Should we live together before tying the knot?

Dear Wedding Women:

I was just wondering, is it a good idea for my fiance and I to move in together before we get married? And, if so, how long should we live together before actually getting married?



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Dear Mekia:

It's hard to say if moving in together is a good idea. It all depends on how old you are, what your relationship is like and how soon you plan to get married, among many other variables. Ultimately, living together before marriage has to feel right to you both or it's not a good idea.

The average wedding takes about 14 months to plan, and about half of engaged couples live together. Some couples cohabitate as soon as they get engaged, some wait until just weeks before the wedding so their stuff is all settled when they return from the honeymoon. Still other couples prefer to wait until they swap vows to share an address.

Research shows that couples who live together before marriage have a greater chance of getting divorced. But it's wise to consider all of the possible reasons before taking that research to heart. For example, you could argue that couples who live together have a more liberal approach to relationships and, therefore, more liberal views on divorce as well. Whatever the reasoning, most couples who have lived together will agree that, for better or worse, living together before marriage is not the same experience as living together after marriage. Even if you live together first, things are bound to be at least a little different between you two once you tie the knot.

And be forewarned: Married or not, those first few months of living together aren't always smooth sailing. In fact, lots of couples find it to be a tough period of adjustment. If you experience such turbulence, don't get spooked. Give you and your guy a chance to settle in and develop a joint set of household routines and rules. (You should never stay in a dangerous or abusive situation, however.)

That said, the Wedding Women both lived with their husbands before marriage. And, we're happy to report, both relationships are doing fine.

Good luck to you,
The Wedding Women