Stories from the news: Growing number of de facto relationships
According to a recent news story (source: January 3rd, 2016 — Canberra Times):
Sixteen per cent of Australian couples now live in a de facto relationship, according to the latest census, up from 10 per cent fifteen years ago. The proportion of cohabiting couples who are unmarried and have children has risen from 4 per cent to 11 per cent.
. . . it's actually women who are driving this massive social change. They're not hardline feminazis raging against a patriarchal institution but bright, practical, independent women who can't see what difference a wedding would make to the security and stability of their partnership.
Educated, making their own money and enjoying sexual freedom, these women are proud their social status is no longer tied to their marital status. The liberation of women includes the idea that women are free to make choices about everything – including fertility and cohabitation – that their own mothers did not feel free to make," social researcher Hugh Mackay notes.
That stereotype [of women desperate to marry] is completely wrong. Overwhelmingly women are taking the power of making that decision themselves.”
It might be because they'd prefer to spend their money on a house than "the big day", they've been burnt in the past by divorce, or because they don't have any religious beliefs which necessitate a blessing of their union. Many women say they just don't need a marriage certificate to validate their relationship.
"I've always been a bit nonplussed about marriage," Emily Cooper says. "I know we're going to be together forever, we love each other, we're one 100 per cent committed. We own property together, all our finances are shared. Even if we were married it would be a very similar situation in our day-to-day lives."
In the last 20 years there has been a growing acceptances of de-facto relationships and many children are now born to parents who are not legally married and most people in our society do not care or even think twice about it.
"In 1960 only 5 per cent of babies were born outside marriage, rising to 12 per cent in 1980. The term "born out of wedlock" has become an anachronism in the 21st century, with a third of children born outside marriage in 2011."
With our current laws (certainly in Australia) — living in either a de-facto or legal marriage is identical in the eyes of the law. The only differences is during seperation — a de-facto relationship can avoid the cost of a "divorce" unless they have children and property and it can be just as messy as any legal divorce — custody battles can be as bitter and as nasty and no matter the marital status of the parents, all the children suffer.
Interestedly "A de facto relationship is up to five times more likely than a marriage to end within five years, according to the Australian Institute of Family Studies"
According to a 2009 study, "Despite its increasing prevalence, cohabitation is a relatively unstable living arrangement as evidenced by the fact that the vast majority of couples either marry or separate within the first few years of the union. Indeed, the probability of cohabitation ending in separation rather than marriage has increased." (source: ABC Factcheck)
Many enter de-facto relationships because they are concerned with the issues of marriage and divorce (often witnessing their own parents separation) and think that co-habilitation is more stable. However, all the evidences points to de-facto relationships being far less stable compared to legal marriages and many more end in separation. For all those who believe that marriage and co-habitating are the same thing — they are quite clearly are not. Sadly children get caught up in the middle of these separations — and many are suffering the consequences of family break-down and we know from evidence that this is detrimental to children and their long term well-being.
As we move further and further away from Christ and His Word, the more we will see the growth of de-facto relationships and less Christian based marriages. We will continue to see divorces (or de-facto separations) as the norm with couples not really serious about staying together forever. The bible is our life manual and it is clear about marriage and the commitment that we make when we marry. Excluding those marriages that are violent which I can fully understand a woman wanting to leave — many leave because they "fall out of love" and that to me is all a bit weak but sums up todays society. And whilst I support women obtaining higher education and working (for the right reasons) — sadly, this desire for independences, ambition and control and not following women's biblical roles has had a very negative affect on traditional marriages and families and this is not good for society as we are seeing.