Shortly after we started dating, my now-husband and I knew on some level that we had a future together. Despite our many differences, we just clicked. When we were discussing future plans, he let me know that he didn’t want to live together until we were married. I had already made my own rule about not living with anyone again until I was at least engaged, so it was close enough for me to agree.
Once upon a time, I thought that living together first was necessary as a “test drive” of sorts, but I changed my mind after living with my noncommittal ex for nearly a decade and being used as essentially a fake wife. I had all the responsibility of a wife with no ring and no respect for my desires. It was a little unnerving going the complete opposite direction with this relationship, but I’m glad I took that leap of faith because it worked out really well for both of us.
- I thought I might miss living alone, but I don’t. After the fiasco with my ex, I lived alone for many years and absolutely loved it. I’m an introvert, so coming home to my own quiet space where I could recharge in peace was a dream come true. It almost made me want to stay single, but that gets lonely. After enjoying my space for so long, I worried that I might not be able to share it again. Thankfully, I really enjoy living with my husband. Hanging out with him doesn’t exhaust me like normal socializing does, and we have so much fun together.
- I worried that he might be messy. Based on the condition of his car, it was a valid concern. What I didn’t realize was that even messy people can be neat out of respect for their partner. In the past year, I’ve had zero problems with the apartment being too messy. He does chores without me asking and has even come to appreciate a clean house almost as much as I do. It’s all about respect: if your partner refuses to pick up their dirty socks even though they know it bugs you, the problem isn’t that they’re incapable, it’s that they don’t respect you.
- I still need some alone time, and that hasn’t been a problem. Even the best couple in the world is made up of two separate people who still need time to be themselves. I vowed to love, honor and respect, but I did not vow to be joined at the hip 24/7. We’re both free to hang out with friends separately or chill in different rooms sometimes and watch shows or movies we don’t agree to watch together, and that’s one of the reasons our marriage works.
- I’m his wife, not his new mommy. I’ve experienced the plight of being with a helpless mama’s boy who can’t (or won’t) take care of himself, and it’s not fun. When I got married, I absolutely did not want to play mommy for a grown man. Fortunately, he doesn’t expect anything like that.
- We were able to split the bills up evenly with no drama. Finances are one of the biggest things couples fight over, so this one is imperative for any relationship to work out. We’re completely equal spouses; we both hustle and we both contribute. Not only do we keep the bills paid drama-free, but we’re both committed to saving money for our future goals as well. That’s what I call good teamwork.
- We share the responsibility of parenting our dogs pretty effortlessly. Just like toddlers, they wake us up in the middle of the night, throw fits, and have unexpected expenses. Instead of freaking out about it, blaming or fighting, we calmly deal with everything that comes up like the team we are.
- The best is yet to come. Currently, we’re still stuck in an apartment that we’re not exactly in love with (also with two dogs who often drive us crazy and no yard to corral them in yet), but we’re working together towards the goal of homeownership. If we’re this happy in a less-than-ideal living situation, I can’t wait to get to the next stage in life and our marriage.
- Forever isn’t scary anymore, it’s comforting. I used to think forever sounded scary like it was inevitable that I would tire of my relationship and want something different. When I think about dating someone different now, it sounds awful. This is my forever, and I’m lucky to have found it finally.
- Sometimes old school notions can work in modern relationships. The idea of not living together before marriage is pretty antiquated, but not all old school ideas are bad. In fact, old-fashioned traditions can be rethought in regard to modern relationships. Marriage itself is a pretty antiquated tradition, but husbands don’t literally own their wives like property in 2018 because people modernized it. Maybe I’m just an old soul, but I feel like my marriage is the most romantic story ever because we weren’t afraid to be a little old-fashioned.
- I feel privileged to live with my best friend. We have a ton of inside jokes, plan amazingly inexpensive weekend trips, and enjoy even the simplest things together. Even if we’re heating up some ramen and binge-watching Hulu, we have a great time because the strongest couples are best friends.