As the famous cliché goes, “times are changing”, and in order to keep pace with the quick changes that continuously occur, people also change. Their ways of life, adjust to what seems to be the call of necessity. Accompanying this is a change in the culture and what used to be taboos of old have become normal occurrences in the present. One of the taboos, which practice is found to be increasing is cohabitation (Cheal 24). Like many other uncommon practices, the emergence of cohabitation in the culture of a country has both advantages and disadvantages.
Cohabitation or living together may be defined as a non-marital union (Brien et. l. ). It has a number of facets. Some see it as an alternative for marriage while others view it as a way of finding assurance for a lasting marriage (“The Facts behind Cohabitation”). In the 1970’s, studies have found that a number of young adults opted to postpone marriage and decided to cohabit. The increasing number of cohabitation led to a decline in marriages (Cheal 24). The decline in marriage proved to be one of the disadvantages of cohabitation. Since marriage assures the legitimacy of future children, cohabitation may result to more illegitimate children.
This may produce children with unstable emotional and educational development as a result of disruptions on their family life (“The Facts behind Cohabitation”). Another disadvantage is that there is a high probability of incidence of cheating on both parties involved. Because of the non-commitment nature of this kind of union, there is no compelling force that assures fidelity for both partners. There are no rails that may keep both the man and the woman involved faithfully to each other and to the supposed relationship they are into (“The Facts behind Cohabitation”).
A third disadvantage that some couples perceive as an advantage of this kind of set up is that it does not reassure of a lasting marriage at the end of it all. It has been found that couples who live together before actual marriage have unstable unions and commonly end up in divorce. The lack of commitment that the couples have grown into during cohabitation may mean less will to work for the betterment of a relationship, yet more will to end an unsatisfactory relationship (Brien et. al. 2). Despite this, there are still couple who choose cohabitation rather than marriage.
Some couples find the disadvantages that were earlier mentioned overshadowed by the advantages they see in this non-marital set-up. In one case, couples who are less financially stable but desires to be together opt for cohabitation as it is cheaper as compared to an actual marriage. The taxes and benefit system require a large amount of money. As such, people whose incomes are low and whose jobs are irregular find it easier to cohabit rather than officially get married (“The Facts behind Cohabitation”).
Another advantage of cohabitation relative to finances is the non-commitment nature of the set-up. Since there is no contract that was signed and there are no formal and legal terms that were agreed upon, separation is as easy as getting together. There is no need to file and undergo the gruelling process of divorce especially when the relationship is no longer working. This works well with couples whose money has better things to go to than divorce cases (“The Facts behind Cohabitation”). To conclude, people who consider it a taboo have reasons to perceive it as such.
There are many reasons why for some couples, it is a practice that should not be supported and instead contradicted. On the other hand, it should also be noted that there are also reasons that prove for cohabitation as a better option as compared to actual marriage. People who are pro-cohabitation commonly have personal reasons in opting for this kind of set-up. As such, the issue of cohabitation must not be taken lightly since it may affect the unity of a nation, especially that which uphold a person’s own opinion.