Living Together Is Not "Trial Marriage"

Why do unmarried couples choose to live together? A new study, presented yesterday at the "Smart Marriages/Happy Families" conference, found that most couples don't shack up as a "trial marriage." What researchers found may shock you:

Unmarried couples live together because they just want to spend more time together. Crazy!

"People who are engaged think of (living together) as the next step before they get married, but in many couples, it's part of the dating relationship — pretty serious, but still well shy of the marriage part," researcher Scott Stanley, co-director of the University of Denver's Center for Marital and Family Studies, told USA Today.

While this may seem obvious, it does represent a shift in thinking: There was a time that "living in sin" was truly taboo. And the study did find that 30% of cohabitors agreed that living together without getting married is not in sync with their religious beliefs.

As someone who lived alone for a really long time and recently shacked up with a very nice guy, most people — leaving out my mom — don't even ask, "So, when are you getting married?" There's something to be said for living in the now and enjoying what you have, instead of thinking of cohabitation as a trial or experiment.

But while there are a few people who think of moving in together as a "test run" for marriage (9% of men and 5% of women) — it seems that for the most part, it's an organic step that has little to do with societal pressures and the institution of marriage, and more to do with emotions. Which, when you think about it, sounds pretty romantic. And isn't that the point?

Study Debunks 'Trial Marriage' Theory [UPI]