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Do You Believe in Living Together Before Marriage?

Sometimes I feel like my grandmother's generation is like another species. Those women were just so different when it came to their opinions about relationships. I try to welcome my mom's advice, but sometimes, it's just so "out there," that I have to end the conversation.

The other day we were talking about my best friend who is about to move in with her boyfriend when my mom went off on this whole tangent. She believes that living together before you get married is a bad idea because you'll end up getting divorced. She said it's like playing house and unless the two people are committed to each other by law, that they're not going to take the relationship seriously. She thinks it makes it easy for people to walk away from their relationship problems, instead of staying together to work them out.

I had to completely disagree with her. I believe that it is absolutely essential to live with someone before you make the marriage commitment. Being in love with someone and living with someone are two totally different things. You've got to try the person out to make sure you're compatible roommates. If you can survive living together, and work out all the things you need to do like grocery shopping, cleaning, sharing a bathroom, and paying the bills, you're on your way to a successful marriage.

So what do you think about living together before marriage? Is it a good idea or a bad idea? Will it pave the way for a healthy marriage, or cause a future marriage to end up in divorce?


Join The Conversation
SaraJ451 SaraJ451 8 years
It has only been in the past 2 generations (us and partially our parents) that the technology of birth control has been freely available to allow couples like us to live together without begetting children. Also, it is now much more common to seek higher education than in our grandparents days. My grandmother was happily married at 16 and had 2 kids before she was 20! NO way I could have handled that and college too! But abstinence until post-grad??? NO WAY! I lived with my college boyfriend without marriage commitment, because we wanted EXCLUSIVE sex partners. But we made no lifetime commitment; and did not look back following graduation. As to engagement rings? My big brother gave me good advice: "don't consider one as a commitment, lots of guys in his group simply used them as a ploy to get between a girls legs, with never an intention of actual marriage!"
gbychan gbychan 8 years
Iirc, there have been a number of studies published by sociologists & demographers in academic journals that would support your mom's view. That's not to say that would happen to you personally, but that in general there's a greater tendency for live-ins & married couples that were formerly live-ins to later split up than for married couples who didn't live together prior to marriage.
debintex debintex 9 years
As a young woman of 19, I met my first husband and quickly became disillusioned after our marriage when I was 21. I did not know how he lived, or really anything about his finances...though, it wouldn't have mattered because I was "in love" and looking for a way out of my parents' house. By the time I realized it was not all I wanted I was pregnant with our first child...I truly thought there was something wrong with me...I thought I was just too selfish, just too materialistic...just something wrong with me, period! Plus, my parents said it wouldn't work--and I couldn't let them be right. So I stayed and bit my tongue, had my oldest child, and then two more...the years were not bad...the kids kept me busy and my thoughts were always focused on them. Frequently the thought of leaving would pop up, but I forced it down...for 18 years...after all, I had three kids...why mess up their worlds, just because I was unhappy...when it became so much I could not stand it, I nearly killed myself--stupid, I know--it was my cry for someone to notice how miserable I was...Anyway, it was at that point that I made the decision to leave...and it was terribly hard on everyone...and it still is...had I only known before I married him--but then again, I would not have had my kids, and they are my jewels... I am about to be 41, and I am living with my future second husband...if you had asked me when I divorced if I would ever "live with" anyone, I would have said no, never...but it happened...and it is like we have been together forever, though it's only been 9 months. I know him better than I knew my spouse before we married. I am totally committed to him, and he to me...and we are planning a simple wedding in the summer...will we survive the dreaded "living together curse"?? don't know...but I do know that we obviously each had the option of walking away, but we were and are totally committed to each other. There has never been a discussion that has not contained what is best for "us"--ever.
allien86 allien86 9 years
It totally depends on the situation. My bf is just in the process of moving in 'unofficially'. Basically he stays here most nights (for the past 4 months or so)and so we decided its more comfortable for both of us if he has most of his stuff here. I had never really thought about living with someone before marriage until I met my bf and it just feels right. We will still get married and will buy a house so there will still be the excitement of moving into our house together as husband and wife. Overall for me it has so far been great and so I definitely think its a great idea. Ive learnt so much about him and am sure that I can successfully live with him/marry him without little petty things becoming huge arguments.
bugness bugness 9 years
Moving in with my boyfriend is basically the only way. He goes to school in another state. We graduate at the same time, and we have plans to move to LA and get married when our careers are settled. So after graduation and before LA, I'm moving in with him and our best friend so that he and I can A) Live in the same city for once, and B) Get a taste of cohabitation before making the big move. The topic really depends on the person. I've seen some great arguments here for those for and against. I think it's funny that my grandpa told me when I was quite young that no matter what the rest of the family says, I should live with a person first. But almost everyone in the family's done it. Shotgun weddings for both sets of grandparents, and live-in relationships. Even though I've told no one about anything intimate, both of my grandmas are giving me sexual health advice left and right. I don't even live with him yet!
gladjenta gladjenta 9 years
i will not live with a boyfriend/fiance before i'm married, but i don't think it's necessarily wrong or a bad idea to live together before's just not my thing. when i get married i want to have the excitement of finally getting to have "our" place and move in together. if we moved in together before we got married, then we wouldn't have that to look forward to. also, my mother would give the biggest guilt trip the world has ever known if we lived together before we got married. seriously. she does that really well.
kristine13 kristine13 9 years
A few years ago, I would have said I'd never live with someone before marriage, but now that's not the case. I moved in with my boyfriend of 3 1/2 years a little over a year ago, and we're doing great! We shacked up primarily for financial reasons (we live in NY where a studio apartment costs a small fortune!), and to be able to spend some time together during the rare instances we're both home. We are both in grad school, and our schools are more than an hour away from our apartment in opposite directions. If we didn't live together, I would never see him! I also feel that you can't truly know a person until you live with them and experience all the nitty-gritty stuff of daily life. If you still love your boyfriend/girlfriend/partner after seeing every possible side of them, good and bad, and you are content in living with that person, I think that it is fine. I know that neither of our sets of parents were thrilled with the idea, but they know that we're planning to eventually head to the church, and that we're just being practical right now, since we're facing a debt of $150,000 in student loans. Bottom line: living together has to be on a case-by-case basis.
kiwishe kiwishe 9 years
I say NO to living together before getting married. I lived with a prior boyfriend after 4 years together. We had no intention of getting married in the near future, and I think issues arose that weren't there before. Plus we weren't settled on being our own selves when we were apart, living together made it worse. The relationship did eventually dissolve. Now I think living together can make the relationship go sour when one or both people in the relationship feels they need to drop their previous single life and constantly be with the other person. Plus, by living together, one or the other may think, "why bother get married when we're already living a married life?"
Pepper Pepper 9 years
SexyNeverLeft78 SexyNeverLeft78 9 years
I also agree it is necesary to live with your partner before marriage as long as it doesn't go against your religious beliefs or morals. I met my husband online in 1999, I moved to NY and we got an apartment together in 2001, got married in 2003, and we still live in the same place now. My mother was not happy I was "living in sin" but I was an adult and did what I felt was the best thing for me and us. You never truly know a person until u live with them. Say whatever u want, but you can love someone and not be able to deal with their habits, hygine, etc. A man can act one way in his parent's house or his own place and act completely different after they move in with a woman. If it is important to truly know someone before getting in a relationship, shouldn't you know ALL of him, including the little things like eating cookies in bed at 2am and not cleanign the crumbs off the sheets? Or leaveing dirty clothes and wet towels on the floor? You would never know things like that if u don't live with em first, and sometimes those little things can end up being dealbreakers in the long run.
omilawd omilawd 9 years
I wanted to move in with my boyfriend, but he was telling me that, oftentimes, people who cohabitate see marriage as "just the next step" and may not be fully prepared for it. Apparently, cohabitation also leads to a better likelihood of divorce. We discussed the options and decided against moving in with each other. If other people want to move in with each other before marriage, that's their thing; I'm not going to push my beliefs on others, but I wouldn't personally do it.
nopenope nopenope 9 years
There is no one way, it's completely up to the couple. My boyfriend and I moved in together after dating for 4.5 months, lived together for 8 months, then he transfered to a different university (400 miles away). We survived one school year so far (with him living with me all summer, and during winter break, plus frequent visits from both of us) and we're going to go back to living together after he graduates in June. I loved that we ended up living together so early in our relationship. There's a lot of trust put into living with someone. You learn so much more about them and from them, that you wouldn't have known otherwise. Yes, it can be hard or challenging sometimes, but we've grown so much closer from having lived together already. We're eachothers best friend and lover -- why would I not want to live with someone so special and important to me? We've talked about marriage, and it's definitely down the road. I think it would be insane, for me (or us), to be married before we ever lived together. We learned so much about eachother early on and we're still learning about eachother each day. We meld together very well and have great communication.
details2 details2 10 years
My parents did not live together before they were married. However my mother was 2 months pregnant with my sister at the time. My mom tells me that on their first date it was as if she heard a voice that said "this is the man I'm going to marry" and that they had discussed marriage before the pregnancy even occured. I think they had dated for about 6 months before they were married. My dad left the family after I graduated high school. He waited until then as an obligation, he had wanted to leave years earlier. He walked out on the family but never filed for a divorce. He just didn't want to be with my mom anymore. 10 years after that my mom after just waiting around - not knowing if he wanted to reconcile or what - finally filed for divorce. 33 years after they got married. What freaks me out about divorce is after 30 plus years - marriage is not safe. No relationship is ever safe. If one person wants out or something more for themselves. Everything you invested so much time in is dissolved. And how do we explain this to children? But really everytime I hear the words in the marriage cerimony..."and forsaking all others until death do us part." I just laugh to myself. It's like marriage is an extension of capitalism. "until there's something better" SO in regards to living together before marriage. Do you want to? Does he? Are you mature adults? Is the relationship strong? Go ahead. Who knows what the future will bring.
ElizabethRae ElizabethRae 10 years
A car and a husband are two VERY different things, so equating them to each other in a "try before you buy" kind of way does not make sense. If you are planning to get rid of a husband like you do a car when you get tired of driving it or the CD player doesn't work anymore, then the test drive might make sense. But a relationship that is supposed to last a lifetime and has more than just "driving" purposes should probably be tested in other ways.
beautiful1nes beautiful1nes 10 years
It depends on the person really to me it would be a no.I love my man and I would marry him and I haven't lived with him but its different for everyone, its what the person believes in.
EatYourVeggies EatYourVeggies 10 years
I really think it depends on each couple. However, it irks me when girls say that they have sex with their boyfriends regularly but it's "sinful" to live together before marriage.
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 10 years
I wouldn't do it
zoe-loves-doug zoe-loves-doug 10 years
some of my bestest friends i cannot live with. to each their own, but i think it's important to let all boundaries go and see what happens
veronicaraye veronicaraye 10 years
Very situational in my opinion.
Aristotrash Aristotrash 10 years
Eh, I always said no, but then I succumbed to the financial benefits of the situtation. Three years later, we're still living together and share a very interdependent existences - mutual friends, intertwined finances, pet dogs, etc. I don't know if we'll ever get married, but we are both very happy right now.
Greggie Greggie 10 years
I'm VERY happy I didn't "try" before I got married. It made things so much better for us.
lovekailua lovekailua 10 years
lol Violet i guess it does go to show every relationship is really different. i've been living together for 4 years and I barely do any housework. he cooks, cleans, does the laundry, takes out the trash. it could be because i am in school now and I will end up helping more later, but he surely isnt getting the better end! and i am not waiting for a ring or even wanting one as of now.
gabyt25 gabyt25 10 years
every relationship is different, so maybe because you lived with one boyfriend doesn't mean you'll live with another. I didn't live with my husband before we got married because it wasn't our thing and our traditional Mexican Catholic mothers would have died but here we are 6 years later and loving it. I do know people who live together and have childeren and they are just too lazy to plan a wedding, they say what for if they already feel married.
bbkf bbkf 10 years
Absolutely essential.
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