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Shock: Cohabiting Downsides from the New York Times

Picked a summary of an article from Meg Jay in the New York Times. Meg is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Virginia and maintains a private practice in Charlottesville, Virginia. She specializes in young adult development.

The article, The Downside of Cohabiting Before Marriage, decries the disadvantages of cohabitation. Wow! Surprise, Surprise, Surprise. How long has the Catholic been saying this and pointing to one secular (not religious) study after another underscoring that the idea of cohabitation is a disaster. I was especially struck how the article pointed out the difference between how women and men see cohabitation:

  • Women see it as “a step towards marriage” (fool!)
  • Men “tend to view it as a say of auditioning their partners while postponing commitment (duh!)

I meet with numerous couples preparing for marriage. Most are just delightful people. I meet with each one several times and I ask each couple to participate in an on-line based questionnaire called “Prepare and Enrich,” a relationship assessment tool which examines their ideas on finances, family background, children, sexuality, marriage expectations, etc. For the most part, couples score rather well which is not surprising.  They’re asking to get married by means of a Sacrament, and in a Church. That would seem to indicate some kind of values-based lifestyle. But I sometimes do see some troubling indications in co-cohabiting couples and I still worry about them.

My advice to couple thinking about “shacking up” without a ring-and-a-date? Wake up! Do some homework, do the math. Oh yeah, you might want to talk to a priest, minister, rabbi, as well as a faith-based therapist or counselor, etc. Happily every after is not a fairy-tale and can be done. But cohabitation is not a good way to start off the marriage. And if you don’t believe God and the Church saying it. It’s the New York Times. They’re just “quoting.”

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