Cohabitation is the formal term for living together these days. I know I'm taking a rather controversial stand on this and may offend some people, but I think it's important to bring this up. More and more couples are choosing to cohabitate before marrying every year. It's understandable due to convenience, finances and the idea of “trying things out. "
There are a lot of people who will scream at you about the morality issue of it. I'm not. I want to take a look at practical reasons why cohabitation for divorced parents will cause more of a stumbling block than a success.
1. Your commitment is different - Couples who choose to live together before marrying have a significantly different level of “buy in" to their relationships. The goal is to “try it to see if it works. " While this sounds like a good idea. It isn't. This attitude is completely different from what a married commitment needs to be - “till death do us part. " For parents who've already been divorced, the “till death do us part" already isn't as firm a boundary. When a couple starts out with the “see if it works" attitude, it's especially difficult for them to transition into the married commitment. This is why. . .
2. The divorce rate is higher - This shocks people every time I bring it up. They assume that by living together they will figure out if they are compatible or not and be more likely to have a successful marriage. WRONG! While the theory is a good one, research has shown time and time again, it is a false belief. Why? For the reasons I mentioned above.
3. Your kid's perspective - As parents, it's our job to model for our kids the type of behavior we expect. By living together before marriage, you will have a difficult time laying down rules for boyfriend/girlfriend relationships when your children become teens. Quite frankly, you won't have a leg to stand on. If you try bringing up such issues as pre-marital sex, the importance of a strong committed relationship before marriage, or sticking with someone even in the hard times I can guarantee you're going to run into some arguments with the kids.
4. You're more likely to become financially dependent - Can cohabitating save you money? Sure it can. You're only paying for one place! Divorce can wreak havoc on your finances and living together may sound like a way to dig yourself out of debt and get back on track financially. But, you can also find that you become dependent on that second income even when you realize the relationship isn't for you. This causes many couples to stay together long after they should have said good-bye.
Think long and hard before you jump to the conclusion that cohabitation is the answer for you. It is NOT part of the remarriage preparation steps I recommend to couples. If you and your partner are leaning toward moving in together, take some time to really think through the reasons why. Are they solid? Or are they just to make life more convenient?
You may be asking, “What are the important remarrige preparation steps?" There are two answers: education and support.
A great way to begin that education is with our Tip of the Week. Every Friday afternoon you'll receive several great articles all focusing on life after divorce. I encourage you to get all the details at http://www.RemarriageSuccess.com/tip.htm today.
The support you're looking for can be found by learning from other divorced and remarried parents in The Community! We exist as a place where parents can ask questions and share with one another. This isn't just your ordinary community of people complaining about their ex-spouses. This is a vibrant, positive, Christ centered community of like minded people seeking to offer and gain support from one another. Check us out at http://www.RemarriageCommunity.com
By Alyssa Johnson at Remarriage Success.