If you're like most people, then you like to know what you're getting into before making a big purchase or commitment. We test drive cars, try on clothes, get dogs before having babies...the list goes on. The same goes for marriage - living together is a good way of learning whether or not you can be life partners with the person you love. Going out on romantic dates is one thing, but the dynamic changes when you're brushing your teeth side by side in the morning and eating takeout in front of the TV at night. So is it a good idea to cohabitate before marriage? And when should you start doing so? With more than half of marriages ending in divorce, it's a pretty serious decision, and the steps you take before tying the knot are worth considering. The first thing you should do when the topic arises is to state your intentions, even if they differ.
If one partner views cohabitation as a way to save on rent, and the other views it as a stepping stone to marriage, this can create serious conflict and heartbreak down the road. There's no set timetable during a relationship when it's OK to move in together, but obviously, it makes sense to do so at least a few months into the relationship, when each partner has had a chance to familiarize him or herself with the other partner - interests, jobs, family, friends, etc.