The Tablet editorial is trying to sell this formula; Catherine and William are the golden couple who long-term cohabitated (we assume), but went on to get happily married, and that therefore a high-profile example of cohabitation-leading-to-marriage has been set. And we should all follow… Because as The Tablet in its usually patronising way concludes; “This intriguing feature of their story raises questions. They are marrying in accordance with Christian teaching, which regards marriage as a lifelong commitment. The Church no longer denounces cohabitation as “living in sin”, and many of its clergy prefer to turn a blind eye to what is increasingly regarded as a sensible precaution against incompatibility. In this respect, society seems to have figured out something about stable marriage that the Churches have, officially, yet to grasp.”
The ‘something about stable marriage’? That ‘something’ is cohabitation? That ‘the Churches’ should cotton on to this ‘something’, and start promoting cohabitation as practice for good marriage?
Is it just me, or does anyone else have the sense that The Tablet is written without any regard to real-life, and even secular research? The book The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially* gives a very frank account of how society, as a whole, dreams that cohabitation will be much better for us, than ‘traditional’ dating and saving sex for marriage. The authors Waite and Gallagher portray that the more often, and the longer that men and women cohabit, the more likely they will be to divorce later.
* Waite, L. and Gallagher, M., The Case for Marriage: Why Married People are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially, New York: Doubleday, 2000, p. 46.