In a recent study, Kelly Raley, professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, investigated cohabitation and marriage trends from the National Study of Family Growth data from 1990-19-2010. Couples who lived together before marriage were less likely to get married, even in these modern-ass, liberal times. It's just been easygoing -- and the dividing of chores, bills, and so on has been a breeze. What does living together have to do with structural barriers?

I freaked out about moving in with my boyfriend for six months before we took the plunge. If the barriers we're talking about are financial, wouldn't the consolidation of resources into one household make it easier to get married?

Holding sexual fidelity and the marriage covenant as sacred before God impacts your willingness to work through the challenges of life together.

Juli Slattery is a TCW regular contributor and blogger.

A number of factors may account for the more frequent violence in cohabiting relationships.

Getting married is one of the biggest decisions you will ever make.

If marriage is a lifetime commitment, then why not have a "trial run" before making it official? In fact, living together before marriage is becoming increasingly common, even among Christian couples.

They reason that living together before marriage just makes sense.

It has been long understood that marriage provided more emotional health benefits than cohabiting or dating. Young people are choosing to live with their significant others before, or instead of, getting hitched. Mernitz and Claire Kamp Dush from Ohio State University looked at what happens when young people cohabitate, transition into marriage or progress from a first to second cohabitation — and how men and women experience these changes differently.

Although there’s a lot of research that examines marriage and health, more broadly, Mernitz said in a phone interview, “we now have more advanced statistical methods that allow us to look at the change as an individual experiences this transition from cohabitation to marriage.” For some of the people surveyed, living with their partner proved just as beneficial as marriage.

“Past studies that compared those that are married and those that are cohabitating always found this sort of marriage benefit,” Mernitz said.

“But even when we look at individuals who transition from a current cohabitation into marriage, that transition into marriage didn’t really provide any additional emotional health benefits and we kind of thought it would.” The most surprising result to Mernitz was that women seem to benefit from cohabitation more than men do.

Although she did add that past research has shown that women don’t like to cohabit for long if marriage isn’t on the horizon.