Get Hitched For The Kids: Why Cohabitation Isn't Enough

By

kid with parents
When he says, "let's live together," it means he's not fully committed.

"Stop wearing your wishbone where your backbone ought to be." –Elizabeth Gilbert

Week after week, I see couples who want to get married. They seek guidance so they can build the strongest foundation possible prior to marriage. One of the problems that actually make this guidance more challenging is when one of the partners wanted to get married and the other didn't so they opted to live together instead. The partner that went along with living together but wanted to get married usually has left over resentment, and it becomes evident during premarital counseling.

Premarital counseling is usually upbeat and fun. It's a joining together, an exciting time for the couple, and we have fun as we learn in the sessions. This changes when the couple has lived together, as there is more hostility when they talk about communication. Many times couples who live together think they know one another very well, and pre-marital counseling challenges their assumptions. The 3 C's Of Long-Lasting Love

The popular view is often not the truth, and cohabitation is one of those times. Living together prior to marriage is still one of the best predictors for divorce and if you have a child in that union prior to marriage you set them up for an unstable life. The latest research has found that for children, going through a divorce is more stable than being raised by a cohabitating couple. Many couples find someone with whom they can relate or have sex, and before you know what is happening they decide they will live together. They tell me or anyone listening that they want to make sure they are compatible.

Living together won't tell you if you're compatible as a married couple. It will tell you what a person smells like without a shower, who is messy and what kind of TV shows and music each of you like. It won't tell you what sex, money, or communication will be like after marriage because these three things are the first to change after marriage. The biggest problem with living together is that one of those partners usually secretly wants to marry the other. They are trying not to be clingy or pushy so they opt for living together. When you want one type of relationship, but settle for another, it builds resentment and criticism. You may begin to think less of yourself as well as your partner for allowing or forcing you to "settle."

Of course this isn't talked about aloud, but that doesn't make it any less true or potent. What you cannot talk about, you usually act out with cheating, having a baby when the other person didn't want one, or no longer taking care of yourself. Then, your living situation begins to erode a relationship that could have been a good marriage if you had taken your time to get to know one another, built a friendship, and kept your own place until you were ready to marry.

Keep reading...

More Juicy Content From YourTango:

Article contributed by

Mary Jo Rapini

Counselor/Therapist

For more information go to: www.maryjorapini.com
Talk to me on my fan page: http://www.facebook.com/maryjorapini
Tweet me: @MaryJoRapini
Read my Love and Relationships Blog on Chron.com
Ask me questions on Fox26 in Houston, TX and watch every Thursday Morning at 9am for “Mind, Body, Soul with Mary Jo” and Friday Morning's at 8am for “Healthy Happy Hour with Mary Jo”

Location: Houston, TX
Credentials: LPC
Other Articles/News by Mary Jo Rapini:

A Soul Mate Isn't A Soul Mate Without These 4 Attributes

By

Time Magazine recently reported on a concept many of us have, "That good marriages and relationships are based on finding our soul mate or our perfect one." This expectation is shaped by society's focus on physical attraction and messages from our friends, family and our favorite television shows, none of which are actually true as far as having a ... Read more

6 Ways To Keep Your Marriage Hot When You Have Little Kids

By

Today's young families have pressures that families of long ago may not have had. Parents both work with the pressure of taking kids to school, lack of sleep, alternating who takes off sick time when their child gets sick and trying to excel in their own careers. Stress over time begins deteriorating marriage happiness, which is a leading cause of divorce ... Read more

Sleeping In The Nude: Does What You Wear To Bed Affect Intimacy?

By

A recent survey published by Cotton USA reveals that 57 percent of married couples who sleep nude report being happy with their partner. Roughly half of all couples do sleep nude and approximately half of those are over the age of 55. Is it the nudity itself helping couples feel happier with their partner or is the nudity symbolic for something deeper that ... Read more

See More

PARTNER POSTS
Latest Expert Videos
Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Most Popular