The Promise of a Happier Life

June 25, 2012
By , Mississauga, Canada
“Engaged,” read her Facebook relationship status, while her wall boomed with congratulating cousins and aunts. "She," a young woman of 19 and an old friend of mine, was on cloud nine. “My boyfriend proposed over Christmas and I moved in with him right away! We are so cute together,” she gushed to me over an email.

“Great! I’m so happy for you,” I reply, not feeling great or happy in the least bit. It seems to me her fiancé knows a lot about girls. Girls go crazy when the question is popped and a ring is produced. Their minds reel with dreams of the perfect fairytale wedding, beautiful children and a man to call their “soul mate.” Whether they want to or not, women plunge into hopes, while the fiancé grins and pushes the next level. Sex anyone? Then men play the “I-love-you-so-much-let’s live-together” card. Or better yet, they tell the woman “I want to get to know you better by living with you.” Also translated as, “I want to learn if you can cook and clean and maybe I can get some action in there while we’re at it. If you can’t prove to me all of that, I get an easy get-out-of-jail-free card.” Marriage is usually the last thing on a man’s mind at that point.

It’s interesting how bright little "she" catapulted into a huge life-changing decision at the sight of a ring and a promise for a wonderful future. Men are figuring out that even dignified women drop everything—themselves, their independence and their lives for the gamble of a spouse. Like a magnet to a fridge. What happened to the days when most women insisted on a solid marriage commitment before taking the role of a maid, mother and chef? No, that was 100,000,000 years ago, ancient times, and at best in the past, they say. The truth is, there is an 80% higher divorce rate among couples who live together before marriage as opposed to those who get married first. Not only does this prove that living together with your fiancé before marriage is not a smart move if you’re planning on marriage, but that it is a serious mistake. Why do guys need to commit to a marriage when they are already content with everything?

Living with a partner may be a bad choice for a couple, but it can also be a selfish choice. If you are living with your “soul mate” you most likely are in the moment, including during intimate sessions. I’m sure a lot of unmarried couples don’t use condoms and/or birth control; two neighbours in our community are proof enough to me. They had a child when they were in their 20s and never got married. The mother told my mom that her daughter always asks to see wedding pictures that she cannot produce. If that’s not sad enough in itself, the mother said that she lies to her child, saying she lost the pictures. This couple breaks yet another common moral—honesty. This will also hurt their child’s trust when she finds out. What if they never lived together? Besides, even if birth control is used, not getting pregnant isn’t a guarantee. Another young man I know, whose parents had lived together before marrying, got a messy divorce. His two brothers went to the mother and the guy I know went to his father. The parents were so fed up with each other that the guy’s mom turned herself and eventually his brothers against him, saying he was his father’s boy. This guy was devastated that his own brothers wouldn’t talk to him and he turned to alcohol. He is now on the verge of a breakdown and is an alcoholic. Since his parents lived together first, they increased their rafte of divorce by 80% and unfortunately kids were involved. If they hadn’t lived together in the first place, there might have been less or no sex involved and the mother might not have gotten pregnant as fast, giving them a chance to get to know each other better. Living together before marriage isn’t satisfactory in the end for the couple or their children.

Guys might say they want to live with a girl, but that’s not what they really want. Deep down they want a girl who can stand her own, set boundaries and are independent. I was watching the bachelor last night. The bachelor this season is Ben and his date last night was with a very successful woman. She told him she gave up her appearance in her best friend’s wedding and her job to get a chance at marrying him. She said she wanted to live with a man before marriage as well. One look at his face and you could tell he was disgusted. I could almost read his mind and at the end of the date I was right. He basically told her gently he had “deeper” women and that he had to let her go. He said later that night after she was gone, “Independence is sexy.” That’s a good enough message for me.

I wonder what she is doing as this is pieced together. Has her family gotten over the initial excitement? Maybe she and her boyfriend are already separated, becoming a statistic. Hopefully she is doing things that make her happy—activities she enjoyed even before getting engaged. Most likely, however, she is scrubbing toilets in between preparing and serving meals, amongst other things. I bet the “I’ll-do-the-dishes-tonight-honey” phase didn’t last long and now she is stuck with it all. Is she almost fed up with everything or is she still waiting and dreaming of the perfect wedding? I couldn’t say. The best thing she could do now is ditch the guy and start her own maid business. Who knows, maybe she could meet Mr. Right mid-mopping.

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