Will living together really make our wedding night less special?

Updated May 23 2016
Guest post by Tessa Bailey
Cross stitch from Naughty Needlepoint
Cross stitch from Naughty Needlepoint
Just like many, many, many men/women/unaligned-and-loving-it folks on Offbeat Bride, I've been living with my partner for several years now. We've been dating for four years, moved across the country together — hell, we've even adopted a one-eyed kitten together. We're so used to being together that when he went to SXSW for five days I literally couldn't get a night's sleep because the bed felt too weird without him.

Basically, issues of co-dependency aside, I think it's safe to say that we're living much more like a married couple already than most engaged people have throughout the vast majority of history. And possibly some married couples too — hey, I'm not here to judge.

Personally, I think this situation is awesome. I can go into my wedding day absolutely sure that this is a man that I'm not only head over heels for, but also a man that I can share a bathroom with without wanting to stab him. These things matter when you're 75, wearing dentures, and contemplating the slow but inevitable decline into wearing nothing but muumuus. (I plan to be as eccentric as possible in my elderly years.)

So it's been interesting to find out how many people think that living together pre-marriage seems to somehow make it "less special."

The first indication I had was when my future husband looked at me whilst in post-coital bliss. "Should we, like, not have sex for two weeks before the wedding? You know, to make the wedding night special?"

Now, if self-denial turns you on then I'm all for this plan leading to stupid-hot sex, but I'm kind of a "more-is-more" girl myself. So I thought, if anything, we should be practicing pre-wedding — you know, to make sure we get it right.

He seemed relieved with my answer, but it didn't stop there. Since then my Mom has suggested that we "maybe hold off on some things to make it special," (ew, Mooooooooom!) and I've read repeatedly about couples who even forgo kissing in order to make that First Kiss extra-special.

There's that word again. "Special."

What's so un-special about the deep love we have? The commitment we're entering into? The fact that we know each other so well and are so happy to be spending the rest of our lives together?

Love is in the air © by Tobias FIdelis, used and remixed under Creative Commons license.
It's not that our sex life is unimportant, but damnit people: marriage isn't about sex in this day and age! We've become liberated! We've got The Pill! The majority of people don't enter into the Sacred Covenant Of Marriage without having been around the block a few times, if you know what I mean (go ask your mother).

Damnit, my wedding is going to be special because it's MINE. My whole marriage is going to be special, even on the boring days when we have to do our taxes, or the bad days when we get in a fight over what kind of milk to buy. For that matter, every time we have sex it's special, because it's us and it's an expression of love and because it's REALLY HOT. I don't need a wedding night to be turned on.

I don't believe you have to recreate some sort of pseudo-temporary virgin-hood in order for your wedding to be Special. I'm glad we're entering into this adventure with the knowledge and experience we have, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

  1. Thanks for posting this! My FH and I had not planned on living together before the wedding. I just had this romantic image in my head that the wedding is a major milestone and should be accompanied by a major life change- like moving in together! Living together, then getting married, then…. just going home like normal, felt anticlimactic to me somehow. BUT- I am also a very practical person. So, when FH's lease was up we discussed how much rent would cost for the remainder of our engagement. Survey says…… He's moving in in a couple weeks! I am excited about the move (and I think it will make things easier when things get crazier in a few months).

  2. Amen to that. We're so busy with full time jobs/part time jobs/full time school that ANYTIME we get to "go around the block", it;s really, really special.

    Yay for muumuus!

    • I believe in this context, go around the block meant "sleep with lots of different people."
      Which could totally be what you mean, or not 😉

  3. Himself and I lived together before getting married, and the only thing that made the wedding night less sexytimes than it could have been was that I was exhausted. Once I had a good night's sleep and we were on our honeymoon… Yeah, it's still possible to enjoy having bought the cow even if you were getting the milk for free before.

    • Although I totally appreciate what I think is the intended sentiment of this comment (that the enjoyment of sex within marriage is not lessened somehow by pre-maritial sex), I'm uncomfortable with the cow/milk thing for a whole bunch of reasons.

      • Don't worry, there is an equal opportunity saying for men – Why buy the pig, when all you want is a little sausage!

        • Except that if you get sausage from a pig, it is dead afterwards. We are not preying mantises. Maybe a bee/honey analogy would be better, oh except you'd have to buy the whole hive, and then that would imply that men have a hive mind…

          And the whole point of the saying boils down to the only reason for marriage being sex, which can be had extramaritally. Which is perfectly silly, since marriage is so much more than just sex.

          I think there is no good animal analogy for this situation.

          • I don't think this expression actually *has* gender lines. It can be applied to both sexes equally–that is, when you are given something freely, not being willing to put in an investment for it. It's still BS, but I don't think it's sexist BS. After all, it can't be taken *literally*; men generally aren't interested in women for their milk production (Oh, *there's* a mental image for you) and it applies just as well in the opposite direction, and for same-sex couples as well. In the past it has been assumed (wrongly) by some that men are only interested in sex or more interested in sex than women, and so the expression has more commonly been applied to the context of a man seeking after a woman, but that's more an issue of common use than the ability of application.

  4. We had sex the morning of our afternoon wedding, and I am glad we did because by that night we were to tired to do anything but sleep, shower eat and sleep some more. It wasn't less special when on night two we got down to things. It was the first time I had sex with my husband which made it special- and it was AWESOME.

    • I've considered this. Our wedding is midday, we have a lot of out of town guests, and an after party at the beach then into the night until I most definitely crash out before the hubs is ready to stop partying.

      I think it'd be sexy to sneak in a little "us" time morning of before everything gets underway.

      Plus, morning nookie is ALWAYS a good way to start the day 🙂

    • Yeah, I've been married before, unlike my guy, he's under the impression that we're making love the night of our wedding, I've tried telling him we'll be too tired, but he can't fathom it – I've even had to alter the intended design of my wedding dress because he thinks it'll take too long to get me out of! (I wish he'd said before, I spent ages on mock ups with calico and boning getting the lacing right).

  5. I thought the special thing about the wedding night these days was spending it in a fancy hotel/overnight accommodation of your choice, before going home again or on honeymoon! Mind you, I've never known anyone get married without living together first (even my parents back in '78). It's interesting to find out that this stuff still matters to some people. Great post, thank you.

    • A-freakin'-men.
      Because you KNOW you'll never be satisfied with cereal full of 1%, because you KNOW you can't stomach soy in your coffee, because you KNOW you hate whole milk with toast.
      It's worth the extra cents to just buy two half gallons or a little jug of the other stuff.

    • Haha Awesome! This keeps our house sane. We currently have 1/2 gallon of 2%, a 1/2 gallon of skim, and a carton of lactose free. We have a roommate, hence the 3rd type. No small resentment simmering while choking down my cereal in the morning!

    • It seems like such a small thing but ending up with someone who likes the same type of milk made my life so much easier!

      • Haha! There is a FANTASTIC book called "the Impoverished Student's Book of Cookery, Drinkery, and Housekeepery" where the author states that he and his first wife both liked crunchy peanut butter, and that that was enough to keep them together for X number of years.

        Luckily my man and I like the same kind of milk and peanut butter.

    • Brilliant, it took us two years to realise 'why not both!' And so far I can report we have not been made bankrupt from the decision, nor has any milk ever been wasted.

  6. Thank you for this post! I think you made some valid points as this is something I always wonder too. I want to live with my man before agreeing to marry him so I know that we will get along for the next 60 years!! You are so right!

    • My dude is the same way! Living together is our test run! Only "problem" is that it drives my mom crazy. I call it a bonus! That will teach her to make me take naps!!!

    • My FH and I live together now. I have a 7 year old son (they ADORE each other) and there were definitely growing pains (parenting, co-parenting, step-parenting, house cleaning, cooking, personal space/time, etc). We've worked through so much in the time we've lived together.

      I strongly recommend it if it's something you're considering. In all honesty, it's easier to find a new roommate than to realize the person you married is someone you can't stand to live with.

      • I agree with this 1000000%!
        My fiancé's parents were both formerly married to other people years ago & they didn't realize under after the wedding that they were completely incompatible with these people. When they met each other, they did the test run, and loved it's much they knew they couldn't live without each other. When my fiancé (then boyfriend) & I started university, we couldn't afford separate living spaces. A decision based on financial reasons suddenly became the best decision we'd ever made. 2 years of living together made us so happy that our friends used to joke that we made them sick from cute married couple syndrome. This year we had to move to different cities to finish school & we are counting down the days until we can move back in together (and not just for the nookie lol!) we miss it so much! Skyping every few hours, FaceTime when Skype is messing up, sending voice messages and pictures all day… We just want to get back to our tiny little room with the mattress on the floor where we have our soulmate to come home to every night.

    • My mother is the one who told me to always live with a man before you marry him- and she grew up in the 1930's! She was definitely ahead of her time.

  7. Thank you for this! We caught a lot of crap for living together before we were married. Like you said, I wanted to know 150% that we would be compatible at all times, not just when we saw each other on dates. I would have hated to realize that we weren't able to stand each other or something after we were married! We got over the initial humps early so that the start of our marriage wasn't worrying about who gets to sleep on what side of the bed or who gets their toothpaste gunk all over the mirror and needs to clean it. It also really bothered me when people felt the need to comment on how we should conduct our relationship for the last few weeks. I'm sorry, but we had been sleeping together for years before the month leading up to our wedding so it's not like we could take it back and make it "special".

    • we too have been living together for the past year and I am so glad that we've gotten through those initial bumps & arguments; I think it would actually make marriage harder to move-in AND be married all within a day (or two).

  8. If ritual sex is your thing, or important to your religion, go for it. I know it's really a big deal for some folks, and I support them.

    … but for me, without any need for religious de-virgining, I am here to say that it was PLENTY special/memorable even though we'd been with each other for years. Yay. 🙂

  9. We had been living together for 8 months before getting married. I don't feel any less special. I think knowing how difficult my husband is to live with and STILL wanting to be with him forever made it even more significant when I repeated my vows.
    Besides, my sister wanted to hang out after the wedding (we live in different countries and rarely get to see each other), so no special time for the new hubby and I… We were super tired by 3am when we finally kicked them out.
    We still managed to get pregnant (we were trying) on our honeymoon, that's pretty damned special if I do say so… 🙂

  10. This is great! My husband and I were dating for 6.5 years before we were married. We bought a place together a couple of years before that (it would've been sooner, but at 21 I didn't have enough money for a downpayment, let alone a mortgage). And technically, under Canadian law, we were already married via Commonlaw. So what was the big deal?

    To be honest, most women and men I've spoke with fall asleep on the wedding night…either because they are too exhausted or too drunk. Which I can attest to! I fell asleep holding a mug of tea sitting in bed, while my husband feel asleep mid-undressing on the hotel bed. Having a wedding is DAMN TIRING…unless you're the type of person to duck out early just to make sure there is a wedding night.

    But we had a wedding morning…I mean really, the only difference was that there was a sun in the sky and not the moon. We technically checked into our hotel at 2:30am. So our wedding night was spent dancing with our guests!

    The most special part? Turning over to have the first sight I see in the morning my brand new husband!

  11. Loved this when you originally posted it to the tribe! I had a friend recently say that we should definitely not share the same bed the night before the wedding which had never even occurred to me as being something that people "don't" do. My partner and I have lived together for 4 years now and the idea of spending 1 night apart to make the first night as married people more . . . magical? exciting? mysterious? . . . seems unnecessary. Don't get me wrong–I totally get why people would choose this route before a wedding, but when I asked my partner if he thought we should sleep apart the night before the wedding, he said "well, I really don't want to pay for another hotel room." Hear hear! 🙂

    Along these lines, people keep telling me how much is going to change once we get married, but I'm not convinced. We're already living together and love it. I'm keeping my last name. On paper, not much is changing. But this is actually incredibly comforting to me. I love our relationship as it is and I'm glad to know going into our wedding what I'm signing on to for the rest of my life.

    • Nothing has changed between my husband and I in the 3 years since we got married. I've known him for almost 8 years at this point, and lived with him for 4. Our dynamic has of course changed over the course of the relationship (because change is the only constant), but nothing changed when we got married. What did change was how some people in our families treated us. For instance I can now sleep in the same bed as my husband when we visit his relatives. *rolls eyes*. My own liberal parents even began to treat us as more serious once we were hitched.

      Also, high five for keeping your name. I kept mine, because it's a crucial part of my self-identity. Though I totally understand reasons other people have for changing theirs, it's still a rare thing to keep your name, and I like having someone to share the solidarity with 🙂

  12. Great post! I have been with my FH for ten years, and living together for five. We've talked about the "night before" the wedding, and if we should go the traditional route and sleep separately. We realized nothing about our relationship has been traditional, so why start now? Plus, we're having a destination wedding (but for us only – we're having the wedding back home where our family lives), so know we wouldn't sleep well without the other since it'll feel more like home if we're together. I have no doubts that our wedding night will feel just as special as all the other nights we've shared!

  13. I am getting married in about six months and my fiance and I have already agreed that we WON'T be having "a go around the block" on our wedding night. We don't want the pressure of it, plus we know we'll exhausted. We're also staying in the same hotel room the night before our wedding and seeing each other throughout the day of the wedding.

    • My husband and I promised each other no pressure on the wedding night, too – and then we ended up not being as tired as we thought we might be 😉

  14. My hubby and I didn't live together before we got married, and we also didn't sleep together before that day. That decision was made because of some serious issues we had both had with previous partners. We are coming up on our 1 year anniversary this month and I can honestly look back and say that we made the best decision for us. We are way more compatible in the bedroom than I thought we would be, and it has been fun to get to know each other in a different way. However, I am still trying to get him to put the dirty clothes IN the laundry basket, not NEXT to it! haha

    • Haha, FH has a cat who eats anything fabric. I'm the one that is going to have to learn to put my clothes away 😉

    • You can always try "positive discipline" and let him experience natural consequences. Only clothes that are in the basket get washed.

      I am of course teasing (by about 80%)

      • I tried this – leaving clothes, dishes, mail, trash etc wherever he dropped them – but I always cave before he does. Always.

      • I have to admit that this is how I am, guys that didn't like it got the boot. As I see it, I don't want or even particularly like kids, so why would I want to live with/marry someone who acts like one? A man who needed/expected to be babied, waited on, & picked up after was always a deal breaker for me (and was why I chose to be single most of the time.)
        My husband was in his 20s when we met, and had never lived on his own, yet he could, did, & does take care of himself like an adult man should, and has nothing but scorn for men who expect their wives to be their surrogate mommies.

        • My FH husband is a slob, it annoys me sure, but it's certainly not a deal breaker. He doesn't expect to be waited on, he just doesn't mind clothes on the floor and a dirty bathroom, while it drives me insane. So I clean up after him and nag him, and he cooks me dinner, shovels snow, pumps gas and puts air in the tires when it's cold out. For us it's about give and take, and me holding on to the delusion that one day he will magically start putting his clothes away.

  15. Love this post. me and FH have been living together for nearly 7 years and barely manage when one of us has to go away, so we're staying together, getting ready together, and as far as the plans go at this stage, arriving at the ceremony together!
    And unlike some people i know, i'm not going to share what time i consummated my marriage on facebook. true story.

    • Wait, seriously?! Someone posted on FB when they had their first married-people sex?! That is… special.

    • I think this is great. While my husband and I are far from being what is considered "co-dependent" the whole purpose of our marriage was an unending togetherness that we could create with family and friends. My husband and I didn't want the traditional bride walks the aisle without the groom so we decided to have three aisles. The bridal party walked down the center aisle and my husband and I entered from the left and right aisles in sequence. One of the best decisions we made for our day!

  16. I had the whole "oh, let's just enjoy being together and our lives the way they are" mentality going into the wedding…Unfortunately, I forgot that moving and wedding DIY can wreck an apartment faster than anything. We did our couple photos after the reception and arrived back at our apartment at the same time as friends and family showed up with wedding decorations & gifts….we collapsed into bed. Then, my husband (who RARELY snores) was snoring, and eventually, I couldn't take lying in bed listening to him snore and thinking about the messy apartment anymore. I got up and started cleaning at 4am…by 6 I was swearing at whatever idiot piled the wedding presents on top of the washing machine,and trying to clean up the flower petals and leaves all over the floor. I still want to cry every time I think about our wedding night. So seriously, it might be worth investing something into making it special, or making sure you at least get a decent night's sleep.

    • This is the exact reason that we have decided that no matter where we end up having out wedding, we are renting a hotel or a cabin. I /know/ that after all the stress of wedding planning and DIY projects our place will be a disaster, because that is just who we are, and I want to go somewhere clean and nice and special for our wedding night.

  17. We lived together for almost 2 years before getting married. We did not actually have wedding night sex because we were both exhausted, but we did have lovely morning-after sex. I don't think wedding night sex would have been "special", had we lived together or not because there was no way that I was awake enough to even remotely WANT wedding night sex. All the hype is just an example of people wanting to make other people question their life choices. Don't fall for the hype 🙂

    • Thank you for this. I totally agree. I get people questioning my life choices, and it sucks. After reading all the posts about how exhausted I'll be the night of, I'm making preparations so I can still have wedding night nookie.

  18. I've always believed in in living with someone before making the commitment of getting married. I think that no matter how long you've been with someone, or how much time you spend together, there are simply things you just don't know about a person until you've lived with them. All the love in the world doesn't always help when living styles are vastly different. Especially in my case: having a child from another relationship. The Beard and I were engaged by the time we moved in together, but at the same time it was important for me to see how he would be able to handle living with a four year old day in and day out. We have a small space for three humans, a cat, and a dog, and it's taken some getting used to for the both of us (my son's just excited his 6' living toy is here all the time now). I'm glad that we're getting these kinks out now before we walk down any aisles. I think THAT is what's going to make our wedding night special. Getting through planning a wedding together and learning how to live each other now means there's going to be a lot less pressure afterwards, and we can enjoy just being newlyweds and seeing how many times in a day we can refer to each other as wife/husband. 🙂

  19. I think similar to the wedding day itself, the wedding night has been romanticized. Lets face it, there's really not much sexytime about being with someone you've never been with for the first time then finding out their terrible and incompatible with you and you've made a lifelong commitment to them!

    And as for living together – I lived with my husband for 3 years prior to us tying the knot. I would have felt deflated if we just went home together. We spent the day before and the night before apart, and made sure we went on an exciting honeymoon. We somehow managed to have some fun that night, but to be perfectly honest it was a complete miracle.

    I can't help but wonder if many other brides would agree that after being on your feet ALL DAY and being up since the crack of dawn, the most exciting thing about that night is passing out. We decided to take a bath together which is the only thing that lead to sexyfuntime, otherwise we'd have just hit the sheets.

    We slept 13 hours straight that night. 🙂

    • As long as you both realise that first time sex is usually less than spectacular, I don't think terrible wedding night sex is such a big deal. The whole point of marriage is that it's a long-term committment – therefore you both have plenty of time to work on how to have good sex together.

      Of course sex is important in a marriage (unless of course you're both asexual or have other reasons for not having sex) but that doesn't mean that bad sex on the wedding night should be some kind of dealbreaker. Even people who have been having sex before marriage have room for improvement in that area.

    • Yes, this. Friends of mine decided to have a morning wedding so that they wouldn't be exhausted for the wedding night. If you make "not being exhausted for the wedding night" a priority, then you won't be exhausted. Annnd there are ways to tell if you're sexually compatible without having sex (You can make out! You can talk about your likes/dislikes! You can make out some more!) If you love each other lots, if each of you is looking to satisfy the other, and if you're ready to communicate, it will be perfectly okay.

      • I think it's great if that works for you. In my case however, I've been in relationships where everything seemed absolutely fine until the sex. The making out was great, we had a connection, etc. It was all there but then when actual sex happened it was absolutely horrible. As a person with a high sex drive, bad sex is a deal breaker for me, and I've had the relationship where there was no fixing the sex. What I ended up learning was that there are people you're attracted to and can have a great relationship with, but the sex doesn't work. A couple of them have become great friends, and sure are a lot of fun to make out with every once in awhile, but I'd never want to spend the rest of my life with them.

    • This always makes me feel bad for couples who come from super religious upbringings where even kissing and hand holding may have been off limits. All the sudden you're supposed to go from having had no physical contact with each other to being married and having sex in the course of a day? YIKES!

  20. There is so much "THIS!" in this post it's bursting at the seams with it! Thank you for reminding everyone that their wedding, wedding night, and marriage feels special whether or not they lived together before getting hitched, and there is no reason for people to feel like they have to pretend or deny anything* (No sexytime? No cuddles? No kissing? No way!) to have those feelings of "specialness."

    *Unless, of course, that is what both parties in the relationship want, then by all means, do what is right for you!

  21. To be honest, I thought that it wouldn't be that special either, so my husband and I agreed to abstain for a time before hand… with all the stress, this did not last too long. Plus, we were exhausted our wedding night. I'm sure if we'd never had relations before, it'd've been a different story, but its not. So no, living together doesn't ruin it because it helps you understand that your marriage can weather a night of tired relations or a lack of when tired.

  22. To be honest, I wish more people lived together before getting married. I lived with my husband a few years before we were married, and not one day has gone by where a moment with him is "less special."……I think living together and even being sexually active with your partner before marriage is very, very important. It comes down to the whole "You might love someone, but that doesn't mean you can live with them" saying, with a dose of avoiding "We don't even connect romantically." ….So Bravo Tessa! I loved reading this.

  23. We did it…. and yes it is less special… It's not a matter of being turned on, it's a matter of there is no sense of surprise or newness…. I regret it…

    • Maybe it's not less special, just a different kind of special. (Also, I think it's great if people want to wait and do. Even though that wasn't for me, I respect people who do wait).

      We've been living together a while, so I won't know, but I know that the first time we had sex, it was less than great. It had been a while for me and he's rather more "well-endowed" than my previous limited experience, and it hurt and I bled (far more so than I did the very first time ever). So for me, if I built up the FIRST TIME so much and waited until the wedding night only to have it be that uncomfortable, I think it would have been a let down. It still would have been exciting, I guess but I know I would have had these high expectations that wouldn't have been met.

      Also, I'm glad I knew about his gross shaving gunk in the sink and that he knows I forget to wash my dishes before we made it legal. 🙂

  24. We had not slept together at all before we were married, and we didn't for two days into our honeymoon either. I just didn't want our first time together to be period sex. Frankly, having waited didn't make our first time anything "special". Would I do it the same way? Yes. But it was much more awkward and funny than anything magical or special. I say, do what you want to do! Do what you're in the mood for!

  25. I'm not quite sure how I feel about this subject. I personally do want to wait until marriage before I have sex – I don't care what other people do, but for me sex is such a uniquely intimate thing that I only want to have it with my future spouse. It's not even a religious thing – although I am a Christian, I don't regard pre-marital sex as sinful, this is just my own perspective on sex and marriage.

    I don't even want to say that I would be OK with having sex with my future fiance(e), since it's so much easier to break off an engagement than it is to end a marriage, and I can't help but want to have sex with just one person (aside from a second marriage following widowhood).

    However, I see the advantage to living together before marriage – so I guess the ideal for me would be living together but not having sex, but is that even realistic? I suspect not. Anyone who waited to marry to have sex, how did you deal with living together?

    • My husband and I lived together for over two years before getting married, and did not have sex. (We did fool around I suppose, so some would consider out of bounds as well.) We are both atheists so religion was not part of the decision. It just felt right for us to wait. Waiting was hard sometimes, but we were able to be intimate with each other without having sex. We didn't really do anything special to "deal with" living together and not having sex. We slept in the same bed. We saw each other nude all the time. We just chose not to do it. If you live together and aren't having sex, don't expect anyone to believe you! People will assume you are full of crap. Choose not to care.

      Of course anyone who knew we had waited (and believed us) assumed that immediately after our reception we'd be hopping right in the sack to consummate that ish! We had also spoken about this before hand. We, like many other posters, did wait until the next day. The reasons were practical. My family lives far away and were here for the wedding. So my wedding night we hung out with my parents and best friends. I very rarely get to see them and weddings are so exhausting I wasn't ready to embark on a new sexual adventure! Plus, I'm a grown up, but my DAD was right across the hallway. So I just went to bed and cuddled with my husband. The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, sent our guests on their way, and then just spent the rest of the day in bed together. It was awesome.

      • This is amazing. I need to print off your post and show it to my mom. She is HIGHLY opposed to people living together (or doing anything "adult") before marriage because of the high rate of children "born out of wedlock" these days. I keep pointing out that (a) in this day and age you don't have to get pregnant if you don't want to, and (b) living together doesn't automatically mean sleeping together. Having sex is a conscious decision, so you don't have to do it if you don't want to (I keep getting this mental image that my mom must imagine that two people move in together than then suddenly they've lost control of their own bodies and they've having sex as if someone else is controlling their bodies with voodoo dolls). Anyway, I became sexually active LONG before moving in with anyone, so her reasoning was flawed to begin with.

  26. Haha, we've been together for 17 years and have lived together for 15, I think that particular boat has sailed! But I'm sure that our wedding will still be a special day.

  27. My husband and I got married on the five year anniversary of our moving in together (which was only two weeks after we met. We actually moved in together before sleeping together, but that's another story). I was a little worried that after a half decade of sharing our lives, finances, buying a house, etc, marriage wouldn't feel different. It does! Being married feels special and different and I love it. As for sex, any time my husband touches me it feels special, even when he just touches my hand. Sex is special because of the loving connection we've developed in our years together. Don't worry. For me at least, being married makes sex even more special, even though we were together all this time. Though, we didn't actually have sex on our wedding night. We were up to 4am the night before desperately going through our CDs and finding songs for our wedding playlist and I was just too exhausted. The delayed wedding sex was definitely special though.

    • This might be a little off-topic, but why did you move in together after two weeks? Not judging, I am genuinely curious about how and why this happens. I've heard of other people doing this too, and I'm interested in hearing about your experience.

      • I actually don't know anyone else who did this, so it's cool that you do.

        We met at Burning Man. Love at first sight. Had such a bizarre amount in common (to the point that we were in the middle of reading the same book) that we started calling each other Doppleganger. From that first day (and we met the last day and only spent 28 hours together) we KNEW this was the person we were going to spend the rest of our lives with. We lived 400 miles apart. So either one of us was moving or we were spending every weekend driving 800 miles. At hour 15 or so we agreed that we felt ready to move in together. It actually would have been less than two weeks except I already had a week vacation in New York planned. The second time I saw him I was pulling up at his (then ours) apartment with all of my possessions in my car. It was a tiny studio in a brand new city. We were such strangers he even changed in the hall at first. It was the best thing I've ever done. Moving to LA was incredibly difficult, but moving in with him was effortless. More than five years, a marriage and now pregnant with our first, everyone now realizes it was the right choice (as you can imagine there were a lot of upset family members at first). Oh, did I mention he had gotten out of a ten year relationship three weeks earlier? As my mom said in her wedding toast, "You guys were right, and we were wrong. It shouldn't have worked, but it did."

        • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I'm very happy things worked out so well for you & your partner.

          My boyfriend recently moved in with me after we had been together for 4 months (which was a month ago) because he lost his apartment in a nearby city. At the time it felt way too quick and I was certain things would blow up, but so far it's been wonderful and positive for both of us. As we originally agreed, he's moving out to get his own place in a couple of months and now I'm kind of sad at his upcoming departure. Though we've talked about what will happen, I'm not sure if his moving out means a step backward in our relationship or if our temporary cohabitation was an unexpectedly positive detour and it's a not a step back at all.

          Sorry for the threadjack 🙂

          • We still take turns getting dressed in the kitchen since we have different work hours and days off.

        • Your story makes me teary and giggly. 🙂 What a beautiful story of love. I hope your baby on the way finds inspiration in it!

  28. It's going to be special to wake up together (we're getting married today!) and special when you turn in for the night (we got married today!). Stick with what feels right to you as a couple and you will have plenty of special.

  29. I'm sort of in the opposite boat. I live in a very liberal city where living together before marriage has become the new normal. People are always asking me when I'm moving in with my fiancé. When I tell them that I'm not living with him before the wedding, I get all sorts of accusative and judgemental reactions from people. As a counterpoint to the whole "Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?" argument, I'm being told, "Why would you buy a car without test driving it first?" (Um, my fiancé is a human being, not a car!) Someone even said that I wouldn't be ready for the way living together would "change our love" and that this decision would ultimately undermine my marriage.

    The thing is, I'm not against anybody who wants to live with their significant other before marriage. Couples need to decide what's right for them. Co-habiting is not right for me, that's all. I think maybe some people saw my decision as a condemnation of their own decisions to live with their partners, which it isn't at all. I'm just doing what I feel is best for my own relationship and my own life. I wish everyone had the freedom to make the best decisions for themselves either way without being hassled about it!

    • I totally relate to this. No one has ever said the whole "test drive the car" to my face, but they've told my family members behind my back and such. I don't know, I know it's odd this day and age to be a virgin, but I feel like I have a right to be proud of how I do things the way others have a right to be proud of how they do things. And I feel like whenever it comes out in conversation that "No, I'm not living with him," it leads to them asking why not, which leads to "yeah, actually I'm a virgin," at which point the conversation stops awkwardly, because there are suddenly so many preconceived notions and feelings in the air, and you assuming what they think about you or you assuming what they think that you think about them, and uhgghhhh….hot mess!

      • I live in a city where, if you have been dating someone for more than a few months, everyone assumes you live together. Period. And it can be so awkward to say, "Well, no, we're not living together… Yeah, I know it would save money, but we don't have sex, and it would be pretty hard to live together and not have sex". And then everyone's all "But how will you know if you are compatible??" and I'm all… "Well, firstly, I spend loads of time in his house, I see how he lives, we have talked about what things bother us about how the other lives. And secondly, dude, there are ways to tell if you are sexually compatible without having sex! And if everything doesn't line up PERFECTLY, well, we have plenty of time to practice."

        I think part of the thing is that our culture really overemphasizes sex in relationships. Sex is important and fun and good, but it isn't a dealbreaker, in my opinion. If I love someone to bits and pieces and it turns out we aren't totally sexually compatible, that is okay! We will figure out how to compromise and make it work, and it will still be more awesome than any other sex, because it will be sex with the person I love hanging out with more than anything in the world.

        • The other thing is that it's only now, in one very small part of the world, where it is socially acceptable to cohabit at all. I am not using this as an argument against cohabiting, as I said, because I think people should be able to make up their own minds. But I do think it serves as pretty good proof that married people can live happily together without cohabiting first. We've been doing it for thousands of years.

      • The virgin thing is a whole other kettle of fish! I was telling an acquaintance about several friends I have who are virgins in their 30s, and she was STUNNED. She then referred to them as "damaged goods," which blows my mind because, well, how can something be damaged if it's never been used?
        My fiancé and I do sleep together and I love it, but due to social pressure when I was younger, I had certain "adventures" that I now really wish I could undo.
        People need to be let to live as they choose.

  30. And the depression issue!!!

    Any large event in one's life can be a trigger for depression… Moving, marriage, pregnancy, a death, a pet, home ownership…. Why add two (or more) of those together and do them at the same time.

    Plus the point in Ariel's book about post-planning depression… Yeah. Space them out!

  31. Thank you for this! I've been worried about it because we've been together for eight years, living together for five. This and all the comments are fantastic tips that make me feel 10 times better. 🙂 Though I do plan on likely staying in separate places the night before simply because I'd like to stay closer to the venue and with my wedding party chicks the night before. They're all coming from out of town except my BFF so I'd love to have a slumber party with them. 🙂

  32. One of the sweetest parts of my day is waking up next to the love of my life. Can't imagine not having that on my wedding day.

    This post reminded me of how my younger self blindly followed what other folks told me (for example: a woman shouldn't have too many partners). My ex-husband was the first person I had sex with. And it was horrible- continued to be so throughout the relationship. And as I didn't have anything to compare it to, assumed I was broken and painful sex became our "normal."

    Glad to report that I'm not broken. And equally important (cause I REALLY like sex) I was able to transition to establishing/selecting my beliefs instead of just following what other people thought I should do. And that's a beautiful thing.

    Kudos to the abstainers and sexy/sleepy makers! And to those that are doing what's right for them.

  33. Think about traditional wedding vows – richer, poorer, sickness, health. Going through those things is what really really made me feel married. That we are together through the shit of life. That's the "main course."

    The sex? That's a dessert (or an appetizer, or a side, or all three!) but it's not the main event in a marriage (and I am speaking of someone who's fonder-than-many of sex). Your wedding, and your marriage, will be "special" regardless of when the nookie comes.

  34. I don't see us having relations after we get home on our wedding night because we'll probably get home and crash still in our wedding gear. I figure there's plenty of time for "hey husband…hey wife" sexy times during the two weeks we took off from work after the wedding, one for the honeymoon and one for just vegging around the house together.

  35. Me and the hubby-to-be have lived together for three years, AND we have a two year old. Having sex in a hotel room, not having to be quiet, not having to pause to wonder if we heard our son waking up…THAT will make it special!

  36. I will also throw my hat into the living together is very important ring! I was just saying to my boyfriend that I feel like living with him is more like living with a best friend, and that it's just fun and easy! And he agreed, of course we have both lived with different significant others in the past and it has NOT been so pleasant, so like a lot of you have said – it really reveals a lot more about your partner than just dating them does and in our cases with our exes we realized that wow, these are not people we want to spend the rest of our lives with! So moving in together can also be a deal breaker, which in the long run is a good thing too right?! I would have hated to be stuck with any of the exes I moved in with in the past and have subsequently discovered were less than compatible upon moving in with them!

  37. Awesome post. 🙂

    My DH and I lived together (for about 3 years) before we got married, and we didn't manage to "do the deed" on our wedding night. A) we were exhausted, and B)sex is one of those complicated issues for us, due to mental health stuff and my bad reactions to a lot of hormonal contraceptives. But, that's another story.

    HOWEVER. As was said in my OBB submission that was featured on here last week, our wedding night was one of my absolute favourite parts of the day. We got to our hotel room, collapsed on our bed and had a big cuddle, looked down at our rings, and were hit with the enormity of the fact we'd just gotten married. I almost started crying, we made out for ages, and I felt like I was going to burst for love of him.

    So, no sex. But, it was still one of the most special moments of my life- and the fact that DH and I lived together before marriage didn't make it any less awesome. In fact, right after the wedding, we went back to our normal routines as before we were married (yeah, delayed honeymoon…)…but something inside for me had inexplicably changed. I felt…married. 🙂 And I can't explain it any other way.

    So yeah, that was my experience. DH and I living together didn't put any dampender on our wedding night lovin'. But, that being said, I have nothing but the upmost respect for people who do wait for marriage- I have a lot of Christian friends who did just that, and they are fantastic people.

  38. It's interesting to think about this as a queer couple. My partner and I just got legally hitched in NY after 5 years of being together. Before last year, it wasn't even an option to get legally married. No one said anything to us about making it special or holding off for a couple weeks. I totally agree that marriage is no longer about the SEX. Sex is hot in so many forms – pre-marriage, post-marriage, in the car, outside, on a plane!

    However, I do think holding off for a couple weeks before getting hitched is super kinky and sexy! 😉

  39. I've always gone by the theory that you don't buy the shoes unless you try them on first, although there are no guarantees either way. But it's what I did, what I told both my daughters and it's even what my mother did – I'm 53 years old. So we've had LOTS of 'special' times, but the wedding night was not one of them. We were too exhausted, and the result would have been the same whether we'd waited or not. Btw, congratulations Jenni!

    • I will second that!!! I used to get so paranoid when I was a kid about just such an analogy – that what if I bought ill fitting shoes and I was stuck with them forever?!?!! Then I grew a little older and realized that hey life doesn't have to BE that way, thank goodness 😉 and thank goodness for people like you out there!

  40. I don't exactly agree. While I think there is nothing wrong with living together pre-marriage, I want marrying my fiance to mark a new point in our lives. I remember asking a friend who had living with her man for 5 years before getting married what married life was like and she said "Eh. Nothing's different from before." And I just thought that was a little sad. What's the point in getting married if you've already made that sort of commitment to someone?

    • It seems many couples will respond in this manner if they've been living together because the lifestyle itself doesn't really change. If it was working before the marriage, why do it differently after? In the same vein, if you're having problems, marriage doesn't make them go away.

      That said, at least in our case, and like the previous commenter wrote, there's this comfort you feel in being married while carrying out things as per norm. Change isn't always something external that you can show to others.

      I personally don't have anything against couples who choose not to live together before marriage, but in our case I'm glad we could enjoy our new stage in life more blissfully without that "getting used to how the other person really is" stage that, while very exciting, can often be trying for a newlyweds who haven't lived together beforehand.

    • What strikes me here is the idea that marriage has to change something. As another commenter has said there are same sex couples who don't even have the option of being married, but it doesn't make their relationships any less valid or special than heterosexual couples with a legal piece of paper.

      So I wonder why it is we feel like marriage has to change the relationship in some way? If you're committed to one another then why does standing in front of a group of people and having a party change that?

      For me personally I don't think it does. I know it's weird to say this on a bridal site, but I don't think marriage does change a relationship. I'd be fine without the document (in fact in my first "marriage" my ex and I had a wedding but never got the license), but its meaningful to my partner and his family so I'll do it to honour them.

      I dunno I just think it's interesting that we all put so much energy fretting over how our marriages will be and how they have to be some big change when I'm not sure they do.

  41. We had been living together over 4 years before our wedding, but I don't think it made our wedding less exciting. Honestly we were so tired from our wedding we just slept that night and didn't get anything on until the next morning, but it was just as amazing because the wedding itself brought us together in a new way.

    The real prize of marriage isn't the sex or getting to live together, it's in having come this far together and the happiness in having the opportunity to share your love with others, whether it's before a priest and a witness or with your family and friends.

  42. LOVE this post! I had been the one to suggest to my FH that we "hold off" on bangin' a few week before our wedding-but literally as i was saying it i was thinking how ridiculous it sounded! We are not a magazine couple, we are a real-life, in-love, sexin' it up couple! thank you thank you thank you for putting my feelings into words!!!

  43. My boyfriend was married once before, and didn't live with his ex before they got married. Only after they were married and moved in together, he found out that she NEVER cleaned, NEVER cooked, and NEVER paid bills or even knew how much was in her bank account. She spent ALL of her free time on playing games and goofing off on Facebook and never wanted to go out and do something different. After 10 years and four breakups, it (among other things) was too much to deal with.

    Trust me, these are things you *need* to know about before you get married. He and I live together now and probably won't be married for another two years. Living together, I am glad to know that he is responsible and happy to share with chores and cooking, and takes great care of our dog. I can't imagine not being able to experience this firsthand before getting married!

    Oh, and in all fairness to grooms- They should get a chance to see what it's like to live with you when you're on your period. 😉

    • I agree that 'for me' it was important to live together before marriage, however, I am a little bothered by the comment 'They should get a chance to see what it's like to live with you when you're on your period'. I am sure you meant it in a jokey flippant way, however, it perpetuates very specific gender stereotypes that are not productive.
      I know I am 'myself' whether the lady in red is in town or not, and my husband can live with me just fine either way.

  44. Such a good one. We lived together for 4 years before we got married. Did it make it less special? Not at all. Our day was so special because it was our day. If anything, we just knew how to live together a lot easier after saying "I do."

  45. Amen! Awesome post!

    When my FH moved into gether after nine months of dating, I was stunned when so many friends responded with "OMG are you pregnant?!?!"

    Now after 3+ years of cohabiting we are getting married in one month. What has suprised me is so many of my friends that were giving me a hard time about living with my FH before marriage are now telling me they wish they would have done the same thing.

    I agree with an earlier post that says that we have never done anything traditional so why start now. 🙂

  46. I had someone tell me and my partner the other day that our living together was immoral because if we loved each other we wouldn't need to 'test our compatability for marriage' and would just restrain or get married… (awkward)

    He got it completely wrong. We don't live together as a test! We live together because we already know that we are amazing together. We know that we love each other, this is where we want to be, not some 'practice ground'.

    We do want to get married (hence I'm on this site), but not to legitimise our house)

    I know you were talking about something slightly different, but this 'making the wedding special' seems to make a similar assumption: that you will be completely different after the wedding.

  47. My original plan in high school was to only sleep with the man that would be my husband. That's a great idea an all, but hard to see the future. There were a few guys who I thought had potential, so I slept with them. Turns out none were The One. Bummer. Fast forward to my current relationship. I found out months after the fact that I was HIS first! So in response to the ideas about intimacy being special, our first time was special for him probably more than me (since I was caught up in wondering of he'd just be another guy that I'd be wrong about) but for me, our 15th time was the best and most memorable. For the first time in my life, I was having sex with someone who loved me. Of course my number 15 is an estimation, but my point is that sex can be memorable ANY time as long as there are deeper meanings attached. Every single time is amazing for us because I know he's the last guy I'll ever be with, and the only one who I've ever truly trusted and loved enough to fully open up to. Sure, this isn't the plan I had for myself in high school, but life is unpredictable.

  48. I think that's great! I like the idea of meditating on change and really sorting through what it means to you, what your expectations are, etc.

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