Moving In Before Marriage: Does It Work?
Picture this, ladies. The man of your dreams (who happens to look a great deal like Chris J The Genius) decides after a lot of time, dedication and effort put into your relationship that it’s time to take you out to a peculiarly upscale restaurant. You both take your seats, order luxurious meals and soak in the ambiance. Suddenly, your well-dressed gentleman tenses up, pulls something out of his pocket and holds it under the table, and swallows hard as if he’s about to make a life-defining decision. He clears his throat and begins.
“Sweetheart, I’ve been crazy for you since the first time I laid eyes on you. Literally, right then and there I knew you were the one. You’re so beautiful and smart, and we compliment each other so well! There is no one else on the face of this planet that I want to spend one second of my time with. I guess what I’m trying to say is, will you…move in with me?”
He then reveals what he was hiding under the table—a key to his place. Not exactly what you were expecting, right?
It’s more and more common these days, couples moving in or “cohabitating” instead of jumping the broom. On the face, it makes a lot of sense. A lot of couples get married after a short period of time or only limited experiences with one another. Why not move in first and see exactly what marriage with the guy/girl would be like? Now we get to see how clean the other person is, what they look like before they’re ready for you to see them, and so on. Sounds logical enough, right?
Wrong. Statistically speaking, at least, cohabitating (or “shacking” as we call it in the Bible Belt) is not such a good idea. Studies show that divorce rates are actually higher for couples who live together first. For one thing, it may prolong that proposal. I already wrote about most men refusing to do things that aren’t necessary. If you’re living together (and doing, er, other things together), why should the guy pop the question?
It should also be noted that living situations (good or bad) can really affect a relationship. Ever seen Lakeview Terrace? Samuel L. Jackson almost broke up what seemed to be a happy home, and he was just the next-door neighbor. Living together is hard enough because of the two personalities inside. If a relationship—even between two very compatible people—hasn’t had time to grow strong enough, moving in and the many variables which result could do damage to destiny.
Boredom is one of the major causes of stale relationships and/or infidelity. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Too much presence, on the other hand, can make the heart look yonder. It’s fairly likely, when cohabitating, that one of you gets bored with the other before the commitment of a marriage ever comes into play. Sure, you could choose to work it out, but if that grass-is-greener thing kicks in, one of you might play in someone else’s yard before too long.
Finally, consider this. What if you two break up? Isn’t it easier to meet up and give the “It’s not you, it’s me” speech you rehearsed fifty-leven times during the drive over, change your relationship status on Facebook and be done than it is to break a lease and have your mail forwarded to your new address?
To each his own, but the best decision might just be to make the marriage license application the first legal agreement you ever enter together.