Forget Marriage: Common Law is Becoming Commonplace for Millennials

More of us are shacking up with our significant others (SO) before marriage than ever before. 

And though it may not be your grandma’s cup of tea, it seems to be working for many young professionals.

For some, living together is a way of testing the waters before taking the marriage plunge. But others don’t, and happily carry on in a way that’s no different than their married friends (except for any potential wedding debt). 

They still share kids, mortgages, finances, and future goals, but lack the piece of paper and hundreds of wedding pictures that come with tying the knot. 

This, of course, comes in stark contrast to the way most of our parents and grandparents lived, when marriage was pretty much an inevitable precursor to the white picket fence, family vehicle, and screaming children. People who didn’t marry were typically seen as outcasts, especially should they (gasp) have a child out of wedlock. 

Back in 1963, more than 90 per cent of Canadian children were born to married parents who did not live together until they were married. 

Fast-forward half a dozen decades: now, more than one quarter of Canadian kids are welcomed into the world by unmarried parents. In fact, between 2006-2011, the number of common-law couples increased 13.9 per cent, compared to the 3.1 per cent increase for married couples.

There are multiple reasons for this. 

First of all, weddings are damn expensive. According to a recent survey, the expected cost of a wedding in Canada in 2014 was $31,685. And for those with massive families or lovers of the finer things, this is actually low. Others figure that, if it isn’t broken, why fix it? Another StatsCan survey revealed that 33 per cent of common-law couples feel that “the “current situation is fine as it is.”

And we don’t have to tell you that women no longer need to rely on a man via a ring on her finger for financial security. With that said, sometimes moving in together sans ring makes the most financial sense for the two of you, especially with the perpetually increasing cost of living (and of living well).  

So despite the opinions of extended family members, more and more of us will like it but not put a ring on it. 

And that’s just fine. 


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Photos courtesy iStock. 1 | 2