexual fulfillment. Cohabitation also provides companionship. The institution of marriage is no longer perceived as stable and as permanent. Divorce is now an acceptable alternative. The rise of feminism has contributed to the acceptance of cohabitation for women, because they are economically more independent and self-sufficient.

There also has been a generalized cultural shift from religious to secular values and traditions. This shift in culture is evident in other western societies as well as the United States. Secular values are more compatible with cohabitation.

There are demographic trends and patterns that developed historically with cohabitation. The movement began among lower class youth and moved into the middle class. Cohabiting is more common among men with lower economic status who feel they cannot support families.

Adults who cohabit are more likely to come from broken homes, divorce, high-conflict parents or homes without fathers present. They also tend to form cohabiting partnerships at young ages. With family instability and divorce in their background experiences, persons who choose to cohabit see these relationships as alternatives to marriage. There is less cost to breakups than divorces and for those who have little faith in marriage, cohabitation offers less commitment and lower expectations.

Thus, cohabitation can serve as a stage between engagement and marriage, an alternative to marriage, or an option to living alone. It offers more flexibility for single adults than marriage.

* Next week's article will continue with the effects of cohabitation on children reported by the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University.

Judy Caprez is an associate professor of social work at Fort Hays State University. Send your questions in care of the department of sociology and social work, Rarick Hall, FHSU.

digg delicious facebook stumbleupon google Newsvine
More News and Photos

Associated Press Videos