Psychology 409b Unity Model of Marriage Fall 2008 University of Hawaii

Lecture Notes for the Unity Model of Marriage


Dr. Leon James, Instructor

Resource File for Marriage in the News

See Week 2 Instructions:




Research looks at cohabitation’s negative effects

By William Harms
News Office

Couples with no intention of marrying who decide to cohabit are forming unstable living arrangements that can have negative effects on their [linda waite] by gerald peskinemotional, financial and sometimes physical well-being, according to University researcher Linda Waite, Professor in Sociology.

Waite also found that these social arrangements may cause serious problems for children raised in households headed by cohabiting couples.

Waite, an expert on family life, studied census reports, the National Survey of Families and Households, the National Health and Social Life Survey and other data to appraise the costs and benefits of cohabitation. She found that men and women who cohabit are more likely than married people to experience partner abuse and infidelity and less likely to receive assistance from family members than married couples.

“These tentative and uncommitted relationships are bound together by the ‘cohabitation deal’ rather than the ‘marriage bargain.’ But that deal has costs,” said Waite, author of “The Negative Effects of Cohabitation,” published in the current issue of the journal The Responsive Community. The “cohabitation deal,” she added, will have especially disappointing outcomes for people who expect it to deliver the same benefits the “marriage bargain” delivers. “People who cohabit often contend that marriage is just about a piece of paper. We’ve found, however, that there is quite a bit of difference between being married and living together,” she said.

Her research showed that 16 percent of cohabiting women reported that arguments with their partners became physical during the past year, while only 5 percent of married women had similar experiences. Although surveys showed cohabiting couples expect their relationships to be faithful, the surveys also showed that 20 percent of cohabiting women reported they had secondary sex partners, while only 4 percent of married women reported they did, according to Waite.

Cohabiting couples are disadvantaged financially with the lowest level of wealth among household types, comparable to families headed by a single mother. Intact, two-parent families and stepfamilies have the highest level of wealth.

Waite also found the parenting role of a cohabiting partner toward children of the other person is vaguely defined, making cohabitation an unstable living arrangement for children. “The non-parent partner––the man in the substantial majority of cases––has no explicit legal, financial, supervisory or custodial rights or responsibilities regarding the children of his partner,” wrote Waite. “This ambiguity and lack of enforceable claims by either cohabiting partner or child makes investment in the relationship dangerous for both parties and makes ‘Mom’s boyfriend’ a weak and shifting base from which to discipline and guide children,” she continued.

Despite its disadvantages, people increasingly are choosing cohabitation over marriage. The latest Census Bureau figures show that 4 million couples live together outside of marriage, eight times as many as in 1970.

Waite found that two types of cohabitation arrangements exist: those in which the partners intend to marry and those in which they do not. Partners who cohabit with the intention of marrying share many of the characteristics of married people, she found. Those who cohabit without the intention of marrying often have short relationships with few benefits. Waite’s research also revealed that many of the people who choose cohabitation, particularly women with children, believe their partnerships will last.

Her research revealed a variety of other differences between married and cohabiting couples. According to the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey, cohabiting couples have an average of about one additional sex act per month compared to married couples. But cohabiting men and women are less likely than those who are married to be monogamous, although virtually all cohabiting couples reported they expected their relationships to be sexually exclusive.

Married women spend 14 more hours per week doing housework than do their husbands, while cohabiting women spend 10 more hours per week doing housework than their male partners. Because men in cohabiting relationships are less likely to support their partners financially than are married men, cohabiting women are not compensated for their housework the way married women are, Waite said.

“The tentative, impermanent and socially unsupported nature of cohabitation impedes the ability of this type of partnership to deliver many of the benefits of marriage, as does the relatively separate lives typically pursued by cohabiting partners,” she explained.

In marriages, partners often specialize their skills; one does house repairs, while the other handles finances, for instance. This specialization helps married couples accomplish more as a team than they would if they were working independently. In cohabiting arrangements, this specialization rarely takes place, however, and the arrangement does not achieve the same work efficiency marriage does, because the partners choose to act more as individuals, Waite said.

Waite also wrote in her published paper that “marriage fosters certain behavioral changes––by both the couple and those around them––that cohabitation simply doesn’t encourage.” Family members are not likely to loan money to a relative in a cohabiting arrangement nor provide other kinds of support normally extended to a married family member.

Additionally, the parents of people in cohabiting arrangements who become attached to children of their child’s cohabiting partner may see that relationship dissolve if the cohabitation is short-term.

Marriage or the intent to marry, wrote Waite, makes that long-term commitment explicit and reduces the potential dissolution of relationships for families who incorporate a son- or daughter-in-law and stepchildren.




'Cohabitation is replacing dating'

Men and women who moved in together used to raise eyebrows. Living together out of wedlock, once considered "shacking up" or "living in sin," has lost its stigma as cohabitation has become mainstream.

What a difference a few decades makes. More than two-thirds of married couples in the USA now say they lived together before marriage. And the number of unmarried, opposite-sex households overall is rising dramatically — even in seven states where laws against intimate relations between unmarried partners are still on the books.

USA TODAY's Sharon Jayson examines how the rapid growth of cohabitation is reshaping the landscape of family and social life in the USA.

Testing the marital waters by living together is a common practice among today's marriage-wary twenty- and thirtysomethings.

The number of unmarried couples living together increased tenfold from 1960 to 2000, the U.S. Census says; about 10 million people are living with a partner of the opposite sex. That's about 8% of U.S. coupled households. Data show that most unmarried partners who live together are 25 to 34.

"In some sense, cohabitation is replacing dating," says Pamela Smock, an associate professor of sociology at the University of Michigan. She's among researchers who are bringing attention to a living arrangement that is almost a foregone conclusion for many singles.

What's more evident, she suggests, is a probable increase in "serial cohabitation," or living with one partner for a time, then another. High housing costs and tight budgets often lead young couples to cohabit because it "makes sense to young people if they're serious about each other at all."

Arlington, Va., natives Janine Sproules, 21, and Ian Million, 23, have known each other three years and have dated two years. Two weeks ago, they moved in together, with the support of both sets of parents. "We were paying rent in two places and living in one," he says. "It seemed financially reasonable, and we're pretty compatible."


They live in Blacksburg, Va., where Sproules is a senior at Virginia Tech University. Million graduated in May and is a bicycle mechanic.

They say marriage is not on their minds right now. New data from the Census' 2004 Current Population Survey reflect the trend toward waiting. Women's median age at first marriage rose from 20.8 in 1970 to 26 in 2004; men's rose from 23.2 to 27.

Although most research suggests cohabitation before marriage increases the risk of divorce because couples are less committed to each other, Smock says newer studies might dispute those findings, except in the case of serial cohabitors.

She and psychologist Scott Stanley have been particularly interested in couples who "end up spending more and more time together until finally all the stuff gets moved into one person's place," she says.

Stanley, co-director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver and author of The Power of Commitment, calls it relationship "inertia": "People who are cohabiting might end up marrying somebody they might not otherwise have married," he says. They're "sliding, not deciding."

Marshall Miller is co-founder of the Albany, N.Y.-based Alternatives to Marriage Project, a national non-profit that advocates for the rights of the unmarried. But he agrees that couples who cohabit shouldn't do it because "your lease is up."

"If one sees it as a way to save on rent and the other sees this as an engagement of sorts, then you're going to be headed for trouble," says Miller, 31.

Such misperception is at the heart of new findings that Smock presented this month at a meeting in Stockholm of the International Institute of Sociology.

"In focus groups, women perceive cohabitation as a step before marriage to that partner, whereas men are tending to see cohabitation as something to do before you make a commitment," she says.

Stanley has found similar results. Men who live with women they eventually marry aren't as committed to the union as those who didn't live with their mates before tying the knot, he says.

The most recent state-by-state breakdown of household composition comes from the Census Bureau's 2003 American Family Survey. The District of Columbia has the greatest percentage of unmarried heterosexual partners living together: 13.5% of coupled households. Vermont is second with 12%, followed by Maine with 11.9%. Utah and Alabama have the smallest percentages: 4.4%.

Couples who live together average about two years, generally leading to either marriage or a breakup. Cohabitation research published in the journal Population Studies in 2000 found that within five years of a live-in relationship, about half of couples married, about 40% split up and the rest continued to live together.

"People want what marriage signifies: that sense of 'us with a future,' " Stanley says. "But because of the high rates of divorce for the past few decades and many other circumstances, including decreased rates of marriage, there is really a crisis in confidence about the institution of marriage."

Kym Hoversten and Travis Anderson of St. Paul, both 32, have known each other more than three years. They've been engaged just over a year and plan to marry next March. They have lived together for about 21/2 years.

Anderson's parents are divorced, and "he definitely didn't want to be the person who had to tell a child that he was moving out," Hoversten says. "So we took our time in getting engaged. We wanted to make sure it was right. Living together can always be undone. The marriage part of it we see a little differently."

Stephanie Coontz, author of Marriage, A History: From Obedience to Intimacy or How Love Conquered Marriage, says such a view is common because couples look at marriage as an ideal.

"For many people, marriage is now like the best relationship, and is highly valued as a relationship," she says. "It's 'Wait until we know the relationship is good and solid, and we'll get married.' "




   August 7, 2008

Tad and Molly: is it wise to live together before you get married?


Molly: Would you like to know how to make yourself really unpopular at weddings?


Tad: Get hammered before the service, puke in the baptismal font, heckle the speeches and then feel up the bride's mother?

Molly: All good thoughts. But it is much easier than that. All I did to get myself branded a monster at one recently was to decline to commiserate with a group of women who were complaining that their boyfriends were showing no sign of proposing despite several years of cohabitation.

Tad: For God's sake, Molly, have you no heart? Even I can sympathise with these women who are deafened by the ticking of their biological clocks, and I'm a man.

Molly: Oh, I sympathise with their longing for commitment. I just can't see why they thought moving in together would speed things along.

Tad: That's the natural progression, isn't it? You meet someone, date, shag lots, move in together, shag considerably less, marry.

Molly: My view is that until a man proposes he is still at some level deciding whether his girlfriend is The One. Until he decides, the downside of moving in together is too big to risk it. You know what they say about buying cows when you get milk for free...

Tad: I can tell you now that free milk is not worth the price of living with a cow.

Molly: Oh tee hee. But seriously - why do women elect to give up a big chunk of their independence to be auditioned at close quarters by someone who isn't ready to marry them?

Tad: The auditioning works in both directions. Women get to find out about those things you need to be in close proximity to discover: bathroom habits, sleep noises, flatulence, cleanliness, laziness. Moving in together makes sense. Even rug dealers allow you to try out a piece in your home before you have to make your mind up. What looks good in the gallery, doesn't always suit your home. It's the same with partners.

Molly: But the women who I cheesed off so colossally had decided long ago that they loved and wanted the rug, sorry, man in question for keeps. Their problem is that their boyfriends feel no such urgency or certainty about marriage.

Tad: Guys don't ask women to move in unless marriage is a very real possibility (or they're poor and need help with the rent). We don't do it lightly. It's incredibly inconvient to have a woman move in. They move the furniture, scatter cushions about the place, throw out the knick-knacks you love... and make you put the loo seat down, which I've never understood. If I can open my eyes in the night long enough to pee and hit the target, surely you too can open your eyes to see whether the seat is up or down.

Molly: I'll explain that to you another time...

Tad: I'm sure that there are a lot of men reading this who would like to be illuminated too, but anyway... it's a big deal if a man asks a woman to move in. If we do it, it's because we want you there and probably want to marry you. The prize is there for the taking.

Molly: But taking on what terms? As you say, it is a game of probabilities. Cohabitation may lead seamlessly to marriage. But it may also lead to you reaching such a low ebb that you spend weddings in a green sheen of envy, complaining to people about how your boyfriend won't propose. Forget subtle hints. These women were resorting to campaigns of attrition and entrapment to pressure their men up the aisle. Some of them were sperm bandits who advocated engineering an “accidental” pregnancy to move things along.

Tad: So there are risks in cohabiting for both men and women.

Molly: Yes - and one of the worst risks for a woman is of losing her self respect by living with someone year after year who, in her heart of hearts, she suspects doesn't mind about her quite enough to marry her. Any woman who wants to marry whoever she is living with should have the courage to propose and live with the answer she gets.

Tad: Great idea. Women should definitely follow your advice... if they enjoy packing.




If your goal is to stay married then the statistics are clear. Couples who cohabitate before marriage have a higher divorce rate. Cohabitation is not the same as marriage. You can keep repeating it like a mantra, but that doesn't make it true.

Dee, Phoenix, USA


Bearing in mind that your marriage is more likely to last if you have not lived together beforehand then I can say no more

Denise B, Oldbury, UK


It is wise to keep their distance, emotionally and physically, until they get to know the person properly and can see if they are compatible and someone they can live with/ie marry/be with. If not, and get together quickly as is normally the case there seems to be commitment but probably is not.

Michelle, London, UK


Hey, I cohabited and guess what? She, yes she, proposed to me and we're very happily married (coming up to 12 years). Was she the first girl I lived with? No. But only by spending serious amounts of time with another person can you make the life changing decision about marriage.

Mike, Epworth, UK


Molly said "Some [women] ... advocated engineering an 'accidental' pregnancy to move things along". The girl that I was with tried that with me. I left two weeks later. I cannot imagine wanting to marry someone who would treat me so awfully. I pay, but my ex-girl now raises our child on her own.

Douglas , London, UK


Wake up girls, men don't think of THE ONE, they have an idea of what sort of girl they'd like to marry and if they meet one that fits the bill, they marry her. The reason men are reluctant to marry in general is not the commitment, it's the fact that they are stuffed if it ever goes to divorce.

Doug Bates , St. Albans,


I don't know a single person in any capacity - family, friends, friends of friends, who ever married the person they were cohabiting with. It's simple: If you want to get married, don't cohabit.

Liz, Chicago, USA


Girls, look at it this way - when you meet your dream man (they do exist - I am one myself), would you rather that he had lived with a few girlfriends, or that he had been married 3 times? The 'try before you buy' approach can work well and benefit both parties.

Don Bricks, London, England


Moving in together is very different from marriage. It's very common for relationships which have lasted happily for years to fall apart within a year of marriage.

Some people (men and women) think that by getting married there will be a sea change - e.g suddenly the other will want children...

Chris, Cheltenham,


if the 50s were so terrible why do we harken back so often.... we're wearing their clothes, baking their cookies, cath kidstoning the house with flowers....

racheal, london, UK


Hope all is well back there in the 1950s "Molly". Feel free pop to the 21st century for a visit sometime.

kate, cardiff,


Sounds like some bitter hags have met some wretched men. Ever considered that living together gives the woman all the privileges of marriage? Some men also consider it a test period. If you can't last 6 months together, why get married? Perhaps some of these commentators have synched their hormones.

James Cullup, Oxford,


The revealing aspect of this article is how many women think they are the milk, or the cake, or whatever. Something precious not to be given away. Gender equality? If I think I'm precious and valuable how equal am I ever going to want to be with you?

Rob, Reading, UK


As the UK divorce laws stand they make it foolish for a man to marry. If the precious little darling does manage to snag a man what has she caught? A fool.

Rob, Reading, UK


Moving in is the first step onto Less Sex More Nagging Highway.

Marriage is the second.

Dave Smith, London,


Don't Marry 'Em!

When she was gone, I held the key;
and understood I'd been in chains.
I cried at first, to be so free;
and wondered at the broken reins.

But now, I laugh and welcome change.
I wake each day and never sigh.
I run through life like choo-choo trains!
How glad I am she said goodbye!

victor compton, Cherbourg, France


A mans got to do what a mans got to do; woo her, spoil her a little (don't over do it); keep her laughing (or smiling at least) and she will let you partake of her pleasures and even suffer the burden because she doesn't really like it....OR DOES SHE?
I am 'into' my sixteenth relationship - boom!

Derek Clifton, Andover, Hampshire, England


Reading this piece and most of the frankly bizarre comments I seem to have gone back in time to when people assumed women weren't interested in sex and it was all men were after! I honestly can't believe you people think all women are only interested in marriage and men only in sex. Amazing.

Reg Varney, Sheepy Magna, UK


Anita's comment re "free sex" says it all really.-
A mature view is both people get balanced needs satisfied in a relationship emotionally and physically. Moving in is not entirely about the latter. In fact the way psyches work, surely the male would prefer to follow the hunt mentality

rob, Manchester,


The article and responses all seem a bit odd.
They assume and assert that only men like sex and women get nothing from it.
Marriage does tend to lead to a more certain commitment. Or so the statistics say.

john cramer, strathfield, australia


Other countries have facilitated cohabitation between couples of same sex or not. Haven't you heard of PACS. It provides similar rights to married couple regarding tax and inheritance, and can be broken easily by one of the conjoint without the need of scavenger lawyers. Uk stays in the middle age.

Lauren, London, uk


Agree with that article - girls in your mid-20s, don't move in with your boyfriend, it doesn't mean they're serious, they're just splitting the rent and getting regular free sex. It doesn't mean they intend on doing the decent thing and marrying you - they're already having their cake and eating it.

anita, cambridge , uk


What is living together, then, if not the same as marriage but without the blessings of the government or any church (or your mother)? Or do you move in with someone but don't bother to share your life, just the space you live? Or are Molly and Tad 12 year olds?

Rachel, sao paulo, Brasil


I have to say that with my ex i agreed to move in as it gave me time to wange out.
My current girlfriend - i have no intention of moving in with her as I am planning to ask her to marry me. IMO you only move in to avoid marriage. If you want them marry them.

rich , belfast,


What a load of old rubbish! Not all women think getting married is the pinacle of their achievements! Molly, really, talking about THE ONE is for 10 year olds. Grow up. And really, what benefits are there for independent women to marriage?

Marie Borard, Chelmsford, UK


Oh. My. God. OK, repeat after me, very slowly:
Marriage. Is. Not. Necessary.

Caroline , The Netherlands,


What responsibilities does a man have in marriage that he does not have when living together?
At that level of commitment you would expect marriage-like fidelity. A mortgage is probably more binding then marriage is anyway!
What is the diiference apart from a name change?

Sarah, London, UK


I am always surprised at the number of women who co-habit but have never had a conversation about the 'M' word with their partner even though they admit that it's top of their life plan agenda.

Paul Compton, London, UK


Both views are based on the assumption that marriage lasts forever - and we're seeing more and more that it doesn't. In which case, the divorce laws are heavily skewed towards the woman - any sane man who places sense before emotions knows not to marry in this social climate.

Richer woman? No probs

Howard, Manchester,


Co-habiting gives a man all the privileges of marriage, but not the responsibilities.

Martha, Bristol, England


Couldn't agree more. Seriously girls - don't co-habitate until you've had an offer of marriage, a ring and the venue is booked, THEN move in.

Men generally don't see living together as a prelude to getting hitched - its seen as an alternative to it.

don't let them have their cake & eat it too, London,

What does marriage give anyone. In an age when divorce is so easily attainable.

Richard, London, UK


Modern time = modern methods. Why can't women ask the man to marry her? Or would it be that really they know that he is not a man just a boy?

Peter, Swindon, UK



As cohabitation increases, churches become flexible

So happy together

By Maria Cortés Gonzalez / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 08/22/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT


EL PASO -- Shacking up. Cohabiting. Living together.

How the public views cohabitation probably depends on people's generation.

At least 15 years ago, parents generally would oppose the idea. The term "shacking up" had a negative connotation.

These days, it's a different story among young people. The negative view is as outdated as the '70s term. In fact, the number of couples living together is increasing, experts say.

About 10 million people cohabit, a tenfold increase from 1960 to 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

For many young people, living together is no moral issue. But in mainstream churches, the views of co-habitation have not changed, well, since the Bible. While church leaders recognize that more people are choosing to cohabit rather than marry, they are steadfast in their belief that marriage is a "sacrament" -- a sacred commitment given by God.

Petty Officer 1st Class Brendon Pagni, 29, is living with his fiancée (who is Catholic) and plans to marry in September. His love story is not uncommon for young people in this age.

The couple met in September 2005, started dating and hit it off. Once the relationship because serious, the couple decided that living together would be practical. One rent would be more economical than two.

For Pagni, it was also a chance to see how compatible they really were.

"Living with them is the quickest way to find out" if it's meant to be, he said. "You're either going to hate them or love them."

For the couple, morality was never an issue. An Internet-ordained minister is going to marry the couple in a scenic outdoor wedding at Tom Lea Park.

"Should it be?" asks Pagni, who was baptized in the Baptist faith at 14. "As a matter of fact, I recommend living together over getting married sometimes. Marriage is outmoded as an institution."

He added, "It's not something someone would come up with on their own -- to make a relationship a contract. But it's still romantic and tradition, and most girls love it."

Religious leaders don't deny that society's view of premarital co-habitation has changed.

Dan McGlasson, a minister to students at First Baptist Church, said he is not sure why it's become more accepted in society.

What he is clear about is what marriage stands for.

"The Baptist view is that marriage is a very sacred union between man and woman. Our belief is that God has given marriage to people to celebrate the creation of a new human being and their love for each other."

McGlasson doesn't want to come off as preachy, but he said he would like to believe that if people come into a relationship with God, it will lead them to make moral decisions that are appropriate to him.

And what about a person believing that living together may prevent divorce, which is also not approved of by the church?

"Marriage vows can keep people together through tough times much better than couples living together," he said. Living together "is not having a commitment like a set of vows."

Statistics are on the church's side. Divorce is more likely for people who live together than for those who don't. The likelihood of divorce is 25 percent to 40 percent for cohabitants, according to Cornell University's Bronfen Brenner Life Course Center.

Still, churches are generally willing to work with cohabiting couples who want to get married in the church.

Diana Bulko, associate director of marriage and family life for the Catholic Diocese of El Paso, said cohabiting is a sin in the Catholic Church.

But she recognizes that the lifestyle is becoming more common, even among traditional Hispanic families.

"There is a lot of social acceptance," she said. "And there are different reasons why they do it," including financial reasons or practicality.

Church leaders are willing to work with these couples, being respectful of their situation, Bulko said.

"We do want to educate our couples and remind them of our Catholic teachings," she said. "But depending on the situation, the pastor will work them" for marriage preparation.

Ultimately, Catholic marriage preparation, which takes about six months before the wedding date, is beneficial for engaged couples regardless of their living arrangements. The preparation includes meeting with a couples counselor monthly and attending a couples engagement encounter in Mesilla.

"They really learn a lot about themselves and cover




Friday Aug 22

Thank you for your balanced article on cohabitation. It is clearly time to rethink cohabitation since It has become the New 21st Century Reality!

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are the new family role model as cohabitation becomes an American institution. While celebrities living together is nothing new, what is new is that it has gone mainstream, become widely accepted and wildly popular.

Years of condemnation appear to be backfiring as many cohabitating couples reject the guilt-laden attempts to discourage their living arrangement. Instead, most cohabiters fear a failed marriage even more than the criticism, so opt to live together despite the odds. Now over 60% of all couples who marry will cohabite first and rates of cohabitation will skyrocket since 75% of high school students believe living together is worthwhile and harmless.

Additionally, new studies show that the once negative stigma about cohabitation is changing which helps produce more extensive information about cohabiters and more sophisticated research methods. New findings from a Cornell study show that the odds of divorce among women who married their only cohabiting partner were 28% lower than among women who never cohabited before marriage. Other studies found that women who only cohabited with their husband had lower rates of divorce than women who went straight to marriage.

I have just released a new book, Happily Un-Married: Living Together & Loving It. I we must reinvent and raise our expectations of cohabitation, and our attitudes toward those who decide to live together. There is a commonly held myth that marriage means you will live happily ever-after.ť However, there is no similar assumption of cohabitation other than it won’t lastť which helps create a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I try to take a serious and non-judgmental look at cohabitating couples of all ages and help them strengthen and sustain their relationship. This is an important book for anyone who is cohabitating, intends to cohabitate, or is interested in learning more about cohabitating.

Finally, I hope churches, too, will begin to embrace and support their cohabiting parishioners to help strengthen their relationships so they might turn in to marriages.
Please consider finding a new approach to this reality.


Google News:

Honesty is not always the best marriage policy

Hani Bathish

DUBAI // The Dubai Courts’ marriage guidance section yesterday took the rare step of issuing a public statement advising women not to reveal details of previous relationships to their husbands.

The Family Guidance and Reformation Section warned that absolute honesty in a marriage may turn “from a blessing to a curse and may serve to destroy a family” if the information undermined trust or hurt a partner’s feelings.

“It is not the husband’s right after marriage to demand his wife tell him her life history nor ask her questions which would only contribute to increased divisiveness in married life,” wrote Abdel Aziz al Hamadi, a family counsellor in the guidance section.

The statement was prepared after a woman’s query to the section, which offers counselling to couples seeking divorce. The service seeks to resolve marital differences and, where possible, prevent divorce.

The Government has said divorce rates in the UAE have risen significantly in recent years.

In May, the Islamic Authority issued a sermon on divorce, urging men, who often initiate divorce, not to do so lightly.

A sermon in August urged parents not to force their children into unwanted marriages.

Mr al Hamadi said it was counterproductive for a wife to tell her husband about any previous relationships.

He said such revelations would in most cases sow the seeds of doubt and mistrust and have a psychological impact on a husband that would take him years to get over.

“A smart husband would do better not to ask his wife after marriage to reveal her life history, as by so doing he shows that he entered into a relationship with a woman without knowing anything about her,” Mr al Hamadi said.

He added that it was a man’s right to ask such questions before marriage, but not after.

“Such questions as ‘who did you love before me?’, ‘to whom were you engaged?’ or ‘with whom did you go out?’ only serve to increase divisions between a couple and are a warning sign of the imminent end of the relationship.”

He said honesty was a pillar of a happy married life, and that there was no alternative for developing a loving, intimate relationship, but opinions differed over whether such honesty should be absolute or selective.

“Honesty between couples is not as some suggest absolute, since by such a definition honesty turns from a blessing to a curse and may serve to destroy a family, especially if either or both spouses are not mature or understanding enough or have enough trust in each other to accept certain truths,” Mr al Hamadi said, adding that anything that hurts a partner’s feelings must not be revealed. At the same time he stressed that honesty remained the “spinal column” around which a sound family life is built.

“Many forget that a believer is commanded to be discreet concerning events in his or her life in which he or she veered of the straight and narrow,” he said.

“As for a spouse’s life outside the home, whether in relations with friends or a spouse’s own family, such details must not be revealed to a partner, as revealing them does not serve any purpose and friends’ and family’s confidence must be kept.”

The guidance section often deals with requests from wives in desperate situations, either suffering from husbands who are abusive or fail to provide for them adequately, seeking a divorce.


Google news:

Cohabiting couples' rights alert
BBC News, UK - Aug 15, 2008
A campaign has been launched to stress to cohabiting partners that they do not have the same rights as married couples if they separate or one of them dies.


Some Google News results:


CDC: About half of cohabiting couples break up within five years
CNN - Aug 18, 2008
There are obvious advantages to cohabitation, both emotional (living with the person you love) and financial (sharing expenses like rent).


'If we had married, everything would have been split... but now I ...
Irish Independent, Ireland - Aug 28, 2008
There are an increasing number of couples cohabiting, so there are also an increasing number of difficulties arising.


Bearing kids before marriage is risky
New Vision, Uganda - Aug 19, 2008
Many young couples are cohabiting hoping to test-drive marriage, but the risks are major and the consequences unbelievable. Many ladies have left their ...


Many who divorce don't remarry; they just live together
The Olympian, WA - Aug 7, 2008
According to the US Bureau of the Census, 5.5 million couples were cohabiting in 2005, compared to 500000 in 1960s - a change of nearly 1000 percent. ...




The Monogamy Gene: Wired to Cheat?

Four Out of Ten Men May Have a Genetic Tendency Toward Poor Relationships

By Brad Sylvester, published Sep 03, 2008


Scientists believe they have identified a gene in human males that promotes monogamy. The study (Walum, et al. 2008) was conducted among Swedish men and found that men can have zero, one, or two copies of this monogamy gene, called allele 334. Those with a double helping of the gene were less likely to be married, but if they were, those with two copies of the gene were twice as likely to have a marital crisis as those with one or zero copies of the monogamy gene. Female partners of men with two copies of the monogamy gene were also more likely to report themselves as being less satisfied with their relationship.

Is your Partner Destined to Cheat?

Does this mean that there's a four in ten chance that your man has two copies of the monogamy gene and he may be wired to cheat? Should you expect problems with your relationship? Not at all. Genetic tendencies do not supplant free will. Having two copies of the monogamy gene, simple makes it a little more difficult to behave in a certain way. We all make choices every day of our lives, and some are more difficult than others.

Whether it's choosing a salad over a pepperoni pizza, hitting the snooze button on the alarm clock, or wearing a seatbelt, there are things that we do, because we know we should. Most of them are not the easiest choice. Every man and woman is capable of deciding to be faithful to their spouse without regard to their genetic make-up. This study is not a get out of jail free card for wandering partners.

Avoiding Temptations

It does mean, however, that certain people may need to be more careful. When I'm trying to lose weight, I avoid the bakery. Similarly, people who feel they are at risk, should avoid situations that may lead to temptation. Regularly carpooling with a coworker of the opposite sex, going out to clubs or bars at night without your spouse, and similar activities should be avoided.

Similarly, the benefits of a committed marriage may need to be reinforced from time to time. Adopting the simple habit of thinking each day of three reasons why you love being married to your wife can have a powerful reinforcing effect on your relationship. It also provides a ready way to counter those temptations that do come along. Having two copies of the monogamy gene may mean you have to work harder to maintain a loving, committed relationship, but after all, don't we all have a higher appreciation for the things we work hardest to achieve?





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