Should you live with someone before getting married?

OK, I waited a really long time to write about this one…so long that the poll question has been moved down to the bottom of the page. I don’t really know as though I have much to say on this topic – but I did ask the poll question so I guess I have to chime in here a bit.

There are positives and negatives to this (Evangelical beliefs laid aside)

I will say that I am quite surprised with how NOT close the poll was.
66% of you said no
26% of you said yes
And the rest of you said it doesn’t really matter.

Today it seems somewhat culturally bound…and I think there are benefits – it helps you really get to know someone (people are DIFFERENT when you live with them). There are lots of habits we can hide for a while that just creep out when you spend more time with someone.

Then again…with it being so culturally bound, there are times I think when you are not held accountable to the level of commitment you would be if you were living with someone in marriage. If you live with someone before you get married there are certain pressures that are not necessarily met by commitment…I mean, I guess you ARE committed to one another to a certain extent if you have taken the step to move in together – but, it is different.

I guess I think this one tends to be a case-by-case type of situation. What do you think?


DanP said...

I do like the term "shacking up" but it seems we don't really use it in marriage. Living together also seems to imply a sexual relationship.

I have read studies which have found that those who live together before marriage have a considerably higher chance of eventually divorcing. The reasons for this are not well understood. In part, the type of people who are willing to cohabit may also be those who are more willing to divorce. There is some evidence that the act of cohabitation itself generates attitudes in people that are more conducive to divorce, for example the attitude that relationships are temporary and easily can be ended.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a big fan of the implications to how we define love. The benefits you propose could imply that love is for our own personal comfort. If you're somebody I can stand to live with then I guess I can love you. Plenty of arranged marriages have worked out on far less.
...for what it's worth.

B-W said...

I don't know what kind of demographics your blog readership fits into, but I certainly imagine that self-professing Christians (and certainly those of an "evangelical" persuasion) will be FAR more likely to answer "no" to the poll than others might. Of course, you get to some of that with the comments on culture, but I think that, in this case, that rather specific cultural identification is at play.

Jeffery said...

"There is a higher risk, 40 to 85%, of divorce between couples cohabiting before marriage than couples waiting until after marriage to share a home together."

It doesn't look like living together before you're married helps much.

Then again if you're looking for domestic companionship without serious commitment its a win win.

lizzo said...

danp hit it right on the head.

Green-n-Squeaky Clean said...

I took a marriage and family class in undergrad with prof who was extremely anti-religious in every way. He was very responsive to research, data, and stats and was very forthright in how puzzled he was by the divorce rate of people who "shack up." It has been that prof's reaction to the study that has made me not ever want to "cohabitate."

I have read that people who move in together after they become engaged but before they are married, have the same "stay together" rate than those who move in post nup. I think that is very interesting.

Michi said...

Stats are helpful, but we shouldn't let them dictate our lives. I say do what feels right for your individual situation.

I enjoy reading the points of view of your main readership. Probably because they differ from my own (and most of the people in my circle) in some ways. The people in my life and I were (for the most part) raised with Catholic/Christian values but we are not as tradional. :)

Dodi said...

I just want to give myself any advantage I can in terms of lowering my chances for divorce. If waiting to live together is an advantage, I'll do it!

Along with that, I feel like there is some fun in putting off "creating a home" together. I think I'd like to do that with my husband rather than my boyfriend. (Just a personal opinion.)

Plus, my good friend Virge told me, "patience is a virtue." And Virge is wicked smart.

Olivia McCain said...

i'm moving into an apartment with my boyfriend in May. we will be engaged before we move in together, with the plan to be married in early fall.

but to his family it is still a bit shocking as they NEVER lived together before marriage.
in my opinion, the willingness to divorce isn't decided on whether you share rent before you say vows...it depends on where you are in your life and are you at a place where you can choose a good life partner.

so to sum it up: i agree with michi...do what is right for you. :)