John Curtis, Ph.D.
Living together before marriage
Should we live together before marriage? One of the concepts that I had in my book on cohabitation, which is Happily Unmarried People Living Together and Loving It, is the idea of branding and marketing your relationship. And I really stress this especially for couples who want to live together before marriage, cohabiting couples because of this very issue: branding. What are we going call each other when we go to the in-laws for thanksgiving? You know, it can be very traumatic. How do you introduce the person, my friend, my partner, my live-in roommate?
So for the couple to talk about those pre-marital expectations, challenges of unmarried living together can be an intimate conversation. It can help clarify again those issues, and it really gets you ready, especially if you’re cohabiting, so that when you go out into public, you’ve have a clear answer. You can say, “I’d like you to meet so and so. She is my (and you can fill that blank in with whatever is appropriate for you).” But all means talk about it first. That’s that idea of branding.
I even suggest unmarried couples living together to develop a love logo. That’s an image, something that identifies what your relationship is about. For example, a couple recently sent me their love logo. It was a silhouette of a lion. And, I thought, “Lion? Yes. A lion is brave, courageous, honorable, and that’s what they think their relationship is about.” So they had a love logo, and they even had music that went with it, which is Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. So, whenever they heard the song or saw a lion’s head (much like a corporate logo), that really grab their attention and reminded them what the relationship was all about.
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