According to the latest data from the Australian Institute of Family Studies, approximately 23 per cent of couples are now opting to wait for marriage before moving in together.
Approximately 77 per cent of couples now live together before getting married, which is just 1 per cent lower than where it’s been hovering since 2008. When we consider the fact that back in 1975 only 16 per cent of couples cohabited, it seems that we’ve hit our new normal.
Our sunburnt shores aren’t the only ones experiencing the shift; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Survey of Family Growth found that only 23 per cent of U.S. women got married prior to living with their partner. In the U.K., around 80 per cent of couples live together before committing to marriage, and Sweden leads the pack, with a cohabitation rate over 90 per cent.
This is all good news. It allows options. Want to live in the same place to see how things are before you commit to a life together? Sure, go ahead. Don’t want to live together because you want to keep the surprises for when you’re married? Why not? There are no better relationship rules than the ones you set yourself.
In the end, it’s nobody’s business how a couple chooses to do things or in what order.
However, what needs to stop immediately is talk of morality. It is not immoral to live together before marriage. It is not morally superior to wait. This is a tired, archaic school of thought and a favourite among the zealously religious, and it needs to kindly go and find a new home — one far away from cohabiting couples.
The majority of Australians are on board with prenuptial cohabitation, yet it is still seen as something with a hint of rebellion. But society has moved on. New standards have been set.