September 3, 2009

Living Together as Stall Technique

Justin Katz

Here's an interesting check on received wisdom:

It seems to many like the sensible thing to do: Move in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, spend more time together, save money by splitting the rent and see if you can share a bathroom every morning without wanting to kill each other. ...

[Scott] Stanley, a University of Denver psychologist, has spent the past 15 years trying to figure out why premarital cohabitation is associated with lower levels of satisfaction in marriage and a greater potential for divorce.

Not surprisingly (now that somebody else has researched it), many of those who transition into marriage from cohabitation approach each step as the the least possible commitment at the time, so by the time they find a catalyst for release from the escalating promise that they didn't want to make, they find it must be done via divorce.

Extrapolating the findings a bit, it seems likely that erosion of the profundity that the culture attributes to marriage has been increasing the likelihood that people see the change in category as little more than a step in a spectrum — certainly not a fundamental change in one's state of being. The ease of divorce facilitates this impression by removing a trigger for deep consideration and discussion.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Lots going on here in Rhode Island today yet this is what's on Justin's mind at 5:45 pm. lol
Timing is everything in life Justin. You and your fellow authors offer up great and insightful commentary but you're not timely and/or prompt with the hot button issues of the day and you lose the ability to grow an audience for this blog because of it. You've posted nothing on the Governor/unions/courts all day long. We've had 2 court decisions that directly affect this state's fiscal mess and you offer up what?? lol
You should entitle this thread- How To Kill A Blog or How To Lose An Audience

Posted by: Tim at September 3, 2009 6:34 PM

Oh, I'm sorry, Tim. I must have missed the large check by which you freed me of the necessity to climb up and down ladders and nail wood to the exterior of a 100-year-old house all day, after having gotten up at 4:00 a.m. to write and handle back-office stuff, finally getting home at 5:00 p.m., in time to address house and family matters and have some dinner before settling down for another night of just trying to keep up with everything.

We're not a news aggregator. We comment when we have something to say. This thread represents a minor thought that I've had floating around in my peripheral vision for a few days, and I thought I'd clear it from my intellectual plate during the hours of the day when readership declines dramatically.

If it wasn't what you expected to receive for your tremendous effort of pushing a button on your computer --- if you find reading Anchor Rising to be a waste of your time --- don't visit. Start your own blog and prove just how well you could manage one.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 3, 2009 6:56 PM

Justin this is your blog and you can post whatever you like. However if you are trying to grow this blog, which I believe you are given your link to Matt Allen and his show, then you need to get timely and relevant with your commentary on a daily basis. For you to throw this topic out at 5:45pm with everything else going on around here is foolish and an absolute audience killer. Like I said earlier you do great work but you need to focus and get topical if you're ever going to grow this site into what it COULD be.

Posted by: Tim at September 3, 2009 7:21 PM


Anchor Rising isn't going to advance by becoming a mirror site. It will thrive only to the extent that we contributors are able to add commentary that contributes something to stories of which readers are probably already aware. That takes processing time.

Where we can truly break news, that's one thing. Where we can only offer running lists of what the Providence Journal or some other well-known source has just reported, I'd say we're better off not just rushing to say something for the sake of saying something.

Next time you think something really, really has to appear on Anchor Rising immediately, how about a quick email saying, "Hey, d'you see this?," rather than a public declaration of the news-gathering incompetence of a guy who hasn't had a breather for thirteen hours, most of which was spent with cedar boards and rolls of lead, rather than a computer?

The other contributors have other talents, but if I, personally, am going to "grow an audience," it's not going to be because I'm the quickest with the "post" button, because I cannot be.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 3, 2009 8:17 PM

So Tim, is "today's top story" all your brain can handle on any given day?

Back on topic shall we...

"...why premarital cohabitation is associated with lower levels of satisfaction in marriage and a greater potential for divorce." ?

Simple, it's a half-assed commitment. When you've made a full and unconditional commitment, you also tend to try and work, harder.

Posted by: George at September 3, 2009 9:02 PM

Studies have also found that Christians are more likely to experience divorce than are non-Christians. Extrapolating a bit it seems likely that erosion of the profundity that the culture attributes to atheism has been increasing the likelihood that people see the change in category as little more than a step in a spectrum (sheesh, do you actually speak like that too?).

Posted by: Russ at September 4, 2009 9:09 AM


I'm not sure why you believe religion must be introduced into the discussion. I'm sure that more than a few atheists would bristle at your insinuation that they cannot imbue their marriages with profundity.

That said, I'd note the relevant factors that a higher percentage of marriages are between Christians and that Christian divorce rates are driven up by the high representation of Evangelicals in poorer regions. In other words, the data you cite illustrates more of a class distinction than a religious one.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 4, 2009 12:13 PM

Holy crap Justin you are certainly full of crap on this one. Blame the evangelicals and use some big words. No wonder you never had any sucres writing. You write in the style of a boring upper level poli sci text book.

Posted by: Claude baulls at September 5, 2009 9:56 AM

Just so's there's no confusion: I'm not "blaming" Evangelicals for anything. On the whole, their religious principles permit divorce, and they also have a high representation among the poorer demographics that will tend to take advantage of that allowance. It's not an attack, but a partial explanation on a tangential topic that Russ introduced unnecessarily into the conversation.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 5, 2009 10:20 AM

So now only poor evangelicals get divorced.?yeah I can't remember the last time I heard a catholic gettingba divorce. Thank god there is always some one else to blame.

Posted by: Clippef at September 5, 2009 12:58 PM

No. If I recall correctly, as a factual matter, the higher rates of divorce in the demographic category of "Christians" are largely attributable to the subset of Evangelicals, which is largely attributable to their prominence among social groups that are more vulnerable to divorce for other reasons. Russ's insinuation of hypocrisy is misleading, because most Evangelical sects, as I understand, do not have proscriptions against divorce.

If I had any reason for confidence in your intelligence, I'd suspect that you are being deliberately obtuse.

Posted by: Justin Katz at September 5, 2009 1:04 PM
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