Try Before You Buy


Or, is it easier to marry someone you have lived with before the big day, or not??

A friend of mine was recently propositioned by this fellow she has been seeing. Nothing serious, just a few coffees and dinner dates. He said that they would live together for a year before he proposed, just to see if they were compatible!

Is this the done thing nowadays? And if so, why?

If you look at the historical statistics on divorce rate, co-habitation, etc, you will find that in the 1950s only 2% of couple lived together before they got married, but this had risen to 77% by 1996. As for divorce rates they rose steadily from the 1950s, stabilised in the mid 1980s and have declined since then. However, this could have something to do with the fact that marriage rates have fallen and co-habitation rates have risen.

That aside, if you have found “the one” that you want to spend the rest of your life with, why is it necessary to try it out before making a firm commitment. Or does trial living together period mean a firm commitment these days. Or maybe is it that we’re not sure we’ve found “the one”, just “the one right now, but I want a get out of jail free card”?

If you happen to find yourself a single parent, what then? How fair is it on the children to move from partner to partner as the whim takes, or the “trial” TBUB (try before you buy) ends with the “it’s just not working, I don’t think you’re the one for me!”  I am in this particular category (not one I signed up for I hasten to add), but I wouldn’t never submit my child to a string of “uncles” who disappear without trace and get replaced just as quickly. It is not a good example for one thing and totally unfair on a child’s feelings and emotions.

Irrespective of the fact that divorce was also unheard of and incapable to get, prior to the 1950s it was rare for couples to live together before they got married and certainly frowned upon.

So what happened to these couples who walked down the aisle with a prince (or princess, not being biased here) that after a few weeks or months gradually turned into a monster, with annoying habits? There was no “get out of jail” card for them, it was a case of “to have and to hold from this day forth, ’til death do us part”

They used good old-fashioned compromise and tolerance. Annoying habits can be tolerated and compromises reached about everything. Everyone has faults, nobody is perfect and if you have truly found “the one” surely that is enough, even in today’s society.  If you know that your partner is the one you want to love for ever, raise a family with and grow old together, then a TBUB period is not necessary. You love that person wholeheartedly whether or not they leave the toilet seat up, or squeeze the toothpaste from the middle of the tube.

A friend of my parents, sadly now departed, gave his views on a happy marriage as an analogy of street signs. He said “Marriage is not a one-way street, it’s a “give way” sign”. Another friend of my parents said the secret to a happy marriage was to always reach a compromise that you are both happy with and never, ever go to bed on an argument.

Money aspect of things aside, have we really become so shallow that love and marriage has become just as disposable as nappies and cameras?

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