Should couples live together before getting married?
No. Couples should not and I will rather say that they cannot live together before getting married. From the point of view of an Indian culture, the mere idea of allowing couples to live together before marriage is half baked. I cannot understand the logic behind the idea. Is it to have premarital sex? Or is it simply to have an understanding between them? Or just considering it as a rehearsal for the family life? Whatever may be the reason or logic behind it, allowing couples to live together before getting married is simply illogical, devoid of any merit, reason or sense. When the western culture permits dating system, then why should couples live together before their marriage?
Why do couples get married? The purpose is to beget offspring, to have a sex partner, to give sanctity to their marriage and above all to give a legal sanction to the institution of marriage. Once their marriage gets legalized, their offspring becomes legitimate. The legality of marriage between the couples entails them some legal rights like property rights in case of death of either spouse and financial obligations of getting maintenance etc from the other in case of their separation. Any child that is delivered before the marriage is considered a bastard and illegitimate. No body will like such labels. Any child that is given birth to after the marriage is legitimate that gives them some legal rights like property rights etc.
Even considering the idea from an ideal point of view, assuming that the couple behave only in a friendly manner not giving any room for sex, why should they take the risk? There is a saying in Tamil, ‘One should not keep cotton nearby fire.’ Allowing couples to live together before their marriage is akin to keeping cotton nearby fire, giving plenty of scope for a highly inflammable situation from sexual point of view. If anything goes wrong there is no use of crying over the spilled milk.
On the other hand knowing each other by way of enquiries, meeting each others with the permission and in the presence of elders, speaking over phone, having letter correspondence etc will be helpful to break the ice and to have an understanding between the couples, before the marriage. It will also be helpful to maintain their culture and tradition and to perpetuate their cultural identity intact.
Above all, beginning to live together after their marriage with all its sanctity, sanction and support of the elders help the couple to begin their life rather refreshingly. If anything goes wrong between the couples, the elders with years of experience behind them, may intervene to help and solve their problems rather in an amicable manner. Therefore, the idea of allowing the couples to live together before their marriage is rather a risky, unwarranted and uncalled for proposition.