Making the decision of whether or not to live together before getting married is an extremely important one, and shouldn’t be taken lightly. There are many statistics regarding marriage and cohabitation, with pros and cons on both sides. For those couples who have decided against it, it is wise to prepare for what is to come and to prepare for the transition.
Here is one couple’s conversation regarding the topic of living together:
STEP ONE: How do we define our issue?
What will our life be as a married couple? We’ve never lived together and I know it is not going to be easy so we need to know how we can compromise when it comes to decisions for our household and family.
STEP TWO: Why is this important to me/us?
Bride: We raised in very different households, we need to figure out how to go about the changes we will face. Every time we make big or small decisions we need to do it together, not leaving our decision making to one person rather than together. I’ve been putting all the decisions on myself which is extremely stressful.
Groom: I have never lived on my own. It is going to be something new for the both of us leaving our homes and joining our lives together. We are going to have to decide things not only for ourselves but when we start having kids will be deciding as parents together. I want us to be able to make decisions together and if we have a disagreement, I want us to be able to compromise. I think if we come to a disagreement on anything we can stop and talk about it without fighting. I know every relationship has its ups and downs but I know we can get through anything together with God in the center of it all.
Bride’s Feelings: Hopeful, open, willing, positive, tense, optimistic, confident, lonely, afraid, overwhelmed
Groom’s Feelings: Hopeful, open, willing, excited, positive, optimistic, confident, peaceful, encouraged
I am positive about this, because I know it doesn’t have to be difficult as long as we communicate and are open to what the other has to say.
STEP THREE: What will a better future look like for us when this is resolved?
Bride: I will better communicate with you my wants, and at the same time I will be a better listener. I will bless God for helping me not to be so tense. I will be able to step outside myself to think about your wants and needs. I will be more prayerful and in a state of grace each day, and not get bothered by small things. I’ll be able to stay calm even though the conversation is making me upset. It would help if I would be more patient with you just as you are with me. It might help to meet with other catholic couples to discuss all of this in a casual setting and to even talk to a priest when we need counsel. I’d like to learn new and better ways to communicate. I’d like to talk to our parents and maybe consider getting marriage counseling.
Groom: I believe I can trust you with anything. Anytime we have a decision we need to just talk without fighting and compromise if we need to. We both need to be more open and understand that we are not always going to agree, but as long as we continue to communicate we can get through anything. We need to think positive. I want you to be and feel confident when we make decisions together. If we feel like we need an outside opinion we can talk to someone, too.
STEP FOUR: What are our best ideas?
Idea One: Get some outside opinions and help.
Idea Two: Trying one way and if it doesn’t work try the other person’s way.
STEP FIVE: What will I/we actually do?
Bride: I am willing to not always think I have the best idea. To have an open ear and be humble in situations when conflict arises. I will respect you as my husband and learn to be open-minded in every situation. I won’t claim I’m right, but communicate until we end up with a decision.
Groom: I am willing to try your way first, and if it doesn’t work we can try mine or vice versa. As long as we remain open to the other person’s decisions we can accomplish whatever we decide.
STEP SIX: How will we know that we’re making progress?
We’ll both feel confident knowing we can talk to each other about anything, even if it is something we disagree on.