Contrary to expectations, it has turned out that children don’t provide the glue to keep cohabiting parents together. Marriage – often dismissed as just a piece of paper – does make a difference.
This year, the ”Knot Yet” report on changing marriage patterns, by the Washington-based Brookings Institution, examined why this was so and suggested the answer may lie in the decision-making process.
Most people marry after a process of discovering mutual commitment to long-term goals. That’s often lacking in cohabiting relationships where couples move in together sometimes because a lease runs out, or they are seeking cheaper rent, or it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Families that evolve from these non-decisions are, unsurprisingly, far less stable.