Please note: There is no judgement on my part for people who live counter to what I’m proposing. And I assume there’ll be some judgement from others to me, but not from you because if you’re reading this you’re clearly a wonderful person who would never do that.
One of the biggest mistakes Western culture has taught for relationships is that living together is smart. Honestly? It’s pretty stupid. Yes, I’m aware this is an unusual claim except by weird religious people, and yes, I’m aware many people will claim that I’m one of those weird religious people. This claim is fair since my wife and I didn’t live together until marriage (or have sex until marriage), but I have to say, from a logical standpoint, it was a fantastic choice that I highly recommend. By not living together for as long as possible we got to enjoy the good parts of each other while enjoying our personal space as we slowly got to adjust to the differences we each brought to the relationship. We never fought over how clean our bedroom was or who should do what chores because that was separate. Of course, I’ve done weddings for couples who moved in very quickly and they seemed quite happy, and I’ve also seen the flip side where couples waited and it was terrible when they moved in. What I am saying, however, is the couples who quickly moved in cheated themselves out of one of the best times in a relationship: the fun and free stage. The truth is the more invested you are with someone, the higher the risk you are of conflict, and it’s good to keep things as fun as you can in order to develop a history of trust and understanding that goes beyond hormones.
Looking back on my thirteen year relationship, there was nothing better than after a great night together dropping my partner off at her parent’s place and watch her sexy walk to the house she paid minimal rent to live at was amazing. Sure, it was sad saying good bye and not being with her, but at the same time, there was excitement for the next time I got to see her. Anticipation is a wonderful thing… and so is savings, which she got to do while at home.
Actually I should correct my claim. There was one thing better than dropping my partner off after a great night and that was dropping her off after a bad night. You know those nights when someone says something that ends up hurting the other or things are just off, those are the best nights to drop your partner off at home and drive away. Driving home you can scream to vent out your frustrations and say all the worst things you want because you’re alone in the car. During an argument I just had to bite my tongue long enough to be able to drop her off, which helped prevent fights from getting worse. Similarly, I’m sure my wife (then girlfriend) was thrilled to be getting away from me and do what she needed to do in order to get her anger out like kiss my picture a hundred times… I’m pretty sure that’s what she did. Getting space after a bad moment was amazing. It’s like in boxing. If there weren’t breaks between rounds, the match would get a lot messier end things quicker. In a fight, people need a chance to cool off and regroup. Living together is like saying, “Let’s force ourselves into bad situations we can’t leave; this will end well.” Why rush to put the extra tension on the relationship? To fight over who pays the bills or whose turn it is to cook? That sounds like fun. How can I possibly suggest living separately as long as possible as a way to enjoy the good parts of each other instead of fighting over one person taking advantage of the other or one person being too controlling or messy? I really must be a weird religious person… okay, I’ll admit; I’m a weird religious person, but that doesn’t take away the validity of this idea.
Now that I’m married and living with my wife, you know what I’ve never had? Excitement to see her in the morning. It’s just what we do every day. There’s no anticipation. There’s nothing to look forward to because she’s just there. I still love her, but it’s different. I don’t go to sleep excited about seeing her because she’s beside me… and the least sexy she will be all day long, which really makes even sleeping over seem dumb: (me) “You know how sexy you look on dates? Yeah, screw that. I want to see you at your worst. We can even test who has worst morning breath. That’s romantic right?” Now if we have a great night, instead of watching her sexy walk away I say, “Good night… please don’t steal the covers like last night.” If we’ve had a bad night? (me) “Oh great, you’re still here, and I don’t have a drive home where I can vent in the car… this is fun.”
So many couples today rush to live together, but they’re cheating themselves out of joy. I don’t know if it’s because they’re trying to “grow up” or maybe they think they’re solidifying the relationship, but moving in together is likely going to do the opposite; it’s going to put strain on you and the relationship. You know how great it was to not be around my wife as she got ready to go out? You know how great it was for my wife to not know my bathroom schedule? She had no idea I like to read in the bathroom until we were married. For the nine years before we were married I think I used her toilet for a number two twice, and I kept it very subtle. Now, she’s seen me read in the bathroom twice in one day, and I’m not nearly as subtle. Good bye illusion that I was sexy. Dating is meant to be fun whereas living together is more about reality, which is rarely as fun.
This week may you consider how our culture has misled you in general in order to have a better idea of how you can better live your life.
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people