In a Catholic News Agency article, Benjamin Mann reports on a critique of a study showing the positive effects of cohabitation over marriage. The article references a book by Dr. Scott Yenor of
Arguments of cohabitation and the institution of marriage are ideologically separate at its foundation. Proponents of cohabitation, as Yenor and Mann point out, claim individual happiness as the end goal, with little or no regard for the happiness between the couple. The language Musick uses such as “unwanted obligations,” “autonomy,” and “personal growth” suggests nothing of health of the relationship, but only individual fulfillment and happiness. I would suggest that there is more to a relationship than seeking individual, or selfish, happiness. There is other research that claims couples in an intact marriage have more fulfillment than cohabiters. In the Marriage and Religion Research Institute’s 162 Reasons to Marry, Reason 8 shows that three studies concluded that “[m]arried couples enjoy more relationship quality and happiness than cohabiters.” It is indeed possible for one to claim individual happiness in a cohabiting relationship, without the commitment of marriage. However, relationships outside of the marriage commitment bring with them the possibility of abandonment—and this is not a foundation for relational fulfillment. It is only within the marriage covenant that there is security, thus producing the quality of relationship and trust couples truly seek.