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Judy Gold, Belinda Luscombe, Others Debate Cohabitation In Popular New Free Think University Course

Industry: Education

New Course Highlights Pew Research Center Data in Discussion About ‘Living Together’ as an Option Instead of Marriage

Washington D.C. (PRUnderground) February 4th, 2014

Is marriage a good idea anymore?  The debate in this new Free Think University course experience is whether it is better to marry, or to cohabitate – even if one plans to marry.

USA Today and the Associated Press report, “Nearly 40 percent say marriage is becoming obsolete,” which is based on a new report from the Pew Research Center.  Pew’s data also shows that there are more people who want to marry today than in 2007. While this is true, the course outlines that there is also bad news for marriage. The rates of marriage and children living with married parents continue to decline, while the rates of cohabitation and out-of-wedlock births continue to climb dramatically.

An excerpt from best-selling author Wendell Barry starts the discussion: “Marriage is the mutual promise of a man and a woman to live together, to love and help each other, in mutual fidelity, until death. It is understood that these definitions cannot be altered to suit convenience or circumstance, anymore than we can call a rabbit a squirrel because we preferred to see a squirrel.”

The course presents video clips of interviews with couples and professional counselors about how effective cohabitation is in “trying things out” before the knot is actually tied. Context talk show host Lorna Dueck interviews psychotherapist and relationship expert Kimberly Moffit, who says, “Studies still show us that living together before marriage leads to higher divorce rates. So when I speak with young couples it’s very important that they know the risks of living together before marriage.”

Free Think University presents the “progressive view” as well. In a video clip from PIX news, Dr. Judy Gold of Weill Cornell Medical Center explains that it makes sense that an increasing number of young couples are cohabitating because there is less pressure these days to settle down and get married so early.  A study is also cited from the Journal of Marriage and Family found that participants who cohabited in the study were happier and had greater self-esteem than those who were married. This may be because cohabitation offers more room for independence and personal growth, which may be particularly important for some people at certain stages in life.

The course discusses the view that marriage protects couples morally, legally, and financially in ways that cohabitation cannot and highlights the negative effects of cohabitation relating to domestic violence, sex, housework, wealth, emotional wellbeing, and divorce.

The money question is also a huge factor in why couples cohabitate. Trent March, author from TheSimpleDollar.com writes that while both cohabitating and married couples similar financial benefits, there are specific legal benefits to being married. Belinda Luscombe of Time Magazine writes, “Studies indicate that two can actually live together about 1.4 times as cheaply as one. And new research suggests that a lot depends on who those two are, and what their living arrangement is.”

“In light of these findings and implications,” Free Think University co-founder Jim Van Eerden notes, “we think it’s important for young people to hear both sides of the argument and make their own informed decisions about cohabitation and marriage.”

To access the full course, click here. For additional media information, please contact media@freethinku.com.

 

About Free Think University

Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to ideas@freethinku.com. For more information go to www.freethinku.com or follow @freethinku.

 

About Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping America and the world. It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. For more information go to www.pewresearch.org or follow @pewresearch.

About Free Think University

Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to ideas@freethinku.com. For more information go to www.freethinku.com or follow @freethinku.

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