Christian Worldview

The Point: The Myth of Cohabitation


John Stonestreet

There’s no replacement for marriage. For the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

New research by Brad Wilcox of the University of Virginia comparing cohabitation with marriage debunks major myths about cohabitation.

First, the idea that cohabitation is only less stable because poorer people are more likely to choose it, is false. In reality, cohabiting couples are less stable than married couples regardless of educational background. In Europe, the least educated married couples enjoy more stability than the most educated cohabiting couples!

Another myth is that cohabitation becomes more like marriage as it becomes more common. Not so for children, says Wilcox. Couples who are married when they have kids are markedly more stable than cohabiting couples, even in countries where both are common.

In marriage, couples publicly commit to life together. Even when they don’t keep the commitment, making it matters. Cohabitation, however, says to partners and children, “I’m not sure about you,” and you can measure the consequences of that.


  • Facebook Icon in Gold
  • Twitter Icon in Gold
  • LinkedIn Icon in Gold

Have a Follow-up Question?

Want to dig deeper?

If you want to challenge yourself as many others have done, sign up below.


Short Courses


Related Content