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.
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.
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.
More articles on cohabitation:
- The Downside of Cohabitation Before Marriage
- The Problem with Living Together
- 5 (Secular) Reasons Not to Live Together Before Marriage