Just as nobody buys a car without taking it for a test-drive, most people—about two thirds of couples—don't get married any more until they've lived with their proposed lifetime partner.
This has been true for a while, even though studies done right up until the 2000s showed that couples who lived together first actually got divorced more often than those who didn't.
If you still want to curl up in bed next to your significant other at the end of a cranky, sick, stressful day, making the move might be that next logical step. Do you have a toothbrush and change of clothes at his condo? If he says he’s not interested in marriage, don’t move in as an attempt to secure a diamond ring. Before you move in together, talk about your expectations. A weeklong vacation will have you making decisions together, dealing with finances, unforeseen changes of plan and stress. While living together is hardly a prison sentence, there are certain adjustments one has to make when moving in with someone.
Some experts believe that's because more unmarried cohabiting couples used to be among the less well off.
But in a recent study of married and just-living-together couples, a researcher at the University of Virginia found that the brains of spouses responded differently to stress than the brains of living-together couples.
Economist Evelyn Lehrer (University of Illinois-Chicago) says the longer people wait past 23, the more likely a marriage is to stick.
In fact, Lehrer’s analysis of longitudinal data shows that for every year a woman waits to get married, right up until her early 30s, she reduces her chances of divorce.
Arielle Kuperberg, assistant professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, says that the important characteristic is not whether people lived together first, but how old they were when they decided to share a front door."It turns out that cohabitation doesn’t cause divorce and probably never did," says Kuperberg.
"What leads to divorce is when people move in with someone – with or without a marriage license – before they have the maturity and experience to choose compatible partners and to conduct themselves in ways that can sustain a long-term relationship."So what's the magic age?
Maybe the idea has been floating around for a while now.
Whether you’ve been together for years or you’re just feeling like he or she is the one, there are a few ways to evaluate whether or not you’re ready for this next step.
If you can’t get enough of each other, and find most quirks endearing, you’ll be better prepared for the adventure. You’ve seen the bed hair, experienced the morning breath, observed hygiene and tidiness habits, and understand sleeping patterns. Make sure you’re both heading in the same direction when it comes to commitment. You don’t know how solid a relationship is until it’s been tested. You aren’t giving up your individuality — your partner loves you for who you are and isn’t interested to suffocating you — but you do need to ditch the selfish living. Similar values when it comes to faith, finances and plans for the future help establish a solid foundation for a shared life. Can you discuss this list, sharing your concerns and dreams for the relationship with each other? When you’re upset, are you comfortable being vulnerable and open with your partner?