More than 50 percent of marriages in which the couples lived together before they married end in divorce, James Healy, director of the Office of Family Ministry for the Diocese of Joliet, told a group of 11 college students Feb. 13.
The Catholic Explorer reported that young adults from the Catholic Student Union organization of North Central College met with Healy to discuss cohabitation and statistics related to it. As part of a new program he created, Healy hopes to take this talk to college campuses throughout the diocese and provide young adults with the tools to make educated decisions about cohabitation.
Studies show that convenience and money issues typically prompt unmarried couples to live together, and that cohabitating couples view their relationship as a “trial marriage,” Healy reportedly told the students. But these couples also know that the arrangement is not a marriage, which often causes one to exclude the other from financial matters and decisions, he said. These issues could impede their dependence on each other in the future as husband and wife, he concluded.
Many cohabitating couples proceed with marriage to appease one of the partners or to stifle family pressures, even though both might be unsure about marriage, Healy suggested. And rather than basing a decision on love and commitment, some partners feel that they have invested so much time in the relationship that there is “too much to lose” not to get married, he said.
The Catholic Church disapproves of cohabitation but leaders of the Church direct the clergy and others to welcome the couples back to the Church without hesitation and teach them about the blessings of marriage, he instructed.