My wife and I had a fight the other day. You know, the kind that makes you wonder if you should even be with this person – and that splits relationships up? But it didn’t break us up. In fact, we came out the other side stronger and communicating more deeply. Why? Because we’re married.
Why I’m Talking About This
Skipping The Logic
- easier than a lifelong marriage commitment,
- enables freedom to have sex before marriage, and by extension
- builds relationally weak, non-committed, and insecure relationships
- Living together is a good idea
- Living together is taking our relationship to the next level
- Living together is a great way to find out if you’re compatible
Each one of those statements, though each may feel right on some level, is wrong.
- Living together is a good idea – if you want to 5x the odds you’ll break up
- Living together takes a relationship to the next level – the next level of non-commitment
- Living together is a great way to find out if you’re compatible – as you cover up a lack of mature communication skills between you, diminish your ability to persevere, make non-committed sex a cover-up for your fear of having to sacrifice yourself for someone else over a lifetime (thereby losing your self-focus), and increase your odds of splitting up if you don’t marry to 62%
Straight up – the odds that living together is a “good idea” are very, very poor.
Living Together Lacks Courage & Foresight
The folks who recommend you and your partner live together, even if they are well-meaning friends or elders, have not looked into it and are unwittingly not caring about your future self.
They may just want you to be happy.
Celebrity culture doesn’t care about you now – or you in your 30s, 40s, and 50s, or the children who are born into this non-committal, one-foot-out-the-door-if-we-don’t-get-along environment.
They certainly don’t care about you working the relational muscles that make a relationship last for multiple decades, ending in depth and sweetness of friendship, and someone to share the long drama of life alongside (even if you do bicker a bit).
Once you make that decision to move in together, psychologists tell us that inertia kicks in – it’s easier to stay in it than to create the tension of getting out of a relationship that you shouldn’t be in – and the results are devastating.
Sex is a key element in mating – and it is psychologically and physically powerful.
Having sex with someone with whom you are not committed to both publicly and privately bonds you to a person – making you emotionally connected to someone who, in some cases, you should actually not be with.
I.e. In my view, non-married sex jacks people up long-term.
Sex, by design is
- For you and your committed mate
- For joy
- For family
- For children
- For pleasure
- For bonding and intimacy
Sex is for within the committed relationship that is marriage.
It is physical overflow of the deep communication you practiced before you were married and had sex.
Name your favorite show: Friends, Seinfeld, the Bachelor/Bachelorette, or any of the plethora of current shows now following in their footsteps.
While I laugh at them, too, they all lied to you that “friends with benefits” is not complicated, is fun, and can be done lightly.
They lied with happy people and funny writing, and a generation was deeply, deeply damaged. And with Netflix, Amazon Prime, and the new channels filling the 35.5 hours per week people are watching television, it goes on, and on, and on.
Soft porn and promiscuous relationship modeling now pours into homes, and Hollywood feels good about it. They don’t care if they are eroding families, even before they start.
The power of sex masks immaturity, further seals bonds that are unhealthy, and disables effective decisions about the long-term viability of the relationship.
A lot of young people are having sex thinking it is helping the relationship. Outside of marriage, trust me, it is eroding the trust and muscle of restraint you will need to apply every single day in marriage.
Living Together As A Trial Run?
Doing a trial run with a car doesn’t hurt or damage the car irrevocably and make it feel like a relational failure if in 10 years if you decide it “doesn’t work.”
Trial runs of “married life” damage people, stunt further relational opportunities, and make everyone gun-shy about trying again with anyone when it (usually) doesn’t work.
Ask all the happy people in their 40s and 50s who find themselves single again, feeling like they lost precious years of their lives “trying to make it work” after a long time living together or even being married. It’s damaging.
But there is healing, for sure. Some of my heroes walked this path – but neither they nor I would wish the painful journey on anyone else.
Sliding From Living Together Into Marriage
In that report, they talk about why commitment is so very critical, and why people who live together, who then “slide into marriage,” have so little success holding it all together.
It’s sloppy commitment, sloppy relating, and sloppy sex-friendship, all rolled into one. When kids get the short end of the security stick, it’s downright wrong.
Why Marriage Eats Living Together For Breakfast
- staying together,
- staying married, and
- staying in a thriving relationship together that is also a safe, good place for kids.
Other Articles In The Relationship Series
Other Helpful Resources
Books That Helped Us Start Strong
How Can I Be Sure? A Premarital Inventory (a retro cover, but the workbook was great)
The Act Of Marriage (LaHaye) (the beauty of sexual love)
Other Helpful Resources
While I do not endorse all of the content, perspectives, or presenting organizations of every article linked to in my other posts below, one or more of them may prove helpful to your particular situation or need.