Same Sex Roommates a Prep for Marriage
I heard today that living with roommate(s) of the same sex is excellent training for marriage.
Apparently how we conducted ourselves and live in relationship with members of the same gender will help us get ready for living with a spouse. Now that seems counter intuitive to popular wisdom. Normally couples think they should live together to test-drive the relationship. However, that is just playing house?
Why does same-sex relationships more approximate marriage than cohabitation?
It seems that when living with a same-sex (non-sexual) roommate you are forced to learn to communicate, adjust, and be respectful without adding a sexual component. By eliminating the male/female dynamic of flirtation and traditional gender roles you are forced to define a clearer view of self as you interact with others. So your roommates don’t care if you look cute in your little black dress you still have to wash your own dishes. If your roommates tell you to clean up your stuff it isn’t a nagging girlfriend, you are instead learning to be responsible.
Roommates also approximate families yet force us to grow beyond simply what has always been done. We learn to identify patterns of behavior and traditions learned from our chilhoods and how that plays well with others or not. For me it also pointed out that I’m a lot more like my mom than I thought. As I interacted with others I learned new patterns of interaction that helped me grow and stretch.
So how we conduct ourselves with our same sex roommates will determine, in part, how we operate with our spouses. Do we have clear boundaries? Are we able to communicate needs and expectations? How accountable and responsible are we?
For me one of the steepest learning curves has been conflict. I do not deal well with it and try to avoid it at all costs. I had one roommate situation where we prided ourselves on the fact that we never fought. However, I have since realized that we weren’t really interacting in an authentic fashion.
When we can successfully navigate through conflict to resolution we are building intimacy with another person. When confrontation is done and a successful reconciliation is achieved there is a sense of accomplishment. It helps prove those both parties that the relationship is strong and able to withstand circumstance. If the relationship is never tested it will remain immature.
What better place to learn this than with peers of the same gender. Very interesting food for thought.