First comes…living together…then comes marriage. Maybe.

Two years into marriage, I think marriage is pretty freaking awesome. Of course there are challenges. I joke you have to figure out what amount of annoying you’re willing to live with. And I always tell people if you don’t think your partner is ever annoying you sure aren’t ready to marry them.

But what I wanted to focus on today is sex and living with someone before you get married. The short story is I don’t think it’s a good idea, my faith beliefs are behind that, but I actually don’t want to focus on that today at all. What I’m going to talk about today is spouse privilege. What is that, you ask. Spouse privilege are those things that your partner should 100% have access to in marriage. This list is in no way exhaustive but some of those things are:

  • sharing a home
  • in house support (doing chores, making meals, daily mental and emotional support)
  • sharing a bed
  • sex
  • shared finances
  • adopting shared pets
  • having children together
  • making each other a number one priority

This short list may have hit some nerves, and I also do want to clarify that there is leeway in most of these. Cooking meals for each other is actually a great way to get to know each other better and build intimacy while dating. But I do think getting into places of supporting someone through meal cooking (especially if you live with them) is dipping into spouse territory.

My personal thought is that no one deserves spouse privileges from you until they’ve committed themselves to you in marriage. And I don’t think that should be old fashioned. Cause I’ve seen the heart break that follows time and time again. I can only think of a handful of exceptions when moving in turned into marriages (especially as Christians).

Common scenario: you love a person, you’re both in a place where it makes sense to live together for one reason or another, but you don’t actually talk about your plans for marriage. Sure it might be on the table, but then again it might not be. This person has made no commitments to you (and if you’re engaged I’m sorry, but nothing is certain till you’ve said “I do.”), why should they be allowed in your inner sanctum figuratively and literally?

Why should you give so much to someone who hasn’t fully earned it, who might just end up leaving you. Please don’t get it wrong, I was 1000% in (well, at least by our first year of dating) but if we didn’t have a clear future (marriage) together, then why? I just don’t feel the sex, experiences, or heartbreak would be worth it. The only person who deserves full access to my home, my body, my finances, my future is the one I’ve promised to be with for life.

And that is why at my core I think living together before marriage isn’t ideal. I don’t think people are used goods or any of that b.s., but I think that you are so worth so much more than being “practice married” to someone. Time is on your side, even if you’re on the older side. Being with someone unmarried in a variety of situations without living with them can teach you so much. And honestly figuring out how to make a relationship work when it isn’t convenient is such a great learning experience. How do you make it work when you’re tired, stressed, and can only see them for 4 hours a day on Sundays? What are they like at church? What are they like when you go on a day trip?  Invite them to family events. See them out in the world, before you invite them into your private world.

And sex, I’m convinced that good sex can happen as long as there is chemistry and communication. After all sex is so much more than the physical aspects. I’ll say sex was pretty awkward and weird the first time, but from what I’ve heard most people’s first time has that element. But sex is a journey and the more intimacy built up outside the bedroom, the better it gets. And I can also promise you sex has gotten much much better in intimacy and physically. And reader, gentle reminder when you’re committing to someone long term the good sex you had when you first got together isn’t going to be the same years down the road anyway. Bodies change, minds change, stress happens, but you work through it and the sex might not always be blow your brains out good, but it’s always beautiful when you choose each other day after day after day.

Perhaps you’ll dismiss me as being too idealistic, but I don’t think we need heartbreak to appreciate love. I think goodness can be appreciated without bitterness, and while that is not how the world is, that is the way God’s world was intended and is moving towards. I can say that having married the only man I ever loved, I didn’t have to practice on him or anyone. I had the ability to see love right in front of me, and when I was ready to fully commit, I didn’t move in with him I married him. Love casts out fear, you know?

And being married is so easy when you are both committed to each other no matter what. I’m convinced part of what makes living with someone so difficult is a lack of commitment. Sure we had to figure out how to live together, sure we yell at each other more than we should, sure sometimes I think why is he so damn annoying, but it’s easy because he’s my absolute best friend. Before marriage we showed each other in a myriad of stages I’m here for you 100%, and there’s always a risk cause we’re all so damn human, but I don’t think we missed a thing by waiting till marriage to be married and we had everything to gain.

Glitter on,

Juanita

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4 thoughts on “First comes…living together…then comes marriage. Maybe.

  1. Interesting read. I am sure you can guess that I have a different perspective, since Luke and I did live together prior to getting married, but I appreciate your point of view. Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh, I know a few people who have different points of view. I actually wasn’t thinking about you two when I was writing this. I did my best to write it without pointing fingers. Obviously I have strong opinions, but I also am always willing to hear other people out and think about other perspectives. Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

  2. What a great article! This is the best argument I’ve heard for waiting to have sex/move in until marriage. I really like the framing of spousal privileges. For me, the first four things on the list are things I’m comfortable (and happy) doing before marriage, and the other four meet my bar for “spousal privileges”, and I’m definitely not ready for them.
    I want to be my #1 priority in my life right now. I’m still learning a lot about who I am as an adult, what I value, and how I want to deal with different situations. It really helps me to know that I am ultimately only beholden to myself, and maybe God. Of course I take my significant other into consideration when making major (and minor) life choices, but it’s still 100% my decision. I’m excited to, one day, get married and make my spouse (and eventually, family) an equal priority to myself, and make major decisions with them. That’s a big commitment I want to make once I’m more solidified as me, and ready to start the next phase of my life.
    So I guess I see some of the things on the list as much bigger and more serious than the others. By putting off marriage and sharing the smaller ones, I’m able to save the bigger ones until I’m ready.

    • I think all of us have things we, if not wait till marriage for, at least take our time until a certain level of commitment has been reached and it’s fascinating to hear what that point is for each of us. We all have to sort out where we are at. And while obviously with my marriage God, and my husband are my major priorities, but I think about how that point is how I know I’m not ready for kids. I love the idea of kids, I feel a lot of hope and excitement about being parents in the future, but our partnership is so fun and life giving and I’m not willing to compromise what we have to care for kids. They have to be a big priority and I’m just too selfish right now. But I love how you express taking those smaller actions (in your perspective anyway) to prepare you for the larger actions you hope to take someday. Thanks for sharing your perspective!

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