If you’re thinking about getting married, or are married and wish you would have done it differently, you’d be interested in what a recent study had to say.

The National Center for Health Statistics says unmarried couples living together are staying together longer, and more of them are having children. Counselor Ed Stasney explains what's going on.

“People are looking for happiness. We have physical and security needs that are met in marriage. But love and belonging and esteem needs are not met there. So people are constantly looking for these,” Stasney said.

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Stasney says he looks at living together like a test drive.

“It’s a movement toward a more committed relationship. It’s a process of eliminating every person in the world except the one that we want to be intimate with,” Stasney explained.

Economist Ray Perryman says living together may actually be better for you financially.

“It reduces your costs to some extent. There are tax benefits to not being married.

Perryman is referring to the ‘marriage penalty.’

“Two individuals taking the deductions often times get more than a married couple,” Perryman explained.

The report says almost half of women between the ages of 15 and 44 were first in a relationship where they lived with someone as opposed to being married. That number, 48%, was up from 43% in 2002 and 34% in 1995.