Wedding Etiquette Forum

How to tell Pastor we're living together??

Hey everyone--I've got a crazy odd 'etiquette' dilemma. FI and I have been living together for over a year, but just recently got engaged (2 months ago). Even though we've been living together, we've "officially" had separate apartments (one being basically an expensive closet) so as to not upset my father, who is extremely conservative and who has threatened to kick me off his health insurance (I'm not 24 yet) if we DO move in together. (I, if you can't tell yet, am NOT the conservative type.)This being said, we'd finally decided to just bite the bullet and officially get a place together next fall after our current leases are up. In our area, we can get a place double the size of our current place for less than we're paying together for our place and our 'closet.' As we're officially engaged now, we think it's ridiculous to keep up the facade of having two places, and I personally don't feel like my dad has any room to be upset, as my to-be-stepmother moved in with us quite a while before their wedding, anyway.Here's the real dilemma, though. We've recently gotten the OK from the minister that's going to marry us, and it's the minister that I've grown up with since I was about ten. He's watched me grow up, and he has asked to meet with us "a few times" before the wedding (June '11) to get to know us and give us a few "life lessons." How the heck do I tell my minister, whose opinions I've always valued greatly, that my FI and I are moving in together without having him say he doesn't want to do the wedding anymore?? FI and I are both poor college students, and we just can't afford to pay for an apartment we're not living in anymore. We're already extremely in debt with student loans, and now we're saving for a wedding.Any advice on what to tell the Pastor, or what to do to avoid the conflict entirely? Maybe try to find a friend nearby that would let me put my name on her lease while FI and I just keep up our current situation? I need the help of some fellow knotties!!

Re: How to tell Pastor we're living together??

  • I couldn't lie like that to the person who was marrying us in good faith.  Imho, you can either fess up and see what he says or find someone else to perform the ceremony.  You can't have your cake and eat it too.
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  • It's great that you are finally biting the bullet and "officially" moving in together. As an adult, you should be able to make your own decisions, regarless of your father (also, the fact that my dad lives with his current girlfriend and my mom and her husband lived together before being married made me have NO qualms about telling them when I moved in with FI, even though I would have anyway).As for the minister, why bring it up? It would be awkward to tell him "by the way, we're living together." If he finds out and confronts you about it, you can tell him you are engaged and have your reasons. But if you are the first to bring it up, it will make you sound guilty. Good luck!
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  • Wait...you wrote you're not 24 yet, but your info says you're 20?!??That's a LONG way off from 24...No wonder your dad won't be cool with it.  My dad wouldn't have been when I was that young, too.  He was fine once I was older, though.
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  • You don't need to explicitly bring it up, but if he asks about it, why would you even think about lying? If you're independent enough to bite the bullet and move in together, then you also need to be "independent" enough to bite the bullet and face your minister the honest way, by not lying about it. I know you're afraid of repercussions, but it worries/disturbs me that you would even consider lying to the person that's going to marry you. For every choice you make, you must face the consequences (good and bad).
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  • My father is equally conservative.  I'm 23 and moved in with my (now) fiance about a year ago.  My father actually went as far as telling me that if I got my own place, he'd be able to PRETEND we weren't living together, and thus things would be ok. lol I told him that I wasn't shelling out extra rent money to live a lie to make him more comfortable.  We had it out, and we've since moved on...It sounds like you are embarrassed to tell your pastor that you are moving in with your FI... I'm sure your father going on about "living in sin" is making this worse... However, if YOU think its something to hide, then you're basically telling everyone else that its ok to look down on it also.  Most ministers, at least in traditional churches, will tell you that living in sin is wrong.  That's no surprise.  However,  unless he has some issue about having to know it as part of the agreement to marry you two, I say its none of his business.  If it comes up then tell him and don't worry about it--you're living with the man you are about to marry...what will the pastor do, refuse to marry you so that you can CONTINUE to "live in sin?"  lol  I wouldn't go through hoops to hide anything from anyone.  If you're embaressed enough to make a friend add you to the lease in an attempt to hide this, then perhaps YOU are bothered by moving in prior to marriage.  If you are fine with it, you shouldn't let other people's opinions make you go to such lengths...its a waste of energy and time, believe me.Good luck!
  • We told our pastor once he asked...and he's still marrying us.
  • Can I ask what religion you are? Some churches let you get married if you're "living in sin" as long as you complete some extra marriage counseling. I know most frown upon it, but some will work with your circumstances to make it "acceptable".
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  • If you're really ready to get married, this shouldn't be a problem at all.  If you made the "controversial" decision to move in together, then you need to accept the consequences that come with that decision.  If your pastor asks, tell him straight.  If he says he can't be your officiant anymore, then that's his choice.  But lying and and asking a friend to let you sign her lease is terribly wrong and immature and screams "I'm not mature enough to be married".
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  • I live by the "don't ask, don't tell" mentality. The first pastor we met with asked and we didn't lie to him and he told us he wouldn't marry us. I was pissed, because I love that Church, but I don't like the pastor so I was ok with it in the end. Our new pastor, whom I love, met with us on Friday. He didn't ask, we didn't say anything about it. But I'm pretty sure he knows anyway, so perhaps he has the same thoughts as me. You can't outright lie to your pastor, although an omission is technically lying. But if he askes, don't lie to him. And don't go through the facade of putting your name on a friends lease. Not only could that majorly screw up your credit if they have trouble paying rent, it's just a PITA.
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  • The pastor that is marrying us has been the pastor at my family's church since I was a kid as well. When we met with him last week, he asked for our addresses; since we're living together I just said it's: 123 blah blah blah. He just kind of said and you live together? We said yes. All he did then was ask how long (over 1 year) and then that was it. It's not like he refused to marry us because we're cohabiting before getting married. All that did was change which pre marriage packet he gave us for our "premarrital counseling sessions" which I guess would be what your pastor referred to as life lessons.So I don't know if that's what you're worried about, or if you're worried about the fallout with your parents? My parents don't have an issue with FI and I living together. If you're really worried, then like other people said, if he doesn't ask, then don't tell. But I don't know why we wouldn't marry you if he knows you and all.
  • lyndausvilyndausvi Western Slope, Colorado mod
    Moderator Knottie Warrior 10000 Comments 500 Love Its
    "Every good idea has some negative consequenes" Being an adult means you have to live with your choices. It does not mean you lie and manipulate people just so you come out ahead. Your father might drop your health insurance when and if he finds out.  If he does it's his choice.  You have to realize that if he does you might not be saving money in the long run if you have to start paying your own.By living together might mean your pastor will not marry you.  Again it just is what it is. That is his choice and you will just have to live with it. If you need to be confident in your own choices and deal with any negative effects that might come from those choices.on another note - going on someone else lease is the dumpest move you can make.  If you friend skips out your are responisble for the rent.  Co-signing with anyone other than you spouse is just setting yourself up for possible failure.






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  • Your pastor may be conservative, but he is probably not naive... same goes for your father. They might not WANT you to live together because statics of success, morals, tradition, blah, blah, blah... but at the end of the day, your dad is only offering empty threats. Do you really think he would let you go without insurance just because you are living with the man you are marrying??? Since you say you are a broke college student, I take that to mean he is paying for your school, apartment, wedding, etc. Do you think someone who supports you THAT much and cares THAT much would risk you getting into an accident or sick and not being able to get medical treatment? Doubtful. Highly doubtful.I tell you this, because I had to go through the same phase with being comfortable with my choices, even if they aren't what my parents would have picked for me. Suck it up, be your own person and in the end it won't be as bad as you expect. Trust me. And the other ladies are right... if you are getting married, time to act like an adult.As for your pastor, same concept as your dad.  Either he will marry you or he won't, but at least you will know you aren't hiding who you are. And if he won't marry you because you live together, do you really want someone who views the world so totally different than you do to be the person who officiates your wedding? If he can't accept you over something you are excited about, and will exclude you from the church for it, time to find a new church!
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  • VERY late to this party, but maybe you'll check back on your post later... Fi and I are living together. We were not living together when we first met with our Pastor. After a little while of living together I simply called our Pastor and said "I wanted to let you know that fi and I are living together now, as I know some officiants are uncomfortable marrying a couple who lives together before marriage." He was fine with it. He really appreciated my honesty, told me that most couples he marries now live together before marriage, and that he's just happy to know that we are taking our commitment to the next level by getting married. He has our addresses on file, and asked for updated information the next time we met with him anyway, so if I did not tell him and did not want to I would have had to lie to him about my address, which would obviously not be OK.
  • This isn't exactly what you were asking for, but have you considered waiting to move in together until you really ARE married?  Or at the very least a little further along in your lives?  It sounds like you have an apartment now, but you don't really live there.  By calling it a "closet," it makes me think you don't have any roommates either.   Some of the most valuable life lessons I learned in college came from living with friends and the situations we got ourselves into.  I think doing that taught me alot as far as communication skills and how to be a good roommate and how to really take someone else's needs into consideration.  Yes, you can do alot of that with your FI, but the stakes are alot higher and the learning curve is stronger.  By living on your own just a little longer, you have more time to really figure out "you."  You may not need this, and I wouldn't have thought I did at your age either, but I think it made a world of difference.For what it's worth, I currently live with my boyfriend and we aren't married.  Like everyone said, if you are going to do this, don't lie about it.  Don't hide who you are and the choices you are making- it only makes it seem like you are ashamed of your decisions, which, if they are right for you, you shouldn't be.
  • My parents were very excited when Dh and I moved in together several years before we were engaged, however I was 24 and he was 34. Had I told my dad I was moving in with my college bf when I was 20, it would have been a different story. I won't go into the "you're young and things happen" talk because I'm sure you've heard it/will hear it without me helping. That being said, it sounds as if you are feeling incredibly guilty/uncomfortable with this whole situation, and maybe that should tell you something. Move in with some girlfriends and split a place, and have him do the same with his friends. Perhaps you should also think of waiting until you are not in extreme debt before you start planning the wedding. Debt and bills don't go away once you get married, they get worse. Once you get married your dad will not be paying for your insurance, or probably helping out with other things. You and your dh will be the sole income for your household, are you ready to handle that? Do you both have stable jobs?Just think about these things.And while I am not religious, I would never ever lie to a minister or member of a sacred tradition of any faith. Dh and I will have some serious soul searching to do when it comes to baptism/his family when we have kids due to this.
  • Wow, thank you all so much for the responses!Believe me, I have NO intentions of lying to the minister, nor have I ever wanted to put my name on a friend's lease-- these are all just suggestions I've gotten from people, so I figured I would at least address them here.Yes, I'm 20. While I certainly respect all of your opinions, I don't really appreciate the condescension I sense from a few of these responses. I have no problems being married young. FI is 25, and he and I are both on the same pages of our lives right now, ready to be married and to "be official." Yes we are both "poor college students," but our parents aren't helping us financially at all, save for me still being on my father's health insurance. In 2011, after we're married, we're going to be headed off to another state, most likely, me for my Master's degree and him for his Doctorate, and we don't want to be able to go together, as husband and wife, into the new period of our life.The big problem is really that we don't know what to say to the minister. The question has never been whether or not to tell him, but how to.I truthfully don't know how he will react, no matter what we say to him, but there is no question that I want him to know the truth.
  • Minister "Are you two currently living together?"You "Yes we are, it was a financial decision."Choice A ) "I'm sorry I cannot do your wedding.Choice B) "Sign up for this class"
  • Also, I've had a few friends (who I'm sure you would consider "young") rush into their weddings just so they could begin living together-- one friend was engaged and married before she'd even known the guy a whole year. That's simply not what FI and I are about; we don't agree with getting married for convenience's sake (just in case that's what it sounded like from my last post). We are both very, very excited about our new life together, and we truly want to be able to tackle our new schools as husband and wife. I've had a few folks tell me to "just get married so you can live together, anyway." Marriage (and the wedding, itself) is such a wonderful thing, that I simply do not want to rush into it just for convenience's sake.
  • Katie-- Thanks. I suppose I already knew it would be so simple... I'm just the queen of over thinking things. I am not at all embarrassed to be living with FI, I just don't want to offend anyone when I tell them. Does that make any sense? =/
  • personally don't feel like my dad has any room to be upset, as my to-be-stepmother moved in with us quite a while before their wedding, anyway.It's his money, He can create any stipulations he wants to! That said, I don't think he will actually take you off his insurance. If he loves you, he cares about your heath. As far as the pastor thing goes...just tell him. We told him in our first meeting and he thanked us for be honest. It was that simple!
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