Here in the UK the longevity and strength of a relationship has often been judged on people's decision to get married or have children.
According to one study, though, these traditional barometers of stability are being joined by the commitment of taking out a mortgage.
In five of the UK's 12 regions, getting a mortgage together was considered the biggest relationship commitment, according to Online Mortgage Advisor's study of 2,000 adults.
Couples in the East, London, East Midlands, Wales and the North East viewed a joint mortgage as the most significant show of commitment in a relationship, while those in Scotland, the South East and the West Midlands said it was marriage.
In the remaining four regions – the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, the South West and Northern Ireland – respondents indicated that having children was the biggest relationship commitment.
Of course, all three of these life events are important for different reasons but the high proportion of participants who considered getting a mortgage as on a similar playing field to getting married or having children shows just how seriously the decision needs to be taken.
According to Online Mortgage Advisor, those who viewed joint mortgages as the biggest commitment did so because they considered sharing financial responsibility as a mark of trust and were concerned about the implications of being part of a joint mortgage agreement in the event a relationship breaks up.
“Attitudes have changed over the last 20 to 30 years and, as a result, we are seeing a shift in priorities,” said Pete Mugleston, Director of Online Mortgage Advisor.
“Tying yourself to someone for a long period of time and putting money into something that will belong to both of you equally is not a decision to be taken lightly,” he added.
Joint mortgages – three tips on how to get started
Prepare for all scenarios
Before applying for a joint mortgage you will need to consider how you would make repayments in the event that your relationship broke up or one party suffered a loss of income, as well as considering how a relocation could affect the mortgage you take out.
How do you want to own the property?
You'll also need to decide whether you want to be 'joint tenants' or 'tenants in common' and agree on whether you will require a solicitor to draw up a 'deed of trust'.
Is joint ownership right for you?
Entering into a joint mortgage is likely to be one of the biggest financial commitments you make so it's important you're 100% sure it's what you want to do before signing on the dotted line. There are alternatives like shared ownership schemes and Help to Buy and of course, you could always wait until you have enough money to finance a mortgage on your own.