Just as nobody buys a car without taking it for a test-drive, most people—about two thirds of couples—don't get married any more until they've lived with their proposed lifetime partner.This has been true for a while, even though studies done right up until the 2000s showed that couples who lived together first actually got divorced more often than those who didn't.The biggest predictor of splits in couples of all types, though, is whether they have a child without meaning to.
Couples were hooked up to a f MRI and warned that they were about to be given a small electric shock.
The brain scans of those who were holding their spouses' hands were quite different from those who were holding a stranger's hand or looking at a picture.
Coincidentally, in another paper released the same day, researchers at the University of Miami in Coral Gables found that there might be physical traits at work.
Not surprisingly, more attractive people were more likely to get married than less attractive people, but not by much, and mostly that rule only applied to women.
Why not just live together as long as it suits both parties?
Marriage has been shown to have a bunch of physical and health benefits that cohabitation has not yet been shown to have.
It's possible that woman may also be reducing her chances of marriage, but Lehrer's research suggests later marriages, while less conventional, may be more robust.
Read: How an Insensitive Jerk Saved my Marriage One of the reasons cohabitation was linked with divorce in prior years was that poorer people tended to move in together and then slide into marriage when they got pregnant. So it might not have been the cohabitation, but the poverty that was causing the split. The situation today has changed—70% of all women aged 30 to 34 have lived with a boyfriend, according to Kuperberg, and many of them are educated and wealthy.
Some experts believe that's because more unmarried cohabiting couples used to be among the less well off.
But in a recent study of married and just-living-together couples, a researcher at the University of Virginia found that the brains of spouses responded differently to stress than the brains of living-together couples.
Sharon Sassler, a professor at Cornell who's writing a book on cohabitation, says that the amount of time a couple dates before moving in together is important.