What do you do when you're in your 30s, you're seriously dating someone, you're having sleep overs (and obviously sleeping together)...and then the question comes up...do we live together. Well, let's add to the equation that we are somewhat conservative in our our Christian beliefs, but obviously not enough to warrant abstinence. This has been a huge issue in our dating relationship and I have gone back and forth with it. Some days I felt it was ok, and others I was far too scared of what people would think. I was scared of what my Christian friends would think. I was scared of what people at church would think. I was scared of what his parents would think. And then I realized, that isn't a reason not to do it, because then I'm right back where I was before when I was living what I felt was a lie and trying to be someone I knew I was not, but who others wanted me to be. In Christ, I believe I am, but I do not believe that I am a "sinner" because I want to live with my boyfriend.
The verdict...we would not live together before we were married...that is, until, of course, the day my roommate decided she was kicking me out because her boyfriend was moving in. Go figure! And they wanted the chance to be alone and get used to each other without Three's Company, as it would be more like Three's A Crowd.
Ok, this was stressful, considering that we had JUST literally decided we would NOT live together. And even though my boyfriend and I talked about getting married, there was no ring yet on my finger, and I was going to have to move with some stranger, or live in a hole-in-the-wall by myself, until the day I got married. After living in a big townhouse for two years, this was utterly depressing. And I felt it wasn't fair my boyfriend lives in a nice, big townhouse he OWNS, while I was going to have to keep hopping around from place to place until we got married.
If this wasn't stressful enough, next came the new job. Great job, my dream job, but with far less, and I mean FAR, FAR LESS pay than what I was making before. We're talking half the salary I was making before. Who can live like that in Los Angeles. Definitely not a divorced, 30-year-old with huge debt and several credit card bills to pay (this is a very sensitive subject for me, and difficult to share here but I did). So then came the question, how am I to live if I take this new job. Should I turn it down so I could afford to pay the bills? Could I find someplace to live RENT FREE? Was that possible? I think I was better off than this when I graduated college. YIKES.
Next thing you know, I'm engaged. To my surprise, this opened up the talks again of living together again. But the same issues came up as before...what would people think? What does God think? What are his conservative Lutheran parents going to think?
I am going to stop right there, because that is literally where we stopped, for here is the thing. I'll be honest. We're two adults in our 30's. So together, as adults, we came to our conclusion.
We want to get married and spend the rest of our lives together. Even though I was taking a huge pay cut, we both know the benefits this job will bring, the sky is the limit, unlike the ceiling of my last job. Also, I have my finances sorted out and I have everything under control. I've been in a debt management program, I have no new debt, I'm paying things off, BUT, if I had to find a new place to live, I would have to start using a credit card again to afford to live. We decided this did not make sense, not if we wanted to go into a new marriage on the right track. I am not about to make the same mistakes again as I did in my young, "Christian" marriage. So the conclusion is, we are going to live together. I will be rent free, and I can continue to pay off my debt and we can save money towards our wedding so we do not have to put anything on credit card. That is smart, financial planning. And to me that is Godly.
Now Christians can say, "God will provide, trust Him!" Yeah, I am trusting Him. I am trusting Him that He gave me a great man who loves me and who I am going to spend the rest of my life with and that our marriage is going to be strong, and what will help with that is living with this man before we get married while we continue to go to pre-marital courses, save money, and learn the steps NOW towards a very, happy, long-lasting marriage.
So last week the move was upon me (not quite the move-in, just the move of all my stuff). And I started to freak out and go into panic mode. Losing my independence again. Engaged, moving in together, we might as well be getting married on my move-in day because that basically begins us spending the rest of our lives together. Whoa! Huge deal for a divorcee, and someone who doesn't take the divorce lightly, but who desires nothing more than a happy, healthy, everlasting marriage. I started to think, "As much as I love him, I want to take this one day at a time. Yes, this begins the rest of our lives together but we still can take time in this engagement. We can meet with our financial planner. We can take our time planning this wedding. This is just the next step. Slow down. Breathe. It's ok."
As I prepared everything for my move, as I put treasured memories in storage, as my wonderful darling put his things in storage to make room for me, as he opened up a side of his WALK-IN closet for me, as he cleared out drawer space for me, we both were nervous but hopeful and excited.
Now moving day has come and gone. It was perfect. Easy. Piece of cake. My stuff fit in like the finishing piece of a puzzle. The place looks great. It looks like home. Cozy. Warm. Inviting.
And in just two days, I move myself and my cat in. My stuff is all there, but not me yet. It took a lot of prayer and planning and discussion to get to this moment. To some people this isn't that big of a deal, to others...IT IS. It is so looked down upon in Christian circles, but we are still taking this very seriously, even praying about it, and know that this decision is as significant as the decision to get married. For us, this means we are committed for life. I love him. I do. And he loves me. I am beyond elated that in two days, the man of my dreams and I will be...living together.