real life

How do people get married without living together first?

If you Google “living together without getting married“, you’re just one click away from a whopping serve of religious guilt.

According to “Myths and Realities of Living Together Without Marriage“, the “realities” of living together before marriage are as follows:  The divorce rate of women who cohabit before marriage is more than 80%.

Most men who cohabit with women are only doing it for “convenience”. Within a cohabiting relationship, a woman is more likely to pay her fair share of household expenses.

The “myths”, of course, are those that say you won’t be struck down by hellfire as you sleep in your unsanctimonious bed of sin. (FYI: you will).

According to the “evidence”, tying the knot before you buy any fancy knives together is the clear path forward.

These excellent arguments aside, however, I have one remaining question:




If we’re encouraged to take marriage seriously, shouldn’t we be encouraged to try before we buy? Image via iStock.

How do people choose to spend their lives together without first knowing what spending their lives together actually looks like? If we’re encouraged to take marriage seriously (and, according to “Myths and Realities of Living Together Without Marriage“, not doing so has “disastrous ramifications for the individuals involved”), shouldn’t we be encouraged to try before we buy?

My decision to move in with my boyfriend wasn’t an alternative to marriage. Getting married, as it happens, isn’t on the agenda yet. (MAROLTWM would tell me that every day we live in sin, our chances of holy matrimony decline, but I’m withholding judgment on that one until at least 2020).


All the same, I can’t help but think about how the other half lives: those that jump straight into marriage without ever experiencing the joy horror excitement stress experience of cohabitation.

Since we moved in together, my boyfriend and I have learnt things about each other we couldn’t have discovered otherwise. Thankfully, it’s all been positive.

Or positive enough that we can still live with each other, anyway.

Watch the Mamamia Team confess the moment they knew their partners were the one…

I’ve discovered he’s willing to make the bed in the mornings for me, even though he considers it a colossal waste of time.

If he makes guacamole, he’ll save me some. (Also, he make unusually delicious guacamole). He is relatively quiet in the mornings when he wakes up early. He is good at washing up. He rarely gets upset, and calms down quickly when he does. He indulges me by (nearly) always letting me use our shared parking spot.

On the other hand, he prefers native flowers to the fancy, smelly ones I enjoy, and he cooks with a lot of chilli.

I’m sure he’s learnt things about me, too. Are they all flattering? Certainly not. (There comes a point in every relationship when you have to shatter the “women don’t poo” illusion, and apparently, that time is now).

On the whole, though, our cohabitation has worked out wonderfully. The truth is, if we’d been married before the move, things probably would have been fine.

But – and it’s an enormous, whopping “but” – it would have been impossible to know for sure.

Now, if a decision to get married comes around, we can weigh up the good experiences with the bad.

And, if we say “I do”, we’re making an informed decision – not agreeing to an experiment.

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