When you’ve been in a relationship for awhile (especially one that is going the way you want) you ask yourself, “What’s next?” In this day and age, it is very common to live together before getting married. Many people are in favor of this. Many others are opposed to this. Living together is a big “next step,” and it is a decision that couples typically have qualms over.

Really, it is an experiment. You think you know someone pretty well, but do you? While living together, you get to see that person’s habits, daily rituals, cleanliness, and more. You get to see if you two clash or if you two bond and get closer together.

Recently, one of my friends moved in with her boyfriend. He was discussing marriage with her, but she wanted to live with him first. Thank goodness she did! I was so happy for my friend, at first, as they seemed so in love and happy together. They dated for over a year, and she thought she knew everything about him. She was horribly mistaken. Some time after moving in, they got into a fight that escalated to yelling very hurtful things at each other. I’ll admit, I have been there before. But, it didn’t stop there for my friend. Her boyfriend lost his temper and chained her up as he beat her until she had a bloody mouth and a bruised body. When he was done beating her, he took advantage of her body in other ways. I was out-of-my-mind furious with that d-bag and devastated when she called me crying hysterically. He seemed like a loving, great guy. And I’m not saying he isn’t, but he definitely has serious anger issues. He needs help, and my friend needs to worry about herself. She loves him, but she had to end things for her own health and safety. What to take from these kinds of experiences? Things are not always the way they appear to be. I believe that you do not really know someone until you live with them (and I mean spending a good amount of time together at your home). In my opinion, a major tragedy was avoided. If she married him before living together, she may have been stuck in an abusive relationship. It made me also think about all the couples who rush into marriage and then, consequently, rush into a divorce because it did not work out.

One couple I know that got married a year after dating is now about to divorce. They say that they did not know each other as well as they thought they did. I’ve heard from both sides that they are constantly at war with one another at home. They are extremely unhappy. I thought that they had made a great couple, and they thought they did too. No one knew until they moved in together.

Another couple of friends I know are very religious. They did not want to compromise their beliefs, but good for them– they did not have to. They lived together and somehow stayed abstinent. They lived in two separate rooms, but shared an apartment. I can imagine it being challenging to stay abstinent, but they wanted to know if they were compatible. It worked for them. They are now happily married and even happier! My guess is because they’re no longer abstinent. 😉

It worked for me, too. 🙂 After living together, I know that I’ve never met anyone more perfect for me. We complement each other–bringing out the best in each other all day, everyday. We are also very similar in our habits. We are both very independent people who enjoy their own things (for example, blogging is one of mine, and right now, as I am writing this, he is busy working on a project across the room from me). We are not married, but we feel like we are. Marriage is our next step.

Living together is not just an experiment. Living together has its benefits (besides reassurance that you should be with this person). It’s a plus to be able to wake up with that person every morning, cuddle late at night, take care of each other when you are sick, cook and eat meals together, watch TV or a movie together after work, workout together (it sure is motivating!), and so much more.

If you decide to live together, and it works out, you will always have a friend nearby. You will always have someone to talk to. It’s an amazing feeling to be in the presence of someone you love. You never feel alone, and you always feel special.

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