Living together before marriage allows couples to better understand each other’s daily habits and financial behaviors. Cohabitating can also help build trust and transparency, but it can come with some concerns worth noting.

In many ways, living together before marriage acts as a trial run to see how compatible you two are. When you move in with a partner, you get a front-row seat to their behaviors so you can find out if you’re a good match.

Let’s explore the key benefits of living together before marriage and the potential risks.

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1. You Discover Each Other’s Lifestyles

Couple doing their morning routines

Cohabitating is the quickest way to discover things about your partner’s everyday habits. You’re more exposed to day-to-day activities, habits, and triggers.

These include cleaning habits, preferences on food choices and grocery shopping, waking and sleeping schedules, and relationships with technology.

In some cases, these can be deal breakers. 

Consider if you’re a super tidy person. It may be challenging to live with someone who leaves messes all over the house.

Or you might discover your partner prefers to stay inside playing video games all day while you’re more inclined to be out and about.

You might discover that some of your values just aren’t aligning or that you have to adjust your own habits and expectations to meet your partner’s. It’s a valuable exercise in feeling out one another’s personalities on a more intimate level.

2. You Build Trust With Your Partner

Building blocks

Exposure to daily habits also allows for a deeper understanding of each other’s priorities and reliability. For example, managing household responsibilities together can highlight each person’s commitment and fairness, which are essential traits that foster trust.

Cohabitation before marriage often involves facing and solving life’s unexpected challenges together, which can strengthen your bond.

Whether dealing with emergencies, personal crises, or just the stresses of daily life, how each partner responds and supports the other can significantly reinforce or undermine trust.

Being there for each other in times of need, showing empathy, and providing emotional support are all behaviors that are naturally observed and tested in shared living situations.

These experiences provide a practical preview of how each of you might behave in a marriage, increasing confidence in your partner’s trustworthiness and commitment.

3. You Have More Opportunities for Financial Planning & Discussions

Planning finances

When you enter a shared living environment, you’re forced to blend finances quicker than when living apart. With monthly bills, you’ll have to decide who’s responsible for paying what and how much each of you will contribute to your shared costs.

Will you split bills 50/50, or will one partner assume a greater proportion of shared costs?

Are you both willing to spend money on the same non-critical expenses — for example, a Netflix subscription, monthly grocery delivery, or house cleaning service?

How much money should each person set aside for monthly and yearly expenses?

Discussing these questions and coming to financial agreements will reveal how you value your finances and your individual relationships with money.

This leads to the next important point.

4. You Learn More About Your Partner’s Spending Habits

Money habits

Living with someone can reveal a lot about their spending habits. Think about how much harder it is to hide a boatload of Amazon deliveries when you’re living in the same space.

Living together before marriage serves as a practical revelation of each partner’s spending habits, which is crucial for long-term financial compatibility and planning.

The direct exposure to how each of you manages money—from budgeting to splurging—provides invaluable insights into financial priorities and behaviors.

This early insight into each other’s financial habits allows you to address potential issues proactively. It provides a platform to discuss and align financial goals, budgeting strategies, and spending limits, which are essential for a harmonious coexistence.

Risks of Moving In Before Marriage


Moving in together before marriage, while beneficial in many ways, also presents several risks worth considering.

One of the primary concerns is the potential for financial entanglement without the legal protections marriage offers.

Sharing expenses, signing leases, or making significant purchases together can lead to complex financial disputes if the relationship ends unexpectedly. This situation can leave one or both parties in a precarious financial position, dealing with shared debts or assets without a straightforward legal process to resolve disputes.

One way to resolve this is with a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement is a legal document protecting the assets and interests of each partner in case the relationship ends. It essentially acts as a prenup for unmarried couples.

Consult with an experienced family law attorney to determine how a cohabitation agreement fits within your state’s laws and the best way to approach the process.

Another risk of moving in together involves the emotional and social implications of cohabitating.

For some couples, living together can prematurely escalate the relationship’s seriousness. You might progress towards deeper commitments like marriage due to convenience rather than a deliberate, mutual decision.

This can breed resentment or dissatisfaction over time, particularly if one partner feels pressured into staying in the relationship due to the shared living situation, financial entanglements, or societal expectations.

Cohabitation can also amplify underlying issues in the relationship that might have been more manageable in a less intertwined arrangement.

Daily exposure to each other’s habits and behaviors may lead to increased conflicts without the proper communication and conflict-resolution skills. Living in close proximity can sometimes diminish the quality of the relationship by highlighting incompatibilities and personal differences, straining your relationship over time.

So, while living together offers many benefits, careful consideration and open communication are required to navigate potential risks effectively.

Takeaway: Move In Together for the Right Reasons

Couple looking at a house together

Living together before marriage is a great idea if it’s done for the right reasons. In other words, don’t make a hasty decision just because you want to save a few bucks or find yourself in a housing bind.

However, if you’re on sound footing in your relationship and are ready to take the next step, moving in together is an incredible way to advance it and get to know one another better.

Just be ready for meaningful financial and life discussions to stay on the same page as you navigate splitting bills and blending your lives.

If all goes well and the wedding bells are ringing, contact me about securing your finances as a couple with a prenuptial agreement. I’m an expert in crafting mutually beneficial premarital contracts in California that protect your finances and prep you for a healthy and happy future together.

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