Hello and happy Monday kids. Before we get to the Ask Vesta question of the week, here’s a pic of a wine bottle label we saw over the weekend (we did not try it). Considering today’s topic, it seemed…appropriate-ish?
Do you think living together before marriage is a good idea? Some statistics show that couples who cohabitate before marriage are more likely to get divorced. However, this may be because people who are willing to live together before marriage are also the ones who are likely to leave an unhappy marriage.
Dear Shacking up,
Several years ago I read an interview with Tilda Swinton, in which she discussed her living arrangements. La Swinton, at least at the time, lived with her husband, lover, and two children in Scotland.
Why do I mention this? Because the ultimate answer to your question is, different strokes for different folks.
People may not marry for numerous reasons, financial, logistics, or perhaps they simply don’t believe in the institution. But that doesn’t mean cohabiting couples don’t also enter into lifelong, committed relationships. In my opinion, the issue isn’t so much moving in with someone you aren’t married to, but moving in with someone to ‘try it out’. You test drive cars, not people. When two people decide to move in together, with or without the piece of paper declaring them legally married, they should both have clear expectations of their future. And even more importantly, they should have a long, serious discussion about those expectations and make sure they are on the same page. You can’t just assume, you know what I’m saying?
I did not live with my husband until we married. I refused to throw in the towel of independent living unless I was absolutely certain it was with the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with, and if I was positive of that then why not wait until the deed was done (meaning marriage, because for me personally it was important)? That was my individual choice. My sister and her husband lived together before marriage, and before they were engaged. We have friends that live together and they’re married, and friends that live together and aren’t. Some people, thanks to stupid laws, are married in their minds but can’t legally marry (yet). The only difference between their relationship and mine is a piece of paper. Actually, my man and I are probably the only married couple we know that didn’t live together first. And if for some reason it comes up in conversation, it’s usually met with an incredulous look.
I lived alone for seven years, and giving up my ‘me time’ was a big decision. I told my husband my feelings on cohabitation prior to marriage two months into our relationship, so he was always aware the option of living together wasn’t going to happen unless we married. When we finally tied the knot we moved in to a new apartment three weeks later. I will never forget our first trip to Target as man and wife. Suddenly, everything was a mutual decision. What kind of toilet paper should we get? Gee, I dunno, whatever kind you want. I remember thinking, holy crap, is this marriage? Did I just give up the right to choose my own toilet paper? So to be honest, the first two to three months of marriage were…taxing. We dated for years, but the saying is true, you definitely don’t truly know a person until you’ve lived with them. Obviously we worked it out after a while, but had we lived together first, all those little odds and ends would have already resolved themselves. So perhaps there is something to be said for living together first – when and if you do decide to marry, you can smoothly sail right into it.