Cohabitating before marriage. Does it mean divorce later?

Over the summer I maintained trips up north to Indiana.  Many times these trips were to either work with, ride or show horses on my mom’s horse farm.  Have I told you all she’s a horse trainer by trade?  Well she is.  She trains flat shod Tennessee Walking Horses with the National Walking Horse Association.  She’s amazing.  I’ll have to post about this later.  Good stories.

Anyway, my mom got some help at the horse barn after I moved away.  Due to the fact that mom’s new helper kinda offended me within an hour of meeting me I’ll change her name, so let’s call her Becky.  I now honestly think she had good intention with her first getting-to-know-you convo we exchanged, but first impressions clearly stick.  I have a hard time thinking fondly of her.  Here’s why.

As she comes out to learn about our horse barn responsibilities, she wants to be shown some tasks.  I jump in to help her.  We exchange the typical pleasantries of “Where do you live?”  “What do you do?”  And marital status comes up.  She tells me she’s divorced, and she has a young son in middle school.  It was clear she was happy and loving of her child.

When she turned the marital status question to me I told her that I moved to Nashville in order to live with Bill.  She then physically stopped what she was doing to look at me.  Her short pause was followed by her getting back to work quickly and left me confused.

“So you’re not married?” Becky asks as I try to act normal.  I thought that question only happened when I was single?

“No.  I’ve been engaged before, and he’s divorced.  This is just our next step.” I reply.

“You know there is a lot of research out there stating that living together before marriage almost always leads to divorce.  It destroys later marriages.” She states strongly.

Now it was my turn to pause.  EXCUSE ME?  As I stifle my pissy responses that include much profanity I just look at the ground and continue to work.  “Oh yeah?” I ask in a crisp tone.  I’m so proud of myself for not returning any judgment of the divorced woman next to me.

“Yeah I’ll have to get your email address and send you links for your information.  It’s not what God has planned for any of us.” Says Becky.

Wowzers.  I realize that Becky was coming from a deeply religious upbringing that my parents told me about.  Also I understand that both sides of the cohabitation issue have either scientific looks or holy beliefs attached… but still.  I battled feelings of anger and hurt in a stranger’s judgment, yet I said nothing.  I also said nothing when I went back to Indiana a few months later to find small flyers for marriage seminar pinned to my mom’s barn bulletin board.

I mentioned it to my mom, and she reminded me of the fact that Becky probably thought she was trying to HELP me.  And I believe my mom’s statement to be true.  Also, I don’t want any opinon of mine to affect my mom’s business, and since this was clearly unrelated to her helping in my mom’s horse barn I took the issue no further.

How would you have reacted to this situation??   Told her off?  Ask for sources?  Maybe looked at her like a deer in headlights?   Leave me a comment and let me know what you think.  I won’t feel judged by any opinions since I’ve asked you, but I’m curious.  Where do you come down on this issue?

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5 thoughts on “Cohabitating before marriage. Does it mean divorce later?

  1. There is a reason that there are 31 different flavors at baskin Robbins. If I had a differing opinion on what you choose to do with your life. I would probably wait to get to know you betterBefore I “Tried TO HELP” #placedjudgement. Thou that has not sinned cast the first stone..

    • After learning more about this woman I really do believe this is be a isolated incident. She’s a good person, and my mom’s experience with her has been good. So I harbor no hard feelings. Just thought the topic was interesting simply because I’d never heard what Becky had to say. People do things that don’t necessarily agree with all the time. 🙂

  2. Of the two marriages I’ve been in, the one that has lasted is the one where we co-habitated for 6 years before getting hitched. Frankly, after my first marriage ended (the non-cohabitating one), I knew that I would live with my next partner for a long time before we got married so that there would be no surprises that I couldn’t handle. We had pretty much everything (good careers, house, dog) before we got married. The only thing we didn’t do until we got married was have kids.

    Is cohabitating before marriage for everyone? Obviously not. But I know that this has worked for me. To answer your question, I probably would have kept my mouth shut too. Well…maybe not.

  3. If its any consolation, she was pretty overly “Goddy” the one time met her too. AND, regardless of what she said, I do think that in her mind, it was always coming from a place of helpfulness.

  4. Craig & I lived together for almost two years before we were married. Best. Choice. Ever.

    We learned so much about each other in that time, & quite honestly, I feel as strongly about doing that as “Becky” feels about not doing it! You don’t truly know a person until you live together. Maybe it’s a bit cliche, but I don’t buy shoes without trying them on.

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