Get Married Before You Have Kids if You Want to Stay Together

Rant 39

moving in togetherA new study has shown that more couples are choosing to live together -- and even have children together -- rather than marry. In fact, for close to half of women, choosing to live together was their "first union" and only 23 percent of women can say the same about marriage. It's startling on paper, but in real life, it's not surprising at all. 

I know very few couples who didn't start out living together. The reality is, in this day and age, it's the smart way to go. Of course, it's only as smart as you make it. Very few of the people I know who cohabited moved in together because they were pregnant. There is usually a trajectory to it:

Move in together, get engaged a year later, marry, have kids. Now, it seems many people are diverting from that path. They are choosing to skip the whole marriage part. This can actually be a big mistake.

Oh I know the statistics on marriage are grim. And some might say it's just as easy to leave a marriage as it is to leave a cohabitation union (fact: it's hard either way). But the stats on people who choose not to marry and choose instead to live together don't lie. Education appears to be key.

More educated couples marry before they have kids. Less educated ones don't. More educated women (women with college degrees) marry after cohabitation. Less educated women don't.

Personally, I have lived with two men. One was my college boyfriend and the other my husband of 10 years. I lived with both men while we were unmarried. And I am SO glad I did. I was engaged to my college boyfriend and had we not moved in together, I may not have realized how completely incompatible we were. The same is true of my husband. Had we not lived together for two years before marrying, I may not have known how incredibly compatible we were.

But I wouldn't have had kids that way. No way. No how. I wanted the legal protection of marriage and I wanted the stability for my children. My kids look at our wedding photos and smile, secure in the knowledge that their parents made a lifetime commitment four years before either of them showed up.

It's not necessary. I have an aunt who has been with her now husband 40 years and had two kids who were grown by the time they married. We all know these stories. Hollywood people almost never get married to have children (although they might not be good examples of lasting love). We also know that marriage is no guarantee of a happy ending. 

But at least with marriage, there is stability. There is some kind of legal documentation of your union. It won't protect you from divorce, but it will bring respect and a certain measure of comfort to future children.

Cohabitation is great. As long as it's finite. It may be old-fashioned, but it just makes sense.

Would you have kids without getting married?



commitment, living together, marriage


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LostS... LostSoul88

Being married will not keep a couple together, its love and commitment. 

chech... chechimansmama

Paperwork will not keep me and my partner together. Communication, commitment and love will.

2cent... 2centsCDN

Marriage does not equal stability, just look at the divorce stats. You needed the legal protection of marriage? Is there even such a thing anymore? What an outdated notion.

Where I am, couples who live together for longer than 6 months are considered common law and are taxed as married. My partner and I have been together 20 years, lived together for 19 and had our first child after being together 5 years. My name is on the house, my name is on the life insurance policy, his name is obviously on their birth certs. I'm just as protected as someone who is married.

nonmember avatar Haley

I find this insulting. I have a daughter with my fiance and we are not married. I think she will look at our future wedding pictures and be JUST as happy with our decisions as your kids are with yours. The love in our family is just as good as yours, married or not.

2cent... 2centsCDN

I'm also unsure how to take your closing argument stating that being married will "bring respect and a certain measure of comfort to future children.". Are you suggesting that my children will respect me less because we're unmarried? Or are you suggesting that my children are thought of as somehow inferior by others because of said unmarried stat? If its the latter, fuck you.

nhamp... nhampton401

This is a disgusting article. It's completely one sided and bashing anyone who lives together but doesn't get married and pretty much their bastard children are unstable. You can bite me honey. Marriage is not stability by defult. Marriage was my unstability. I would've been better off to have never gotten married. You're just an idiot. You should quit your job cause you suck at it.

nonmember avatar Brandi

I think the point the author is trying to make is that there are people actively choosing to have children before marriage. The whole point of marriage is to ensure that you believe your relationship is stable. To purposely CHOOSE to have children before then is selfish. Once you have children, they need to become your priority. They are as much a person as their parents and deserve to have a childhood without worry about their parents' relationship. They are not accessories to your life, they are living the life you created for them. Also, what are you waiting for? If you're saving money to have a big wedding, I hate to tell you that it is really hard after children come to have extra money. Not too mention that it seems pretty shallow. Why not a simple ceremony with a justice of the peace?

nonmember avatar historychick

I agree with the other comments - relationship stability a marriage does not make. I lived with my now husband 8 years before getting married - did the act of marriage and legal documentation change anything for our relationship? No - we would have never gotten married in the first place if it wasn't for insurance purposes (I have an expensive congenital heart condition and I would have been kicked off my parents upon turning the ripe old age of 26). We needed that documentation so that I could obtain benefits from it as he has a government job and I am a full-time graduate student.

lalab... lalaboosh

So if your birth control failed before you were married you'd have aborted? Interesting.

Idrea... Idreamofwires

I didn't live with my husband before we got married and had kids, and it was the biggest mistake of my life.  Love, commitment, and similar interests and views are the keys to a successful relationship.  This article is ridiculous.

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