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Published on May 27, 2021

Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad?

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Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad?

In the last several decades, many couples have wondered about whether or not living together before marriage is a wise thing to do. This isn’t something that people had to think about generations ago because it was very uncommon. However, today, it is becoming more and more common and accepted. But there are a lot of things to consider before you move in together.

First, you both have to examine your intentions and be on the same page about it. In other words, are you living together to see if you are compatible in the same house? Are you living together because one or both of you are avoiding (or putting off) marriage? If so, why are you doing this?

Ideally, you have to have a long and honest conversation about why one or both of you want to live together without being married. Perhaps, one of you assumes that the other wants to get married, and they don’t. Or one has a certain timeline in order to get married, and the other doesn’t. Or one thinks this is just a serious relationship and hasn’t really thought about marriage.

Having this conversation is crucial because if you are not in sync with your intentions, this will cause problems down the road. However, for the purposes of this article, let’s assume that both of you know that the end goal is marriage—not just any kind of marriage but, hopefully, one that is full of love and is happy and healthy.

Is Living Together Before Marriage Good or Bad?

Let’s jump into the pros and cons of living together before marriage.

The Pros

1. Sharing Finances

This could be one of the most popular reasons for living together before marriage. Think about it, most serious couples are practically living together anyway. They keep clothes and other personal items at one person’s residence, and they might be there more than they are at their own home. So, in that case, it would make sense to stop paying two different rents or mortgages, two different utility and cable bills, and so much more.

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While this is definitely a pro of living together, you have to make sure that you are wise with the money. It is very tempting to spend the extra money you save and not even know where you spent it. A better idea would be to save the money from the other household and invest it in your future together.

2. It’s Less Stressful When You Finally Get Married

Living with anyone can be stressful. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own parents, siblings, or children, everyone has the ability to get on your nerves when you live in the same space 24/7. It’s just a fact of life.

But when you are dating or in a serious romantic relationship, you have had a much shorter time to get to know someone’s habits. When you are first dating, you don’t see—or overlook—some of your partner’s annoying habits. You might even think it’s cute. But as time goes on, what you thought was alright just gets on your nerves sometimes.

So, imagine if you had never lived together before you get married, and then when you move in together, you had a crisis going on in your head. You might think, “this person drives me crazy because they never do the dishes!”

If you live together before marriage, you will go into it with your eyes wide open, and there will be a lot fewer surprises.

3. You Become Closer and Build a Stronger Bond

Intimacy is a very important thing in any relationship but more especially in marriages. But when I say “intimacy,” I don’t just mean physical/sexual or emotional intimacy. There are actually other different kinds of intimacy that are just as important, such as intellectual, spiritual, experiential, and volitional.

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Let’s talk about volitional intimacy. This kind is about the commitments that two people make with each other. For example, if you decide to buy a house, a car, or a dog together, that means you are making a commitment to each other (regardless of whether you are married or not). And moving in together represents that kind of intimacy.

When a couple has all of these types of intimacy in sync, that is when the relationship is strong. So, living together will help you “test” and see whether or not you can create and sustain these intimacies before you get married. And if so, it will strengthen your bond and make you more confident in getting married.

The Cons

1. Other People May Not Approve

Everyone has an opinion about everything. And most people love to let you know what it is, whether you ask for it or not. With that said, it can be very difficult to do something without your family or friends’ approval. Many times, religion gets in the way of your loved ones. There are many that look down on people who live together before marriage.

For example, many Catholics don’t approve of it. So, perhaps one or both of you grew up in a family that went to church all the time and followed the teachings of the church very closely. If you decide to stray from the spiritual guidelines, then your family could get very angry.

If both people’s family and friends are against moving in, well, that’s bad. However, even if one of you has a family that is not approving but the other one is, that can still cause a problem. The partner whose family is fine with it may not understand why the other person’s family isn’t.

In extreme circumstances, this can cause people to lose relationships with their family and/or friends. So, it’s something to seriously consider before you decide to move in together.

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2. Lack of Support Could Weaken Your Relationship

Living together with your partner is a big decision, whether you are getting married or not. Heck, living with anyone else other than yourself is not always easy. Sure, having a roommate can make you less lonely, but lots of challenges might come along with it too.

So, if you don’t have the support of your social system, it will probably impact your relationship—and not for the better. There may be stress and resentment that lurks in the air between the two of you. It may be spoken or unspoken, and it might not even have anything to do with the two of you specifically, but the outside forces can cause you to have conflict anyway.

Living with anyone can be a struggle sometimes in and of itself. If you’ve had roommates before, then you know what I’m talking about. So, without a good support system in place, you can put your relationship at risk because it could create new difficulties that you and your partner have not dealt with yet.

3. You Will Save Money, But It Could Weaken Your Bond

When you are single or simply live alone, you are in complete control of your finances. No one can tell you what you can or can’t spend your money on. But when you move in with your significant other, that can change.

Sure, you might still have separate bank accounts, but you will be sharing expenses. Decisions like how will the rent/mortgage be paid or who will pay for the groceries and utilities will need to be dealt with, and you may have very different opinions about how it should be done.

And then there’s the problem of outside and/or individual spending. Maybe one of you is a “spender” and one is a “saver.” The saver is going to be upset when the spender spends their money if they think it is irresponsible.

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For example, maybe one of you thinks buying a $200 outfit for the fun of it is a good idea, and the other thinks it’s a stupid decision. Or maybe one wants to spend $300 to make a gourmet meal, and the other thinks it’s a waste of money. These kinds of differences in how you spend money can cause a lot of problems between couples.

Does Living Together Before Marriage Helps With the Marriage Later On?

While most people want a definitive answer to this question, believe it or not, there is mixed research on the topic. Older studies from the 1960s, 70s, and 80s found that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce.[1] However, living together wasn’t as socially acceptable as it is today. More recent studies don’t show quite the same statistics, although the differences aren’t overly startling.

Other studies suggest that the divorce rate of people who live together is not necessarily linked to the actual “living together” part of the equation. Findings show that there are many other contributing factors to divorce other than cohabitation.[2]

For example, the age of cohabitation matters. In general, the older you are, the more likely it is that your marriage will endure. Other factors include personality characteristics such as the ability to commit. In other words, perhaps the people who live together before marriage either do not value serious, legal, or religious commitment as much as those who don’t live together.

With all of this said, at the end of the day, there really isn’t a glaringly obvious answer to whether or not living together before marriage is beneficial or not. It really depends on the people as individuals and the unique couple as a whole.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the choice of whether to move in together before marriage is ultimately between the two of you. As you can see, there is no clear right or wrong answer—it is just as unique of a decision as the couple itself.

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So, whatever you decide, just make sure that you and your partner have important conversations about it, and you are both are very clear about the pros and the cons. Then, just do your best and trust that everything will work out how it’s supposed to.

More Relationships Tips

Featured photo credit: Toa Heftiba via unsplash.com

Reference

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on January 5, 2022

How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

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How to Deal With Anger (The Ultimate Anger Management Guide)

We all lose our temper from time to time, and expressing anger is actually a healthy thing to do in our relationships with others. Expressing our differences in opinion allows us to have healthy conflict and many times come to an agreement or understanding that works for everyone. However, there are times when anger can become overwhelming or damaging, and during these times, it’s important to learn how to deal with anger.

Expressing anger inappropriately can be harmful to relationships, both personal and professional. You may express too much anger, too often, or at times that are only going to make things worse, not better. In this article we will look at anger management techniques that will help you better control your emotions.

Let’s take a deeper look at how to deal with anger.

Expressing Anger

Anger is a natural and normal part of almost any relationship. This includes relationships with your significant other, kids, boss, friends, family, etc. Anger provides us with valuable information if we are willing to listen to it. It clues us in to areas where we disagree with others and things that need to be changed or altered.

Unhealthy Ways to Express Anger

Here are some common yet unhealthy ways to express anger that you should avoid:

Being Passive-Aggressive

This is a term many of us are familiar with. Passive-aggressive behavior happens when someone is angry but uses indirect communication to express their anger.

Some of the more common passive-aggressive behaviors include the silent treatment, making comments about someone behind their back, being grumpy, moody, or pouting, or simply not doing tasks or assignments that they should.

This is a passive-aggressive person’s way of showing their anger. It’s not very productive but extremely common.

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Poorly-Timed

Some people get overwhelmed and express anger in a situation where it can’t really do any good.

An example would be getting angry at one person in front of a crowd of people. All that does is make people uncomfortable and shuts them down. It’s not a healthy way to express anger or disagreement with someone.

Ongoing Anger

Being angry all the time is most often a symptom of something else. It’s healthy and normal to express anger when you disagree with someone. However, if someone is angry most of the time and always seems to be expressing their anger to everyone around them, this won’t serve them well.

Over time, people will start to avoid this person and have as little contact as possible. The reason being is no one likes being around someone who is angry all the time; it’s a no-win situation.

Healthy Ways to Express Anger

What about the healthy ways[1] to adapt? When learning how to deal with anger, here are some healthy ways to get you started.

Being Honest

Express your anger or disagreement honestly. Be truthful about what it is that is making you angry. Sometimes this will entail walking away and thinking about it for a bit before you respond.

Don’t say you’re mad at something someone did or said when it’s really something else that upset you.

Being Direct

Similar to being honest, being direct is a healthy way to express anger.

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Don’t talk around something that is making you angry. Don’t say that one thing is making you angry when it’s really something else, and don’t stack items on top of each other so you can unload on someone about 10 different things 6 months from now.

Be direct and upfront about what is making you angry. Ensure you are expressing your anger to the person who upset you or you are angry at, not to someone else. This is very counterproductive.

Being Timely

When something makes you angry, it’s much better to express it in a timely manner. Don’t keep it bottled up inside of you, as that’s only going to do more harm than good.

Think of the marriages that seem to go up in flames out of nowhere when the reality is someone kept quiet for years until they hit their breaking point.

Expressing anger as it occurs is a much healthier way of using anger to help us guide our relationships in the moment.

How to Deal With Anger

If you feel angry, how should you deal with it right at that moment?

1. Slow Down

From time to time, I receive an email at work that makes me so angry that steam is probably pouring out of my ears.

In my less restrained moments, I have been known to fire off a quick response, and that typically has ended about as well as you might imagine.

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When I actually walk away from my computer and go do something else for a while, I am able to calm down and think more rationally. After that happens, I am able to respond in a more appropriate and productive manner. Doing things that helps you learn how to release anger can make an uncomfortable situation more manageable before it gets out of hand.

2. Focus on the “I”

Remember that you are the one that’s upset. Don’t accuse people of making you upset because, in the end, it’s your response to what someone did that really triggered your anger. You don’t want to place blame by saying something like “Why don’t you ever put away your dishes?” Say something more like “Having dirty dishes laying on the counter upsets me—can you work with me to come to a solution?”

When you are accusatory towards someone, all that does is increase the tension. This doesn’t usually do anything except make your anger rise higher.

3. Work out

When learning how to deal with anger, exercise is a great outlet. If something happens that angers you, see if you have the opportunity to burn off some of the anger.

Being able to hit the gym to get a hard workout in is great. If this isn’t an option, see if you can go for a run or a bike ride. If you are at work when you become angry and the weather permits, at least go outside for a brisk walk.

Besides working some of your anger out through exercise, this also helps to give your mind a chance to work through some ways to address what it is that upset you.

4. Seek Help When Needed

There are times when we could all use some help. Life can be stressful and overwhelming. It’s perfectly fine to seek some help from a mental health professional if it will help you get back to a healthy balance.If you find that you are angry all the time, it might be a good idea to go talk to an expert about learning to control intense emotions. They can give you some sound advice and ideas on how to get your anger to a more manageable and healthy level.

5. Practice Relaxation

We all seem to lead incredibly busy lives, and that’s a good thing if we are loving the life we are living. That being said, it is very beneficial to our physical and mental well-being to take time out for relaxation.

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That can mean spending time doing things that help us calm down and relax, like being around people we enjoy, practicing deep breathing or listening to music. It could be making time for things that help bring us balance like a healthy diet and physical activity.

Many people incorporate techniques such as yoga and meditation to calm their minds and release tension when learning how to deal with anger. Whatever your choice is, ensure you take time out to relax when warning signs of anger start to bubble up.

6. Laugh

Incorporating humor and laughter on a regular basis will help keep anger in check and help you get over a bad mood and feelings of anger more quickly. This isn’t part of formal anger management techniques, but you’ll be surprised by how well it works. Remember, life is a journey that’s meant to be enjoyed fully along the way through healthy emotion. Make sure you take time to laugh and have fun.Surround yourself with people that like to laugh and enjoy life. Don’t work at a job that just causes you stress, which can lead to anger. Work at something you enjoy doing.

7. Be Grateful

It’s easy to focus on the bad in life and the things that cause us negative emotions. It’s vitally important to remind ourselves of all the wonderful things in life that bring us positive emotions, things that we easily forget because we get caught up in the whirlwind of day to day life.

Take time out each day to remind yourself of a few things you are grateful for in order to help you learn how to release anger and invite in more positive feelings.

Final Thoughts

Life can be overwhelming at times. We seem to have constant pressure to achieve more and to always be on the go or motivated. People we are around and situations we are in can cause stress, anger, and negative emotions. At times, it can seem to be too much, and we get angry and our emotions start to get out of control.

During these times, keep in mind that life is an incredible journey, full of wonder and things that bring you joy. When you find yourself angry more often than is healthy, take time out to remember the good things in life—the things that we seem to forget yet bring us so much positive energy and emotions.

Use some of the tips included here to help with how to deal with anger and better control your emotions.

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More Resources on Anger Management

Featured photo credit: Andre Hunter via unsplash.com

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