New research shows that in the U.S. and Australia, it’s not cohabitating that increases risk of future divorce, but the couple’s age at first “commitment.” Until now, researchers have been looking at the questions of “does premarital cohabitation increase divorce?” and “does the age of couples at the time of marriage affect divorce rates?” without looking at one key element: The age at which couples began cohabitating.
Statistics show that 59 percent of marriages for women under the age of 18 end in divorce within 15 years, dropping to 36 percent for those marred at age 20 or older.
Statistics from the National Survey of Families and Households also show that premarital cohabitation correlates with a 50 percent increased likelihood of divorce. Other statistics mark it around 33 percent, which is still a significant threat to living happily ever after.
When age matters the most!
However, the first statistic to look at the age of first cohabitation instead of the age at first marriage reveals a surprisingly different story. It turns out that couples who cohabit prior to age 23 have a statistically higher rate of divorce; but couples who cohabit later in life have the same odds as anyone else.
This hasn’t always been true. Cohabitation has become increasingly mainstream in the West, and as it has become more accepted, its use as a predictor of marital instability has diminished.
Why maturity may prevent divorce!
Successful unions are built with the blocks of maturity. They require selflessness, commitment, perseverance, acceptance of flaws, and a willingness to try being a better partner. Cohabitation may not cause or prevent divorce, but maturity certainly does.
Part of being a better partner is to continuously work on improving communication with and understanding of your partner. If you would like to communicate better and understand your partner more deeply, take the Driver’s Test!