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.
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.