A friend of mine just posted an article titled "Six reasons living together doesn't work" on facebook which popped up on my newsfeed. She says she "agrees with everything and thoroughly enjoyed" reading this article. So naturally, I clicked on it and I've come to the conclusion that my friend is mad. Be warned now, this blog post is going to be a full on rant and probably quite opinionated, so sorry if I'm coming across a little rude.
First off, I'll just link the article here so you can read it. I'm pretty sure this website is a kind of online community for Christian women (my friend's father is a minister) so perhaps a lot of ideas in the article stem from the Bible? In no way am I Bible bashing (is that the correct term?) or criticising the readings or people's beliefs bla bla, we all know that disclaimer, but what I'm going to write is what I believe. Essentially, I'm going to quote the article and then say it's all crap.
Point number one: "You can't try out commitment". Actually, you can. The author of this article is suggesting that "marriage at its core is all about commitment" but, um, so is a normal loving unmarried relationship. In fact, I'm trying to write more about this point but I can't because THE WOMAN'S ARGUMENT IS SO ILLOGICAL. "Couples think they can 'try out' this marriage thing by living together, but that doesn’t work because marriage is about more than sharing an address, or expenses, or a bed. Marriage at its core is all about the commitment." It sounds a lot like she's suggesting any relationship other than a marriage isn't committed? Isn't it a million times better to live together for a bit and then see if this person grates on your nerves so much that you actually can't take it, than to "court" for a year or two before getting married, and then move in together only to find you can't deal with being with them 24/7? It is.
Point number two: "Your needs are important too". Okay, so learn to compromise like any normal person would. I honestly don't understand this argument. Who said anything about giving up everything you want? The author says that a guy's top relationship needs are "physical responsiveness, companionship, domestic support" and that "a living-together relationship is more likely to meet his needs than yours". Isn't she contradicting herself? Marriage is about equality, happiness, bla bla, so why is living together before marriage a bad idea purely because it might make him happier than it makes you? The hypocrisy is mind blowing. (Also, what if it's a same sex relationship? Her theory here suggests that these couples will have exactly the same needs, because, you know, the dynamic of every relationship is dictated by gender. NOT.)
This brings me on to point number three: "It sets a norm for selfish living". The lady says you need to "be willing to make selfless decisions" and that "this is not the culture created in most living-together relationships." Can we take a moment to let that sink in? It seems like she's made a pretty huge jump from you need to be selfless to living together will make you selfish. But, please, do tell... how does it make you selfish? You're sharing a home, making decisions together, letting them into your life. I don't know, call me stupid, but what part of that sets a standard for selfish living?
Points four and five are essentially the same so I'll just lump them together: "You shouldn't have to earn the ring" and "you are more valuable than that". Alrighty. Who said a couple who are living together have any obligation to marry each other? What if they just like spending time together and have some level of commitment to each other? Why can't that be enough? Like I said previously, perhaps living together for a few months has shown a couple that they don't want to be together for the rest of their lives. Why does marriage have to be the be-all and end-all of a relationship? Some people don't agree with the idea of marriage anyway. You're allowed to explore your feelings within a relationship and - shocker right here - YOU'RE ALLOWED TO BREAK UP IF YOU WANT TO. Holy crap, living together isn't some automatic pass to marriage. It's a trial period, if marriage is what you're after, or two people might just want to hang out more and living together is a nice convenient way to do that.
Point six "if you want God’s favor, you’ve got to follow God’s ways" is kind of irrelevant for me because, while I do believe in God, that belief is not what I base my life around. I don't go to church or read the Bible or not get drunk at parties or never swear ever. The way I see it is that God wants y'all to be happy. (I just said y'all, I've been watching too much Ellen DeGeneres!) If you're living with someone who, oh my god, isn't your husband or wife, He's not going to hate you. Hell, He's not even going to disapprove because you're probably a good person and you're happy and you're making someone else happy by compromising (not that the author of this article gets what that is) and you really like - or maybe even love - each other. God loves love, yo.
If I find someone who I like enough, and who likes me too, and we're in a happy relationship, we can move in with each other. We don't have to get married and our feelings are allowed to change. We don't have to stay together forever. Living together is going to help me see if I could spend the rest of my life with them and if they actually want me in their life forever. We're going to "try out our commitment" to each other (yeah, I said it!). And it's going to be pretty great.