I will preface this by saying that this post is not meant to be judgmental of anyone who chooses to live together before marriage. I have a number of close friends who lived together (or are living together) before marriage. (I will go one step further and say that a number of these friends are also strong Christians, who I both respect and admire in their faith.) However, this post is about why David and I chose not to do so, and why I am happy we made that decision. :)
There are a number of reasons why David and I didn't want to live together before marriage, but first and foremost, it was because of our faith. It was important for us to wait to live together under the sanctity of a marriage covenant blessed by God. We wanted to be respectful of Him, and also of each other, by being true to God's Word. Secondly, we did it out of respect for our parents, family, friends, Church, and acquaintances. We both believe that the way we live our lives is a reflection of our true character and the depth of our devotion to the Lord and His principles. Lastly, we did it for us (though we didn't necessarily know it at the time.)
Before we were married, when people would find out we lived separately, they'd always ask or say the same things:
- Aren't you worried you won't be compatible?
- You could save so much money!
While these are valid points, they weren't anything we lost sleep over. My response to question 1 was, "No, I am not worried we aren't compatible. After knowing David for over 8 years, and dating for over 4, I know that we are compatible, and I know that he is the one God chose for me." We also made the decision to do pre-marital counseling with our pastor, friend, and officiant, Jason, before the wedding. The sessions we had with him were very helpful, insightful, and beneficial. We learned a lot about one another, ourselves, and what we expected out of the marriage. I highly recommend any engaged couple to participate in some sort of pre-marital counseling prior to the big day, whether it is Christian-based or not.
When it came to money, yes, David and I could have saved thousands of dollars by living together before marriage...but that wasn't the only way to save money. Since it was important for us not to live together before marriage, we saved money in other ways, such as living with roommates, or moving back home with our parents.
Now that we are married, living together is a learning process. I have lived by myself since I graduated from college, so it is an adjustment to live with another person again. It is also an adjustment living with *dundundun* a boy. :) I'm sure David would say the same about living with a girl. One of my good friends asked me if living with David is hard. I will say that no, it is not hard. Yes, there are little things we are both getting used to, and yes there are adjustments and compromises we are both making, but all in all, it has been a pretty smooth transition, and no, we are not having heated fights or arguments or anything like that. I'm sure that it will continue to be a learning process, and I'm sure that we will have fights and arguments at some point, but I also know that it is all part of life, and part of marriage, and that we will be able to work them out, God-willing!
I respect everyone's personal decisions...whether to live together before marriage or not. This is just something that David and I decided on for ourselves. I will say that I am proud of myself and I am happy with our decision. Something that probably sounds super cheesy but that I love, is that everything about living together is extra special. Like even just hanging out, or making breakfast, or waking up next to each other...it all feels special. I can't really explain it. All I know is that I've asked others (who didn't wait to live together) if things felt special or different after marriage, and they either thought I was being funny, or thought I was weird for asking. They all said no. I don't know if it was like this for everyone, but for us, it is absolutely special. We both felt (and feel) this way, so I know it's not just me being a nerd. :)
We are slowly adjusting to each other's lifestyles and habits. David works full-time, and I am in school full-time and work 2 part-time jobs, so we have different sleeping schedules. I am basically nocturnal to begin with. (David calls me an owl.) We have been really good about sharing the TV and sharing responsibilities with cleaning, chores, etc. We are also adjusting to merging our finances, and taking on each other's financial responsibilities. We are excited to take Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University starting this January. It came highly recommended to us by our pastor, as well as our wedding planner. We also just celebrated our first Thanksgiving together (my first time not working on Thanksgiving Day since 2009) and got our first Christmas tree together. We're definitely looking forward to spending Christmas with my family in a couple weeks. We have a full house with our three dogs, but we are settling into our routines and the dogs are adjusting to living together as well. (Noah is not always that tolerant of Emery who always wants to play...but they're doing okay.)
We got our professional photos back from the photographer last week, and I can't wait to share them soon after Christmas. Hope everyone has a great holiday!!