It’s been a long-held American belief that marriage confers better life-quality benefits than cohabitation does, but a new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family says that’s not the case. The research found that married couples experience few advantages in “psychological well-being, health, or social ties” compared to couples who are merely living together.
Turns out, that euphoric “honeymoon period” applies to cohabiters too, but the high doesn’t last long — for either group, according to the study, which surveyed 2,737 men and women.
“We found that differences between marriage and cohabitation tend to be small and dissipate after a honeymoon period. Also while married couples experienced health gains – likely linked to the formal benefits of marriage such as shared healthcare plans – cohabiting couples experienced greater gains in happiness and self-esteem. For some, cohabitation may come with fewer unwanted obligations than marriage and allow for more flexibility, autonomy, and personal growth,” said [study author] Dr. Kelly Musick, Associate Professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University’s College of Human Ecology.
One thing is certain: The image of the traditional American family is changing, as we’ve reported before. And as big fans of diversity and acceptance, we think that’s a wonderful thing.
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