Should we cohabit or marry?


Matters of the heart are self-governing, or at least that’s what many assume. Two people meet, fall in love and decide how to operate their newly found emotions. They decide how to conduct themselves in public, in private and it may include whether to elope or live together as a demonstration of their commitment to each other. Third parties may protest or try to break the two lovebirds. But it may all fall on deaf ears. Time may pass and the love may stand the test of time or collapse. The rest becomes history.

Our Brains story on page 3 speaks of differing views about cohabitation and although it lacks the views of those in love, it raises debate on the matter. Why do couples cohabit? Is it to begin a path of marriage, share expenses, experiment, ‘use’ each other or a mere sign of unofficiated commitment?

Surely, I cannot speak for those who have decided to take this route. But just to borrow an observation made recently by one of our columnist Inkosi Chimalizeni in his Family Values. It is always important for couples to understand the term of their relationship. I remember him arguing about the need to know why one is getting into a relationship and be able to bargain or voice his/her expectations from the onset to avoid misunderstandings or frustrations.  If adults agree to cohabiting, they there are ready to face both foreseeable and unforeseeable circumstances. It is all a game of chance just like love itself and marriage are. Who are we to judge?

I am neither condemning nor condoning the act. I do not have the moral ground to blame anybody or direct someone towards a particular path. What those quoted in the story are saying reflects their view point based on religion, tradition and indeed experience. It may or may not be regarded, just like any counsel. However, be open-minded to the decision you make and always remember the ring of differing voices before embarking of such a complicate journey called life.

Now, should couples in love marry or cohabit? Again, this debate is vast. Being in love does not translate into marriage. It does not translate to living together either. It all depends on what the two agree on; with all the decision’s pros and cons. Make wise choices to suit your situation.  And because we live in communities, live within the confines and expectations of those communities because every problem or joy requires their involvement.

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