"How do your parents feel about that? You know, you living with your boyfriend before marriage and all?"
I'm so glad you asked....
Actually, my parents trust me. Can you believe it? They raised me well enough to be up front and honest with them. So much so that when I first told my parents I was moving in with him, they took me to dinner to celebrate. They wanted me to have an experience I genuinely needed.
Before living with my boyfriend, I didn't realize how each paycheck I had would end up going towards gas, food and vet bills. I was so used to my parents handing me everything that it shocked me when I looked down to an empty fridge, an empty wallet, and a limping puppy (that I so badly wanted) behind me crying for more pain medicine and an extra cup of dog food even though she already had four of them. When I finally stopped for a second to take a look around my new home, I realized that my priorities weren't set straight and that maybe I needed to reevaluate things.
After a few months of tears, therapy sessions and mental breakdowns in the middle of the night, I realized I wasn't a kid anymore. Even though I knew I would still be relying on my parents in some way, I had to get it through my stubborn mind that it wasn't all about me anymore. I had several people in my life who looked to me to succeed and start doing things for myself.
I would never have grown up in the ways I needed to if I hadn't lived with my boyfriend. I saw him at his worst. I saw myself at my worst. And together, we both learned that we loved one another regardless of these moments.
There were things I learned about Ethan this past year that I would never have known had I not engaged on the wonderful journey of late-night pizza runs, 4 a.m. carpet cleaning sessions in between bouts of sleep, and fort building in the middle of the living room just because. If anyone wants to call me living with someone I love a "sin," then that's their choice. I don't know if I'll ever understand how someone can refer to me learning more things about the person I love as an act of "sin." There are a lot worse things people could be doing, so having something harmless shoved into that same category amazes me.
Not too long ago, a friend of mine married a woman. His mother was completely against the two of them living together beforehand. "You're breaking God's rules!" she would say. After spending $50,000 on their wedding and then living together, they realized that they just weren't right for one another. You see, he never liked cleaning up after himself, and she got really mad when he spent more time outside with the dog than with her. He didn't do things her dad always did like yard work, and she never cared what the inside of the house looked like when they had guests over. There were things they just couldn't learn from one another while dating. And because it was too big of a sin to live with one another before marriage, they practically put $50,000 into a bag, set it on fire and roasted marshmallows over it.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I believe in something after this life, and I do believe in the "big guy upstairs," but not for one second do I believe that what I'm doing is just as bad as murdering, stealing or lying. I'm revealing my love to the world and to my boyfriend by waking up and going to bed with him every day.
I know how he looks after getting food poisoning and spending all night in the bathroom hovered over the toilet. I see how he gets when he watches a funny movie and laughs entirely too loud at things that aren't exactly funny. I have been there to witness the endless amounts of gross dishes he will occasionally just toss on the counter without washing them and putting them in the dishwasher. And I've hit, stubbed and bruised almost every part of my body from the countless drawers he leaves out after putting on a pair of sweats or socks.
After living with someone, after finding out almost every single thing there is to know about someone, I can honestly say I've never loved quite like this. I know that's because I never knew any of the guys I've been with before this well, and that's okay.
It's okay for me to live with my boyfriend. My parents are okay with it. And I'm happy! If you at all care for the person you're asking about living with their significant other before marriage, just know that if they're happy -- genuinely, whole-heartedly happy -- you shouldn't be concerned with anything other than that amazing fact.
Now as for me? I'm going to go home to my boyfriend.