The print. (Oregon City, Oregon) 1977-1989, May 23, 1979, Page 3, Image 3

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a question of
morals or
By Kelly Laughlin
Of The Print
Questionnaires answered
last week by College English,
drafting and machine shop
students reveal a generally
cohabitation as an alternative
or prerequisite to marriage.
Of the 41 men and 42
women questioned, 38 believe
in cohabitation an an alter­
native to marriage, while 36
think living together before
marriage is a good idea. Ten
surveyed believe living together
without being married is not
appropriate under any circum­
A larger preference toward
cohabitation as an alternative
to marriage included varied
comments by both men and
[women students at the
College. One 43-year-old male
stated: “Often two individuals
can live together in a relaxed,
‘we want to’ atmosphere, but
once married, find that the
pressures of a ‘now you have
|o’ situation are too much to
. Another student expressed a
¡negative attitude toward
¡marriage. “If true caring is in­
volved, what says you have to
wear a ring to say so? Unless
there are children involved, I
see no reason for marriage.”
I A few students saw the
arrangement. One thought
living together “can create a
very good foundation for an in­
timate relationship because
there is not as much pressure
on the couple as there is in
[marriage.” One 18-year-old
[woman thought problems are
[more easily resolved in a living
[together situation. “Living
[together is a little more casual
[than marriage. If there are
[problems in the relationship,
[they are more easily resolved. I
[think there would be a little
[more freedom of responsibility
[in a living together relation­
[ The large number of studen­
ts who believe living together
should only occur with the in­
tent of marriage later, also
believe cohabitation is a good
basis for a healthy married
relationship. One student said,
“I think it’s a good idea. That is,
people can get to know one
another’s pet peeves. It also
seems that it’s good because
most divorces occur in the first
few months or years of
Another said living together
helps “to see how a person js
in every circumstance. No one
can keep up a false front
forever, and they really do act
differently at home.” One
student thought cohabiting
prevents problems later on.“If
you can’t live together un­
married, it’s doubtful you’ll be
able to married. Better to find
out first.”
A small number of students,
however, showed strong
religious sentiments against
cohabitation. “If you are not
recognized by the state as
married,” one student said,
“you are not married in God’s
sight.” Another referred to
marriage as an institution that
should be revered. “God in­
stituted marriage, in the Bible,
and made it His plan. He did
not institute living’together.”
One student, however,
voiced a more general
disagreement with the living
together arrangement. “There
is an intimacy in sharing lives
together that should be reser­
ved for a life of marriage.”
To most students surveyed,
cohabitation is becoming a
more desireable lifestyle than
it was considered in the past.
But what about the status of the
“marriage institution?”
Forty-four students thought
marriage is now less important
than it was 10 years ago, while
18 said its status has remained
constant. Three entered no
Some said the pressures in
our society to marry are
diminishing, while divorce is
increasing, to provide marriage
partners with an easy escape.
Clackamas Community College
As one student put it, “divorce
wasn’t as approved of before.
We can now look at marriage
as having an easy escape, if we
don’t want our partner
anymore.” Another student
remarked, “since divorce has
gone up tremendously, in the
past 10 years, people are trying
ditterent ways of forming long­
term relationships without
being burdened by the
pressures of marriage.”
A few students felt that
marriage is now not the social
obligation that it used to be.
“It’s generally more acceptable
today for people to live
together as long as both par-
arrangement,” said one. An-
other stated, “marriage is not a
big thing anymore. People
should do what they feel is
The 18 students who said
marriage has not shifted in im­
portance believe that people’s
attitudes toward marriage have
changed more markedly. One
student thought marriage
remains the “common ideal in
our society, but many people
are not married, and are taking
on varied lifestyles which are
gaining wider recognition.”
Another said more couples are
weighing the advantage and
disadvantages about the idea of
marriage to see if it’s important
to them.
One single man said,
“Women are getting the idea
they have a right to choose
their own, unique lifestyles, in­
stead of taking on a
traditional role.”
One called marriage a “dying
tradition,” and said women
need not depend on a man as
much and can make it alone.
Strong views about a sup­
posed moral decay in today’s
culture were voiced by another
student, who said, “In the
United States, we. are ex­
periencing rapid moral decay,
and if reforms aren’t made
soon, our nation will fall like
the Roman Empire.” Another
thought the importance of
marriage has “deteriorated to
the depths of sin and
degradation (Romans 3.23).”
A small number of students,
however, think marriage is just
as important today as it ever
was. One student said, “We
need marriage more than we
ever have. It makes people
more responsible to another,
and to think twice before saying
quits.” Another said, “I don’t
feel the importance has
changed. Many people still feel
marriage is the way to go. To
me, marriage is a sacred in­
stitution and should be
meaningful. I strongly frown
upon divorce.”
Overall, the 84 students
were somewhat split in their
views about the right of a non-
married living partner io file suit
for unequal distribution of fun­
ds (a la Michele Triola Marvin,
who recently won a property
settlement from former living
partner Lee Marvin. Of the
students surveyed, 29 think the
law is fair, while 45 believe it
does not serve the best interests
of a cohabitation arrangement.
Ten slated no comment.
One student who did not
directly answer the question
said, “Money and property
agreements should be put in
writing between two people,
since actual trust doesn’t seem
to cover all the bases. I would
like to see people get out of a
relationship what they put into
it. If they put in greed, perhaps
what they will get out- are
The general reasoning of
students who think the law is
fair is explained in this student’s
comment: “There are two lives
involved. One life is no more
important than another. No
one should lose it all.” Another
stated, “If we both put equal
everything, then we should at
least get half of everything.”
One student, however,
thought the law is not quite this
unconditional. “The partner
should sue only if he/she is not
getting back what they con­
tributed.” Another said, “A suit
should only be filed if there’s
probably cause.” Another
student cited the importance of
non-monetary contributions to
a living arrangement. “I think
the law is fair because both
people contribute to a relation­
ship. It may not be money, but
it could be something that has
just as much value.”
Several students thought a
contract should be agreed to
prior to moving in together. “If
you are not getting along,you
should make an agreement
beforehand of who gets what,
over the split in purchases.”
Another added, “Everything
should be worked out before
moving in.”
The large number of studen­
ts who think the right (to sue af­
ter splitting up) is unfair had in­
consistent statements. Two
students said, because the
couple has no legal obligation
to one another, the law gover­
ning property settlements
should not be valid. It should
apply, they said, only in
marriage situations. One
thought the partner should
keep possessions separated
even if they are close, and have
no mutual ownership of
anything. “You are just living
he said, “not
Another student disagrees
with the law because it limits
(continued on page 4)
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