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Cohabitation Before Marriage: 3 Reasons I’m Totally For It

The other day, I was talking with a friend that explained to me that she would never under any circumstances consider living with a man before marriage. For years, studies reported that cohabiting before marriage greatly increases the likelihood of divorce, and my friend sung the song that I had heard from women time and time again: why would he buy the cow if I give him the milk for free? Some women seem to believe that if they live with their boyfriends, they will be less likely to pop the question because they will already be getting what it is that they want out of marriage in the first place. Although I can understand this argument, I also think that it sells men short and belittles what they look for in wives. A more recent study reported by the Huffington Post confirms what I have believed to be true all along: cohabitation before marriage does not lead to divorce and actually never has!

In 2009, a year in to our relationship, my husband and I began shacking up in a tiny single dorm room at the University of Miami. Although I had a suite with a roommate down the hall, my husband had a single that I slept in every single night. I would go down the hall and fetch my clothes and belongings and spend all my other time in the room we shared. We still joke about how we used to have to hide the key for each other nearby so that we could both enter at our leisure given our busy college schedules (it was the school’s policy to only provide one key for a single room since, technically, only one person was supposed to live there). I never even slept in my own dorm room – not even once. Being confined in such a small space together, I learned so much about him and his living habits.

At the end of that school year, we moved off campus to a one bedroom apartment at a neighboring complex. It was our first time being “out on our own” and we did it together.  The apartment that we shared for two years at Red Road Commons will always be near and dear to my heart. I learned how to cook in that apartment (through a lot of trial and error – my husband still picks on me and tells how happy he is that my cooking did improve) and my husband and I learned how to argue constructively. It’s easy to fight and argue when one person can storm out, but it’s a whole different ball game when you then have to lay your heads next to each other and sleep in the same bed. We established our household roles, and most of those roles still hold true today. To date, we have lived together in a single dorm room, several apartments (in and out of the United States), and the townhouse here in Atlanta that we purchased in 2012. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I would follow him to the moon and back and live with him in a cardboard box if I had to.


The keys to our first home! We were (and still are) so happy to be homeowners.

Living with my husband before marriage was one of the best decisions I made in terms of our relationship and, to all the women who don’t think your man won’t propose if you already live together, I challenge you to have a frank conversation and possibly reevaluate your relationship all together if that is indeed the case. Marriage (emotionally, financially, and legally) is about so much more than living together and if that’s the only thing you think will change in your relationship, you’re in for a surprise. I think that cohabiting before marriage is a good idea, and here’s why:

  1. You don’t know someone until you live with them

  2. After a year of being in a relationship, I thought I knew everything about DeQuan before we moved in together. I was SO wrong! I learned so much about him and his habits (some I love and some, to this day, I hate. Like, who leaves the milk in the cereal bowl when they put it in the sink?! Gross!). I’m sure he learned things about me that he hated as well, and we got the opportunity to adjust and make changes. We also realized that the number of things we loved about each other greatly outnumbered the things that we couldn’t stand. I learned about his sleeping habits, his cleanliness, and so much more. Through living together, we learned to compromise and consider each other’s needs and feelings.

  3. It allows you to establish your household roles

  4. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little old fashioned in my thinking about male and female household roles, but, regardless of who you think should cook the meals or take our the trash, living together before marriage allows you to try out different roles and figure out what works for you and your relationship. When we first moved off campus together, DeQuan and I established that I would cook the meals (even though I don’t know that we can honestly call what I was cooking back then meals) and he would wash the dishes afterwards. This is how we still do things at dinnertime to this day and it works so well for us! Sure, I suppose we could’ve waited until after we were married to figure out who does what around the house, but doing it beforehand gave us plenty of time for trial and error and to figure out who is good at what. I have no problem sweeping the floors, but I’m honestly just not very good at it, and in the time we spent cohabiting, we figured that out and adjusted accordingly.

  5. It makes the transition to married life much easier

  6. As those of you who have been keeping up with LiveLifeWell know, DeQuan and I just celebrated our first wedding anniversary. Although so many people told me the first year of marriage would be the hardest, for us, it was a walk in the park. I honestly feel like the main reason why our first year of the marriage went so smoothly was because we had lived together for so long beforehand. While some things did change once we got married (how we organize our finances, etc.), for the most part, things remained the same. Getting married wasn’t an adjustment in terms of our living arrangements so, instead of looking for a new place or deciding how we would combine our furniture, we got to focus wholeheartedly on planning and enjoying the wedding of our dreams. There were no new roles to sink into or new habits to learn and we got to just enjoy being newlyweds.

I would follow him to the moon and back

I’m a supporter of cohabitation before marriage! Are you? Why or why not? Leave your comments below. I would love to hear your take on this!

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