Should Couples Live Together Before Getting Married?

Pros & Cons of Live-in Relationship without Marriage

Should Couples Live Together Before Getting Married?
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More and more individuals across the world are opting for a live-in relationship before they tie the knot. The ease with which one can walk out from an impossible relationship in such cases is seemed a far better option than the deadly trap of a social and legal relationship that is impossible to endure. However, there are pros and cons on both sides, understanding which can help you make your choice.

 

Statistics show that more and more people today are getting into live-in relationships before they tie the knot. While the trend may be alarming for the conservative minds, it actually reflects the growing preference of personal independence as well as a relative reluctance for submerging oneself in the family. Marriage is too important a decision to make, and it is always better to be safe than sorry….

 

Marriage may not exactly be a one way traffic street, but it is surely a very close to being so. It is a commitment that extends beyond legal, social and moral spheres. These are commitments that demand a lot of sacrifices from both parties, and if they are not reciprocated in the expected manner, the ordeal can be one of the most painful of all possible human experiences. It is because the stakes are so high, that it is so stupid to jump into such a commitment without first understanding the other person, and your own compatibility with him or her.

Once upon a time when the Family Ruled the Individual

Marriage predates history, but not in each and every part of the world.

More sophisticated civilizations have institutionalized marriage as an essential part of one’s life for as long as we know. However, it is easy to imagine that there would have been a time when marriage was not yet conceived, and man and woman lived together only to the extent they both desired. One can understand that in such societies, children would be somewhat disadvantaged, and that is why in tribes that did not have marriage, all children used to get adopted by the tribe as a whole. With greater sophistication, marriage almost became the norm, and ensured that mothers were not left on their own to take care of the children. All that however, seems to be a tale from a past life. With individuals being in charge of their reproductive choices, and children not an essential by-product of one’s sexual desires, individuals are back in charge of their life. Families have tended to become smaller, sometimes getting reduced to the single individual.

During the ages, and may be till the last century, there were cultures where matches were arranged by the parents or other elders, where adults got married to each other for life without even having spoken a word to the other, and it is also true that in such cultures, divorces used to be nearly non-existent. But then, in such cultures, the society was closely entwined around the family and individual existed for the family rather than it being the other way round, as is the case in the twenty first century. A marriage then was a marriage between families and not individuals, and come what may, every person was supposed to ensure that the sacred ties were never given up. That kind of a world does not exist anymore except in small pockets, where too it is gradually becoming extinct, as individual freedom takes precedence over any and everything else, including the family.

Marriage of Individuals is a Very Risky Proposition

When two independent individuals are required to get into a relationship where they would be bound by many bonds, and will be forced to share nearly every part of their existence, then it makes little sense to take that step in a casual manner. Any intelligent person, while making a commitment even half that important would like to be absolutely certain about the credentials of the other party as well as get an idea as to whether such a partnership would work. Unlike business and professional partnerships, the viability of personal relationships can not be understood without first trying it personally. Unless you give yourself a chance to be close to the other person, you will never know what is in store for you. This especially true in today's hectic pace of life, when even long term acquaintances mean nothing, as the total amount of time you can spent together with a person whom you do not live with, will only be a small fraction of what you might have to spent together once you take the bait.

But then, there are Cons too

It is not that the live-in relationships are without any hazards or adverse effects. Actually, the very perception of the relationship not being permanent may lead to its demise, as partners don't feel committed enough to endure it. The kind of sacrifices that a stable life-long union demands can appear too daunting, particularly in difficult times that every relationship has to endure. An easier escape route that a non-committal union provides can also lead to its fatality. Perhaps, this is the reason why we have more and more individuals who have never married in spite of having been in several relationships. In life, nothing comes for free. Family needs sacrifices. Give none, get none!

One has to make her own choice

So there are pros and cons. What an individual may choose would depend upon several factors, but most important of them is the abounding culture in the society where one seeks a partner. In Western societies, live-in relationships are almost as common as marriage, if not more, and individuals follow the ethical norms that have evolved there. So, moving away is an option that all respect and understand. In less Westernized societies, there could be more difficulties. In some societies, people continue to be obsessed with marriage, and there, live-in is only for the more adventurous lot.

Sometimes, particularly in societies where marriage is still somewhat of an established norm, a decision to opt for a live-in could pose more challenges. Yet, it is also true that falling into the trap of marriage with an incompatible person may be a far more hazardous proposition. This is where a live-in could be the most feasible option. After all, the possibility of a relationship being a disaster can only be known when you actually experience it.

My take is that in such a case, it is better to risk separation during a temporary trial rather than let all your dreams be trampled by a quirk of fate hastily accepted by you in a moment of passion. Then there is also the other side of the coin - the temporary nature of a relationship may induce both parties to continue to work for its survival, provided they value it and are ready to sacrifice part of themselves to preserve it. When you get that, you know you are in with someone whom you can trust with your life.

A live-in relationship lets you know that before you tie the nuptial knot.


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