Conventionally, marriage was the ultimate next step after completing school and it was always done through a wedding. It was not a surprise seeing a young lady get married off at 19.
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We are now in a different era where people are welcoming the idea that marriage is not a goal in life and you can still be okay without getting into marriage.
Church weddings are also becoming fewer as people are also choosing civil marriage and traditional weddings.
Cohabitation has become a contentious topic in recent years.
Many people regard cohabitation as a preferable option to marriage, whereas religious individuals regard it as a wicked act that may rouse God's anger.
Cohabitation can be defined as a condition where two people who are in a relationship decide to stay together before getting married.
A large percentage of African parents dread the idea of cohabitation since most believe the church wedding is the most appropriate way for youths to marry.
The first step is to discuss the end goal of cohabitation
Some people usually have the idea of getting married in the long run, others decide to do it due to the spark of the moment. It is usually a happy-go-lucky moment.
Once you decide to go ahead with the idea, it is paramount to discuss the responsibilities. Who will be in charge of what expenses? Who will clean, cook and put the house in order?
They sound petty but such issues can end up bringing conflicts.
Discuss if you need to have children before or after getting married? Your partner might not be ready to have a child during the cohabiting period.
First advantage of cohabiting with your partner is the financial implication.
You are able to save a lot on things like rent, since now it is one house involved, food, fare incurred visiting each other and sharing expenses incurred. This helps reduce the financial burden especially during this tough economic time.
Cohabitation allows you to know your partner in depth before marriage.
You will have the chance to analyze their traits and behaviours better. You will know how they act during an argument, how orderly they are, do they snore loudly at night, do they sleep walk? Are they always talking yet you are the person who likes being in a quiet space? And this will give you an opportunity to see if they are things you can live with in the long run.
Cohabitation will teach you patience and compromise beforehand. Your partner might dislike a meal you like so much and you will be forced to choose a struggle. They might like a different genre of music and series and you will have to strike a balance. This will be the time to see how marriage in the long run will be.
Cohabiting can sound like the easy way out but it has its pitfalls
First, most men become so comfortable after you two move in together and they lose the intention to take a step for you two getting married.
They will have no intention of committing to a wedding date in the near future. He is getting everything he would want even when he gets married.
They believe in the phrase, "Why buy a cow when the milk is free?" It is not a good school of thought but it is what it is.
In case the relationship goes south and you have invested together, you will be in hot soup. There will be no proof to show how much each one of you brought to the table and that can be very tricky.
In case the man fails to commit to marriage, the lady will have wasted her time and she might be so invested emotionally to be able to break things off. A worst case scenario is where she becomes pregnant and the man takes off. It will be a difficult season for her.
Basically, there is no right or wrong way to do life. You can choose to wait until you wed to move in together. You can also choose to cohabit and see how things go.
Weigh your options and choose your poison.
The foregoing is an Opinion Article submitted to Pulse Live Kenya for publication as part of the Pulse Contributors initiative.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
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Njeri Kinuthia a freelance writer who is passionate about telling my stories about lifestyle, entertainment and current affairs. I have three years of experience in article writing and a beneficiary of Ajira Digital.
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