Let me tell you, being in your late 20s is tough. My boss jokes that her children needed her more in their 20s than any other decade and I can totally relate. There are a lot of transitions and the future is unknown. You are expected to act like an adult yet the world treats you like a reckless teenager– but with rights.
I remember after I graduated college, I was completely lost. I just started my “real job” and I had to learn how to live at home again. All of my friends lived in different parts of the country so I felt pretty lonely until I met my future husband. It was about a year after we were “official” that we were faced with a dilemma so many millennial couples come to at some point.
Is it appropriate to live with each other before marriage?
Chris and I were both raised that there are just certain things that wait until marriage and living with each other is one of them. We danced around the topic for as long as we could but we realistically I was staying at his apartment 6/7 nights a week. I would go home on a weekday just to do laundry and swap out clothes. Eventually I got tired of this game so made the executive decision to keep some clothes and a toothbrush at his apartment.
After a few deep conversations about the mixed emotions, we both agreed on two things.
- I hadn’t officially moved in with him, I just kept 50% of my belongings there.
- If we did get engaged, I would start staying elsewhere before the wedding.
This was our compromise with the issue and it helped us sleep at night. Two years later, Chris asked me to spend forever with him and I did as we agreed; I moved out… I mean I started staying elsewhere.
This month, Chris and I are celebrating our two-year wedding anniversary and I have had lots of time to reflect on this issue that so many other couples face. I know what it’s like to have that conversation with parents and loved ones. I know how big of a step it is in a relationship but I am here to tell you why cohabitating worked out for us.
We learned each other’s quirks. Everyone has that weird thing they do but don’t realize it’s weird. To the other person, it’s so cute and makes them so unique but after awhile that quirk can drive you crazy. I am super messy in the kitchen, I won’t deny it and it drives my husband crazy.
We learned how to communicate. They say it’s the #1 key to a successful relationship and we almost have it mastered now. Part of communicating is learning compromise. I learned how much my messiness upset Chris and we were able to compromise by taking turns on kitchen duty.
We learned our daily habits. Good news, neither of us are morning people and we both love movies. As human beings, we both need space and like our independence. We learned how each other functions as human beings and if we could make our hectic lives blend.
I am aware of the other side of the topic. You can still learn all of this once you get married. Trust me, I’ve read the statistics and here is what they say: 50% of cohabitating couples do indeed get married and those who do are more likely to get a divorce. Cohabitating individuals are five-times more likely to separate and are more likely to cheat.
Every couple is different and every situation is different. For us, cohabitating before marriage possibly saved it. To answer your question, things did change once we got married but that’s for another time. After we got married, we faced something that I pray no newlywed couple ever has to face– cancer. And the time we spent battling chemotherapy would have traditionally been the time we learned how to live together.
Ultimately, you have to make the right decision for your relationship. It made sense with our careers and our lifestyles. I thank God every day for each of our experiences before marriage and I thank him for the life we have.
Thankfully, I knew my husband enough to help him battle for his life. To battle for our life.