For most people, marriage is the next “big step” in a relationship that normally requires moving in after the ceremony. Nowadays a lot of couples are moving in with each other beforehand and either waiting to get married or not marrying at all. As someone who has lived with her fiancé for over two years, I can personally vouch for that side of the argument from experience and not just research. There are very good points for each side and I can relate, through experience and feelings, to a lot of them.
Benefits of Co-Habitation
Making the step to move in together is one that more and more couples are making before taking their wedding vows. My fiancé and I did this because for a couple of reasons. For one thing, he was still married to his ex-wife to whom he had been separated from for 12 years. The other reason is that we wanted to get to know one another’s daily habits and rituals before getting married. Many couples believe that they truly know each other before they get married and move in together but seeing someone on occasion is not the same as seeing someone day in and day out. This is one reason why a lot of marriages do not last. Living together basically has most of the benefits of marriage without the “restrictions.”
Benefits of Marriage
Marriage has several pluses over and beyond just co-habitation. One of these pluses and perhaps the most important one if you have children together is that you have the option to share your partner’s name. I can even begin to count how many times I’ve been referred to by my son’s and fiancé’s last name. Also, you can receive joint health benefits through work and you will have the option to file joint tax returns together. This is of course if you both have an income. If either person in a relationship were to have been married previously and have not gotten divorced and then remarried then their first spouse would still be able to make big decisions. For example, my fiancé wants to be cremated when he dies and his ex-wife is against this. She wants to go her way and I want to honor his wishes. Since they have not gotten divorced yet, she is legally bound to make this choice. We being married would eliminate this problem.
As I have stated, there are many advantages and disadvantages to both sides of this argument. Marriage is the ultimate goal for us and a lot of other couples in our situation but in the meantime, co-habitation works just as well. Living together helps you find out exactly who you are with and if the relationship will work. Marriage is all that and more. Personally, I believe all couples should have to live with each other for at least six months before getting married so that there are no quick divorces if one can’t handle the other’s daily rituals.