Well, to be exact, why I wanted to wait until we were married to live together and Boy Robin gracefully gave in to me, but really, did not really care, except to kind of lean towards sooner rather than later because, when all is said and done, wouldn’t it be more convenient?
I’m not adverse to living together before marriage. Family and friends do it and I respect their choice to do so. And I feel for those who have outside pressures which force their decision one way or the other against what they would prefer. The familial, societal or religious pressure to marry first. Or the decision to move in together to alleviate financial strain.
For me, it didn’t feel right. Not only because I had a brilliant house mate for more than six years and I wasn’t ready to kick her out. But also because for me, marriage is a sacred institution. I say “for me” because marriage is such a heavily loaded concept with different meanings for different people. My own view and definition of marriage influenced and shaped my decision about living with Boy Robin, but that it not to say that my view is true for anyone else.
For me, marriage is a public declaration to unite “as long as you both shall live” because of your love for and commitment to the other. If I was not willing to take that vow with that public acknowledgement, if I did not think our relationship has the strength to withstand the inevitable strain that that commitment entails, why would I want to live with that person? To commit to a kind of semi-permanence, with the unspoken escape clause of moving out when things became difficult?
A few words about living with people, whether you are expecting to say (or be told) “yes” any day now, you casually day dream of marriage some time down the track, the other person is a friend and it just makes sense, or an advertisement on Gumtree for house mates was involved: I know from experience that there is nothing like living with someone to sour a relationship.
If you do not have the capacity to forgive the other person’s shortcomings. If every idiosyncrasy, without the buffer of space and time apart, grates on your every nerve until they are red raw and inflamed. And the mundane chore of taking out the rubbish starts a bitter “who did it last and, who, even if they didn’t do it last, does it the most”. It can damage a relationship. Friendships have dissolved over such things. There is a reason why siblings tend to get along after they have left home. And so, a decision to share a home with someone is not something that should be taken lightly.
Boy Robin is pretty forgiving and laid back (second only to his brother, who, if he were any more laid back, would be horizontal). Not much phases him and if it does, he’s pretty good at not letting it get to him. Contrast me, who has a tendency to descend into childish stubbornness and irrationality, especially when tired. This is probably not going to change any time soon. But I think our relationship is robust enough to withstand my crabbiness and influence us to be more indulgent of each other’s shortcomings.
Personally, moving in together seemed like the perfect way to celebrate our public declaration and start of our new life together. A milestone of sorts. I can’t wait to see what comes next.