There’s evidently something significant when a dating relationship hits the two year mark. As if circling it on their day-timer, questions begin flying from friend and family that must not have seemed appropriate before like “When are you getting married?” and “Why don’t you move in together?”
The Queen and I recently hit this landmark and the queries have gotten so numerous that we’ve actually prepared a canned response to anyone who asks. Not surprising, what with over six million couples cohabiting in the US today, it’s the question about moving in that tends to be assumed the most. That naturally this is our next step in the relationship. There are a plethora of self-serving reasons why we could move in together, our financial positions would immediately improve, we’d have more time together eliminating the need to endure days without being in each others presence, and we’d have extra help with the kids. We have four children total (two each) ranging in ages of seven to fourteen. The oldest and youngest are boys leaving the girls in the middle with her daughter being a few years older than Sunshine. It doesn’t take a Vegas bookie to see the how the odds improve with two adults on the ticket.
Yet even considering the potential benefits, the Queen and I just can’t hop on that love train and that includes the handcar version of having sleepovers with the kids. While I could point to our religious beliefs or cite the evidence that shacking up prior to marriage has absolutely no bearing on the marriage’s success; our reasons for deciding not to live in sin have less to do with theology or statistics and more to do with the message we want to send our children.
Days of that draconian parenting method “do as I say not as I do” went the way of the home telephone. No longer can parents say one thing while their actions say something far different. My kids may listen to what I say, but they pay much more attention to what I do. In other words, that old adage “because I say so” doesn’t do squat for helping our children learn right from wrong. Instead I see it as an easy way out for parents who haven’t lived up to their own standards but are too embarrassed to admit it. [pullquote]The Queen and I just can’t hop on that living together love train and that includes the handcar version of having sleepovers with the kids[/pullquote]
We look at it like this, while we could sell one of our houses, improve our standard of living, and make life better for everyone (especially us), what does this say to our kids? That economic convenience is better than complete commitment and relationships are best consumed with a side of easy exit strategy? Or is it that mom and dad are too lame and old school and need to get with the times? Her son is a stones throw from college and both of our daughters are getting to the point where boys will be something other than strange worm-eating weirdoes. Before long their attentions will be directed in other areas where questions like “Can Bobby stay over tonight?” or “Cindy and I want to get an apartment together next semester?” become real possibilities. And I’m convinced it’s in these situations where our past actions are going to carry much more weight than anything that comes out of our mouth
Let’s assume we made the choice to live together or have sleepovers, the issue then becomes when they ask the same thing how can we tell them ‘no’ without looking like hypocrites? Or is that good parenting? To think they won’t remember what we did in a similar situation or worse believe that because we are mature adults we’re immune from explaining those actions is reckless and arrogant. And last I checked neither character trait earns much respect.
Yes it sucks and it’s a major sacrifice, we sometimes go for days without seeing each other and our financial situation isn’t made any easier doing it this way but we just don’t see how the benefits outweigh the potential risks. Because in the final analysis we want to try and be those parents whose actions speak louder than their words.