Living Together Before Marriage: I Do or I Don’t?

By Chandra Fredrick, Published Mar 1, 2012

Living together before the wedding is a personal preference that most people feel strongly about one way or the other.  Some people, me included, think living together is a good test run for marriage.  Others want to wait until they are married to move in together.  Is there a right and wrong way?

My husband and I lived together for five years before we got married.  It was a very good thing for us.  It let us get past those early days of passive-aggressively battling over leaving the toothpaste on the sink versus putting it in the medicine cabinet (seriously, we really battled over this.  He won and we leave it on the sink but I still know that I’m right to want it in the medicine cabinet).  We’re not Neanderthals after all!).  You learn to pick your battles (I had bigger ones than toothpaste), you learn to compromise…you get to practice being married.  Let’s face it- living with anyone can be hard.  Living with a partner can be harder.  You learn a lot about a person you might not have known once you move in together.  Isn’t it better to find this stuff out before you make a life-long commitment?

There are upsides to waiting for marriage too.  From a legal standpoint (the lawyer in me never really goes away) when you live together and own stuff together, things can get messy and confusing.  It is harder to decide who gets the condo, the dog, etc. when you don’t have the formality of marriage.  But from a romantic standpoint, when you wait for the wedding you get all that new excitement and fun of moving in at the same time you have the excitement of being married.  And that’s pretty great, right?  I definitely had a different feeling and an excitement about being married, but our daily lives were pretty much the same as our first five years living together.  In the end, I know we made the right decision for us to live together before marriage and I am very glad we did because it brought us where we are today, which I love.

So, what do you think?  Did you live together or wait for the wedding?  Do you wish you had done the opposite?  Let’s get a discussion going!

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