While I realize that this is a controversial topic for most people, even in today’s age, it is one that I feel the need to discuss because it hits so close to home for me.
Rewind the clock six years; Nate and I met in the summer of 2010, a time when both of us were coming fresh off long-term relationships and had both convinced ourselves that we needed to be alone for awhile. Little did we know that a temporary part-time job and half an hour long lunch conversations would lead to the eventual nuptials.
Needless to say, Nate and I hit it off right away and it was one of those connections that are truly derived from the depth of understanding only real friends can attain. We spoke about everything under the sun, and it felt like the more I knew, the more I craved to know. Even now, we still have this unspoken connection that works to mutually benefit the other in times of joy and sadness.
With this being said, the likely outcome might be assumed that we would hop right into living together, seeing as how we met while I was in graduate school. Yet, this was not the case.
My parents have always instilled in me values that I cannot shake; one of them being that marriage is a lifelong committment not to be taken lightly. And with that advice, one might assume that one of the fundamental values of tradition might inevitably follow: wait until marriage to live together.
The ironic part about the advice, would be that my parents deliberately said to me (when we moved in together), “you need to live with the person for at least a year before considering an engagement.” At the risk of sounding “progressive”, my parents honestly believed that it is of the utmost importance for couples to know each other “around the seasons” and actually live together prior to making this momumental of a decision.
In all likelihood, this advice has resounded with Nate and I (we lived together for almost two years prior to getting engaged) and we feel compelled to share the reasons why we feel that this was the best decision for us, and ultimately one that every couple should consider prior to making a jump into forever.
House Habits: Nate and I laugh now about our early discussions regarding “house habits”–we used to joke around about annoying little things like leaving bath towels hanging from the shower door and dirty socks in shoes at the door. However, all joking aside, learning each other’s house habits is paramount to building the foundation for a successful living situation in the future. It is important to find out which house habits are “deal-breakers” and which you are willing to “pick your battles” over.
Chores: Better to know earlier than later when it comes to what your partner is willing to do around the house versus what you are willing to do. Coming to a friendly compromise lays the groundwork for communication in a relationship. Each person must be willing to contribute to the overall well-being of not only the other, but to the home and all it entails as well. For example, I usually handle the laundry while Nate handles the majority of the cooking in the house (my specialty is limited to a meatloaf).
Knowing each other’s “angry”: It is easy to hang up on your significant other when you are bickering, and even easier to avoid seeing each other until the inevitible “I miss you, I haven’t seen you all week” conversation comes rolling in. What isn’t avoidable is when you bicker and then need to eventually stomp your way into the other side of the bed at 9pm. Knowing what “ticks” the other person off and how to effectively remedy the mood, is incredibly important. Being forced into the same living area, you end up having to learn how to resolve issues quickly or get ready for an uncomfortable battleground of passive-aggressive avoidance.
Living Schedules: What may work for weekend dates may not be condusive to lifelong everyday living. Nate and I are fortunate enough to be able to work the same schedule and thus be able to spend time together on the morning commute (we carpool), however most people aren’t fortunate enough to carpool together and some don’t even share the same shift schedule, making for an irregular home life. My brother and his fiancee (they’re getting married next week!) have been working separate shifts for awhile now, and over the past few years (after living together) they have effectively figured out how to balance work and home life while still finding quality time to spend with each other. This type of living situation could ambush those who have not lived together prior to marriage, potentially making those first few months a bit rocky while they try to adjust.
Fiscal Responsibility: Here it is…the one topic no one wants to talk about. But let’s be honest, money trouble is one of the main reasons marriages end in divorce, so why not take it seriously before making the plunge? When you live together and start to pay bills together, you will find out very fast whether or not the person you’re with pays their bills on time and what their vices are. For Nate a nice bottle of whiskey, for me–new clothes. Hey, we all have to buy ourselves a little gift sometimes, but living together will let you know if your other half would rather splurge on themselves than pay the electric bill.
Millenials are waiting longer to get married, and divorce rates have been declining since the 1990s.
–Relevate via TechInsider
What are your thoughts?