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For most Americans, cohabitation is now the standard compatibility test for marriage. About two-thirds (65 percent) of adults are “OK with cohabitation before marriage,” according to a recent study by the Barna Group.

And Christians are not a substantial exception.

Some 41 percent of practicing Christians—who, traditionally, have almost universally taught against sex outside marriage—either “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that cohabitation is a good idea. This demonstrates a huge shift, at least in practice.

A large majority cite marriage prep as their reason for moving in together. But if that’s what they’re after, they’ll probably be disappointed.

Another new study from University of Utah professor Nicholas Wolfinger analyzed the number of sexual partners a person had before marriage and how that related to divorce rates after five years.

What he found is striking.

The group with the lowest divorce rates had no sexual partners prior to marriage.

And while the research found that more sexual partners doesn’t necessarily correlate to high divorce rates, the data undermines the idea that cohabitation prepares you for marriage.

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