Sexual intercourse outside of marriage cannot express what God intended.Rather, it says something false–a total commitment that the couple does not yet have.People have a right to marry; therefore, cohabiting couples cannot be denied marriage in the Catholic Church solely because they are cohabiting.However, cohabitation may raise questions, for example, about the couple’s freedom to marry, that need to be explored.Experts warn it’s hardly something to be taken lightly.Arielle Kuperberg was a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania when something in her sociology textbooks caught her eye.
Because cohabitation can have an effect on the marriage, couples are encouraged to explore certain questions with the pastoral minister who is preparing them for marriage.More and more, couples are testing the waters before diving into marriage.Census data from 2012 shows that 7.8 million couples are living together without walking down the aisle, compared to 2.9 million in 1996.Other researchers who had been exploring the link between cohabitation and divorce failed to take into account the age at which couples took that plunge. governments’ 1995, 2002, and 2006 National Surveys of Family and Growth, Kuperberg analyzed more than 7,000 individuals who had been married.Kuperberg wondered if once she controlled for age, the link between cohabitation and divorce might disappear. Some of the people she studied were still with their spouse. Then, instead of studying just the correlation between cohabitation and divorce, Kuperberg looked at how old each individual was when he or she made his or her first major commitment to a partner—whether that step was marriage or cohabitation.
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It’s no secret that many couples are cohabiting, that is, living together in a sexual relationship without marriage.