I was talking with a friend not long ago about his opinion on couples living together before marriage. He said that he never would live with his girlfriend before they were married simply because it takes away from the excitement of coming together as a married couple.
I made the platitudinous argument of “how will you know you can live well together forever if you don’t even know before you get married?”
He replied with “if something as small as the way they brush their teeth or how they snore in their sleep makes me no longer want to be married to them, then I never wanted to be with them in the first place. Plus 80% of marriages fail when the couples lived together before.”
I pondered this because, yes it makes sense, but I still am not sold. Society is so focused on the statistics, “20% of people do this and fail, so you cannot do that”. Each person is different, each person has different experiences that made them the way they are, every circumstance is different.
Living together before marriage is important, in my opinion. And it has nothing to do with caring about who leaves dishes in the sink or who makes the bed in the morning. It goes way beyond that and relates back to the strength of the relationship in it’s entirety.
I moved in with my boyfriend about a year and a half ago. We had been dating six months and things were perfect between us. The honeymoon stage was in full effect and looking back I realize how new our relationship still was. My lease was running up and he moved into a new place an hour away from me two months prior, it felt like a no-brainer since we spent every free second together anyway, I was driving to him a few times a week and he was staying with me on the weekends.
If you can live together and still want to be together, then it’s the real deal. Bottom line, period, end of story. Living together has made Jesse and I so incredibly strong in our relationship. When we fight neither of us is allowed to just leave and take space, we lay down in bed together and work it out. When I get annoyed he sees me for who I am, because I’m in my own house where I go to vent and be myself. He has seen the absolute best of me and the worst of me, things I would’ve tried to hide from him had we not been living together. You get to know someone so intimately and personally when you’re living under the same roof in a way that you never would if you just “slept over all the time” – (words from my previously mentioned friend). Jesse picks up on my moods, he can sense if I’m upset or happy and vice versa, he’s seen me naked, unshowered and sweating laying on our bed because it’s too hot to even move. He’s seen me stressed and eating six bowls of Rice Krispy cereal in a row. If we hadn’t moved in together I never would’ve known that despite these unflattering phases of my life, he loves me anyway.
The biggest reason I feel it’s important to live together before marriage is because marriage isn’t a big deal. Yes, I said it, marriage is not a big deal. People see the act of getting married like it’s supposed to be some big thing that changes your life forever. Well, it shouldn’t be. If you are the kind of person who thinks that your life is going to drastically change after marriage then think again. Expecting your partner or your life to change just because you got married is like expecting your life to change because you had a birthday this year; little things like bank accounts and tax information may be different but overall it’ll all be the same. If you’ve already been in a relationship with someone for a while then you are marrying the person you know, and they will still be that person when you get married. You will still have the same income, you will still have the same house and you will still be stuck in the same life, if that’s not a good thing before you get married, it won’t be after either.
Living together is good for your relationship with your significant other, it makes you stronger, savvier and more comfortable. People argue that these are all things that you should do once you’re married, like the start of a new relationship. I say that you don’t need to know everything about your potential life partner, but almost everything. If not you may end up like Judith Mawson and not even know your husband is a serial killer.