Mary DeTurris Poust featured me in great piece on cohabitation v. marriage. The main article is here. Here’s a little taste.
Dr. Gregory Popcak, a psychotherapist who is the author of “For Better … Forever! A Catholic Guide to Lifelong Marriage” (OSV, $14.95) and the host of “More2Life,” a nationally syndicated call-in radio advice show, said there are some obvious and basic differences between the commitment of marriage and the choice to cohabit. He referred to research by Dr. Scott Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver, that has shown that the main difference between cohabiting couples and married couples is what Stanley calls “sliding versus deciding.”
“In other words, the path to traditional marriage is intentional. At each step of the way — dating to serious dating to engagement to marriage with a public exchange of vows — there is a conscious decision being made to increase commitment to one another and intentionally limit one’s other choices,” Popcak told OSV.
“With cohabiting, couples slide along rather than deciding. They start sleeping together, then one person gets a drawer at the other’s place, then two, then half the closet, then I might as well move in since my stuff is here anyway, then maybe we have a kid and people start looking at us funny so we might as well get married, I guess,” he explained. “Then one member of the couple or the other wakes up one morning and says, ‘I never chose any of this! How did I get here?’ It sounds ridiculous, but that’s the way it plays out more often than not. The lack of intentionality makes all the difference in the stability, satisfaction and longevity of the relationship.”