Should couples live together before marriage?

Author: Canadian Living


Should couples live together before marriage?

There are many milestones in a relationship that get your heart pumping. The first time you kiss. The inaugural "I love you." Exchanging apartment keys. Meeting the parents. And, a very big one: moving in together.

Whether it's a prelude to marriage, replaces an exchange of vows, or happens only after the big day, eventually two people in love will want to share a home. But if marriage is the plan, should a couple co-habitate beforehand?

We asked around to find out what people like you really think.

No, you should not live together before marriage:
"I don't think couples should. Life has very few really special events and living with each other before marriage makes the actual wedding just a formality." – Lenny D., 36, Toronto

"I don't think it's necessary. There have been lots of marriages that have worked without the couple living together beforehand." – David Payne, 46, Toronto

“No, living together before you get married is a bad idea. It's wrong, for religious reasons. Also, so many of my peers are jumping into cohabitation in their 20's, but this is the time of life where you should be exploring who you are, what it's like to be independent, how to pay your own bills and get by on your own, that sort of thing.” – Avery S., 25, Montreal

"I don't think it is a good idea to live together before marriage for practical reasons. For example, my condo is too small for a second person to move in. I'd have to sell it if I decided to live with someone. I'm not willing to go through a major real estate transaction for an experimental living arrangement. And 'experimental' is how I view a plan to live together then maybe get married." – Penny, 32, Toronto

Yes, you should live together
"I wouldn't consider marriage without living together first. Living together you get a chance to know a person's day-to-day routine, see the highs and lows, and discover things about them that you won't necessarily learn from merely dating. You get to make sure you're truly compatible in all ways. At this stage in my life, I don't want to just go on blind faith." – Steve G., 43, Toronto

"Moving in with your spouse only once you've tied the knot is asking for disappointment and inviting unnecessary stress on what should be a time for two people to seal a permanent bond with each other. It seems irresponsible and almost naive for couples to expect that their vows will be strong enough to see them through the rough spots, especially if you have to experience them all at once. Before living together, we're really only seeing two dimensions of our partner's personality – the third dimension might just prove to be more than one can handle." – Stephanie Bratt, 29, Mississauga, Ont.

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"Yes. It gives two people a chance to judge their compatibility before making a further commitment." – Chris N., 35, Toronto

"I come from a deeply religious Roman Catholic upbringing, and at one point in my life, I would have said no, two people should not live together before marriage because it takes away from the holy sacrament of marriage. But, after living on my own and just recently moving in with my boyfriend, I would say that it is fine to move in together when the time is right and you truly know you want to spend the rest of your life with this person – so your plan is marriage." – Theresa Sedore, 24, Thunder Bay, Ont.

"Yes. Before making an important decision like who you're going to marry, you should be sure that it's the right person." – Al Mchugh, 59, Markham, Ont.

It doesn't matter, it depends on the relationship
"When I was young, two people didn't live together without getting married first. My parents would have disowned me from the family. But as I got older, I realized that a relationship between two people is loving and trustful whether you have a marriage certificate or not." – Patricia Cooper, 58, Nanaimo, B.C.

"I don't think that living together premarriage has any impact, good or bad on the subsequent marriage. If it's going to work, it's going to work, no matter what you do beforehand." – Fredérique, 26, Ottawa

"I see no harm in couples living together before marriage or without ever marrying. Living together holds no less a commitment than marriage." – Pat White, 65, Chilliwack, B.C.

"It has to do with expectations. I've known couples who expect the world from each other after getting married or moving in together, and they end up unhappy. I've also known very open-minded couples who get married right away and they're ready for anything that goes along with it. Some people don't need to live together first.

That said, I've lived with my boyfriend for almost five years now, but I don't feel that it is a prep-period for our married life. We've dealt with life, like money and death, as a couple and as individual persons within our relationship.

If it is a prep-period then we will be the world's perfect couple. If you pick someone who respects the commitment as much as you do, you actually like each other, and you can learn to deal with life together, then marriage and living together are really the same thing." – Lisa Hannam, 32, Hamilton

"People should do what suits them. For some, living together premarriage is a deal breaker, and for others it's not. But couples who differ on that matter are probably in some trouble." – Rebecca R., 28, Toronto

"I wouldn't marry anyone I hadn't lived with, but I wouldn't move in with someone I wasn't engaged to. Breaking up with someone you live with is just as messy as divorce, without the lawyers and rules. Scary. At the same time, marrying someone you've never lived with just seems foolhardy somehow. And old-fashioned." – Zoe C., 27, Kingston.

"It's entirely up to the individual couple. Everyone is different with different needs and reasons and should neither feel pressured nor dissuaded by others. If it feels like the right thing to do, then you should do it. As long as you've considered what will result from that decision and you're doing it for the right reasons. I once lived with a boyfriend and it was disastrous. We moved in together out of convenience, both having moved to a new city. It was the wrong thing to do, for the wrong reasons. When the relationship ended, he was still around because he had no place to go. I was miserable." – Emma Lowry, 31, rural Southern Ontario

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Should couples live together before marriage?