Plenty of practice

Pretty much everyone believes that a dating relationship with a girl or guy is practice for marriage. Some people go a little further and believe that cohabitation with that girlfriend or boyfriend is also good practice for marriage. I’ve come to believe that the better practice for marriage is learning to live with roommates. Now there’s a “cohabitation” that will provide plenty of practice for marriage.

The sad fact is, marriages after cohabitation do worse than marriages without previous cohabitation. I think it’s because these people haven’t learned to love people in general. The more I learn about the mundane realities of marriage after the initial feelings of romance, the more I see that the way we approach living with roommates may be indicative of the way that we will act in a marriage. Many might think, “But marriage is going to be different. We’ll be in love! I’ll be more patient with someone I love, rather than some annoying roommate I have to put up with.” I don’t think we–by “we” I’m referring to single college students and young adults–want to believe that, given enough time, that wife or husband might start to resemble that “annoying roommate” more and more.

People say that cohabitation is good practice because they can see their significant other’s little quirks of living, implying that it will help them determine whether they would make a good spouse or not. Good intentions, perhaps, but they’re missing the point. The practice of putting up with someone you’re stuck with has been happening since the day you were born. Are you patient with your family members, even though they do things that irritate you? Do you have the courage to confront your roommates out of love about things that bother you? Because in the end, if the only thing that defines your relationship as roommates is sleeping under the same roof at night, that’s not called patience. It’s not called love. It’s called being a pansy. The same rift that takes place when there’s not enough communication in a roommate living situation is the same rift that will happen when there’s little communication in a marriage. What makes us think that sharing the same bed as opposed to sleeping in different rooms will make it any different?

So consider how you act toward your family and your roommates. Think twice before you think you’re mature enough to date someone.

As I always write, I have much to learn.

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