We recently spoke with Hannah Seligson about her new book “A Little Bit Married: How to Know When It’s Time to Walk Down the Aisle or Out the Door”:
Why did you write this book? Personal experience?
Of course! I’m my own guinea pig. After my first round of being A Little Bit Married, I became intrigued by this new dating pattern that I saw practically every 20-something friend of mine ebb in and out of. Here were these relationship that fifty or sixty years ago would have most likely culminated in marriage, but today often do not. So the book is an attempt to understand why that’s the case.
Do you think people waiting to get married until later in life (in their 30s as opposed to 20s) is a good thing for relationships?
Two family law scholars, Naomi Cahn at George Washington University and June Carbone at the University of Missouri at Kansas City, studied marriage rates in blue states (defined as those that voted Democratic in 2004) and red states (voted Republican in 2004). They looked at five states with the highest median age for marriage (all blue states) and those with lowest median age (all red states). They found that marrying younger puts couples at greater risk for divorce. The reason? Couples did much better in marriage after they had gained some emotional and financial maturity.
There’s two camps of thought: don’t live together until you get married because that just ruins things and makes each partner take the other for granted AND definitely live together before you get married to see if you’re truly compatible. Where do you stand?
I stand with what the research shows, which says that if you only live with one person before you get married, you have no greater chance of getting divorced than someone who hasn’t. The reality today is the vast majority of people will live together before they get married. My soapbox is more about how couples prepare to move in together.