London: It might seem outdated, but getting engaged before moving in with your partner could be the secret to staying together, according to a University of Denver research.
A study by psychologists in the US revealed that couples are almost twice as likely to end up divorcing if they cohabit before they are betrothed.
But those who had popped the question before setting up home had longer and happier marriages, even if they moved in together before walking down the aisle.
The findings suggest that getting engaged represents a firm public commitment that improves the long-term success of a live-in relationship.
While traditionalists may still raise an eyebrow at the prospect of a couple sharing a home before there are rings on their fingers, the researchers claim that the results indicate that partners just need to think more deeply about their long-term prospects before agreeing to live together.
And they will fare better if they have decided to marry before they move in, said the scientists.
Previous research has pointed to higher divorce rates among couples that cohabit before marriage and suggested that those who live together before getting engaged may feel pressured into tying the knot for the wrong reasons.
But this is believed to be the first study that shows getting engaged before cohabiting can reduce the risk of a break-up.
Researchers analysed the divorce rate among more than 600 couples who tied the knot during the 1990s.
They found that those who got engaged before living with their spouse-to-be were 45 per cent less likely to end up divorced than those who moved in together before a proposal.
“Cohabiting without first being engaged was associated with a higher likelihood of divorce. Those who cohabited prior to engagement reported, on average, lower levels of positive attributes about their marriages, more negative interactions and more proclivity toward divorce,” the Daily Mail quoted the researchers as saying in a report on their findings.
Dr Lisa Matthewman, chartered psychologist at the University of Westminster, suggested getting engaged might help couples to lay the foundations for a strong marriage by giving them time to address any serious doubts they might have.
The study has been published in the Journal of Marriage and Family.