My husband and I grew up in relatively conservative families. Our parents went to church every Sunday, made sure we ate dinner together every night, and, most importantly, waited until they were married to live with each other. So when my husband and I announced we would be moving out of state and living together before marriage, we could almost hear our distant relatives rolling in their graves. In the end, the experience was well worth it, and we both emerged from the tryst positive that our kids must do the same before getting hitched.
As progressive as our society is, many still believe living together before marriage is wrong. And while I can respect the religious and moral objections to the practice, I firmly believe couples who live together before marriage are more likely to stay together for the long haul. Following are the top reasons why, should my sons decide to live with their significant others before marriage, I will support them wholeheartedly.
Living together before marriage eliminates surprises.
Even couples who spend every waking moment together don’t know the ins and outs of living with each other. Bathroom practices, cleaning routines, and personal habits are just some of the factors that, while seemingly insignificant, add up after marriage. Getting used to each others’ idiosyncrasies – and, more importantly, deciding whether you can live with them – is important to a lasting marriage. People don’t buy cars without test driving them first. Why, then, would they want to wait until after marriage to learn they can’t deal with a spouse who leaves the cap off the toothpaste (guilty) or collects empty pop bottles in a corner of the closet instead of taking them out to the recycle bin (not guilty, but I know someone who is *coughhusbandcough*)?
Living together before marriage relieves undue stress.
Getting married is stressful enough, but add to that the pressure of moving and becoming acquainted with new surroundings, and it’s enough to make a person snap. I have seen how hard it is on friends who waited until after marriage to live together, and it takes a toll on the marriage — one some can’t survive. It’s one of those crazy life milestones — along with birth, death, and divorce — that can turn somebody’s whole way of doing everything upside down. Doing two at once? Ouch. Marriage should be a time of bliss, not a time of angst. Living together first can help ensure it is.
Living together before marriage allows authentic discussion of life goals.
Saying you want kids in the future is one thing, but figuring out your collective financial situation and ideas for how and where you’ll raise children is quite another. People don’t know what it’s like to share expenses and plan for the future until they’ve done it; extemporizing on such serious topics doesn’t come close to the real thing. Couples who disagree about how grocery money should be spent or who will be responsible for bill paying every month (two people doing it at once spells d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r, not to mention a whole bunch of overlapping and completely forgotten payments) don’t want to wait until after they’ve signed the holy contract to learn it. Getting it all out in the open before making a life commitment to one another is a life saver, hands down.
Once a loathed practice, living together before marriage has become a more common and acceptable trend among couples. Hell, many couples don’t ever even make it official! Having done it myself, I truly believe living together first has the power to help a couple decide if marriage is right for them, eliminating the potential for divorce and paving the way for a lasting relationship down the line.
And I, for one, want my sons to have a head start toward a happy matrimony.