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First comes love, then comes moving in, then maybe marriage

Like many couples, my husband and I moved in together before getting married. And we actually lived together for more than a decade before saying our vows. We wanted to be sure about our choice to remain together. (Absolutely sure.) And to this day, I am glad that we put in all that time before we tied the knot. We know each other on every level and I believe that it made the "hard" years of marriage (the first year after saying "I do," and the first year of having a baby) a little easier on us.

It also makes our divorce much less likely, at least according to the latest research collected by a British study. The divorce rate looks to be on the decline, but the reasons why are hard to determine. Is it due to more cohabitation never leading to marriage in the first place? Or is it due to longer cohabitation leading to stronger marriages?

I am not sure that the reasoning matters: A bad relationship is a bad relationship. It is tough to separate your life from someone else's, although (of course) divorce involves way more paperwork. What does matter is that people have a lot more choices than they used to: There is no longer the expectation that women need a marriage proposal to leave her parent's home; men no longer feel the expectation that they have to have a family in order to feel successful.

Marriage works for me. I still get a thrill hearing people refer to me as "Mrs." and like seeing my husband's last name as mine when I write my signature. Don't get me wrong: Marriage is work. But it's worth it.

How long did you live with your significant other before you got hitched? Share with me in the comments.

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