A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study revealed that more unmarried couples are living together.

Flickr User Vincent Diamante

Forty-eight percent of women were living with their partner, compared with 34% of women in 1995.  The study said that 40 percent of first premarital cohabitations among women transitioned to marriage by three years.

Somerset marriage counselor Martin Tashman said living together often begins casually, but couples need to set time limits for moving on to marriage.  Otherwise it becomes a response of convenience, rather than a response of commitment.

Tashman said one litmus test for any relationship in or out of marriage is how well a couple can weather a challenging patch in the relationship. "It's the staying power, and how both of you work together. Not that you live together, but you work together, in spite of the fact that the world on the outside can be pretty tough."

He said it's easy to be in lust.  But harder to be in love long-term.