Post # 17
Fiance and I have been living together for a majority of our relationship- just about 3 years. I think it has been very helpful because I had never lived with a SO before. We get along great and I think living together has helped us determine that we are in fact right for each other.
We were toying with the idea of getting married in the Catholic church (we were both raised Catholic). One of the big “no-nos” in the religion is cohabitation, which is why we ultimately decided to forgoe having our ceremony in the church. I think living together has helped our relationship so much as far as preparing us for a lifetime together.
Post # 18
I wonder if the co-habitation thing with the Church is a church-by-church basis? My brother and sister in law were living together before they married (25 years ago!) and they had a big Catholic wedding. I think it’s great that you two have figured out your relationship and worked on it before getting married. I had a lot of red flags with my first husband but thought things would just work themselves out. LOL, hindsight is 20-20, that’s for sure! Congrats on your upcoming nuptials!
Post # 19
- Wedding: August 2013 - Rocky Mountains USA
Even thought we’ve been together for ages and lived together for like 9 Years, it feels a little cozier and more comfortably permanent for both of us. Not a ton different, maybe 5-8% better (ha can you tell I’m a scientist?). But definitely better.
Post # 20
@Benni: Marriage is better. I was rather surprised and kind of saddened by your line about how it still seems marriage is an important part of a couples relationship.
Well, yes. It’s the most important part isn’t it? The commitment?
Even though my husband and I lived together prior to marriage I’m really not a fan of it. I think it’s having become so commonplace has devalued marriage and made for a lot of unhappiness and personal emotional and financial disasters.
The only reason we lived together was because we knew it was leading to marriage. Neither of us had co-habituated with anyone else before and that underscored that our moving in together was no casual thing.
I think if you are going to live with someone, you need to be on the same page about what it means. There are so many women who move in with a man and later want to get married only to hear he’s just fine with having all the bennies of a wife with no real commitment.
To get to your question, yes, marriage is better. I’m not just the girlfriend – I’m the wife – and that has honor, dignity, respect, love and personal and public commitment that being a girlfriend doesn’t. It drives me nuts when people dismiss marriage as just a piece of paper. the paper is the most irrelevant part.
Post # 21
I like this thread, I’ve often wondered if it will feel “different” after we’re married. I personally would never marry someone without living with them first. You don’t really know someone until you’ve lived with them. That’s when you really learn their habits and quirks.
Post # 22
My guess is that the big factors in how a cohabiting couple experiences marriage are life stage and expectations. For an increasing number of couples, marriage is a “capstone”- something they achieve long after starting their adult lives. They’re likely years into their career and may have already purchased a home, combined finances, even started a family. Some of them might feel an increased sense of togetherness for a while after the wedding, but beyond that, I doubt that marriage feels significantly different from cohabitation for most couples in this group.
Other couples (DH and I included) view marriage as more of a cornerstone or foundation for their adult lives. They aspire to the more old-fashioned/traditional order: first marriage, then buying a house, having children, etc. Marriage isn’t an end-goal for which you have to have all your ducks perfectly in a row (savings/promotions/$50k wedding/owning a house/sowing wild oats/whatever reasons people delay marriage) but something that creates new possibilities in the form of spousal support and trust (making things like career changes, demanding work schedules, postgraduate education, raising children, etc. more attainable). For this second group, marriage is more closely associated with starting one’s adult life in earnest. It’s as though you exchange vows and suddenly a bunch of doors open.
DH and I lived together for a couple of years before marrying, but marriage still feels quite different from cohabitation or engagement. We married younger than average, and there’s a lot of excitement about navigating adulthood and making choices together (finances, where to live, when to have children, etc.). There’s a sense of togetherness and having each other’s back that’s much stronger than anything I felt before we were married. (I expect this develops for a lot of “capstone” couples before they marry.) It’s like we’ve embarked on this voyage together and we’re stuck on the same ship for better or worse, whereas alot of other people sail the first leg alone and join forces long after they’ve got their sea legs and weathered a few storms.
Whew, that turned out a bit more elaborate and long-winded than I anticipated–sorry!
Post # 23
We cohabitated for years before we got married and it’s mostly the same for us, with certain little things making it better. For example, I love that we have the same last name (especially signing Christmas cards this year), that we’re recognized as a social unit, and that we can comfortably plan our future together.
Post # 24
@Benni: For me, it feels better b/c you know that this guy you married is in it for the long haul with you. There is no turning back, and he can’t just leave you in 10 years without any consequences.
However on a superficial standpoint, it feels exactly the same (we lived together for over a year before getting married), and honestly? That’s a good thing b/c we were fine before. We now just have the legal commitment to go with it.
Post # 25
Maybe this is part of the reason I’m not chomping at the bit to marry. SO and I have been together 9 1/2 yrs and have lived together 8 1/2-9 yrs.
Post # 26
It definitely is a church-by-church thing, or priest-by-priest. The church we wanted to get married in was against cohabitation, so we nixed it!
Post # 27
I guess I agree with PPs–I feel cozier! More secure, maybe?
Post # 28
It’s different, having lived together for several years before getting married was fun, but now there’s a sense of comfort and peace. also, seems like people take us more seriously now, and it’s nice to get mail addressed as “mr. and mrs. atlbride2013”.
Post # 29
@Benni: I absolutely think that being married to my DH is much different then it was before. However, we didn’t live together before we were married so that may be part of it…DH is my best friend and that part hasn’t changed but something about being husband and wife HAS changed who/what we are as a couple. A lot of this change is hard to explain or justify but it is different than before.
Post # 30
I think there is a difference, but maybe I only feel the difference because marriage is important to me? Like, if I viewed it as just a piece of paper, maybe I wouldn’t notice a difference?
Is it better? Eh, that’s not really something that can be determined. It’s on a case-by-case basis. For me and DH, yes, I think marriage is better than cohabitation was. For others, marriage may not change anything or it may make things worse – some people’s true characters only emerge once their partner is legally bound to them.