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In a land where toughing it out for the long haul means being able make it back to the hotel together after your quickie Las Vegas wedding, several Hollywood couples are proving that the secret to a happy marriage is never actually getting married.
Two classic examples of this arrangement are Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon, who have known each other since 1988 and have raised three children together, and Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, who have been together for more than 20 years without wedding vows to bind them. More recently couples like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry, and Joel Madden and Nicole Richie have all opted to remain single even after having children together.
"Today, celebrities from Hollywood and elsewhere are looked up to," says David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University. "They have become role models. They are far more influential today than ever in the past."
Whether or not its celebrity influence or modern-day reality, regular folks around the world have increasingly been putting off marriage. The National Marriage Project recently studied data from countries in Western Europe, Scandinavia, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and found that 15% to 30% of all couples reported to be living together. At 10%, that number was slightly lower in the U.S. However, a previous study by the same group found that there were approximately 5 million cohabitating couples in the U.S., up from only 500,000 in 1970.
There are several reasons for not tying the knot, including the fear of another ugly divorce, wanting to be considered a partner as opposed to a husband or a wife, or just plain old wanting to buck tradition. If you've been looking for a way to improve your relationship, maybe marriage isn't the answer after all. Maybe you should just shack up. All the cool kids are doing it. [Indianapolis Star]