Thoughts · Traditional Values

The Ring Then The Roof: Why I’m Against Living Together Before Marriage

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I’ve had the idea of writing this for a while now, though I just haven’t realised how I would express it properly until a situation like this occurred to one of my friends recently.

I am against living together before marriage (or at least late engagement) for men and women, with very few exceptional circumstances.

Why? Since living together, especially for traditional women who want their relationship to move forward and settle down, it is literally the worst thing you can do. When a woman does this, she gives away her power and part in a relationship and leaves herself vulnerable, not only financially but also emotionally and commitment-wise.

In short: by living together, you are simulating the situation for married life already, so why would anyone be in a rush to marry?

I’ve heard women, friends or otherwise say:

“No, it’s not! Everyone does it nowadays.”
“We’re just testing to see how it goes.”

That’s some of the most common excuses I hear. Suddenly, the ‘testing’ goes for a few months. Then a year. Then a few years. Then cue the typical complaints that I’ve heard time and again.

“Why hasn’t he mentioned anything?”
“I totally thought he was hinting at engagement last year/month/six months.”

You are already living like man and wife, with the convenience of finance, sex and living conditions. Why would a man give up some of his money to save for a ring and go through a wedding (which can be pricey) and the process when he’s already got it all? Why strive for the milk, when you’ve got the cow. (Maybe that was harsh).This is even more exacerbated when women become extra desperate by giving up their previous home/comfortable conditions/social circles etc to live with their man.

Which is the situation one of my friends has now found herself in. Her man didn’t really have to do anything to keep her, so to say, though she had to give up a lot to go and live with him. In fact, he gained more and more because now she helps him with his payments and provides the convenience of a wife figure without having to commit or sacrifice anything on his part. Now that they are having issues, she feels he isn’t spending enough time with her in their relationship and it has come to ultimatums. I have told her this very phrase: why would he give and risk anything for you when he hasn’t ever risked anything for you and gets so much already?

Let me be clear: I have mentioned to my friend that this is what the situation looks like to me, from the outside, based on what I know from her and what I observe when they are together. I can confirm things like the payments and finances are facts. I told her that her decision in the ultimatum (continue or leave) between them is hers and my opinion is only an outside opinion. She is my dear friend, I don’t have the right to pressure her or make any decisions for her, she’s an adult!

In my personal view, this could have been avoided if she hadn’t given so much herself away and is now in a vulnerable position now that she just wants more time with him. Something so simple, when you think about it and she has nothing to help her prove anything to him. If he decides he’s tired of their issues and leaves, he leaves the relationship richer, having had had a good time while she is left with much less financially and having wasted time that she could have been with someone else more committed.

Living together is something that should be strived for. That is the living conditions of man and wife. It should be a reward and something to progress towards steadily for a couple as they go through the milestones of engagement and then marriage.

When you see your man, alongside you, striving towards commitment too and willing to wait – you can see how much he values you and your relationship because he is putting effort into these things.

When you give him everything he wants, why would he try? As for what you want, for women it’s also about denying ourselves what seems to be an easy way out, it is tempting to be able to be with your SO all the time and stop packing for sleepovers, I admit.

Men are traditionally hunters and more heavily goal-oriented than women, they value more what they have to work harder for (within reason). Then you can see how he truly sees you and your relationship.  If he doesn’t want to strive, at least you can see this early and save yourself time by saying buh-bye.
When everything is easy come, a man doesn’t value that -it’s easy go.

But what if it’s for money/travel/etc reasons?
In dire, I mean dire circumstances where you are basically on the edge of being homeless or both living abroad something like that, do it temporarily. If possible, live with a friend instead or your family, you can still save that way!
What if we don’t want to rush to commitment?
That’s cool if that’s your thing. Though be honest, do you actually want commitment at all towards marriage and family? If you do, don’t pretend – this isn’t your thing.
What if we need to test it first?
You can test on holidays and other short-term stays like a sleepover. No need to live together. If you are around your partner a lot and communicate well, you would still manage to get a good idea of how they live day to day.

Earlier I said that there are exceptional circumstances to living together. I have another friend who is now on her way to marrying her partner and they have lived together almost always from the beginning. What makes them successful?

They agreed on a strict timeline towards marriage before living together and both have traditional family backgrounds they could trust each other with.

Many modern couples don’t do this. They are so frightened of talking about commitments, not wanting to ‘scare the guy away’ and all that. If you’ve been together for some time, you should already have communicated well enough to know if you both want commitment in the long term, even just a rough timeline. It is not something you wait a hint for or especially, wait years for for a sign! With the amount of women I’ve seen do this? If I had a dollar for every single one, I’d have a shopping spree.
A good guy, once he knows you well enough in a relationship, will not be afraid of commitment.

This all goes back to knowing what you want when entering a relationship and having good communication. Having some end goal, not just ‘seeing where it goes’. There’s got to be some direction there, even if not a specific goal. This is how so often people, especially women, waste their time on years-long relationships that culminate to nothing.

Unless you can trust your partner since they have a great history of commitment and tradition and you can talk and agree on serious commitment with them – just don’t do it.

Save living under one roof as a reward.

A shining reward for starting on and striving during the journey together as lovers, engagement partners and arriving as husband and wife to continue on the next chapter.

Imagine that amazing feeling of being bridal-style carried into your own home for Day One of your married life!

 

 

10 thoughts on “The Ring Then The Roof: Why I’m Against Living Together Before Marriage

  1. This is a VERY wise post Alex. It is insanely crucial for women to understand how the dynamics change once a couple starts living together without marriage.

    I would caution though, that even if they have a set timeline of when they’re tying the knot, it’s not a fool-proof method to ensuring a good marriage after their cohabitation. I think there are studies out there (I’d need to find to back up!) that show that the *longer* couples live together, the worse off their marriages tend to fair divorce-wise. It’s mysterious, but we’ve known couples who DID have a strict timeline, who still once they married, had a much worse married life than you’d think after living together amicably for years. It’s like once they finally married, they both changed (in really negative ways) and it was too much for the other to deal with.

    This actually used to bother me a lot – why most of our friends who lived together before marriage, either ended up with horrible marriages or divorced. But the way you wrote it is really good, hopefully it reaches the women who need to read it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The dynamics is simply part of the nature of men and women and their biological tendencies, now it’s just brushed aside as sexism.

      There is still a risk that your partner may not go through with their word so that should be a caution, you’re right. My friend had a similar more traditional cultural background to her partner so that’s how it worked for them. I’m saying it can work, but with some risk and only in certain circumstances. I have seen that study that you talk about, though, I know what you mean (just google it, it will be easy to find)! Commitment becomes less valued and special, marriage too, once you’ve cohabited for too long.

      I hope some women do read this and take note, thanks!

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  2. I think “testing it” is just fooling yourself. Living together does not simulate marriage, because it lacks true commitment. So people give up more easily.

    In my country, people would be frowned upon if they would get married first. Me and my husband lived together for a year before marriage, and everybody said “you married too quickly”. (For your information, I did not have white dress or veil: I think it is hypocritical to wear those old symbols of purity when it is quite obvious you are not a blushing virgin. And yet even pregnant brides or mothers wear white dress, veil and even a crown!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It significantly raises the risk of losing commitment, if you live together (though as I say, it doesn’t mean losing that chance completely, it’s your stakes).
      This is especially difficult in modern Western societies since you just get questioned and judged for your choices.
      I have to disagree on you with the white – I see the context you are pertaining to, though to me it just feels visually wrong to not wear white (again, for my preference)! It is simply the traditional colour and style, other colours remind me of other ballgowns or even prom gowns, you know? There is an iconic look to it that is rarely seen outside of a wedding.

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      1. I understand your point when it comes to wedding dresses. To be honest, I have never liked those traditional white wedding dresses anyway (and I look terrible in white) so we had theme wedding and I was wearing a pseudo-medieval dress.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I love them, haha! Especially the more conservative ones in the 40s to 50s. Hey, I do like the tradition of it, the most. You having a pseudo-medieval dress is even more traditional than that, anyway!
        If I could get away with an even older-style wedding dress, I would.

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  3. Alex, totally agree on almost all points, though my husband and I lived together for 8 months (while engaged) before we got married. I’ll tell you the reasons behind my decisions and why I would do it all over again.
    Before we got serious, I laid out what I wanted (marriage, traditional man, I stay home with the future children and divorce is not an option) and when I wanted it. I wasn’t into playing games and was looking for a man who could be straight with me. I told him if he isn’t that person, then move along and don’t waste my fertility , lol! Well, that explanation got his full attention and he wasted no time in really getting to know me, while I was doing the same for him.
    We were dating seriously for 9 months or so(living apart, visiting each other about 3 or so times a week, though rarely sleeping over) and then he proposed. To my surprise, earlier than I had expected.. After we had discussed wedding dates and got that down, I moved in with him as he had bought a bigger house for the two of us.
    It was exciting and I got to learn so much more about him, living together and it made the wedding planning so much easier since we are usually both in the same room. Plus, I really wanted to know if we could live together happily, which is very important to me since divorce isn’t an option for us.
    Knowing what I know now, and seeing how easy it is to live together for us, I would still advise a couple (whos goal is to marry each other) to test the water first.
    If you both have the same expectation that the relationship turns into marriage, I don’t see the harm in living together first.
    But if you’re still not sure where the relationship is going, and you don’t TALK about it, then why are you even wasting your precious eggs over a man who couldn’t ask for anything else but the bare minimum out of life?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey there! Definitely I understand the points you are making. You have a similar situation to my friend and I am not discounting your situation or the possibility of it. I mean, you were engaged already (while also planning the wedding quickly so sort of late engagement) so that lowers some of the risk, though a lot of it is staking on your partner to continue the commitment despite living together. My opinion and personal beliefs is merely towards minimising the risks as much as possible since different people have different contexts.

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      1. I totally understand your point. And you make a very good argument for this case as most people today give and break commitments over nothing.
        “Why buy the cow” kind of deal for the man in that kind of relationship. Its easy for a person with no skin in the game to back out or get cold feet. That’s why in my personal situation, I had to put my foot down(gently) before moving in.I had to get some kind of promise or be sure before hand. (If he would’ve backed out, that would have been a different story entirely. I would have moved out instantly) Of course, no one can be absolutely sure about these things, so its a good idea to really get to know his character and morals before living together.
        Thank you for your reply! Your blog in really insightful and I love reading your articles.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see your situation in this matter and that was your right to make a judgement for your specific context. For me, I speak in general and minimising the risks is the most important thing, especially with the precocious situation women are usually put in nowadays. You were already engaged though, right? Thus you had lowered some of the risks, anyway.
        You’re more than welcome! Thank you so much, I’m glad that my thoughts do resonate with others out there 🙂

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