Many couples are testing the waters before throwing themselves into the adventure of a wedding. Coexistence has increased by 900 percent over the past 50 years. Nowadays, the expression “living in sin” is fortunately out of use. Couples are choosing to share their lives under one roof without being married. A new study from the Council on Contemporary Families argues that living together before marriage helps reduce the risk of divorce.
What is it like living together before marriage?
Many couples today arrive at marriage after having lived together for some time. Living together before marriage can be a useful step to understand. The true affinities of practical life can represent an excellent training ground for having a stable and balanced marriage.
There are many couples who, on the other hand, do not consider it essential to guarantee a healthy couple balance and as such await with desire the day when they will say the fateful yes before starting life as a couple. Of course, coexistence is not a guarantee for a successful marriage.
During the engagement period, it is likely that you have only been able to share experiences on vacation or at the weekend, but life together is quite another story.
Sharing spaces for many couples is as natural as breathing, apart from attraction and affection, it is undeniable that there are people more predisposed to live as a couple than others.
For some, however, thinking about spending whole days or nights always in the company of another person can be a stressful thought.
One could then opt for small trial steps, for example, staying asleep with one of the two partners one or more times during the week. The important thing is to start creating “space” for the other person because we must be aware that having a person next to us occupies a physical (and mental) space that we must be able to grant.
Priorities that need to be followed
If we have a partner who has a cumbersome hobby, we must find a common point of agreement so that he does not feel frustrated or angry that he may perceive the lack of will in the search for a compromise as a threat to his personal space.
There is no topical moment necessary to live together, you should move in together when you feel ready, when you want to get involved with the other person, so small steps determine the success of a new balance that is reached together.
It is also necessary to know what the reasons for friction may be for many, such as the financial aspect which, together with the invasion of spaces or the lack of communication, create the great problems of distancing.
Tackling delicate issues together, talking about them, and meeting each other in a useful balance is necessary for both, above all by stimulating an ironic gift that helps to reduce distances and possible conflicts.
As a couple, you have to have fun, play, healthily share the little things, knowing that we also maintain our uniqueness and our spaces in terms of friendship and career.
Results that suggest a reflection on the Church
The Journal of Sex Research publishes a study by two University of Florida scholars (research published in the Journal of Sex Research by Emma E. Altgelt and Andrea L. Meltzer, two scholars in the psychology department of the University of Florida.), based on a sample of over 100 couples. The survey, which lasted four years, shows that premarital cohabitation is not a positive element for married life, while couples who married without first living together show greater harmony.
Marriages decline, cohabitation increases, Christian morality is increasingly mocked and misunderstood. All true. But the Church’s teaching on betrothal and the marital union does not age instead it remains valid.
On the contrary, premarital cohabitation – now accepted as a fact even in the Catholic home – continues to prove harmful to a marriage. Even on the side concerning which they should constitute a sort of preventive guarantee: the sexual one.
What does the research show?
A selection of over 100 couples (all made up of men and women) were asked various details about their history, their intimate life, their degree of sexual satisfaction, etc. The six-monthly meetings with couples lasted for four years, allowing for prolonged observation.
At the end of their work, Altgelt and Meltzer came across at least two interesting discoveries.
- The first concerns the relationship between courtship and sexual satisfaction: couples with longer courtships and engagements turned out to be those with less fulfilling intimate lives.
- The second evidence that emerged – the most significant – is that relating to premarital cohabitation, which is a completely counter-intuitive way turned out to be a not exactly positive element for the couple’s life.
Based on this research, it has been seen that couples who got married without first living together are those who not only had a higher number of sexual relations but who also expressed greater satisfaction from this point of view.
According to this research, couples who married without first living together were necessarily happier because they had not yet reckoned, compared to the others, with the inevitable habitual and inertial dimension that sooner or later always occurs in a relationship. For example in sexual frequency, between couples who married without first living together and the others, not only remained clear but even increased, demonstrating a lasting harmony.
It follows that in this study, the benefits of getting married without first experiencing cohabitation seemed rather clear-cut. This is by no means trivial, even if on closer inspection it is not unique. No matter how hard it is to talk about it, outside the circle of insiders, there are now numerous researches that highlight the benefits not only of non-cohabitation but also of premarital chastity itself.
And yet, curiously, just where certain theology seems to waver, psychology and sociology are thinking about highlighting what should be clear and unfortunately, it is not yet, and that is the fact that the Church does not want to castrate a man or limit his joy. Far from it: she wants him happy. The point is that to reach the peak of happiness, even as a couple, one cannot proceed by trial or error. On the contrary, it takes a lot of effort. But the beauty of the summit, in the end, pays off any effort.