Friendly Atheist blogger Hemant Mehta posted the other day about cohabitation, or as some people know it, shacking up. An article in the Christian Relevent was providing a lot of information about relationships where people live together before marriage. It was saying things like, "Although an expanding body of evidence shows that “shacking up” damages individuals, relationships and communities, acceptance of cohabitation is growing, even among young Christians." Rob McNiff, the author, also says things like, "As it turns out, cohabitation actually weakens relationships and promotes divorce. Cohabitors break up at a rate much higher (up to five times higher) than married couples," and, "Research also shows that..." but doesn't provide any sources for any of these claims or "research."
Hemant cites his own sources and provides links to the National Center for Health Statistics that show that there's really no difference at all between living with someone before or after marriage. As you would guess with any article that pins one reason for the success or failure of marriages in the US today, the issue is much more complex than that and probably completely unrelated to whatever any non-expert is willing to spout for his own political or religious means.
I wonder how many people actually read the article by McNiff and scrolled down to see if he cited any sources for his numbers and, seeing none, researched more or disregarded the post entirely versus the number of people who took it as word and started sharing it with all their friends and pointing their noses down at people who choose to live together without getting the piece of paper first. I'll bet the ratio doesn't look very good on the side of critical thinking.