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The Pros and Cons of Living Together Before Marriage

Since completing university in England, Paul has worked as a bookseller, librarian and freelance writer. He currently lives in Florida.

Making the decision whether to cohabit before marriage is an important decision.  Getting it right can make the difference between the survival or failure of the relationship.  Read on for my cohabitation pros and cons...

Making the decision whether to cohabit before marriage is an important decision. Getting it right can make the difference between the survival or failure of the relationship. Read on for my cohabitation pros and cons...

Making the decision whether to cohabit before marriage requires careful consideration for all couples. Getting it right will increase the chance of achieving a successful long-term relationship, while getting it wrong can spell disaster.

Research shows that nearly half of all couples decide to cohabit before they enter wedlock. Of those who live together, 40 percent will go on to marry within three years. Out of those who do marry, 27 percent will have divorced within five years of tying the knot.

There are certainly advantages and disadvantages when it comes to living together before marriage. I have listed the main ones below.

"When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory."

— Friedrich Nietzsche

4 Pros of Living Together Before Marriage

  1. Sharing the financial burdens is much easier with two of you in a household. Splitting the rent and living costs like energy bills makes life more affordable. Plus saving for that down payment on a house or car suddenly seems much more attainable.
  2. Living together can provide a trial run for marriage. You can discover how your other half lives, their habits, expectations, and quirks. You can also gauge how well you both cope together with the practicalities of things like cooking, cleaning, home maintenance, and sharing responsibilities. At the end of the day, it is easier to walk away from a failed relationship, than a failed marriage.
  3. Your sex life and romantic patterns will be more like marriage when you are living together. You may have more fun together when you are under the same roof.
  4. Sharing everything can be fun. If you don't enjoy it when you are living together, you won't enjoy it when you're married.
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11 Cons of Living Together Before Marriage

  1. Living together might dull the excitement regarding marriage.
  2. It may cause tensions if one or both partners are from religious backgrounds which frown upon cohabitation and/or sex before marriage.
  3. Cosigning a lease is a major step to take. It throws you into joint financial responsibility for something, introducing issues such as how money is shared and spent. What if one of you earns far more than the other? What happens if you split up, who gets to stay in the property?
  4. Financial issues can destroy a relationship if not discussed and worked out in advance. Once you live together, your financial responsibilities quickly become intertwined. Talking about money money can be difficult, but it is essential in this situation. People's expectations about lifestyle, budgets, financial ethics, can all cause tensions, and it is generally unrealistic to think that you can work it out as you go along.
  5. Domestic issues, such as the sharing out of chores, meal preparation and standards of cleanliness etc. also need to be discussed and worked out in advance.
  6. Giving up the single life can be difficult for some people. The difference between living for oneself and being part of a partnership are considerable.
  7. Achieving a good balance between seeing each other too much or too little is also a good thing to strive for. When you are dating, you can choose to spend quality time together, but when you live together, it is easy to either neglect to allot times when you just hang out and enjoy each other's company. Likewise, you can also spend too much time with each other and get on each other's nerves. A balance needs to be struck.
  8. Cohabitation can become the norm. Statistics appear to show that the longer a couple live together, the less likely they are to marry.
  9. Getting used to a romantic partner can smother the fires of passion. You can become bored with each other easily, and it takes a deliberate effort to keep the relationship interesting and varied.
  10. The other extreme is that tensions develop and heated arguments are the result. There is nowhere to escape to when you live together, you can't just go home to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
  11. Marriage begins with each member of the couple swearing vows to each other regarding sacrifice and loyalty. These vows are meant to create a particular mindset and culture. Those vows are absent when couples just move in together.
Marriage ceremonies generally involve the couple swearing vows of loyalty and personal sacrifice.  These vows are absent when people live together, which can mean that things like commitment and loyalty are taken less seriously by both parties.

Marriage ceremonies generally involve the couple swearing vows of loyalty and personal sacrifice. These vows are absent when people live together, which can mean that things like commitment and loyalty are taken less seriously by both parties.

Some Marriage Statistics in the U.S.

  • Over 2 million marriages take place in the USA each year.
  • The probability that men will marry by age 40 is 81%; for women, it is 86%.
  • According to the 2010 Pew Research survey, about 6-in-10 (61%) men and women who have never married say they desire to get married. Only 12% say they do not wish to marry and 27% are not sure.
  • Among divorced adults, only 29% say they would like to marry again.

Questions & Answers

Question: My 70 year old girl friend moved in a year and a half ago and i want her to leave, so what are my rights?

Answer: I would recommend seeking legal advice in regard to this matter.

© 2015 Paul Goodman

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