Recently, my boyfriend and I took arguably the biggest step a 20-something can take in a relationship; we moved in together.
This dive into deeper waters of commitment must assuredly be viewed as a test of any relationship though, be the couple in their 20’s or in their 50’s.
Without the benefit of perspective that 100-plus miles allows, small things now have the potential to become causes of conflict. Ideally though, they present opportunities for personal growth. Who does the dishes, who shovels the walkway and who takes a shower at what time are all things that could result in the butting of heads.
One small thing that presented itself before my boyfriend even moved in was what he should keep, pack up and bring with him versus what he should just toss. He and I found ourselves bickering over some of the most inane of details. Do we really need another set of spatulas? What should he do with his old motorcycle helmet?
As previously mentioned, any conflict allows for personal growth. In this case we discovered a rule to live by that I think has implications for many facets of life: Would the item in question be useful in the event of a Zombie Apocalypse?
So yes, pack the spare duct tape, sweetie, and of course you should bring your first aid supplies!
Moving in together seems, to me, to be akin to “extreme dating.” In effect, the couple involved tests their compatibility to a heightened extent by subjecting the relationship to all of the possible roadblocks that would be resultant of cohabitation.
This sort of “compatibility testing” may seem cold and analytical to some, but I prefer to think of it as practicality in action. It allows the couple to take the relationship for a more expansive test drive than would be afforded by dating, which is akin to sitting in the car seat in the sales lot but never taking it for a test drive.
To be clear, this premise need not conflict with the practice of waiting until marriage for “relations” to occur. Testing living compatibility itself seems to be smart sense. A couple that decides to “wait until marriage” could still live together before hand and “play house” for awhile to test how things will or will not work.
The odd couple thing worked great for a television sitcom, but in reality a neat freak can only put up with a slob for a short period of time. Living together brings such disjunctive preferences to light and allows the couple to address them. I can hardly imagine throwing oneself into a deeper commitment, marriage, and having to deal with a spouse that one finds to be an insufferable housemate.
Using the car analogy again, this would be comparable to discovering that you are too tall for the driver’s seat after having purchased a vehicle. No one wants to be stuck with a bad fit.