Today, couples deciding on living together before marriage are no longer a surprise unlike before.
After a few months of dating, most couples would rather test the waters and move in together. Some have other reasons they choose to start living with someone before marriage.
In this article, we’ll explore cohabitation pros and cons, and how you can prepare if you decide to move in with your partner.
What is meant by living together/cohabitation?
The definition of cohabitation or living together cannot be found in legal books. However, living together as a couple means an arrangement the couple makes to live together. Cohabitation involves more than sharing just the accommodation.
There is no clarity in legal terms as there is for marriage. Cohabitation usually is agreed upon when the couple shares an intimate relationship.
Living together before marriage– A safer option?
Today, most people are practical, and more and more people are opting to move in with their partners rather than plan a wedding and be together. Some couples who decide to move in together don’t even consider getting married yet.
Here are some of the reasons why couples move in together:
1. It’s more practical
A couple may come to an age where moving in together before marriage makes more sense than paying twice for rent. It’s being with your partner and saving money simultaneously — practical.
2. The couple can get to know each other better
Some couples think it’s time to step a notch in their relationship and move in together. It’s preparing for their long-term relationship. This way, they get to know more about each other before they choose to get married. Safe play.
3. It’s a good option for people who don’t believe in marriage
Moving in with your partner because you or your lover doesn’t believe in marriage. Some people think that marriage is only for formality, and there’s no reason for it other than giving you a hard time if they call it quits.
4. The couple won’t have to go through a messy divorce if they break up
Divorce rates are high, and we’ve seen the harsh reality of it. Some couples who know this first hand, whether with their family members or even from a past relationship, will no longer believe in marriage.
For these people, divorce is such a traumatic experience that even if they can love again, considering marriage is no longer an option.
5. Build a stronger relationship
Another reason couples choose cohabitation before marriage is to help them strengthen their bond. Some couples believe you’ll only get to know your partner when you start living together.
By living together, they can spend more time together and build a stronger foundation for their relationship.
This opportunity also gives them the time and opportunity to share experiences, daily routines, and practices, be able to take care of each other and spend their lives as a couple. They would also learn how to deal with issues and even misunderstandings.
5 pros and cons of living together before marriage
Is living together before marriage a good idea? Do you know what you and your partner are getting yourselves into?
We need to know the marriage vs. living together pros and cons so that we can weigh in if we should do it or not. Are you ready to know whether you should live together before marriage?
Let’s dig deeper into the pros and cons of choosing to live with your partner.
There are many living together before marriage pros.
Check out the benefits of living together before marriage or the reasons why living together before marriage is a good idea:
1. Moving in together is a wise decision — financially
You get to share everything, such as paying the mortgage, splitting your bills, and even having time to save if you ever want to tie the knot anytime soon. If marriage is not part of your plans just yet— you will have extra money to do what you like.
2. Division of chores
Chores are no longer being taken care of by one person. Moving in together means you get to share household chores. Everything is shared, so there is hopefully less stress and more time to rest.
3. It’s like a playhouse
You get to try what it’s like living as a married couple without the papers.
This way, if things don’t work out, just leave, and that’s it. This has become an appealing decision for most people nowadays. No one wants to spend thousands of dollars and deal with counseling and hearings just to get out of the relationship.
4. Test the strength of your relationship
The ultimate test in living together is to check if you’re going to work out or not. Being in love with a person is different than living with them.
It’s a whole new thing when you have to live with them and be able to see their habits if they are messy in the house, if they will do their chores or not. It’s basically living with the reality of having a partner.
5. It lessens marriage stress
What is marriage stress and why does it belong to the benefits of living together before marriage?
When you prepare for your marriage, you must worry about many things. It would help if you planned moving into another home, changing habits and how you budget, and so much more.
If you are already living together, then it’s one of the advantages living together before marriage can give you. You are already acquainted with a married couple’s setup, so it lessens the stress.
While living together before marriage may seem appealing, there are also some not-so-good areas to consider.
So, should couples live together before marriage? Remember, every couple is different.
While there are benefits, there are also consequences depending on the kind of relationship that you’re in. There will be times when you’d contemplate the reasons why living together before marriage is a bad idea. Know below this is a bad idea:
1. The reality of finances isn’t as rosy as you expected
Expectations hurt, especially when you think about having shared bills and chores. Even if you choose to live together to be more financially practical, you might get into a bigger headache when you find yourself with a partner who thinks you’ll shoulder all the finances.
2. Getting married doesn’t remain as significant
Couples who move in together are less likely to decide to get married. Some have kids and have no time to settle into marriage or become so comfortable that they’d think they no longer need a paper to prove they are working out as a couple.
3. Live-in couples don’t work as hard to save their relationship
An easy way out, this is the most common reason why people living together do get separated over time. They will no longer work hard to save their relationship because they are not bonded by marriage.
4. False commitment
False commitment is one term to use with people who would rather choose to live together for good rather than tie the knot. Before you start a relationship, you need to know the meaning of real commitment, and part of this is getting married.
5. Live-in couples are not entitled to the same legal rights
One disadvantage of living together before marriage is that when you’re not married, you don’t have some of the rights a married person has, especially when dealing with certain laws.
Now that you know the pros and cons of living together before marriage, would you decide to do it or wait until you’re married?
5 ways to know you are ready for marriage after living together
You’ve lived together for a couple of months, or maybe a few years, and you know that living together before marriage worked out for you. The next phase is asking yourself, “Are we ready to get married?”
Here are five ways to know you’re ready to tie the knot.
1. You trust and respect each other
Indeed, living together will teach you how to trust and respect each other. You learn how to work as a team, solve problems, and show your vulnerability to your partner.
Like when you are married, you learn how to rely on and help each other through the good and bad times. Even without the legalities, most couples who live together treat each other as spouses.
You will also experience trials that will test your love, trust, and respect for each other. If you surpass these challenges and feel like your bond strengthens, that’s a good sign.
2. You love living together
One of the benefits of cohabitation before marriage is that you’ve had a taste of what it would be like to live under one roof. You have their habits, know if they snore, and maybe even have petty fights about these.
No matter how chaotic your few months together are and how much you’ve adjusted, thinking about living together permanently puts a smile on your face.
If you enjoy waking up with your partner each day, and can’t imagine anything else, then you’re ready to tie the knot.
3. You feel excited about starting your own family
Have you been living together before marriage? Do people often tell you that you’re perfect and you just need to tie the knot?
If you talk about marriage and kids, you feel excited. Sometimes, even without realizing it, you plan to have kids and build your own family.
You have fulfilled your honeymoon bucket list, spent so much time together, and you are in the phase where you want to make it formal and have kids as well. You’re ready to have those sleepless nights and messy but beautiful homes with kids.
4. You feel that you’re all set to move forward
After a couple of months of living together, have you talked about marriage, buying a home, investments, and getting different insurance to excite you?
Well, congratulations, you are all set to move forward together. You will know when the right time is, it’s when your goals change. From date nights to future homes and cars, these mean that you’re both ready to move forward.
Living together before marriage gives you that chance to experience and realize these even before saying, “I do.”
5. You know you’ve found the one
Sure, there are also many disadvantages of living together before marriage, but one thing that makes living together great is that you’ll be able to see if you’re meant for each other.
All those trials, happy memories, and growth you’ve experienced while living together have made both of you sure about your decision. You know you want to spend your whole life with this person.
Marriage will just be legality, but you know you are already meant for each other.
5 ways to prepare for living together before marriage
Many will tell you why couples should not live together before marriage, but again, this is your choice, and as long as you are prepared, you can choose to live together even if you’re not married yet.
Speaking of preparedness, how do you prepare for this? Here are five ways that can help you prepare to live together as a couple:
1. Go and set rules
Living together before marriage is not a game. You are both grown-ups that choose to live together under one roof. This means it’s just right that you create rules.
Create rules that will work for both of you. Take time and discuss each one; better if you could write them on paper.
Include dividing chores, how many appliances you can have, where you need to spend your holidays and even your pet peeves inside the home.
Of course, this is when you will also discover habits that may not make you happy. This is also the time to talk about that and start agreeing on your terms.
2. Talk and be clear with your goals
Don’t be shy to add this topic when discussing living together before marriage. Remember, this is your life.
Talk about what you expect when moving in together. Is this to live like a married couple? Maybe you just want to save money and it’s more convenient? It’s better to be clear about expectations and goals to avoid misunderstanding.
3. Inform your family
Don’t forget to inform your families about your decision to cohabitate. They have a right to know that their family member is making a huge life decision.
Also, you’ll have to talk and be with them at some point. It would be a great thing if they would both support you in your decision. This also reduces the risk of any issues arising from keeping your decision secret.
There’s nothing wrong with living together, but it’s just right that you inform the people closest to you as a form of respect.
4. Budget together
Expert marriage counseling advice always recommends discussing your finances before moving in together. This will be a very important aspect of your life as a couple.
This would include, but would not be limited to your monthly budget, financial allocation, savings, emergency funds, debts, and so much more.
By discussing your finances beforehand, you prevent money issues from arising. This will also help you work things out, especially if one earns more than the other.
Here is one of the most important foundations of lasting relationships – communication. Make sure that before you decide on living together, you already have firm and open communication.
It won’t work out if you don’t. Communication is crucial in any relationship, especially when planning to move in and live together.
Everything we have discussed boils down to open and honest communication with your partner.
Terri Cole, a licensed psychotherapist and leading global expert in female empowerment, tackles defensiveness and the inability to communicate.
Being in a relationship isn’t easy, and with all the issues that can arise, some would just test it out rather than jump into marriage. There is no guarantee that choosing to live together before you get married will guarantee a successful union or a perfect marriage after that.
Whether you test your relationship for years before getting married or have chosen marriage over living together, the quality of your marriage will still depend on both of you. It takes two people to achieve a successful partnership in life. Both people in the relationship should compromise, respect, be responsible, and love each other for their union to succeed.
No matter how open-minded our society is today, no couple should disregard how important marriage is. There’s no problem in living together before marriage. Some of the reasons behind this decision are rather practical and true. However, every couple should still consider getting married soon.