Researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a marriage survey last year in which they interviewed 22,000 men and women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four.  Forty percent of those interviewed  in the study were married.  In their study, researchers found that the growing trend of living together before marriage no longer plays a role in predicting divorce as it has in the past.

The trend of living together before marriage is so common – approximately sixty percent of couples live together before they marry – that “it’s not surprising it no longer negatively affects marital stability,” stated  Wendy Manning, the co-director of the National Center for Family & Marriage Research at Bowling Green State University.

CDC researchers found those couples who were engaged and living together before they married were just as likely to have marriages that lasted fifteen years as those couples who did not live together.  Researchers also found those women who either lived together and were engaged or who did not live with their future spouse before the wedding had a sixty percent chance of their marriage surviving for at least fifteen years.

However, the study did reveal the marriages of those couples who lived together but were not engaged were less likely to survive to the ten-to-fifteen-year mark. 

The explanations for these findings could be more lax attitudes concerning commitment, lower education levels or family histories that may have created pessimism about marriage in these couples.

One professor of Human Development and Family Science at Oregon State University, Richard Setterson, Jr., said  cohabitating before marriage is different for each individual.  Those living as a couple may see the experience “as a trial marriage, usually without kids, that often ends in marriage.”  However, there are those people who put off marriage because they are pursuing an education or have just started a new career or who just move from “one living-together relationship to another.”

This study by the CDC did report one statistic than many other studies have recently reported – nearly half of all first marriages in this country will end in divorce within twenty years.


When two people are united in marriage, they simplify their lives by combining financial assets such as checking and saving accounts, a move which, according to one marriage therapist, Beth Erickson,  brings “greater intimacy.” 

Erickson’s view is shared by the majority of Americans as showed by a recent survey conducted by  Merrill Lynch in February.  According to Merrill Lynch’s Affluent Insights Survey, “89 percent of married couples manage their money collaboratively.”  The survey revealed, however, that 57 percent of these married couples argue over money.

Not all financial experts believe pooling finances in a marriage is a wise move.  Financial adviser Nick Scheumann said, “It would be better if more people split it out.  When it comes to commingled assets, a lot of married people can’t handle it.”  The survey conducted by Merrill Lynch reports that money disputes are the significant contributor to one in three divorces.

Listed below are five benefits of keeping finances separate in a marriage.

  • Separate Accounts Add Flexibility and Safety of Diversified Investments – A married couple can insure more when each person sets up a separate account.
  • Credit Scores Stay Single – Credit scores are tied to single individuals, not couples.  Opening a bank account in your own name is the first step in establishing your credit score.
  • Shared Money Means Shared Responsibility – When a couple pools their money, neither person takes full responsibility for the account, and that makes it easier to spend and harder to save.
  • Marriage Is Not Always a Tax Benefit – An accountant can figure out if you would reap more savings by filing single or as a married couple.
  • Self-Employed and Small-Business Expenses – Again, an accountant would be needed to assess whether it would be beneficial to have separate or joint accounts come tax time.

One compromise for couples deciding whether to pool finances or not would be to keep some accounts separate while establishing a joint account both spouses contribute to for covering household expenses.