If you are considering moving in with your partner before marriage, there are many things to consider. On the positive side, if you move in with that person, you will really get to see who you are with and all of their habits before you marry him/her. This way, when or if you get to marriage, there will be no disappointments or surprises.
So, before you move in together, check out these 6 words of caution:
1. Is marriage your ultimate goal? If marriage is what you ultimately want, make sure to have this discussion so expectations are clear before you decide to live together. Also, create a time frame for which you will like to be moving toward marriage so the living together does not put a delay on the goal.
If you have a lot of anxiety about getting married and taking this first step, it is best to live separately until each of you feels sure about your decisions for the future.
2. Discover your differences. If you choose to live together, it will be an emotional journey of discovering your differences. The honeymoon phase will move into the negotiating phase with both having equal value. Working through differences is the quickest way to humility, working together and cooperating. There is nothing more growth-promoting than these three emotional processes.
When fear and defensiveness come up around these differences, it is best to write your feelings and issues of concern down so you can go into a conversation intelligently rather than emotionally. Writing things down helps to recognize your and your partner’s patterns, and it helps to solidify the more serious issues in the relationship. As you get clear and you approach these differences intelligently, the space is created for a productive conversation.
The best strategy for working through differences is listening. If you cannot listen you cannot grow or move through your issues. This is a skill that has to be practiced by both. Without listening there can be no genuine understanding.
3. Ideas of cleanliness. Each person has their own way of being clean and organized and rarely do two people share the exact same ideas and habits. If you are considering living together, make sure your partner is clear about your vision of cleanliness and fairness around chores.
Believe it or not, chores break up more marriages than major life disasters. Couples can make it through tragedies better than they can make it through arguments of who did the dishes last. If you and your partner vary greatly on chores, get a cleaning person to come in weekly or bi-weekly to balance out your differences is one solution.
Another great way to balance out chores is to make them fun and to do them together at the time they need to be done. The majority of conflict comes when one partner leaves chores for “later.” Get them done and move the conflict out of the way.
Each partner should pay an equal percentage of their respective income on bills. Therefore, if one partner earns more than the other then that partner will contribute slightly more. To try and split everything down the middle when incomes are not the same doesn’t typically work out fairly so base your finances on percentages of income instead.
5. Time Together. Bizarrely enough, living together can actually create less time together. When you do not live together you are focused on any time you can get with each other which creates an effort to plan time, plan dates and plan fun activities together.
When people live together, this often stops. When we live together we come home, land on the couch and we forget to plan special time out because we immediately take it for granted our partner is readily available. Never take for granted the time to let your partner know they are worth your time and planning.
For this reason, plan special nights out each week and weekend. Alone time gets you back into the romantic/sexual aspect of your relationship. When you stay at home all the time in front of the TV you become roommates. Get out and enjoy each other so you can keep the sexual/romantic aspects alive.
6. Keeping independence. If you choose to live together, make your first commitment not to your partner but to keeping your individual life exciting, interesting and alive with passion. We are the sexiest to others when we are independently fulfilled.