Why don’t more couples take the marital path? The share of married adults at an all-time low in the United States, and demographers are trying to figure out why. Part of it is the recession–it’s hard to ask someone to marry you if you haven’t got a job. Will this change in the future? The next generation may embrace marriage again, but researchers think that there’s a bigger reason why today’s couples live together but don’t get married: they fear divorce.

Many people who are of marriageable age today went through the pain of divorce when they were kids and their parents separated, and they don’t want to go through that themselves (or put their future children through it).

When it comes to the well-being of married versus cohabitating couples, it turns out that wedded couples experience few advantages in psychological well-being and social ties. Researcher Kelly Musick says, "Compared to most industrial countries, America continues to value marriage above other family forms. However our research shows that marriage is by no means unique in promoting well-being and that other forms of romantic relationships can provide many of the same benefits."

Among cohabitating couples, a recent study found that more than two-thirds of the respondents admitted to concerns about dealing with the social, legal, emotional and economic consequences of a possible divorce.

Roughly 67% of the study’s respondents shared their worries about divorce. Despite the concerns, middle-class subjects spoke more favorably about tying the knot and viewed cohabitation as a natural stepping stone to marriage compared to their working-class counterparts. Lower-income women, in particular, disproportionately expressed doubts about the "trap" of marriage, fearing that it could be hard to exit if things go wrong or it would lead to additional domestic responsibilities but few benefits.

The study also found working-class cohabitating couples were more apt to view marriage as "just a piece of paper," nearly identical to their existing relationship. They were twice as likely to admit fears about being stuck in marriage with no way out once they were relying on their partners’ share of income to get by.

Whitley and Anne have been married a LONG time, and he’s shared all the details of his Visitor experiences with her. Now Whitley decided reveal everything he’s learned since he wrote his last nonfiction Communion book over a decade ago for the REST of us, and it’s in bookstores NOW!

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