Living together before getting married?


On my xanga account I got a question about whether it was good for people to live together before they got married. As a Christian with distinct notions on the question, I had to answer no. Here's what I said:
If I recall correctly, Psychology Today had an article about it. Most of those couples don't last. I know spending time with some one plays a role, but talk to the girl who is still trying to get her guy to set a date! However, at the church I visit, they do encourage couples who are getting married to get pre-marital counseling. (Oh it's free too). Not just that, but they would encourage it before they even decide to get married (but after an appropriate amount of time dating). The reason being because for 8 weeks the couple really talks and tries to figure out if they really want to take that step. That's just something you won't get just by living together. A friend of mine had a friend who took that route and by the second week he knew the girl wasn't going to marry him. She wouldn't even open up! It saved him an engagement ring, and to be honest, if you figure this out while living together, you have the added expense of finding a new roomate, finding out the best way to split up your stuff, pets, clothes, etc On the other hand, I have a friend of mine who will be getting married in a few weeks and they never lived together. They did do the pre-marital counseling before he proposed. Then again, he did date her for about a year and knew it was getting serious. Just living together doesn't automatically mean it's going in that direction. Ask the many girls who are still trying to get their live-in boyfriend to set a date!!! So no. I don't go for that.

What surprises me are two things: how many people said yes (well maybe it shouldn't surprise me) but the second was the bad arguments some Christians used. However, I saw some great responses-some from a bad personal experience:

--No way... why should we act married and have all the benefits of marriage without a commitment? I'd rather keep my independence and guard my heart, finances and sanity until the man loves me enough to commit for life.

--No, not a good idea. Why? God ordained marriage, not "oh lets just see how this works first." Either you love the person enough to commit completly, or you don'
--I was brought up by parents who believed that a partner was for life, so my husband and I only started living together the night of our wedding day. We've never regretted it and believe it has helped our marriage

Here's one that really got me thinking:
--think it depends on the relationship and the ages of the people. I lived with Frank (not me!) for about a year after Emma was born. It was all downhill after that. I mean, it's not like he wasn't a good guy. I just think we were too young and we both had these expectations of how things should be and neither one of us really wanted to change and act like the adults we should be as our lives had taken such a dramatic turn.I have a girlfriend who lives with her boyfriend. They have been living together for 7 years, and I don't think he will ever marry her. He is fine with the arrangement and she wants that ring. But she feels that she doesn't want to lose him so she will stay.

Very sad. I think what's interesting is that a lot of people think that just because it's easy to live with somoene their marriage will be great. Granted you may be able to tell if they are great at cooking and easy to get along with, but in the long run, it's a mentality that you need-not just an experience. They go into this thing to make themselves comfortable, and then at the first sign of trouble they bail. It used to be that you got married not because that personwas easy to get along with (to say the least) but because you saw it as something important and worth fighting for. I think we've lost that in this country, and that's why a lot of people get divorced.

**I might add, a lot of people get divorced for real serious reasons, and I'm not putting any of them down. They deserve our love and encouragement.

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