Will living together before marriage ruin your relationship?

May 3 | Guest post by Annarhoswen

Offbeat Bride just talked about pre-wedding cohabitation from the perspective of the still-engaged, so we thought we'd look at it from the married-people side here on Offbeat Home, too!

Living in Sin No More
Photo (and pillow!) by Carly
I recently read the New York Times article The Downside of Cohabitating Before Marriage, and found myself filled with thoughts. I disagree with much of what is written in the article, specifically because of what the author says at the end:

I am not for or against living together, but I am for young adults knowing that, far from safeguarding against divorce and unhappiness, moving in with someone can increase your chances of making a mistake — or of spending too much time on a mistake.

A mentor of mine used to say, "The best time to work on someone's marriage is before he or she has one," and in our era, that may mean before cohabitation.

Speaking from purely anecdotal evidence, if I had waited until after marrying my partner to move in together, I probably would have gotten a divorce. We have lived together for over five years and have learned so much about each other and ourselves that our relationship is stronger than ever. I don't feel trapped, I don't feel like he isn't committed and I definitely don't feel like I'm marrying him just because it seems like the thing to do. After six and half years together, I know, clearly, that I want to spend the rest of my life with him. I have known friends that have broken up after moving in together because they drove each other nuts in a way that wouldn't have happened unless they moved in together.

The problem isn't cohabitation before marriage, it's the societal pressure to get married (I'm looking at you, Wedding Industrial Complex) and that if you don't get married by, say, 30, you're a failure as a human being (there's also something to be said for gender stereotypes and the pressure to reproduce).

If I went back in time six years, I'd still choose to live with my partner. I think it was the right choice for us. Are you on board with cohabitation before marriage, or do you think it'll endanger the future of your relationship?

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