I was surprised that very little was said last spring about Prince William and Kate Middleton living together before getting married. I wondered if it had just become so common place for modern couples to cohabitate before the wedding that no one thought anything about it — except for my mother who commented on it several times.
The other day, I ran across some very interesting marriage statistics in a Wall Street Journal that definitely confirmed my hypothesis but also surprised me.
“Couples’ average age at first marriage has risen by several years, to 28 for men and 26 for women. More than 70% have already been living together by the time they marry, researchers estimate.”
I’m not naive and I knew that couples were living together before marriage – but 70 percent??!! That’s a huge number. Has the tide turned that much in the last 15 years that you are the odd couple if you DON’T live together before getting married?
Although I understand the practicality (and no duhness of “yes they are having sex”) of a late 20-something couple living together, I don’t think I would want my own daughters’ or son doing it. Part of it is my own traditional upbringing. My mother is of the Sandra Dee-you-will-certainly-get-pregnant-if-you-have-sex-before-marriage-generation, and I definitely have had that drilled into my head. But I guess I also think that type of living arrangement is very complicated (financially, emotionally) and needs the commitment of marriage to support it. I guess that’s an old fashioned view of marriage to assume that would prevent a couple from breaking up.
So are you surprised by this statistic that 70 percent of couples are living together before first marriages? Do you think that is good or bad? Do you think it improves their chances for marriage or hurts it (he won’t the buy the cow if the milk is free)? What about the couples not living together? Are they viewed as traditionalists freaks?
– Theresa Walsh Giarrusso, ajc.com Momania. Follow me on Twitter (ajcMomania) and read what I am reading each day. Great stories on family health, family fun, parenting, fashion, stars, and more. )