I got to spend Friday night with a bunch of my friends here in Halifax, at an end of summer BBQ. The night was full of entertaining conversation, with pretty much every topic being covered (from girls who go to Chicago for butt implants to how I secretly wish I could trade all of my brains for stupidity and beauty – I guess not so secret anymore).
Someone at one point, pointed out that I spend a lot of time talking about dating and marriage, but not a lot of time talking about those couples out there who live together.
I come from a community where moving in together before marriage is pretty much frowned upon. Sure people do it, but not without a lot of hassle, headache, and talk from others in the community who disapprove (my community has no problem expressing their opinions to each other – in fact, if expressing opinions on others and how they live their lives was a job, the majority of the community members would tie for consecutive “employee of the month” titles)
There were a number of people at the BBQ who feel that “we” are at a disadvantage because we “aren’t allowed” to move in with each other before marriage. I mean, how are you going to know what a person is “really like” if you don’t get to live with them first?
I’m not sure I agree with that point of view.
As my new friend “E” pointed out when we spoke about this subject later, knowing if someone is “messy or how they fold their underwear will not break up a good relationship.” How true that is. Moving in with someone because you want to get to know them better isn’t the right way to get to know someone better. The key to a healthy relationship and the key to really knowing a person isn’t close proximity, but instead communication.
Living with a person will tell you if they are a slob, or if they like to listen to their music loudly, or sing in the shower, but it won’t tell you what their long term life goals are, or what their moral compass is.
It used to be that people who lived together before getting married had a higher divorce rate. That isn’t the case any more. It’s not that less of them are getting divorced though, it’s that less are actually getting married.
Although I come from a traditional culture, I do not come from one that practices arranged marriages (a fact that actually pisses me off. I’m sure 10 years ago the practice would have infuriated me, but now – Hell, I would kill to have someone figure all of this shit out for me)
Some opponents of arranged marriages say that they lead to divorce, however there aren’t any stats to back that up. In fact 90% of the married population in India are in arranged marriages, and the country has the lowest rate of divorce than any where in the world. Why is that? Well contrary to popular belief, arranged marriages are not “forced” marriages, but instead a process where the most important facets of a persons life, their background, their values, their goals are taken into consideration and matched with someone who is compatible. That actually doesn’t sound half bad.
But there I go talking about marriage again. I guess what it all comes down to is practicality. There really isn’t a lot of romance in moving in together. Girls don’t start to cry from excitement if a guy pops that particular question. So if, in the end, you’re moving in because it’s cheaper, easier, or more fun than living apart – I’d say you’re better off getting a roommate. Or a dog.