After reading a recent study in Glamour which reexamined the long-propagated myth that couples who live together before marriage have a higher chance of divorce, I felt ridiculously triumphant, wagging my finger in a self-aggrandizing "I told you so" to society at large.
Really, all of those articles were starting to depress me, especially since I'm engaged to a man I have been living with for the past four years. Far from believing the myth, I became convinced that my fiancé and I were just different from the rest of the world, luckier than most. Blame it on my desire to be different, but after reading the article, I started questioning why the myth has held for so long. Was there any truth to it? I couldn't find any good reasons for not living together through my Internet searches, and I kept coming up with "because it is a sin" from religious organizations.
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After scouring the web and relentlessly asking couples, singles and even my fiancé for opinions on the matter, I realized that how a couple deals with issues while cohabitating can be a predictor for successful marriages. I came up with the following list that reminds me of the age-old adage: You don't really know someone until you live with them.
5 Reasons Why Living Together Can Actually Decrease Your Chance of Future Divorce.
1. Living together is the ultimate test. Can your relationship survive the less glamorous aspects of cohabitating? Will you have repeated arguments about dishes and dirty laundry? Living together is not full of the stuff you see in rom-coms (it can often seem like The Break Up), and university studies show that believing movies' portrayal of ideal relationships can increase your chance for dissatisfaction in your relationships. Sorry, Bella fans, Edward Cullen is not real. Your love will really be tested. If you can love each other even after realizing that it's not always going to fun, chances are, you will be in better shape for your marriage.
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2. Couples who live together learn about each other and start to form an identity working as a team. They can learn (or not) how to balance their relationship, careers and even finances together. Through time, the other person's priorities and values will become clear, and couples can see if these really align before putting marriage on the table.
3. When you get into a fight with a significant other who you live with, you can't just walk away and play the "who-calls-first-to-apologize" game. You go home to the same bed, and getting a hotel room or crashing at a friend's house after every fight just isn't viable 100% of the time. This is where the communication and people skills you learned in college and/or while growing up can really make a difference. Will you talk it out, or will you just go to bed angry? If you two just can't get along, it's better to learn this now.