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Premarital Cohabitation
Kim Hye-in  |  317khi@hanyang.ac.kr
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[302호] 승인 2008.09.04  
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PROS

Premarital Cohabitation; What Lies Between Date and Marriage

   

Stacy whitman
Skill of premarital cohabitation
Wisdomhouse

  For the last 15 years, premarital cohabitation which was once seen as a leap in the dark became as common as meetings made through internet or traveling abroad. According to a census taken in 2000, the number of cohabiting couples has soared to 72 percent for ten years. Pamela Smock, sociologist in Michigan University estimated that six in 10 couples are now cohabitating.

Skill of premarital cohabitation Wisdomhouse   For the last 15 years, premarital cohabitation which was once seen as a leap in the dark became as common as meetings made through internet or traveling abroad. According to a census taken in 2000, the number of cohabiting couples has soared to 72 percent for ten years. Pamela Smock, sociologist in Michigan University estimated that six in 10 couples are now cohabitating.

  Why are so many couples moving in together skipping weddings or exchanging rings? Everyone will have their own reasons, but mostly it starts off with sparkling romance and strong sexual attraction. When people fall in love, they long to spend more time with their lovers. For some others, sharing living expenses becomes a reason. However, the more important reason is that many women see premarital cohabitation as a means to develop their relationships into the next level.

  Marriage is good, but it is still too burdensome. People fear divorce that leaves disgrace in the family register. Many people have seen their parents' reckless married life or we have all gone through aching break-ups. In addition, we are aware of the high divorce rate. It is true that the divorce rate has been skyrocketing since the early 1980's. Therefore, we started to believe that we should have a test before binding ourselves to a permanent contract. First of all, we can test married life with the partner by living together first.

  However, studies that show negative effects of premarital cohabitation exist. Numerous scientific researches show that cohabitating couples tend to be more unstable than married couples. That means that there will be more arguments, hostility, physical abuse and general dissatisfaction. In addition, cohabitating women have high possibility of suffering from melancholia, domestic violence and partner's love affairs. Also, people who marry without experiencing premarital cohabitation have innately different tendencies. First, those who cohabit are generally less tied to traditions, less religious, and less economically stable. These are the factors that incite unstable marriage and divorce, says Steven L. Nock, sociologist at Virginia University. In other words, less conservative people have higher possibilities of deciding on premarital cohabitation and there is also a high possibility that these people will quit their relationship when it gets tough.

  In addition, "The more one cohabits, the less important or meaningful the marriage will seem. Basically, premarital cohabitation weakens the respect for marriage as tradition" says Scott M. Stanely, director of Marriage and Family Research Center in Denver University. And when cohabiting couples face problems, they learn to run away from the problems rather than to work through the problems to find a solution.

  However, "We should see where these numbers are based on. Most of the studies are based on statistics from the 1980? and these statistics are based on couples of the 1970's." says Susan Brown, sociology professor of Ohio Bowling Green State University, who studies premarital cohabitation. Recent studies show that correlation of premarital cohabitation and divorce has surely lessened. However, sociologists insist that it is impossible to come to a conclusion before more long-term studies are finished. Until then we will just have to be satisfied with such statements made by Professor Pamela Smock. "Divorce is not destiny for anyone and there are more important factors to predict whether marriage will last or not. Various factors such as age difference, income, education level have more impact on the possibility of divorce than premarital cohabitation."

  Surely, there are possibilities that cohabitating relationships may go wrong. However, there are also many possibilities that it can go right. In fact, wherever we live we cannot avoid ups and downs in life. The important thing is that we should perceive the risk factors and evaluate the success rate based on them. I do not believe that 'We lived happily ever after' resulted from sole luck. In most cases, it is the result people get from keeping things under control. As the saying goes, knowledge is power.

Translated by Chung Hae-seung

CONS

Love is the Reason for Premarital Cohabitation? The "Cats" or the Singles?

   
Kim Sun-deok
Dongailbo Editorial Writer

 

 

 

 

 

  A new party is showing up among the youth. Those who dream about premarital cohabitation just like the characters in the hit TV drama, A cat in the attic are called the "Cats." And there are singles like the characters in the movie Singles which hit the first place in box office in its opening week.

  The common factor between these two parties is that they are "Cool." In A cat in the attic they don't bind each other down after one hot night. The characters in Singles choose to live alone even when a man offers to pay for tuition fee and personal expenses for making him breakfast and offering service at night because it just feels uncomfortable. Because singles can always become a "Cat," they hold wide compatibility.

Premarital Cohabitation is Another Form of Family

  With the "Cats" wave, more survey results are showing that the younger the generation is, the more they agree on premarital cohabitation before marriage. The biggest reason for premarital cohabitation lies in that the only way to know about the loved one is to live under the same roof. If it turns out to be different from what one had expected, the relationship can end at the premarital cohabitation level which can also reduce the divorce rate.

  This is not so bad. When the relationship has been formed from an agreement between a grown man and a woman, it is mentally healthier to accept it just the way it is. There are worries that the traditional family system is breaking down but premarital cohabitation and singles are putting down roots into modern society as an alternative family style. The most largely increased family form for the last ten years in America was premarital cohabitation, and whether it is good or bad, we consider America as our standard. In Northern Europe, premarital cohabitation is almost as common as marriage.

  One female university student who had a debate over premarital cohabitation said that "Just mentioning that you are against premarital cohabitation makes you a conservative anti-reformer and an anti-feminist. This means worrying about being stigmatized as a promiscuous woman will be criticized when one should keep in mind that men and women should be equal."

  Those that worship premarital cohabitation do not seem to realize that the new term Marriage Divide has been coined following the term, "Digital Divide." In America and in England, whether one is married or not has become a factor that decides one's class. Linda Waite, a sociologist in America, says that being married itself makes one's life level one-third higher than a non-married person.

  One study's result that a married man lives a healthier, longer life and makes more money is widely known. It may not be as much as men, but still married women benefit from marriage as well. However, cohabitating couples?life style and mental health is unstable and there is a higher rate of couples having affairs, according to the UK social research center's latest study.

  The more important part is children. Children raised under cohabitating couples have higher possibility of falling behind class and becoming juvenile delinquents. James Wilson, the author of Marriage Problem, indicates that this phenomenon is taking place even in Sweden where premarital cohabitation and marriage has no legal discrimination.

  There are doubts in whether "Live together first, then get married!"is only a fantasy. In England, the average period of first premarital cohabitation lasts only two years. Among 10 cohabitating couples, six couples actually get married, but 35 percent of them divorce within 10 years. The possibility of a cohabitating couple breaking up is three to four times higher than a married couple.

  Therefore, I cannot believe the reason that people cohabit is because they love each other. The three elements that can judge the feeling of love are intimacy, passion and devotion. Devotion is missing in premarital cohabitation. Marriage can not be done with just the feeling of love, and growing old together may not be the absolute value in life.

For My Daughter's Happiness.

  Of course, others should stay silenct when a person decides one's life under one's responsibility. Everyone has their own way and it is ridiculous to demand others to follow their life styles or to address them with discrimination for not doing so.

  However, if my daughter decides to be a "Cat," I would oppose her desperately. The marriage system has continued since the beginning of mankind and there is a reason for it. One thing that I can sincerely feel is that old sayings are always right. It is truer when it comes to people's relationships. It is a shame that I realized this only after all those years.

Translated by Chung Hae-seung


   
Shin Dong-wan, Division of Business Administration, Freshman

  I have positive opinion about premarital cohabitation. I feel this way because marriage is the reality. Even though a couple has been going out for a long time, there can be many things they do not know about. This is the main reason why divorce rate in Korea is increasing. It is because people get married before they get to know each other well. Therefore I feel premarital cohabitation provides an opportunity for people to prepare before marriage.



   

Lim Eun-young, Department of Law, Sophomore

  You can know about your partner better if you cohabitate. Marriage is a serious deal and requires great amount of responsibility. So I feel it is important to get an opportunity to know about your partner better. Think of it as having a roommate of a same gender rather than looking at premarital cohabitation in such a negative way. It is economically beneficial if you get a roommate.



   

Cho Hang-cheol, Division of Human Ecology, Freshman

  Thinking premarital cohabitation as a preparation for marriage is nonsense. Marriage is marriage and it is something new. If that marriage ends up into a divorce, it is those people's decision and their experience. People may learn from their experience.

 


   
Chang Hyun-kyung, Division of Business Administration, Freshman

  It can be said that Korea has become a open country but compared to the Western countries, Korea still has Confucianism in them. So in the case of premarital cohabitation, people can be buried in the society. Especially for a female's point-of-view, I disagree due to their virginity issue.

ANALYSIS

By Kim Min-kyung
mkk917@hanyang.ac.kr

  The television programs, We got Married broadcast by MBC and I'm a Pet broadcast by Comedy TV on cable are in a prosperous condition. These programs are based on premarital cohabitation. As these programs's popularity increase, interest in premarital cohabitation is also on the increase. So, the Hanyang Journal finds out hanyangians's opinion.

  According to the survey released by University Newspaper Network of university students on 2000 university students throughout the country, 57.6 percent of respondents said that they agree with premarital cohabitation. In comparison with this survey, a survey by University Newspaper Network on 2007 shows that 74 percent of respondents have positive view about this issue. In this regard, it is obvious that university students's consciousness have changed within two years. But hanyangians have a different viewpoint about this idea. 36.3 percent of 500 hanyangians represent their positive opinion about premarital cohabitation. And 46.7 percent of respondents have a negative opinion. Regarding these results, hanyangians have somewhat conservative opinions.

  And, of respondents who have a positive opinion about premarital cohabitation, 57.4 percent of students answered that they intend to cohabit with their partner. But the rest of them, 42.6 percent respondents, do not. In this regard, even of supporters, hesitation about premarital cohabitation still exists up to the present. It suggests that trend of mutual distrust about premarital cohabitation remains among people under the surface.

  At another point, the number of respondents who think that premarital cohabitation before marriage does not lead to marriage or have no idea is as many as about 76.3 percent of the whole. So this result is contradictory to the reasons of approving premarital cohabitation because most of reasons arise on the premarital cohabitation assumption. And it is the same as this result about divorce rates and premarital cohabitation relations. Because about more than half of whole respondents answered that there is no relation between premarital cohabitation and divorce rate or, on the contrary, even premarital cohabitation increases the divorce rate. It is inconsistent as one of the persuasive claims about supporting premarital cohabitation is divorce rate reduction.

  Finally, as stated above, today's programs influence generation of premarital cohabitation and arouses interest in it, showing a supporting data; about 61.3 percent of respondents agree with the idea. Like this, as the number of people who think of premarital cohabitation positively is increasing, but there are opinions that premarital cohabitation does not reduce the divorce rate and it is not connected to marriage, the ultimate goal. Therefore, thorough preparation and wise means are needed. And it is time to reconsider about substantial and ultimate reason of premarital cohabitation seriously.

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