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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 4. 1967.

Cohabitation is cheaper

Cohabitation is cheaper

It is Still cheaper for students to live together unmarried than for them to marry.

If they do indeed wed it would seem that they lose any claim to a boarding allowance, presumably on the grounds that their permanent home is now in the university centre. Why then do there appear to be more students who are married or getting married than who co-habit together with no desire to be joined by a religious or civil ceremony.

As every sociology student (and others) will know, some form of legitimised union exists in every society. The main advocates of this system have been senior family members and the object of the union has been the acquisition of land or chattels and the equalization of the division of labour. Apart from the necessity of having children to provide for one in one's old age (as can be seen in present day India), and as a cheap labour force, the sexual aspects of the union are unimportant (an example is the existence of child marriage). Having overcome the necessity of a true division of lablour into male female sections, it is of interest to ask why students marry rather than live together without the sanctity of marriage.

Perhaps the answer for some may be religious, though I have a hazy recollection of St Paul stating that marriage was only slightly better than burning.

Possibly for others the reason is pressure by family and friends. Few are prepared to admit to parents that they are actually living in an unmarried stale with a member of the opposite sex. although any sexual adventures short of cohabitation are tolerated, if not encouraged.

Another possibility is the desire of one of the partners more probably the female) for "love and security." re"marriage." The reasons are varied. It may be the females' desire to get a permanent "meal ticket." to corner a male who possesses, or is likely to possess, sufficient funds to give her the social position and comfort she wishes, and is unlikely to achieve through her own efforts, or again to keep up with her friends in the "marriage stakes." To either sex it may be the desire to depend on another to make decisions, to handle business affairs or to provide a constant sexual supply.

Again perhaps another reason for marriage may be money; the lack of it in one party and the abundance in the other; (the idea of starving together might not have the same appeal'. It is noteworthy that several organisations have concessions for married members, presumably on the grounds that one of the members is only half there anyway. Examples of this are some university cultural and political societies

who tend to see marriage as some sort of "special" ease where upon the half-lame partners should be assisted financially at the expense of single members.

However. the principle cause for marriage today among students is the legitimisation of children, those about to be born in the next few months or in the unstated future The social pressures on the couple to legalise their union when the girl becomes pregnant are enormous. Especially where the relationship of the couple has been of a permanent or semipermanent nature society takes the view that the boy must pay for taking advantage of his girlfriend and that through marriage the sinners may repent and be washed clean. Where there is genuine feeling between the couple marriage is perhaps the only solution to the predicament, but more often the union is doomed by the feeling of one or both that he or she had been unjustly "trapped" especially where there is little money and the partner has had to forfeit his or her career or curtail social activities.

What then are the alternatives to marriage for a student? The obvious answer is to have no heterosexual relationships on a permanent basis, or alternatively one or more semi permanent relationships in co-habitation with a member of the opposite sex The first offers no stable relationship for participants and the second is only for those who can withstand the present pressures of society and family and can risk one of the partners wishing for marriage and thus becoming exploited by the other in a series of threats and promises.