For many newlyweds, the excitement of moving in together wears off as reality sets in.  Maybe your partner cleans once a week, while you insists on everthing being picked up nightly before bed.  Maybe he watches the NFL Channel for 8 hours straight while she cringes at the very sound of announcers’ voices.  Regardless of how well you think you know someone, there is always something new to discover.

Many couples are choosing to live together prior to making the big commitment of marriage.  Many studies have been done trying to find a correlation between cohabition and marriage, whether it be shining light on the increased likelihood of breaking up prior to marriage, or the higher rates of separation and divorce in couples who lived together prior to marriage. 

Regardless of the findings, I stand beside my decision to live with my boyfriend (whom is now my husband) prior to committing to him for the rest of my life.  Many individuals I know undertaking this challenge are doing so in a desire to overcome the statistics of nearly 50% of marraiges ending in divorce by becoming aware of major issues that can only be discovered by being in close quarters with someone for extended amounts of time.  When there is no escape, no place to go to when you need to cool off, coping strategies are much different.  You learn what you can tolerate, you learn how to communicate more effectively.  If your partner has quirky traits (such as putting dirty socks in the fridge to “air out”), you quickly learn that as well, and must decide whether you can handle it or not. 

Skeptics argue that such living arrangments only encourage a “here and now” attitude, allowing couples to put off commitment and continue to lead separate lives.  I disagree–cohabitation takes relationships to a whole new level, intertwining individual lives in a way that cannot be achieved otherwise.  That being said, the practice is not for everyone.  This is where knowing the limits of yourself and of your particular relationship comes in handy.  Be wise. Make decisions wisely, based on what is best for you, not what studies or society says is best. 

“What is popular is not always right and is right is not always popular.”

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