From Al Mohler’s comments on a major study conducted by Professor Karen Benjamin Guzzo of Bowling Green State University, and recently published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, here are some excerpts (the bold print is mine):
Cohabitation is becoming the norm among American young people.
Back during the 1990s when rates of cohabitation began to rise remarkably, it was noted that cohabitation generally led to marriage. In a vast majority of cohabiting relationships, the cohabiting phase actually preceded the advance to marriage, but now as research is coming out and becoming more and more clear, cohabitation is become the replacement for marriage rather than a precursor to marriage.
The eclipse of marriage as the central institution of human society has to be of grave concern to any American concerned for the future of our society.
[F]or recent decades…the age of marriage has been increasing. The average age of what is called “first marriage” for white young people in America, is now at about age 27 for young men (approaching 30 in some studies) and about the same now for American young women. Both are now edging towards 30 in terms of the age of first marriage. But the reality is that for an enormous number and percentage of American young people, marriage simply isn’t on the horizon. But as her research indicates, that doesn’t mean that the romantic couplings are waiting as marriage is waiting. No, indeed, they are forming those cohabiting arrangements as early as previous generations formed marital unions.
[T]he vast increase in children born to unmarried mothers is taking place in the context of cohabitation. What we now know, and the study now verifies, is that this mass surge in the number of children born outside wedlock is due to this pattern of cohabitation.
[Y]oung people are not only cohabiting at greater rates, their cohabiting at a greater rate of cohabiting units. In other words, they are forming unions over and over again. And we also know that cohabitation, as she makes very clear, is not only not leading the marriage, it is also leading to a situation that can be affirmed only as the [most] tenuous of all romantic relationships. They’re being involved in romantic, what she calls, co-residential and sexual relationships, with no responsibility of marriage, with marriage not even on the horizon. They are making and breaking these unions at an unprecedented rate.
Cohabitation is, in one sense, replacing dating.
Therefore, it seems fair to say, based on the research, that cohabitation is replacing both dating and marriage.
An unregenerate man might look at this development and see nothing harmful in it (which shows just how selfish the unregenerate heart can be), but even an unregenerate woman should be able to recognize that this development is extremely disadvantageous to her security and well-being. (Feminism has got to be one of the most self-destructive political movements imaginable; all their “gains” are actually losses for women.) As for children, they are the biggest losers in all this, but by the time they are old enough to have a political voice, enormous damage will already have been done to them.
See the full transcript of Al Mohler’s podcast here: Transcript: The Briefing 08-05-14 – AlbertMohler.com.