“97% of couples live together before getting married.” (- The Knot)
I am part of the 3%.
I do not know who The Knot surveyed to get this data, or how big their test pool was, but this is the information they have printed in their big bridal magazine for this season. According to The Knot’s poll, 3% of people choose not to live together before marriage. Yes, I am one of them.
Common societal thought tells me that it is ridiculous to marry someone you have not lived with. Society tells me, “Save money. Really get to know each other. Learn if you are truly compatible. Do not marry someone if you don’t know the reality of how they live at home.”
I will be the first to admit my full cognizance that I do not know what marriage will be like. I do not know how it will look as Daniël and I learn to merge our lifestyles with one another, I do not know the little or big annoyances that will come up with the different ways we live, and I do not know how our cultural differences will come into play when we begin to occupy the same space.
I do know, however, that my life will look completely different on December 31st. It will have turned upside down and inside out for many reasons. I will be a wife. I will have a husband. And New Year’s Eve is the first day in my life I will have a boy as a roommate. This boy and I, we will share a home.
I have always known that I do not want the day after my wedding to be the same old story. I do not want to go back to our home, sharing the kitchen like we did the week before, sleeping in the same room like we did a month before. We will certainly be very changed souls because God will have given us the gift of a stunningly beautiful Sacrament. We will have entered into a covenant with God to love one another for all the days of our lives. That will certainly change the way we live, move, and have our being. And I have a great desire for everything in our lives to reflect the incredible change that will happen the moment each of us finishes the phrase…”I will love you and honor you all the days of my life.”
On December 31st Daniël and I will share one space because we have become one person. I had a student tell me once, “Miss Wilson, my mom told me that getting married without living together is like buying a car you have never taken for a test-drive.” Thankfully, Daniël is not a Toyota and our differing living habits will not dissuade me from making this “purchase.” Would we both be saving money if we lived in the same apartment? Sure. Would it be easier to come home on December 31st knowing what drives us crazy about the way the other lives? Quite possibly, yes. But would the difficulty of merging the way I live with the way Daniël lives supersede my love for him and make me regret my choice to marry him? No.
Surely, it is a monumental change that we will experience after marriage…we will go from living apart to living together, we will go from having our own rooms to sharing a room and a bed with another person, we will go from seeing each other every two months to seeing each other many moments of every day. The change is far greater than I can currently comprehend. But in the glorious newness of it all, it will be a thrill for Daniël to come home after work and to hang out together and for neither of us to have to leave. It will be a joy to wake up in the middle of the night and be able to look at the man who pledged his love and life to me. It will be a completely new thing to share a closet, to swipe my debit card that holds our money together, and to cook way more food than I am used to cooking for the man with the fastest metabolism of all time. It will be a whole new life. And it will be new, challenging, fun, exciting, and difficult all at once.
I am grateful that no one ever told me that chastity would be convenient. Nobody ever told me that following the precepts of God and His plans for marriage would be a walk in the park. It is surely counter-cultural, and sometimes in my humanity it can feel annoying, expensive, and difficult.
But will it be worthwhile when he carries me over the threshold into our little home in Orange County and everything in our lives has been transformed all at once?
Emily Wilson planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but ended up as a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking and singing with people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in their search for their true identity. “The world doesn’t need what women have, it needs what women are.” -St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. You can visit her website and listen to her music at www.emwilsonmusic.com.