Should You Live Together Before Marriage?
A question for the ages…or at least for the modern age. Should you or should you not live together before marriage?
Ask the question of anyone, and religion often plays a role in the answer. Some will give you a strong ‘no,’ because cohabitation is against their religious beliefs; others advocate for sharing a home (and a bed) before marriage to ensure that the relationship will stick.
But let’s look at the pros and cons of living together before marriage without the religious connotations and in a more objective light.
Pro: You Spend More Time with Your Partner Prior to the Commitment of Marriage
Not only will spending more time getting to know your partner before locking him or her down give you a better picture of what your future will look like together, but it will also allow you to see if this relationship has legs. Let’s face it, sometimes the “honeymoon period” doesn’t last longer than a month. If you jump right into marriage and, a month in, find that not only is the honeymoon period over, but you despise the person you’re sharing your bed with, you’ll have to go through a lengthy legal process to end the relationship. If you simply share an apartment, all you must do is divide up your belongings and get outta dodge!
Con: You May Always Question If Your Partner is Truly Committed
If you live together without a serious commitment, you or your partner may feel as though the coupling isn’t being taken seriously by the other. This lack of commitment may chip away at your relationship and your trust.
Pro: Cohabitation Allows You to See If You Can Tolerate Pet Peeves
No one is perfect, and everyone has pet peeves. If your partner just so happens to crunch his cereal so loudly that you want to stab him in the eye with his spoon, isn’t this something you’d like to know prior to committing yourself to the 6 AM chomping for life? Or what if your partner leaves a gob of hair in the bathroom sink that makes you want to vomit every morning? Wouldn’t you prefer someone with similar hygienic standards? While both of these things can be discussed and overcome in a healthy relationship, your cohabitation period will be like a petri dish to study and judge whether or not you can tolerate each other for a lifetime.
Con: If You Need to Test-drive the Relationship, You Likely Already See Flaws
While many point out that it’s healthy to live together before marriage for the very reasons stated above, you might also look at cohabitation as a “test-drive.” And when you test-drive something, you’re trying to pinpoint its flaws. This may make you dissect your relationship more vehemently than if you didn’t live together, picking apart your relationship at the seams. It might also make you more critical of your partner, which is a recipe for disaster.
Pro: You Save Some Money
One rather practical advantage of cohabitation is that when you share your home, you share the costs. Many people live together before marriage nowadays simply to save on rent. This isn’t a bad thing. Considering shared financial issues is smart for any relationship, as fights over finances are common. And, hey, if the partnership didn’t succeed, at least your bank account did.
Con: You May Give Up Easier on Something Worth Fighting for
If the real reason you choose to cohabitate rather than commit to marriage is that you want to leave whenever it gets “too hard,” then you probably shouldn’t be in a relationship in the first place. Relationships are work and giving up on the relationship instead of working through its struggles may be something you’ll regret. Being that divorce involves a lot of paperwork, married couples often fight harder for the relationship if it’s worth fighting for than do those who just share a home.
There are advantages and disadvantages to cohabitation before marriage. Deciding if it’s right for you largely depends on your relationship, your commitment and your dynamic. Discuss the pros and cons with your partner before deciding if it’s best for you.
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