There are many times I realize I live in a bubble, but almost none are more obvious than the times I realize not everyone moves in with their boyfriend or girlfriend prior to engagement. In my neck of the woods (the urban Northeast), there is not a single couple I know who did not test drive the relationship by living together first.
For every couple I know who lived together, I also know a couple who is still happily married 12, 15, and 20 years later. Sure, I also know a couple of divorced couples, but the irony is, the ones I know are some of whom never lived together (and also do not live in my state). So why are so many articles always coming out saying how bad it is to live together before marriage?
Personally, I lived with two men, one whom I married and one I did not. And I am deeply grateful for them both.
The first one ended horribly, with unpaid bills, screaming fights, and me back in my parent's house for a month. But I am glad it ended. In that case we had become engaged before we moved in together. Had we married rather than moved in, I would be divorced now. Maybe that does not seem like a big deal given how hard it was to move out. But at least I did not have any legal hassle.
As for the second one, here we are, 11 years and two kids later, still going strong. Living together did not hurt us. If anything, it made us know each other better and made us stronger. By the time we walked down the aisle, we had been living together for a year and a half. We knew everything about one another's habits and quirks. I knew how he threw his clothing on the floor and he knew I was not a stickler for cleanliness.
The few people I DO know who did not live together were under 23 when they married, more religious and did not live in cities. And all of them said that they had a steeper learning curve than my husband and I did. They had never even grocery shopped together when they got married.
We had our little life and sure, it made marriage a little anti-climactic, but a wedding is wonderful whenever it happens and my husband and I were deeply enmeshed in each other's lives once we married.
I honestly can't imagine our marriage would be as strong without living together. So for every article saying how "bad" it is, consider this: Every couple I know almost lived together prior to marriage and they are all happily married with children now.
Sure, it could go either way, but I never would have married a man without first living in the same house.
Did you live together before marriage?
Going to baseball games
Riding bike rides in the nice weather
Playing outside after work/school
Going for walks outside