by Aja Dorsey Jackson
My husband and I lived together before we got married. It was not a test of our relationship as much as it was a practical financial decision for both of us. A few months after we got engaged, his roommate moved out. At the same time I had temporarily moved back home and as much as I love my mother, was more than ready to move back out. It made more sense at the time for us to move in together rather than to find separate places less than a year before the wedding.
I was raised to believe that co-habitation was wrong but I don’t regret my decision. For me, living together didn’t seem to take away from the marriage experience. Those first few months sharing the same space were admittedly rocky, but I think they would have been whether we were married or not. If anything, I think it put us a few months ahead of the game in knowing that I forget to turn off lights when I leave a room or that he seems to be allergic to dish detergent. As wrong as it may be to say, having those awkward, bumpy moments ahead of time made the first year of marriage seem like a bit of a breeze in comparison.
While living together worked out for us in the end, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. A friend of mine recently suggested that moving in together was necessary before you even begin talking about marriage. To him, you never really know someone until you live with him or her, so making a commitment without doing so was senseless. I disagree. I think that living with someone can be difficult period, and married or not, that person will probably do something at some point that will make you feel like moving out. The difference is that in marriage you are supposed to remain committed through these annoyances, which isn’t the case when you are just shacking up. While I have seen many cohabitating couples go on to marry and have happy relationships, I have seen just as many end up getting their feelings hurt after putting so much on the line just testing the waters.
Did you live with your spouse before you walked down the aisle? Is living together before marriage wrong or a good “test drive” for the real thing?
Aja Dorsey Jackson is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Baltimore, Maryland. Find out more about her at www.ajadorseyjackson.com.
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