Even just 50 years ago, the answer to this question by many couples probably would have been “no”. But that is changing drastically and now more than ever, couples are living together before they’re married or even engaged. According to a 2019 report, 59% of adults have lived with their partner without being married. There are a lot of reasons for that, including the ending of societal norms that two unmarried people can’t live together (even if they never plan on getting married), and the easing up of most religions’ views on the topic.
The decision of when the best time to move in together is incredibly personal and very much depends on both individuals that are a part of a couple. Everyone’s situation, life experiences, etc are vastly different, so there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. Just because one thing might work for one couple doesn’t mean it’ll turn out well for another.
There are so many reasons why you may or may not want to move in with your partner before being married and with all those reasons, there are pros and cons.
Let’s take a look at all the reasons why you should move in together before you get married and all the reasons why you should wait until after you’re married:
There are many reasons why living together before you get married is a great idea for your relationship. It can provide a deeper connection, help you work through how you actually get along while sharing a space, and it can sometimes determine if you should even get married in the first place. Dr. Cynthia Edwards-Hawver, Psychologist, recommends, “Definitely living together before marriage, and to do so for at least two years to ensure that the limerence period has surpassed.”
Let’s dive in more into the reasons why moving in together before marriage might be the best option for you:
Of course marriage is also a sign and a ceremony to showcase your love for each other, but moving in together adds another layer of intimacy to relationships. By sharing your emotional, mental, and physical space with your partner for extended periods of time, you’re inviting them in to see you at your most vulnerable self. There’s not much to hide from each other when you’re spending the majority of your days together. And that can be a good thing. It instills a deeper level of trust and builds a feeling of comfort.
It also allows you to work through things together and to commit to everyday life choices together. This could be deciding on what furniture to buy, choosing a place to live together, or even committing to taking care of a pet together. All of these choices rely heavily on collaboration and (sometimes) compromise.
Along with strengthening and deepening your actual relationship, moving in together can also add stability and equity to your relationship as well. Many studies have found that couples who live together before marriage tend to get rid of traditional gender roles in their relationship. This largely is due to the sharing of income, chores, and responsibilities.
With an increase in equity among two individuals in a couple, this also provides a deeper chance of stability in the relationship.
One of the many reasons why couples choose to move in together are because it’s more financially stable to share finances. It’s financially responsible to share expenses and makes everything more convenient. Why pay two rents, pay for two pieces of furniture, etc when you can just do it all together with double the income?
If you’re looking to save money (who isn’t), moving in together makes the most sense. This is especially true if you’re planning an expensive wedding. To save the most money quickly, combining households is probably the best way to go.
This all being said, make sure you have an open conversation about your income, budget, etc before moving in together and keep the conversation going after you move in together. It can be really easy to spend the money you’re saving on other things, but if you’re looking to save for your actual wedding, then you need to talk about what you’re prioritizing in your spending habits together.
Going off of finances, you might not only be combining household expenses, but when children are involved, there’s even more of a financial reward for moving in together. Having children involved can add a whole new layer of complexity when deciding whether or not to move in together.
The pros of moving in together while having children include more financial stability as well as the chance to share responsibilities in parenting.
This point may sound scary, but it’s actually a great pro considering the alternative. For so many couples, living together can help each other find out if they’re actually compatible and can live in the same shared space together. If you’re not living together before you’re married, it might be a nasty shock after you’re married if you and your partner can’t stand sharing the same space.
Living together before you get married or even engaged can help test whether or not you can actually see yourself committing to spending the rest of your life living with your partner. You can’t truly get to know 100% of your partner until you learn and see how they live in their day-to-day life in their own space. Again, it’s hard to hide things and habits when you’re living together.
If you make it through living together and deciding that you do, in fact, want to spend the rest of your life living with your partner, this can lead to a successful and long-lasting marriage. Many young adults in the United States now see moving in together as a successful step in a path towards a healthy marriage, which is why so many more people are choosing to do this.
In fact, statistics are also on this side. It’s been proven that if you live together before you’re married, there is a significant decrease in the chance of you getting a divorce. This is largely due to the last point where living together before marriage allows couples to actually see if they’re a compatible match.
Finally, the last pro of living together before marriage actually positively impacts your life even after you get married.
Living together before your big day can greatly reduce the stress of planning your wedding and getting married. Again, a lot of this has to do with the financial benefits of living together saving money you could use for your future.
You also have less to worry about after your wedding day. Since you’re already living together, you don’t have to worry about combining households, choosing a place to live, and actually moving your life after you’re married. You can just get started on living your married life together.
Just like there are many reasons why you should live together before you’re married, there’s also a variety of reasons not to move in together before marriage. One of the most common reasons for not living together before marriage has to do with personal religious views or even traditional views held by family members. This is a couple-by-couple situation, so these aren’t universal reasons why you shouldn’t live together before you get married.
There is, however, one universal reason that could deter you from living together before you say “I do”, which is that moving in together could end your relationship:
Like stated earlier, when you move in with someone, it becomes the ultimate relationship test. You really figure out each other’s habits, idiosyncrasies, etc. which could become deal-breakers.
Living together can cause arguments and fights over mundane things you wouldn’t fight about if you didn’t live together (chores, messiness, etc.). When you come across these situations, you discover how you and your partner deal with conflict on a day-to-day basis. And sometimes, the way you deal with that conflict just isn’t compatible.
When you move in together before marriage, you really need to be honest with each other on whether or not you can truly see yourself living with this person for the rest of your life. And if you’re being brutally honest, the answer could end up being, “no”.
And what happens if you do break up? If you’re already married and move in together, you have legal protections which will help you out financially if you separate. If you’re not married before you move in together, you don’t have any of those protections. You’re left on your own to figure out what to do with your shared items, purchases, and even pets or children.
One of the best things you can do, whether or not you decide to move in with your partner before or after marriage, is to start by having an open conversation about potentially awkward topics. It’s important that you’re on the same page about basic things involved with living together and that you set up realistic expectations for each other before moving in. If you’re planning on moving in with your partner at any point, here are important questions to ask:
There are both pros and cons for moving in together before getting married. At the end of the day, it’s up to you and your partner to decide what is best for you and your relationship. The decision should be yours and not dictated by anyone else’s opinions. No matter when you decide to move in together, get prepared to know each other on a deeper level, which will hopefully only strengthen your relationship.