real talk tuesday: living together before marriage

Happy Tuesday!  Over here in Boston we are, once again, staring down the barrel of another nor’easter.  Yep, we hadn’t had one all winter, and now we’re anticipating the second in the same week.  But this time, I guess Wisconsin is getting a blizzard dumped on them as well so… maybe Florida is the right choice?  But don’t tell my brother-in-law I said that, since I’m still trying to convince him that I’m not jealous at all that he packed up and headed south for life. 😂

This week’s binge-fest has been super Duggar-central.  I know this family is a little bit controversial in recent years, but aside from all the headlines and obvious no-nos, I have to say, overall I love how they are as a spiritual family, and even though it’s reality TV, I always just feel better after watching the show.  It’s a breath of fresh air for me that not everything has to be marred with politics and negativity, and that shows with good old-fashioned family values still exist.

So the older Duggar children are all either married off or getting engaged.  Let’s face it– they don’t date for very long.  In fact, they “court,” which they’ve defined as more purposeful dating, with marriage as their endgame.  But during their courtships with their boyfriend/girlfriend, they set certain rules including no hand holding, no kissing, and even avoiding full-on hugs before they tie the knot.  Now, I personally find these to be a little extreme for most’s standards, but honestly, to each their own, and if both parties are cool with this, seriously, who is anyone to tell them they’re wrong?

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I realize this may sound a little hypocritical coming from judge Judy over here. 🙋🏻Especially when I feel the need to psychologically dissect someone for not using their blinker in traffic.  But I promise, while I may openly admit to having road rage, I’m very much a “no judgment zone” about real life things. 😂

But anyway, the whole idea of courtship got me thinking about a more mainstream controversy: living together before marriage.  Do you agree with it or disagree?

I am a Catholic, born and raised.  I think because of that people assume I will feel a certain way about it.  But, from my understanding (which is limited), that pertains more to abstinence before marriage.  (Correct me if I’m wrong!) I know that thats a super personal topic for people, and if they choose to follow that path, I think it’s amazing.  But, even as a Christian with those suggested restrictions in mind, I personally think two people serious enough to be considering marriage should live together first.  For the same reason I think they should vacation together even before moving in.  Just to experience that “24/7” kind of feeling before it actually becomes 24/7.  (But like I said, if you did things differently, and that worked for you, then I love that it did!)

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I’ve heard different arguments.  And I think above all, it is the arguments against it that make me defend this side of things more than me necessarily feeling a certain way about it.

The main point against living together seemed to be, essentially, why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?  Studies have shown that with the growing rate of couples living together, the rate of couples actually tying the knot is shrinking.

That may be true, but, do the studies also keep track of when the couples break up?  Because, if you ask me, people not getting married after moving in together more than likely indicates that they weren’t right for each other, not so much that they got an apartment together and vowed to be roommates until death did they part.

I mean, I get it.  But for my situation, that didn’t really apply because in my own life with my own standards for myself, I wouldn’t be finding myself moving in with someone whom I wasn’t gunning to see at the end of the aisle someday anyway.  I’m lazy like that.  Or maybe it’s the Catholic in me.  Probably both.

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Supposedly the divorce rate is also higher if you lived together before marriage than if you hadn’t.  Something about moving in together being a factor in the excitement that follows marriage.

For me, the excitement that followed marriage was just being married.  Not, “yay! I get to move now!”  Moving sucks ass.  If I hadn’t already lived there, you can bet I would have had that bulls*** with a capital B all squared away before the big day.  Because, yeah right would I be looking forward to that as the high point following my wedding.  No thank you.  Aside from that though, if you are excited for marriage because of living together afterward, of course that’s great.. But even if you did wait, then you know that eventually that newness wears off and becomes old hat either way.  So I’m not really buying this particular statistic as a contributing factor to divorce.

As for me, I did live with Anthony before we got married.  He had moved to Wisconsin for his job with plans for me to follow about two months later, and we got engaged in between.  If he hadn’t gotten a job that moved us across the country though, I’m not sure what the case would have been, as we were both living in our parents’ houses before we left the state.  Looking back, I don’t know if we would have ended up living together at all beforehand, if not just for finance’s sake, and saving as much as possible.  But in our case, before the move we pretty much spent all of our free time together anyway.  So it wasn’t even a real “adjustment” when move in day came around.

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I think back when religious rules were created, they made sense in their time.  But in today’s world, where people barely know what they want from one day to the next, let alone ten, 20, infinity years down the road, I do think it’s unwise to— not to reduce it to something so trivial, but just for example’s sake— buy a car without taking it for a test drive first.  Because, at the end of the day, if you can’t live together, then you can’t live together.  Regardless of when you started or why you decided that.

Wouldn’t that be better figured out before you go before God and vow to be together until death do you part?  Before you sign the marriage license?  Before you go through the annoying process of changing your name on every single document in existence and filing taxes jointly?  Take it from someone who was lazy enough to entertain the idea of just not driving anymore rather than journeying to the DMV to change my name on my license— it’s annoying.  I mean, it’s exciting because you just got married and you’re psyched to sign your new name.  But the thought of having to undo all that in the event that we ended up separated??  It’s just so much simpler to figure out that you’re not into this forever gig before it gets real and before it gets legal.  I don’t know if it’s always as easy for everyone to know for sure until they’ve lived with that person.

But then again, sometimes when you know, you know.  I knew the night I met him that I wanted to marry Anthony.  And I don’t think living together or not living together would have made any difference in the way I felt.  So there’s that too… this is why I sucked at persuasive essays. 🤷‍♀️😂

Of course, with everything, everyone has their own opinion based on their own lives, standards, and what works best for them.  While I tend to disagree with the “studied” reasoning behind why you shouldn’t live together first, I’m definitely excited to hear actual stories about what made you choose that path, if you did! 💖

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2 thoughts on “real talk tuesday: living together before marriage

  1. My husband and I did not live together before we got married. We did move 3000 miles away from home two weeks after we returned from our honeymoon. I credit this with our staying married. We knew no one and had to rely on each other for everything. When we argued we worked it out without interference from well meaning family. It made us a strong unit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, I often wondered if why Anthony and I living together at first went so well because we were also so far from family. We moved from CT to WI right after getting engaged and, like you said, we really had to rely on each other and didn’t have a bunch of outside opinions and intereference like you mentioned! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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