“Do you test drive a car before you buy it?”

by Kimberly Flanagan

I was brought up by the teaching that a woman and a man should not live together before they are married. The reason for that was that it is considered by many a sin for a man and woman to live together before they are married. I believed that for a long time until I started seeing men and women, who were not married, living together, and people in my own family and of course, I started wondering, if it is a sin, why are so many people doing it?

As I grew up, I started realizing that yes, even though I was raised in a certain way, the world was changing, people’s mindsets have changed and the way people go about relationships have changed.

Living together as a couple before marriage has been widely accepted even though at times it can raise eyebrows.

But for the sake of not making this article about the religious aspects of cohabitation, here are some comments from people I spoke to:

“It can be a good thing, you learn a lot about a person. When I lived with my boyfriend, I would get home and supper would be done, he would clean, he was very domesticated. You learn the small things about a person and the small things make all the difference. You also don’t need to be living together full time, but it helps to spend a lot of time together. I’m all for it”

“I think it helps. It gives you that finality and surety on whether or not you want to continue with the relationship.”

“The old rules don’t apply anymore, people are getting married when they’re older and not in their twenties, so must you wait until you’re in your late thirties before you really get to know someone and then go through that whole process of divorce when you don’t like what you got yourself into?”

I have to admit, I do agree with most if not all of the above sentiments. I have lived with a boyfriend before and luckily I did because you get to know someone in their intimate space, you get to learn their quirks and their habits and you either decide if you can live with it or not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying move in with every boyfriend you meet, I’m saying make the decision when you feel like you’re ready to settle down and have the conversation with your partner. The nice thing about a situation like this is that you can always just walk away, as harsh as that might sound, there is no divorce involved but it tends to get messy when there are children involved. I’ve been there and trust me, it’s an emotional messy rollercoaster.

Many people are of the idea that living together before marriage may be linked to divorce when you do get married because you don’t learn anything new about the person but that’s the thing, you make sure you find something new to learn about that person and I have to emphasize, love is a big factor. You need to love the person you’re with. Truly love them, when you truly love someone, you don’t just stick around when it’s comfortable.

A 2019 article by Paired Life reads as follows:

“Research shows that nearly half of all couples decide to cohabit before they enter wedlock. Of those living together, 40 percent will go on to marry within three years. Out of those who do marry, 27 percent will have divorced within five years of tying the knot.”

The thing about cohabitating before marriage is, just like most things, is a personal decision, whether your family or church approves or not, you will do it if you feel it is something you need to do.

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