UK: couples who are married are far more likely to stay together than those who marry later or remain unmarried #strongerrelationships

A marriage is an intentional, public act of commitment, but cohabiting couples often drift into cohabitation and drift into shared financial responsibilities. They are much more likely to separate because the failure to marry is often the decision of only one partner, and their unwillingness fully to commit destabilises the relationship from the outset (Rhoades, Stanley, and Markman: 2006).

The trend away from traditional marriage is driving the increase in family breakdown. The fastest growing family type in the UK is the cohabiting family which has grown by 30% since 2004 but is the least stable.

In Australia the rates of living together without marrying appears to have increased by one to three percentage points across each Census year since 1971, reaching 16% in 2011.

Family stability is vital for children and as the marriage Foundations Harry Benson claims in "The myth of long-term stable relationships outside marriage”, the key factor for family stability is marital status at birth: couples who are married are far more likely to stay together than those who marry later or remain unmarried.

Cohabitation is less likely to deliver such family stability to children, compared to marriage and as the American expert on family and marriage Professor Brad Wilcox said: “We know that children thrive on stable routines with stable caregivers.


  • Ashcroft, J. (2015) Counting the Cost of Family Failure, 2015 Update. Relationships Foundation, Cambridge.
  • Benson, H 2013: The myth of “long-term stable relationships outside marriage”, The Marriage Foundation, May, extrapolated from Census and ONS data.
  • Rhoades, G. K., Stanley, S. M., Markman, H. J. 2006: Pre-engagement cohabitation and gender asymmetry in marital commitment. Journal of Family Psychology, 20(4), 553-560

For more information on the use and analysis of PREPARE/ENRICH or to simply use the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #prepareenrich #strongerrelationships

Take the Couple Checkup

Take the Couple Checkup

Simply click on the Register button below relevant to your relationship - it couldn't be easier. Once you have finished the questions you should receive your comprehensive personalised report in about 30 seconds.

Take the Couple Checkup

The Couple Checkup generates deep and productive conversations that couples would not otherwise have about their relationship. These conversations restore insight and understanding about one another. The Couple Checkup can help to revive a relationship and increase intimacy. 

The Couple Checkup is an online couple assessment based on the PREPARE/ENRICH couple inventories. The Checkup assessment and Checkup report are designed to go directly to couples at any stage of their relationship (dating, engaged or married). The online system allows for dynamic customization of the assessment to each couple based on how the couple answers background questions. The goal is for the Couple Checkup to reach a more diverse group of couples, to empower couples to deal with issues on their own and to emphasize prevention over remediation.

For more information on the use and analysis of the Couple Checkup or to simply use the tool, please contact: or call today (02) 9520 4049 #couplecheckup #strongerrelationships

Recent Posts


See all