I love BuzzFeed videos. I love how they reveal the ridiculousness of the social standards that we live by. I love how the staff members aren’t afraid to make fools of themselves so that we, the audience, get to giggle. And I love that I got to witness Zac “feel like a hairy Jewish princess” in a white and too-tight wedding dress. But the other day I stumbled upon a BuzzFeed video that I did not love. “I do not think in this day and age you should wait until you’re married to move in with the person,” was said. “My mum always told me you gotta milk the cow before you buy it.”
It wasn’t the first time I’d seen this belief about marriage expressed on the internet. Just a few weeks beforehand, I’d read an article on Mamamia, another online platform that I love, by a young woman who couldn’t fathom how people could marry without first living together. She wrote that living with someone before marrying them meant that the marriage would be an “informed decision” rather than an “experiment”.
In less than four months, I myself will walk down the aisle. Nic is my best friend and the love of my life, and I am so excited to become his wife. But our relationship comes with a fact that will cause many to worry about the state of our upcoming marriage: we have never lived together. This fact, combined with the copious amount of online content about the necessity of living with someone before marrying them, has at times caused me to worry about my impending marriage. Are we rushing into it too quickly? Will we still enjoy each other’s company if we live under the same roof? Am I making the right decision?
These questions have flickered in my mind as I live life as a fiancée. But, despite what the world says, my conclusion remains the same: I don’t actually need to live with my fiancé before marrying him. In fact, I feel that there is absolutely nothing appealing about having to live with someone before choosing to marry them. To me, the whole thing sounds like I’m supposed to pass some sort of “test” before my boyfriend can decide whether-or-not I’m worth loving and committing to – and that doesn’t sound very romantic or exciting. Am I supposed to show him how good a cook I am? Am I supposed to do all his laundry? It seems like a promotion-phase, where he could easily bail out.
It reminds me of test-driving a car before you buy it. It’s a consumer-based relationship. But we’re not dealing with commodities here; we’re dealing with humans who will feel hurt if the driver dumps them back at the car lot after a while because they’re “not good enough”. What person is perfect to live with, anyway? NO ONE! To me, living with someone that you’re not yet legally bound to is like having one foot out the door throughout the relationship. It shows me that your level of trust and commitment to that person isn’t actually as high as it could be. I want my level of involvement with someone to match my level of commitment.
Furthermore, research suggests that living with someone isn’t necessarily a suitable way to test a relationship before marriage. According to First Things First, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to strengthening families, couples who live together often have an “I can leave at any time” attitude that married couples don’t typically have.
I’m not sharing this data, or my personal opinion, to shame or judge those who live or want to live with their partner before marriage. If you believe that there is nothing wrong with living with your boy/girlfriend, then go ahead and do it! I am not saying that I am somehow better than you. But what I am doing is sharing a valid and legitimate perspective that the internet has drowned. I’m sick of being fed the lie that living together first is the only wise way to go about marriage.
My mum always told me that love is a choice, and I never knew what she meant until now. My fiancé is willing to spend the rest of his life legally committed to me in a stable and secure relationship, even though he has never lived with me. He’s not worried or concerned about that, because he has already made the decision to love me, and I have chosen to love him – and we’re going into this intimate institution called ‘marriage’ trusting each other and continuing to choose love, respect, forgiveness and determination, no matter what surprises, annoying habits, adversity, boredom or misunderstandings come our way!
BuzzFeed may have let me down on this topic, but thankfully I’ve found another YouTube video that pretty much mirrors my differing point of view.
Watch it here: youtube.com/watch?v=uoQq8fqV0fU