Pr. Christopher Esget quotes from Walter Trobisch’s book I Married You a succinct and insightful rebuttal of the idea that cohabitation (or any other such arrangement) can work as a trial marriage.
This reminds me of my distant past in military service: being struck by the fact that peacetime military training can teach you all sorts of skills, attitudes and facts. But it can never truly prepare you for warfare, because—barring accidents—your life is not at risk. The reality of death can only be experienced when it’s there, on the battlefield.
Likewise, the permanence of marriage is an essential part of what it is to be married. You can learn about the toothpaste-squeezing habits and such like by cohabiting. But you cannot learn about what it means to love and cherish for worse or for poorer, till death do you part.
Anyway, here’s Trobisch:
[It] is one of the greatest temptations of our time: to consider the legal act of the wedding as a mere formality, as an unimportant piece of paper which one can get someday, or maybe not at all. One pretends that the two angles of love and sex represent the whole of marriage. “Some people, in all seriousness, propose trial marriages. They suggest that a couple live together for awhile in order to see whether they fit together. If then they come to the conclusion that they do not, they can separate without risking a divorce. But the whole proposition rests upon the illusion that the two angles of sex and love represent the whole. Since they do not, marriage cannot be tested in that way.