The surprising reason is that religious couples are less likely to get divorced

Laurel Duggan

Religious couples are less likely to divorce despite marrying younger – a factor often linked to higher divorce rates – because they are less likely to have lived together before marriage, according to the Institute for Family Studies (IFS).

For those who married in their twenties, cohabiting before marriage was associated with higher divorce rates for both. Religion and non-religious couples, study establish. The study found no difference in divorce rates between religious and non-religious couples who chose not to live together before marriage.

Religion itself plays a small role in reducing divorce rates when the data is broken down between religious and non-religious couples, but according to IFS, the main reason that religious couples are less ability divorce is that they are more likely to get married before moving in together.

Religion women are 20% less likely to cohabit and 10% less likely to divorce in the first 15 years marriage compared with non-religious women, the study found. And the link between cohabitation and divorce was especially strong for people who cohabited with someone other than their spouse prior to marriage.

This trend reversed for those who were married in their 30s, with non-religious couples being more likely to divorce than non-religious cohabiting couples, even though the Religious husbands are generally still less likely to divorce in that age group.

About 70% of couples cohabited before marriage, a cause and effect of increasing the average age at which people marry, according to the IFS. The IFS says only 5% of couples lived together before getting married in the 1960s.

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