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What you do before marriage has everything to do with having a happy marriage

Studies show the important role premarital behavior plays in having a successful, happy marriage. Parents need to help their children understand how vital their actions are to their future happiness.
Gary and Joy Lundberg, FamilyShare Modified: August 20, 2014 at 6:43 am •  Published: August 25, 2014

It starts early. There are things we need to teach our children, especially our teenage and young adult children, about marriage that sometimes gets lost in what seems to be acceptable behavior in today’s world. More specifically, sexual involvement before marriage. Our teens and young adults seem to be clueless about the seriousness of their sexual behavior and how it will affect their future marriage.

Recent studies show that premarital choices are significantly important in determining the outcome of marriage. A new report from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia states, “Our first major conclusion challenges what we’ll call the Vegas Fallacy—the idea that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Actually, what people do before marriage appears to matter. Specifically, how they conduct their romantic lives before they tie the knot is linked to their odds of having happy marriages.”

This debunks the idea that sexual experience, including cohabiting, before marriage has no effect on the marriage. The study found that couples who save sexual intimacy for marriage have a higher rate of success in achieving a happy marriage.

In our work with couples in therapy we see the unhappy results of premarital sex and promiscuity. Youth or young adults who think playing around with sex is simply that, with no consequences, are in for a rude awakening. There comes a day of reckoning. Like the study mentioned, what happens in Vegas doesn’t just stay in Vegas. Sexual activity before marriage lives on. It can end up with disappointing feelings about self or disillusionment about what love really is. Or sometimes a pregnancy results without the stability of married parents to raise the child.

The study also mentioned that when a person has many sexual partners they are continually in comparison mode. When you stick to one partner — the one you married — you find happiness in developing a loving sexual relationship together without the intrusion of comparisons.

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