Eric Turner
Feb 20, 2018 · 4 min read

So, I’ve wanted to write about the phenomenon of divorce for some time now. The issue is not that I don’t have much to say. The issue is that I want to deliver my opinion on the matter in a gentle way, so that I don’t offend any divorcees out there.

I’ve long thought about the popularity of people living together before marriage. The cultural norm tends to suggest that you might be a little “dumb” if you choose not to live together before marriage. “Dude, why would you not try it out before you sign up for such a commitment?!”

This isn’t to burst anyone’s bubble. I’m simply pointing out one of the issues with love in our society. I live in the U.S. and the divorce rate is pretty high. We make it really easy to get a divorce, and now that our cultural norm is to live together before marriage, it’s really easy to throw out commitment, also.

Some people think it’s stupid not to live together before they’re married. They think that it’s smart to try out the living situation, because what if you can’t stand socks laying all over the place? Or, what if the other person is an incredible slob?

Sure, these might be valid questions. But, ultimately — and I know this is an unpopular opinion — I personally think living together before marriage, for the very reason that you’d like to see if it can “work out”, can show a lack of commitment from the get-go.

Hear me out.

When going into marriage with the attitude that you want to make sure you can live together first, you are openly admitting to yourself that, should struggles and barriers arise during the marriage, you might have an issue with committing to tackling them together.

You’re almost giving up before you’ve started.

You should be saying, “I’ve found the one that I want to spend the rest of my life with. Therefore, I’ll do anything I can to always work with my partner to work through issues that come up. I’m committed to helping my partner and working as a team to get through anything together, because I believe they are the one for me”.

Instead, you’re saying, “I’m not sure that we can actually work through some tough issues, so I need to live with my partner first. I don’t want to commit to marriage, and then find out that I have to put all this work in, in order to keep the marriage on steady ground. Instead I’d rather be sure that I can handle this person, up front”.

The second quote screams doubts, disbelief, lack of faith, distrust, etc. All the dirty things that keep relationships from thriving. I think that’s why statistics show that married couples who live together before they marry are at higher risk for divorce.

Reason being — they do not go into handling difficult issues with a committed, teamwork mindset. They go into these issues with the same mindset that went into the decision to live together before marriage.

“Well, if she isn’t going to do her part of the house cleaning, then I’ll stop doing mine”

“If he isn’t going to mow the lawn and take care of the yard, then I’m done doing the dishes and the laundry”

Sure, I used very stereotypical and trivial issues as examples, but I wanted to make a point. These relationships often have a “give and take”. “If I give this much, then I deserve to receive that much”.

Instead of going into the situation with a selfless love, knowing that you are going to push through any trivial issue to make things work. You seemingly go into it with a very lax attitude, which causes you to only give as much as you’re getting.

I’m not saying that overcompensation is healthy. But, I am saying that when one partner is striving to make things work, consistently showing acts of love, the other partner is more likely to do so as well, without the need for a reward. They do it out of selfless love.

At this point I have to throw the disclaimer out there that this does not apply to all couples that have lived together before marriage. It is not fair for me to throw a blanket statement out there covering everyone in this category. I am fully aware that some couples live together before marriage, become married, and thrive. That’s awesome.

For the couples that did live together before being married and then went through divorce, this could simply be one of the core reasons why it was never going to work.

This isn’t a judgmental piece. None of us can really be 100% sure on why we do what we do. Sometimes we can’t explain why things fall apart. It may be a process that begins long before the official “breakup” happens.

Perhaps it’s something to pay attention to, or maybe it is the way that humans need to interact to stay interesting. Either way, I wanted to present my thoughts on a topic that seems to be coming up much more as of late. Divorce is becoming easier to go through, and we’re also becoming more comfortable residing together without being married.

Maybe I’m just suggesting that there could be a correlation.


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The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

Eric Turner

Written by

Husband. Friend. Therapist. Life is messy! Come along for the ride.

The Mission

A network of business & tech podcasts designed to accelerate learning. Selected as “Best of 2018” by Apple. Mission.org

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