Common-law marriages are quickly becoming the common alternative to marriage in this day and age. Since common-law couples are entitled to the same rights as married couples, why not opt for the less traditional approach to married life?
For those of you who prefer being legally married, can we at least agree that living together before marriage isn’t the worst sin in the world? In fact, I think couples living together are taking an important step toward that marital commitment.
I’m happily engaged to a wonderful man. Sure, we’re engaged to be legally married (one day), but currently we’re living together in common-law matrimony. As a common-law wife, I have to say that living together before marriage is a great idea. Here are the benefits I’ve experienced with choosing to live together before tying the knot.
Pro #1 – You get to see your partner’s day-to-day activities and habits
I know a few couples who lived with their parents, got engaged and then moved in together after they got married – thinking married life would be just like when they were dating. If you’re like that, you’re in for a RUDE AWAKENING.
Living together before marriage allows you to see your partner’s regular activities, routines and habits. Guys, are you okay with seeing your girl with no makeup on, wearing bummy clothes and doing her lady things in the bathroom, bedroom or wherever she may? Ladies, are you going to keep your cool when your man is lounging around in his boxers, watching TV, playing video games or farting repeatedly?
No? Then you’re not ready for marriage.
Dating is like interviewing for a new job. You wear your best clothes and act properly to present yourself in the best possible light. Living together is like casual Fridays at a job you’ve been at for a few years. You’ve gotten comfortable, so you start wearing what you want, acting more like yourself, and taking a more relaxed approach.
Pro #2 – You learn how your partner approaches household chores
Living together before marriage is by far the best way to gauge how your partner approaches household chores. Sleeping over on weekends won’t do it. You’re still considered an overnight guest, so we’ll tidy up, vacuum, do laundry (or hide our dirty laundry) before you come over. Then we do it all again before the next time you come over.
Once you move in together, the vacuuming, laundry and dishes are now part of the shared chores of the home. Living together will reveal if you can agree on who does what chores, when, how often and more importantly, if you’re comfortable with the way the other person does things.
First thing’s first. Before you even think about getting married, you need to have the money talk. Once you get married, “my money” and “your money” suddenly becomes “our money.” But sharing money also means sharing debts, loans, and lines of credit.
Granted you don’t technically need to live together to learn if you’re financially on the same page, but living together does help. Why? Because you’re paying bills as a couple. This is when you’ll discover how financially responsible your significant other is. Does he/she pay their bills late, on time, at all? Do they practice good saving habits or live pay cheque to pay cheque? Can you two agree on how to divide the household bills? These questions get answered pretty quickly after living together. Trust me.
Pro #4 – Living together helps you determine if you can spend the rest of your life together
Let me just clarify one thing. I’m not saying that couples need to live together first or else they’ll fail in their marriage. Nor am I saying that couples who do live together before marriage will always succeed.
What I am saying though is living together before marriage will help you realize how compatible you really are (or aren’t). And it will help you determine if you can spend the rest of your life together (or not). Knowing your partner’s day-to-day activities and habits, how they approach household chores and how they handle money is important before taking that leap into married life. In my opinion, living together is the best way to find those answers.
For example, if I never moved in with my fiancée (who was my boyfriend at the time), I would have never realized how much I wanted him to be my husband. Living together helped us realize how perfect we are for each other. Every couple is different, but for us, the decision to live together before marriage was a great one!
What’s your opinion on the topic? Should couples live together before getting married? Leave me a comment.