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Disscusion 1 - Essay Example

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According to the article by Stanley, Rhoades and Markman (2006), cohabitation based on research mostly leads to poor quality of communication in marriages, high levels of domestic violence, high probability of divorce and even a lower satisfaction in marriages. Cohabitation is…
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Disscusion 1
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Premarital Cohabitation Effect Affiliation: According to the article by Stanley,Rhoades and Markman (2006), cohabitation based on research mostly leads to poor quality of communication in marriages, high levels of domestic violence, high probability of divorce and even a lower satisfaction in marriages. Cohabitation is brought about and contributed by different social demographic factors such as religious views and beliefs, presence of children, education level of the individuals, history and number of previous marriages, age and even the income level of the involved parties.
Premarital cohabitation is associated with negative attributes and yields negative effects according to the article. This negativity is what leads to cohabitation effect (which is an association between cohabitation and poor marital outcome) and what discourages some people (such as the staunch Christians, the aged or those who have had previous experience) from cohabiting.
Commitment theory is used to explain and make people understand how cohabitation leads to divorce or even distress. The theory is divided into two commitments: the dedication and constraint commitments. Dedication commitment explains how couples who stay together have dreams and plans about their long term future and is also characterized by putting the needs of the other partner first. In cases of cohabitation, dedication is minimal and hence partners end up leaving each other. The constraint commitment on the other hand explains how there are forces in a relationship that facilitate people leaving or having unhappy relationships including values, children’s welfare and even social pressure.
Premarital and marital counseling according to Hawkins (1991) insists on ensuring strong healthy relationship that is based on a long term commitment to a partner. It is the lack of this long term commitment (brought about by cohabiting which is not a long term commitment) that leads to break up of couples relationship and an increase in divorce cases.
Premarital counseling advocates for communication when couples are in a relationship. This communication leads to deeper intimacy, love, understanding and having tolerance to each other and to the relationship issues in general. People in a cohabitation type of relationship do not feel committed and hence do not bother with issues of thinking and planning about the future let alone dedicate themselves to open communication. This sets up a bad example to others cohabiting or wanting to cohabit and hence the negative attitude towards this form of relationship.
The negative attitude by some people towards marriage as opposed to cohabiting is as a result of the increased divorce rates among married people. Based on the article and an explanation about marriage by Worthington and Worthington, it is evident that such marriages fail because couples have been in cohabiting relationships which as mentioned above lack commitment, tolerance and communication among other virtues advocated by marriage counselors. Such marriages are therefore constrained by historical issues (from the cohabiting relationships) and cannot therefore withstand any arising marital issues that require dedication and commitment.
If people do not cohabit, the divorce rate would decrease as people will not had had previous trial marriage experience that is without boundaries, restrictions and commitment among other virtues. On the other hand these negative trends can end if couples wanting to cohabit first attend premarital counseling sessions.
Hawkins, R. E. (1991). Strengthening Marital Intimacy: Elements in the Process. MI: Baker Book House.
Stanley, S. M., Rhoades, G. K., and Markman, H. J. (2006). “Sliding Versus Deciding: Inertia and the Premarital Cohabitation Effect.” Family Relations, Vol. 55: 499–509. Doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3729.2006.00418.x  
Worthington, E. and Worthington, E. (2005). Hope-Focused Marriage Counseling: A guide to Brief Therapy (2nd Ed.). IL: Inter-Varsity Press. ISBN: 978-0830827640.
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