For the past nine months, my husband and I have been living in newly-wedded bliss. However, the living together part wasn't at all what I expected...
Before my hubby was my "hubby," we dated for approximately eight years and lived separately the entire time. While he lived on his own, I lived with my single mother—a strict, old-fashioned West Indian parent who placed certain limitations on our relationship at times.
Don't get me wrong, the two of us spent plenty of time together; we'd take week-long vacations and weekend getaways, however, I would only spend a night or two at his place since boyfriends were never allowed at my mom's house.
While there were opportunities for us to live together, circumstances kept us from doing so until we finally got married this past November.
After getting hitched, I officially moved into my beau's apartment and I was in for a rude awakening. Those weekends together didn't prepare me for what came next.
Let me backtrack a little: I grew up with a single mom and two elder sisters. We were, for the most part, a girls' club and my sisters and I were raised with certain ideals on how a woman should keep her home (some of which are similar to Jamaica Kincaid's Girl).
I had never lived on my own, however, I did have my own thoughts on what a "home" should be. And when I moved into my husband's place, it became painfully obvious we didn't share the same sentiments.
Additionally, the place felt completely foreign, as this was his place I was moving into—not ours. This was a place where he nurtured habits that I had no clue about. I won't go too deep into these traits, but let's just say he wasn't as neat as he made me believe when I'd spend the night. And it seemed like breakfast was the only thing he could cook.
At times, our opposing lifestyles caused me to wonder if things would've been different had we lived together beforehand. At the very least, I would've gotten used to the "great toilet debate" (even though it's really not hard to put down the lid when you're done, guys).
Though cohabitation prior to the nuptials appears to be the thing most people these days are accustomed to, there are those like myself who unfortunately don't have the means to do so—be it due to financial, personal, or even spiritual reasons.
While it's true my husband and I have ultimately learned how to navigate our vastly different habits and quirks, knowing everything ahead of time would've made the transition much easier—if not more calming to know we had already established a home where we both felt at ease.
With that said, I'm not going to suggest that everyone should move in with their significant other ASAP in hopes of taking that leap into matrimony, but I would highly propose some sort of compromise a few months before the big day.
At the very least, spend a week or two and getting used to each other and being around one another all the time. Watch him make his favorite sandwich, or let him see just how you like to make your bed. Get all your quirks out in the open first, and give yourselves time to learn more about each other on a new level so you can grow together.