A Couple of Catholics

A blog about faith, intentional living and the joys and struggles of married life.

Tag: Cohabitation

Love on Purpose: Our Interview with HuffPost Live

Last Thursday Patrick and I found ourselves as guests among a panel of others with HuffPost Live, a real-time network news source. This segment’s discussion surrounded itself around a recent study, which suggests that couples living together before marriage have a higher chance of getting divorced than those who wait until they are married to live together. (Yeah cause we’ve never seen anything like this come out before)

Regardless of one’s religion or spiritual beliefs, no one desires for a romantic relationship to fail. Time and again though, studies like these seem to make an appearance about every 10 years. So why aren’t people catching on?

Think what you may about cohabitation, but there is one basic point that failed to be articulated during this segment; what is the purpose of romantic relationships?

Companionship

This is an obvious one. The reason people flirt, hangout, date and eventually marry one another is for companionship. We are all looking for another that we can share our lives with, someone to join us in the ups, downs, trials and victories. Life is better shared.

At our deepest level, we all want to be known by another. We desire to be accepted and loved for who we truly are. In turn, we also want to deeply know someone. We desire to know them so completely and intimately in order to better love them.

Procreation

While there is plenty to say on the topic of children, ultimately a marriage finds a certain fulfillment in bringing life into this world. Regardless of whether you want children or not, the point cannot be denied that one of the basic purposes of marriage is to repopulate the world.

Self-Improvement

My relationship with Patrick is not meant to be easy. It isn’t even meant to always make me happy. Happiness is fleeting and moods are shifting, mine particularly. There are some days when Patrick annoys me to no end, and I’m sure there are plenty of times when he feels the same way towards me.

Relationships are meant to smooth out our rough edges. It isn’t until we are intimately placed face to face before another that we realize how imperfect we actually are. The same qualities that drive me to insanity about Patrick are the same qualities that attracted me to him in the first place.

I know it sounds hard and it is, but the joy that comes from this is truly lasting and like nothing I have ever experienced before. Love is not about making us happy at any given moment. It is not about making sure that my foolish insecurities are calmed. It is about sacrifice, choice and ultimately making us better, more generous people; better for each other and better for the world.

Watch Us on HuffPost Live

Living together before marriage — why I’m waiting until after the wedding

I am officially a nomad until I get married in November. I moved out of my house and am temporarily living with my parents. Life would be much easier if my fiancé and I were living together. Practical problems like financial pressures would make moving in with her a good solution. From my rough calculation, Nicole and I would save about $300 per month (money that would be nice to have for our honeymoon). However, there is value in waiting to live together until after you are married. Below are the reasons I’m waiting to move in until after I say, “I do.”

I want my marriage to last

The fact of the matter is that couples who cohabit before marriage tend to be less satisfied with their marriages — and more likely to divorce — than couples who do not. These negative outcomes are called the cohabitation effect. There is a big difference between a permanent bond such as marriage and just living together in a conditional relationship.

It’s easier to slip into marriage

Often after living with your significant other for a long time, a wedding seems like something you should do. Getting married should not be a default next step. Marriage is an active and conscious decision to say that you will love and be committed to this person for your lifetime. By living together before marriage, you don’t get space (literally) to take a step back and objectively decide whether this person is truly meant to be your spouse.

Related: Watch Our HuffPost Interview on Cohabitation

I don’t need to “test it out”

A lot of people say, “I can only marry someone if he or she agrees to live together first so that we can find out whether we really get along.” Many think that this a good way to avoid divorce. This logic is flawed. Women and men see moving in together differently. Women are more likely to view cohabitation as a step toward marriage while men are more likely to see it as a way to test a relationship or postpone commitment.

The more important question is, what is there to test? I’ve dated Nicole for over a year and a half. I think I know how my fiancé lives her life. True, I may not fully understand all her nuances, but these are all part of the excitement (and struggle) of marriage.

I want to keep the spark alive 

One of the beautiful things about marriage and the engagement period is its mystery. If we had lived together when I proposed, it would have made that hugely romantic gesture a lot less momentous. Most of the romance comes from the idea that the man and woman are entering into a huge new commitment together. If you’re already engaging in all the intimacy and sacrifice that comes with making a home together, the excitement fizzles away.

Part of what keeps the spark alive is a couple experiencing new things together. Moving in together seems pretty new and monumental wouldn’t you say?

I don’t want my wedding to be lame

Living together before marriage makes most wedding traditions meaningless. What is the point of a bachelor party? The honeymoon turns into just a fun trip and lacks a certain specialness. Lastly, the symbolism of a father walking his daughter down the aisle is lost given that it’s supposed to show the woman leaving her home and making a new one with her husband.

Chastity smastity

I decided to wait to have sex until marriage long before I met Nicole. One of the hardest things for guys to do is to say goodbye to their honeys at the end of the night (it’s even worse when you are engaged). Living together would only make chaste living that much more difficult.

I like to be unique

According to the New York Times, cohabitation in the United States has increased by more than 1,500 percent in the last half century. In 1960, about 450,000 unmarried couples lived together. Now the number is more than 7.5 million. The majority of young adults in their 20s will live with a romantic partner at least once, and more than half of all marriages will be preceded by cohabitation. Why should I be like everyone else?

In today’s complex world, I can see how living together before marriage would seem to simplify things. However, more and more I’m convinced that the sacrifices are well worth the benefits of waiting to make a home until after the wedding.

Have thoughts, leave them in the comments below or tweet us @CoupleCatholics.

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