Living With Fiancee's Parents?


Wanted CAF’s opinion on this:

  1. Am engaged to be married in August.
  2. Fiancee and I live separately - I rent a tiny room and she lives with her parents in their house.
  3. We have made a commitment to be chaste during our pre-marriage time and have remained strong - and plan to do so in the future.

I have been asked by her and her parents to possibly move into a spare bedroom that is opening up (great aunt and uncle are moving out), so as to help them out with the mortgage (Mom is unemployed)

Here are the logistics:

Proposed room is on a separate floor of the house from where my fiancee sleeps (it is on ground floor off the garage, her parents and her live upstairs)

Her parents are fine with it, and they are pretty conservative people - they trust us to do the right thing.

Any thoughts as to whether this is a really bad idea? Thanks in advance for your honesty and help.

Ask the priest who is going to preside at your wedding.

I would think that the fact you are helping with the rent until August and living with her parents are mitigating factors.

I am in a very similar situation. I am getting married and moving to the UK but will be living durin the summer with my fiance’s family, while he is there too. We too have had a chaste relationship and are very commited to keeping it that way as well.
I do not think there is any sin involved, unless you knew it would be great temptation to either/both of you.
Perhaps you could set some ground rules if that would make it easier for whatever situation that would be a temptation. For example, not seeing each other in your towels, not hanging out late at night in each other’s rooms. Even these things are not a temptation for everyone, and so the rules would have to be specific to you two.
Congrats on your engagement!

Thanks for the response.

Thankfully there are separate bathrooms (with showers), so no need to see each other in towels.

Also, good call PaulinVA re: the priest - actually have a meeting with another priest to ask about officiating, as the one who was set to do it got a new assignment by his religious order on short notice. We will ask about it then.

I would be hesitant to do this. It’s nice that the bedrooms are on different floors, but you’d still be sharing the rest of the house, and therefore living together. There is an intimacy created by sharing all of the little parts of your day that happens when you live together. I think that this level of intimacy (which has nothing to do with sex) is not great for an unmarried relationship - it’s like playing house. I also think that there will be times when you are in a greater occasion of temptation - when both of her parents are out for the evening, for example, or if you stay up late watching a movie. You and your fiance won’t really have that experience of being apart anymore. It’s just not natural to have that level of closeness prior to marriage.

To what extent should you go to avoid this situation? - I don’t know. I’m sure it’s not easy to say no to your future mil when she might need your help. But I do think the better choice would be not to do it.

Logistics about pre-marital stuff aside, ***it’s never a good idea to mix family and money. ***What happens if mom is still unemployed when you’re married? How long are you expected to live there and support her.

Find a nice guy or girl and help the mom find someone else.

It seems a bad idea to me because of how involved the inlaws would be in your lives. It might set up an unhealthy dynamic for the future. I wouldn’t do it, if they want someone to pay mortgage they can get a tenant.

I totally agree with this. I was actually thinking this before I got to purple’s post. What happens once you’re married? Will you want to move out but feel as though you can’t because they need you financially?

I’m engaged, and my fiance and I live 4.5 hours apart right now due to us each living with family to save money. So I know where you’re coming from. But I wouldn’t suggest moving in with them.

I don’t know, I just think you should wait until you’re married to live together even if you’re chaste. And then once you’re married I don’t know that you’ll want the in-laws meddling in your marriage if you lived with them.

Because, if they get married and decide to live with her parents, we all know the world will come screeching to an end.

Extended families, multi-genrational families living under the same roof - is what is NORMAL in all the times that have come before and in much the rest of the world now.

You sould like a reasonable, responsible couple.

Sounds like you have a healthy set of inlaws to be and you are marrying into a good family.

This may not be necessarily true,…but is it possible that your fiance’'s parents have asked you to move in, and then they may want to talk you both into staying there after you are married?

Whether that is true or not, it doesn’t sound like a healthy situation. I’m sure they can get another tenant.

I was born in Eastern Europe, my parents lived under communism where it was indeed quite common for extended families to live under the same roof simply because it was quite hard to get a place of your own.

No, it wasn’t fun, and yes it’s far better to have your own place. Just because there’s poverty in many places in the world as well as in the past, doesn’t mean it’s a good thing or something that we shouldn’t try to avoid.

There’s a reason why there are enough jokes about the “evil” mother in law to fill books, especially in the culture I come from, maybe not so much in English because people aren’t living with their mother in law.

Since it is morally NEUTRAL to live in extended families, it is not a bad thing or something that we should avoid. God designed us to love our families, not to make jokes about our inlaws.

Yes, but if it’s neutral it means we shouldn’t look down on those who choose not to live with extended families as well.

I’m sure it works for some, but for others it won’t work. I think it depends on the personalities of those involved.

However I still stand by my statement that I don’t think it’d be a good idea to live together before marriage.

It’s also morally neutral to be destitute, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to avoid it. Anyway, it may work for them. From what I know about living conditions like that (largely stories from my parents about that kind of life), it seems like it’s a thing that can bring a lot of unnecessary hardship, fighting, and general unhappiness.

It just seems pretty basic that if you cram more people into the same house there will be tensions, arguments, conflicts and so on. The noise factor alone would be a nuisance, same for privacy. It’s something that can work if you live in a mansion the size of several houses in my opinion.

I’m going to be one of the few people on this thread to say that I don’t think there would be a problem at all in moving in with your future in-laws, either morally or in terms of family dynamics.

The wedding is close, the living quarters are separate, and you would be helping out your family. IMO it’s clearly NOT cohabitation, and especially with her family around I don’t think that temptations against chastity are going to be a huge problem (though, of course, always be careful). Since you’ll be living with her family and not just “shacking up,” I don’t think there is any risk of causing scandal, either.

Do you and your fiancee have clear plans about where you are going to live after the wedding? Perhaps it would be helpful to have those plans in place sooner, so that they can be clearly communicated to your future in-laws, if you really are worried about their becoming dependent on your contribution to the mortgage. If you’re planning on living with them after the wedding and continuing to help out, then there certainly isn’t a problem here.

Go with your gut. You know the family dynamics better than anyone here. If you’re really just not comfortable with it, then don’t do it.

Make sure that when you meet neither of you enter the other’s bedroom and schedule a logical time that you know you can miss each other in towels as you said. Do not let temptation enter in. It is easy to fall into sin during this time because you are so close to the marital bond. Don’t let yourselves slip. Keep a crucifix prominent in your rooms as well as a picture or statue of the Blessed Mother as well. There is nothing more effective than to have Mary to keep your mind on things that are Holy and to offer up temptation as you join in with Christ’s suffering on the cross.

Appreciate the feedback. Just wanted to clarify - they are definitely not dependent on financial contributions, so it’s not like we will have to support them for them to stay out of destitution. My fiancee and I definitely plan on having a “discussion” with everyone to ensure that they are aware of the boundaries.

Also, I think it’s definitely cultural, as my fiancee is Filipina. Helping the parents is part of the culture and is something I don’t have a problem with.

Yes, and the fact that you’ll both be in separate rooms, on separate *floors *no less. There probably will still be an element of temptation involved, but you’re the only ones who can judge if it’s worth the risk, and how you will handle it, etc.

I second the advice to speak with your priest about this as well. He’ll give you the advice you need.

I lived with my MIL before the wedding (long story), and DH was in a separate room for part of the time before he found a free place to stay. :slight_smile: She and I shared a bedroom! We survived. I think you can find “occasions of sin” just as easily if you’re living privately, with no parents right in the other room!

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