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Living Together Before Marriage

Ok I have just finished reading one of your articles on the wrong reasons to marry. After I read that article I read another talking about living with your boy/girl friend before marriage. This article said that people should live with each other before getting married to get used to it. I have never lived with my fiance of 2 1/2+ years and we are still thinking it is a good idea.

I wanted to know your views on the situation. I grew up believing that it is wrong and that having kids out of wed-lock is bad as well for the child and for you. I dont think this article was very agreeable to some people like me and I wanted your opinion on weather I was right or wrong.

Thank you in advance and I hope to hear the answer soon.


I agree that having children when you're not married to the father is a bad idea. Having children is the most selfish thing a person can do. After all, the kid doesn't ask to be born - it's just the parents deciding that they want little carbon copies of themselves running around that makes this happen! Thus, I believe that these kids deserve everything to their favor - including a married, committed home.

On the other hand, I agree with the article regarding living together. Until you actually live with someone else, you can't possibly know what it's going to be like. How unfair for two people to be thrust into a live-in situation without knowing what they are in for. Once the marriage is absolute, that's a very bad time to find out about how your partner lives! I soundly believe that any couple that wants to be married had better live together first.

Now, with that said, you need to understand this fact: studies show that there is a slight increase in the chance of divorce in couples that shacked up before getting married! That's an interesting situation, wouldn't you agree?

However, I believe it's because most of these couples were engaged either before or got engaged during their live-in situation and saw this as a path along the way toward marriage - just as you are considering. That's not a bad thing in and of itself by the way.

What is bad is these couples finding out that they have trouble living with their partners, and going ahead with the marriage any way! Just because they were living together as a step along the way, they figured that they could simply continue along and everything would be fine.

My advice to any couple is this: first, set your goals. Decide exactly what it is that you want in your life. If a marriage is the only thing you need to be happy, don't wait for your partner - go have that wedding right now. Find anyone that will marry you and get happy!

On the other hand, if you're looking for a good, solid, happy relationship with someone you love, respect and care for - and that loves, respects and cares for you, then set that as your goal and find the format for the relationship that works. Try living with that person first too. Decide if that is the right structure for your particular relationship. Only after you've done this should you consider being engaged.

In a case like yours where you are already engaged, remember that living together is something of a trial run. If it doesn't work out, it's perfectly acceptable to "downsize" the relationship and go back to being a couple that doesn't live together. But, whatever you do, don't jump into a marriage if living together doesn't work out.


Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit:

Copyright (c) 2001, Dr. Dennis W. Neder



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