Sunday, December 19, 2010

Essay on Cohabitation

Essay on Cohabitation

In the article, “ I Wish They’d Do It Right,” Jane Doe discusses that couples who live together without marriage are denying themselves of economic benefits and making it akward to be around other people. She states that she has difficulty introducing her son’s girlfriend to people for she doesn’t know whether to call her “his spouse” or “his roommate”(175). Her son’s girlfriend could not include him on her medical insurance because they are not married. She also states that those who disagree with the parent’s decision to not get married will insult their son, thus making him feel different from his peers. Doe’s son and his girlfriend live in California which has declared that couples living together without marriage are not under the jurisdiction of the family court and that their relationship is viewed by the court as a “business agreement”(175).

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In her last point, Doe says that cohabitation deprives the whole family, for there have been no wedding celebrations(175). She adds that the elders in the family have trouble coping with the untraditional situation. Jane Doe only names a few of the countless disadvantages of cohabitation. Some disadvantages not discussed by Doe are that cohabitation shortcuts the development of a lasting friendship, it’s not convenient, and develops bad habits.

The first disadvantage is that cohabitation is the worst way to get to know another person because it shortcuts the true development of a lasting friendship. Those who live together without marriage rely more on sexual expression and put less emphasis on conversation and other ways of communication. I have not been married and I don’t plan on doing so anytime soon, but I know a few couples living together without marriage. Some of them go through a stretch in which they argue and fight for foolish reasons, next thing you know they have sex and everything is back to normal.

Everyone is happy again without realizing that they are depriving themselves of important communication skills. Traditionally, dating has led couples to a greater appreciation of one another through conversation, sharing dreams, and mutual understanding of one another’s beliefs.

Secondly, some people think that living together without marriage is more convenient, but it’s not the basis for making a decision that will affect your entire life. Being married can be demanding as well as inconvenient, but cohabitation for convenience is poor preparation. Some of my friends tend to prefer “experimentation” and sometimes “change”. The experimentation might include looking for love elsewhere or going out with friends. Both of those things could lead to instability if they were married. They say it also makes it harder for them to make wise decisions.

Habits are hard to break, and couples that live together before marriage get into the habit of following a month-to-month rental agreement. As long as you behave yourself and keep me happy, I’ll stick around. They often decide to marry, not because they are willing to make a lifetime commitment to each other, but because the agreement has worked out so well that they can’t imagine breaking their lease. They say the words of a marriage agreement, but they still have the terms of their rental agreement in mind. Couples who have not lived together before marriage do not develop this mentality. They begin their relationship thinking it will last a lifetime and all their habits usually reflect the commitment they made. They figure that their agreement has got them that far, so why change it. In most cases, they live a joyful life with their husband/wife, on the other hand, those who live together without marriage tend to go through unstable marriages. They develop habits that only work when they’re not married. Marriage ruins it all.

There are many more disadvantages of living together without marriage, I only touched upon a few of those. In Jane Doe’s case her son has a child which makes it more difficult for the family to deal with. Inconvenience, bad habits, and the shortcutting of a lasting friendship can make or break a relationship in the long run. It is up to the couples to decide whether living together without marriage is the right thing to do, but they must first take into account the countless disadvantages of doing so. Otherwise their relationship can turn out to be a disaster.

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