1. Marriage becomes less likely. When people enter cohabitation, some have the intention of getting married eventually, but some just move in together to ease financial burdens, especially in recent years. That means that there are a lot of couples who move in together without knowing where the relationship is headed. It’s just a matter of convenience. This is especially true the younger the couple. Moving in without knowing whether you’re truly compatible with the other person, and without having many conversations about the future makes heartbreak, not marriage, more likely.
2. It's easier to walk away. Moving in together provides all the benefits of marriage with none of the responsibility. Legally, each person is free to do whatever they want. If you're pooling your finances and helping raise one another's kids, all of that can end on a whim. Each person can walk away at any time. That's a huge risk, especially if you have kids. The emotional attachment that develops as you build a life with another person sets you up for devastation if/when the relationship ends. And because there aren't any legal ramifications to keep each person accountable, it makes it that much easier to walk away when things get tough.
3. It goes against God’s blueprint. God has set a clear precedence. If you truly love someone and want to make a commitment, marriage is the next step. You have to put your money where your mouth is. I feel like moving in together is like trying to have a safety net. Yes, marriage is risky. You’re promising to spend the rest of your life with someone. But that’s exactly why it’s the perfect test for commitment. If you’re really serious about the relationship, you’ll be willing to make that leap of faith.
So what should you do if you’re ready to take your relationship to the next level, but not ready to get married yet?
Talk with a licensed marriage and family therapist. Getting premarital counseling will help you and your partner have conversations about things that are important to consider before getting married, like your expectations of one another once you’re married, how you want to raise your children, how to handle conflict and tragedy together, etc. Have pointed conversations about your past, family history, and goals for the future. These talks will help you and your partner get on the same page and establish a foundation for your marriage, or determine whether you need to part ways.
I’ve spoken to people who have moved in with their boyfriends, only to have to uproot their lives later when the relationship ended. I’m not saying that getting married guarantees against heartbreak. But it does put higher stakes on the relationship and provides accountability that cohabitation does not. God wants us to experience intimacy of the best kind. He wants to protect us from unnecessary hurt and scars. Trust in His blueprint for love.