Once you meet someone and the idea of spending the rest of your lives together is a real option, a simple yet sometimes complicated question may arise: Should you live together before tying the knot? There are some religious beliefs that prohibit such a situation, and that may answer the question for you without any further consideration. However, some don’t feel that way, so the question carries some heavy weight. There are some pros and cons to choosing to live together for a while before walking down the aisle.
Trends are showing that fewer people are getting married and divorced right now, due in large part to the country’s economic woes. I mean, let’s face it: getting married or divorced can cost an arm, a leg, and perhaps half of one kidney. Diving right into a marriage for many just isn’t financially feasible, unless you and your family are perfectly fine with a trip to the local Justice of the Peace. It’s still a big decision, either way you go, and it may be worth a trial period before putting your finances in a deeper hole.
Living together gives you both a good idea of what to expect in day-to-day life together. What may be a cute quirk to you now may turn into the equivalent of nails on the chalkboard in six months. Your partner may say he’s good with money, but seeing how the two of you handle the combined bills in your household now may save you money on a divorce lawyer later. There is a real benefit to a try-before-you-buy option when it comes to the idea of a longer commitment.
Although you and your partner may be completely on-board with this modern attitude, be prepared for family members who aren’t as progressive. There may be the pressure to just bite the bullet and get married, or to not consider such a living arrangement before sliding rings on each other’s fingers. If the two of you are committed to live together, this is your first test to work as a team and stand with each other as you battle the family barbs. Have a plan by talking with each other about possible arguments that may arise, and this will help you both navigate those treacherous waters.
Living together will also give you both the opportunity to shift into life with a partner, instead of living alone. The big things to consider are the habits you both have when no one else is around, such as waking up at 2 a.m. for a snack in your underwear when the mood strikes or something as simple as watching your guilty-pleasure show on television. Compromises will have to be made, and they are often easier to do in a co-habitation situation that doesn’t involve a marriage contract.
This isn’t an easy decision to make for some, but it’s usually an easier choice to make than it is to commit to a full-blown marriage right out of the gate. Take your time, be open and understanding, and communicate as often as possible. Living together before tying the knot will give you both a more relaxed introduction to life together forever.
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