Couples who live together before they get married are less likely to stay married, according to a report.

The UK-based Christian think-tank Jubilee Centre said that living together had become `a more fragile state of relationship than ever before`. It said that couples who cohabited before marriage were 45 per cent more likely to split than those who waited until after the wedding.

The think-tank also discovered that more couples are cohabiting than ever before - with the average time living together before tying the knot doubling to three-and-a-half years in the past four decades.

"Despite the popularity of cohabitation and its relationship to marriage, it is also the case that marriages that start with a period of prior cohabitation are significantly more prone to divorce than those that do not," the Daily Mail quoted Dr John Hayward and Dr Guy Brandon as saying in the report. "Where there has been a previous cohabitation with a separate person by one of both partners, the likelihood of divorce soars," they added.

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