The number of cohabitating couples in America has rapidly increased in the last decade.
In 2016 the number of U.S. adults in cohabitating relationships reached 18 million, which is up 29% since 2007. Cohabitation has become more prevalent than marriage among couples who are 18-24 years old: 9% live with an unmarried partner and 7% live with a spouse.
Christians are falling away from their traditional roots and living with their partners before marriage. A shocking Pew Research article presents that 75% of Catholics and 76% of Protestants who do not self-identify as born-again or evangelical say it is acceptable for an unmarried couple to live together even if they do not plan to get married, even though Christianity teaches that living together and having sex is reserved for marriage.
Although married couples are happier and more trusting of each other than cohabitating couples, the number of those who cohabitate continues to rise.
Cohabitating may seem like a great idea, as, for example, the couple can spend more time together and learn to live independently from their parents, perhaps even escape an abusive environment. Yet there is a lack of trust and commitment in these types of relationships, and domestic abuse often occurs in cohabitating relationships. Additionally, if either person is Christian there is the spiritual and moral dilemma of living with a partner before marriage.
The reason cohabitation is so prevalent when discussing abortion is because more abortions occur among cohabitating couples (60%) than among couples in any other relationship. This even surpasses the percentage of abortions (31%) obtained among couples who were formerly married and are no longer cohabitating (ie. got divorced while pregnant). The rate of abortions among married couples is evidently much lower, at 7%.
Since 69% of adults say that it is acceptable for a couple to live together even if they have no intention of getting married, one can presume many cohabitating couples do not desire marriage, at least not within a few years. Therefore, these couples are not ready to start a family. The couple might not be financially stable enough to want a child, or if they have just started their careers may not want a child to “get in the way” of their goals. The cohabitating couple simply may not have been together long enough to want a child, but are presumably more sexually active than they would be if they chose not to live together, which raises their chances of having an unplanned pregnancy.
Cohabitating not only raises the rate of abortion but is also proven to cause another issue: domestic abuse.
Domestic abuse is significantly more common among cohabitating families than married families. Children are 20 times more likely to be abused when living with cohabitating biological parents than when living with married biological parents. They are 33 times more likely to be abused when living with their biological mother and cohabitating boyfriend. Never-married mothers also suffer from more overall violent crime than married mothers. Yet society encourages single-motherhood. Single mothers can absolutely care for their children; however, this evidently raises issues and should not be an ideal way of living.
Overall, about 86% of women who get abortions are unmarried.
In order to lower the rate of abortion and foster a more unified and loving environment for children, the prevalence of marriage must overpower the prevalence of cohabitation. Not only will the number of abortions decrease, but so will the rate of domestic violence.
Tweet This: To lower the abortion rate/foster a more unified/loving environment 4children the prevalence of marriage must overpower that of cohabitation
While these injustices still occur among married couples, it is at a much lower rate. This is because when a couple chooses marriage they are choosing to give up their sense of self-importance to sacrifice for one another. They have vowed to love one another as long as both shall live. They are open to bringing life into the world. If they are willing to sacrifice for each other and give up their sense of self-importance then they are willing to sacrifice for whoever comes along next.
Editor's note: Jessica DiSalvatore recently graduated from John Carroll University with a Bachelor’s degree in English. She is a devout Catholic who loves to educate herself about the faith. Her passion is creative writing, and also enjoys photography and weight training. This article was published by Cleveland Right to Life and is reprinted with permission.