What Are The Pros & Cons Of Living Together Before Marriage

Living together before marriage can raise a number of eyebrows. Though it is similar to living like a married couple, this arrangement has its set of pros and cons. Cohabitation is all about sharing expenses, seeing each other every day, and getting acquainted with each other’s habits. It might sound exciting initially, but it is not easy for every couple to enjoy such a living arrangement. At the same time, after living together for a considerable amount of time before marriage, a formal marriage’s significance might be lost for you. So if you are confused and unable to make a decision, reading our post could help you.

In This Article

Is Living Together Before Marriage A Good Or A Bad Idea?

Living together before marriage can have good and bad aspects

Image: Shutterstock

The answer to this question differs for every couple. A live-in relationship works wonders for some couples, while it proves to be a disaster for some. To know if living together before marriage is a good idea for you and your partner, you need to determine why you want to live in. Then you need to weigh the pros and cons attached to this setup. Once you get your answer, you can better understand if you want to opt for living together before marriage or not.

Pros And Cons Of Living Together Before Marriage

Before you decide to live with your partner, carefully consider the pros and cons of it. Maybe the idea may not seem too fancy, or maybe you might find it too appealing to try out.

Pros Of Living Together Before Marriage

1. It helps spend some quality time together

For couples who find it difficult to make time for each other due to work commitments, a live-in setup can be a great idea to spend some quality time together every day. You can have at least one meal together and even travel to work together. You can share your daily activities and better understand each other. This way you will develop a better understanding of your shared goals and values.

2. It helps strengthen your bond

Living together before marriage helps strengthen your bond

Image: IStock

When you live together, you get acquainted with each other’s habits and lifestyles. You see one another’s good and bad sides. It helps you know one another better, deepen your bond as a couple, and strengthens the companionship of your domestic partnership. These attributes help you work together on your shared dreams to create a harmonious relationship.

protip_icon Quick tip
When you first move in with your partner, do it with a clear mind. Having high expectations can lead to disappointment, which will cloud your judgment of the person.

3. It improves your sex life

Since you have more time to spend together, you can explore and experiment with your intimacy in the bedroom. You can get as creative as you want, as you have all the time in the world to have fun with your partner.

4. It saves a lot of money

Cohabitation means sharing rent and utilities. Since you are more likely to eat at home, you save a lot on expensive dates and outings. If you have a vehicle, you save on fuel as you can travel together. From a financial perspective, living together is economical, as shared finances reduce the burden of financial management on both partners.

5. It reduces marriage stress

Living together before marriage reduces marriage stress

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Marriage can be a stressful process. Firstly, managing all the preparations for the wedding, then moving into a new shared household and changing most things about your life. By living together before marriage, you develop marriage readiness. You are already acquainted with cohabitation and shared living space, so you need not be too stressed and do not require pre-marital counseling.

protip_icon Do remember
The decision to share your space with another person for life can be hard for some individuals. A live-in relationship is like a testing period before making the final commitment.

Living together before marriage comes with a lot of advantages. And so, the number of women opting for cohabitation before their first marriage has also increased over the last few decades. As seen in the graph below, only 11% of women opted for a live-in before marriage in the years between 1965 to 1974. However, this percentage surged to 76% in 2015-19, indicating that more women preferred cohabiting before marriage.

Living together before getting married can be an effective method to evaluate your compatibility with your partner. However, it also has potential benefits and drawbacks. Read the following section to learn more.

Variations in cohabiting trends before marriage

Source: Trends in Cohabitation Prior to Marriage; Bowling Green State University/ National Survey of Families and Households/National Center for Family & Marriage Research

Cons Of Living Together Before Marriage

1. It gives an easy way out

Imagine investing so much time and energy in a relationship and then having your partner walk out on you because things got tough. This happens in a marriage too, but breaking a marriage is complicated so minor roadblocks in a relationship do not make a person want out of it so easily.

2. It is difficult to convince family

Living together before marriage is a concept that has been around for ages. However, its prevalence has no effect on people’s mindset especially because an unmarried couple living together before marriage is still an alien concept in many cultures. Your folks may disapprove of this idea and even be angry with you if you go ahead with it without their approval. It could be a dicey situation, especially because you don’t know how your relationship might turn out.

3. It may make marriage seem unimportant

A big con about living together before marriage is that living together may delay your marriage plans. You may become complacent and see no need to get married when you already live like one. In case things don’t work out, then you have already lost a lot of time dilly-dallying and have nothing to gain from the relationship.

protip_icon Quick fact
According to research, the number of individuals living with a partner without marriage has risen over the years while the number of individuals opting for marriage has dropped (1).

4. It may negatively affect your relationship

Discussing money matters can be tricky in a live in relationship

Image: IStock

When you start living together, you have shared responsibilities and expenses. Initially, discussing money matters can be tricky. If you do not handle it well, it might create cracks in your relationship. And if one of you earns a lot more than the other, then things may get even more complicated than ever.

5. It may cause boredom

When you are dating, you have limited time to spend with each other before you get back to your house. There is excitement to meet each other, and you want to make the most of it. But that disappears in a live-in as the excitement of meeting each other evaporates quickly. Also, you discover more about your partner and understand that you may not like everything about them and eventually feel bored of the relationship.

How To Know You Are Ready For Marriage After Living Together?

Marriage is an important milestone for couples who have lived together for a while and know each other too well. However, not every live-in relationship culminates into marriage. It takes a lot more than just cohabitation for a couple to get married. Here are some ways to tell if you are ready for marriage after living together.

1. Living together is fun

If you have been living together for a substantial amount of time, have had a fair share of ups and downs, arguments and fights, and still enjoy living together, it means you are suitable for the long haul. Marriage can make your bond stronger.

2. Trusting each other is easy

Living together has taught you and your partner to trust each other. You develop a mutual trust and now rely on each other like a team and help one another whenever needed. Your lives are connected in every way possible, hence marriage is the only way forward.

3. Exciting to start a family

You have enjoyed your honeymoon phase of living together and are sure you want to spend the rest of your shared life as a couple. Marriage seems like the next step in life before you decide to extend your family.

4. Looking forward to starting a new phase

After living together, if the thought of sharing a surname, sharing assets, and growing together excites you, then marriage is for you. If your cohabitation experience has been good and marriage itself excites you, then you should give it a shot.

5. Feeling sure about marriage

Living together can make you feel sure about marriage

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Lastly, living together has made you and your partner realize how much you love each other and want marriage for yourself. You know it in your heart that this is the partner for you, and you do not want to delay making it officially legal anymore.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do couples live together before marriage?

Some couples may decide to live together before marriage because they want to test and work on their compatibility before making a long-term commitment. Others may do it for practical reasons, such as to reduce their expenses and spend more time together.

2. Does living together cause breakups?

Living together before marriage may result in a breakup if both partners are incompatible. However, this should be considered a positive factor of living together since the couple can identify their compatibility based on shared values and goals before making a lifetime commitment.

3. What is the legal age for living together without marriage?

The legal age for living together without marriage can vary depending on the country and jurisdiction. In many countries, there is no specific legal age requirement for cohabitation. On the other hand, some countries might have specific legal requirements regarding cohabitation without marriage. Therefore, one must consult the laws of the jurisdiction in question to understand any legal implications or considerations related to cohabitation.

4. How can cohabiting before marriage impact family dynamics and relationships with in-laws?

Cohabiting before marriage lets the couple know the in-laws more personally as they gain a deeper understanding of their views. While some families accept the new arrangement, a few might have a traditional stance that views cohabitation negatively. As a result, it can either strengthen the relationship or strain it. Adjusting the differences, effective communication, and showing respect are crucial to navigating these potential difficulties of cohabitation before marriage.

5. How can cohabiting before marriage impact individual identity and personal growth in the relationship?

Cohabiting before marriage can help individuals find a balance between individual autonomy and shared-decision making. It also helps improve communication skills, conflict resolution, and problem-solving abilities, facilitating personal growth. Furthermore, it can help better understand each other’s emotions, needs, and vulnerabilities, which fosters emotional intimacy.

6. Is cohabitation a sin?

Whether living together before marriage is seen as a sin or not is subjective and depends on individual perspectives. Some religions might consider it against their teachings, while others may consider it as a personal choice. People may have different opinions based on the societies they live in. However, it all comes down to personal preferences. So, go ahead if you see nothing wrong in living together with your partner before marriage. If your religion forbids this practice and you are in a dilemma, talk to someone you trust, like a religious leader or mentor, who can give you insights into the matter.

Living together before marriage is a personal choice and a big decision. So remember to weigh all the pros and cons before proceeding with it. For some, it may offer a good headstart and a glimpse into married life. While for others, it may ruin the excitement of marriage by giving an easy way out. So make your choice wisely after spending a reasonable amount of time with each other and believing you have enough mutual understanding and mutual respect to reveal your vulnerable sides.

Infographic: How To Manage The Finances In Cohabitation?

As you begin this new phase of your life cohabiting with your partner, there are plenty of things you might share as a couple. One of the most important decisions you might have to make together is about finances. Although unromantic, following some budgeting tips in this infographic may help you and your partner have a secure financial future.

easy budjeting tips for cohabiting couples (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Get high-quality PDF version by clicking below.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Key Pointers

  • Living together before wedlock is a personal choice but should be considered after carefully analyzing all aspects.
  • The benefits include more time together, improved intimacy, and lower personal expenses.
  • However, the couple may easily feel bored and consider marriage unimportant.

Living together before marriage – does it help or hurt the relationship? Let’s find out in this video! Explore the pros and cons of living together before marriage and how it affects relationships.


MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Key findings on marriage and cohabitation in the U.S.
  2. Why is living together before marriage considered living in sin?
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