Shacking Up: Everythang Ain't for Everybody

Friday, 29 October 2010 13:40 Written by  Lauren Jackson

I have never been one to judge another couple’s relationship. Like most people, I try to operate my life in whatever makes the most sense for me and my lifestyle. Like the old saying goes, “Everythang ain’t for everybody.” And while this popular saying can be attached to numerous topics surrounding those in relationships, I feel that for those that choose to quote unquote “shack up” would have to agree that this would be the perfect comeback for naysayer’s that frown upon this notion.


Granted, many people nowadays are moving in with one another for all the wrong reasons. Some, women in particular, use this method to test their partner’s loyalty to the relationship. When this is the case, many are desperately hoping that this could lead to a possible marriage proposal seeing the house, the children and of course the little dog making the entire picture complete. Sorry to say, but even if you partner does agree to move in with you, there’s a 50 percent chance that things will either work to your favor or quite possibly prolong the marriage process.

Others may move in because financially it makes the most sense. In this economy, recession love is becoming quite popular during these trying times. Everybody is trying to find ways to save money and cut corners. Finding that special someone who you somewhat care for and can split the rent with sounds really good in theory, but often times can lead to drastic outcomes that only gets harder if the relationship goes for the worst. Call me old-fashioned, but I’m the type of girl who would rather move in with my beau for the idea that we are truly in love and are ready to take our relationship to the next level, not out of financial convenience.

With all that being said, the question still remains: Is shaking up before marriage still relevant in today’s forever evolving society? Research show, that those who choose to cohabitate before marriage are likely to end their marriage in divorce. Additionally, it undeniably goes against the very teachings that many of our parents and religion have instilled in us at young ages. I can clearly see my grandmother shaking her head at the utter thought of her grandchild living with her significant other before at least getting a ring on the finger. But hey, that was the sign of the times back then.

But if you really think about it, many couples during our parents and our parents’ parents time grew up in a completely different world. Women weren’t looked at as equal to their male counterparts. As a matter of fact, depending on your culture and/or religious beliefs, the idea of living together or getting divorced would be considered the ultimate sin in God’s eyes. Another example would be the male was considered to not only be the bread winner but also head of the household. Whatever he said took priority, leaving his significant other’s opinion a nonexistent component to the decision making process. Taking this into account, I could see why the number of divorce rates amongst older couples today would be in lower numbers. For many of them, it simply was not an option. Luckily in today’s world, we have grown into a society that believes in taking advantage of all the options afforded to us without any regrets or shame.

When it comes to living with your partner before you get married, I have to agree that testing out the goods or “playing house”- as my mother would call it - can definitely be a lifesaver for many relationships. I know we all think our partners are just perfect and wonderful people who could do no wrong. But guess what? When you go to sleep every night and wake up every morning with the same individual in the same space, whether it be a new or long-term relationship, you are opening up Pandora’s box to that person’s true lifestyle. This can include seeing their horrific cleaning habits, finding numerous toe nail clippings throughout all parts of the house, smelling the wonderful aroma of their undergarments just missing the dirty clothes hamper, and of course, seeing the sky high pile of dishes stacked up in the sink for over two weeks… Not the picture perfect fantasy you imagine, huh? But these are the realities that come with the territory.

Although research and those from older generations attempt to discourage the idea of shacking up, truth be told, living with your partner prior to marriage is not the single factor that involves couples breaking up. As a matter of fact, in the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth, research found that among men married for 10 years, 71 percent of the non-cohabiters were still married, while only 69 percent of the cohabiters were as well - a difference of only 2 percent, which leads anyone to believe that there could be hundreds of reasons why their relationship did not work in the first place.

It’s also funny to me that people do not take into consideration that many couple’s have no desire whatsoever to get married in the first place. Unlike traditional relationship norms, many couple’s are perfectly content on living their lives together without having a piece paper to prove their love and devotion to one another. What then can those who oppose this say about such unions. Are they still placed under the category as “shackers” if they consciously chose to spend their lives together without sealing the deal before God, close friends and family members?

The fact of the matter is when two people decide they want to move their relationship to the next level, both parties have to be on the same page. When both are clear about their expectations, wants and needs within their relationship, everything else should be able to fall into place. Let’s not forget that compromise is essential when the two lifestyles are being merged into one living space. It is not fair that one partner should have to sacrifice and change their entire routine without the other being willing to do the same.

All in all, as time goes on, each partner would get a clear picture of where their future could potentially lead. It is during this time period where tough decisions are made. Either both partners compromise and live their lives happily ever after, or they realize that sharing a life together may not be the best decision for the two of them. As always, communication is key to any successful relationship. And without being completely honest with each other, deciding to “shack up” could lead to a hard road ahead.

Like always stay blessed, beautiful and divinely favored!!!!!

-Photography by GMO Photo Editor Billy Montgomery

Lauren Jackson

Lauren Jackson

Lauren Jackson is a GMO contributor.

She can be contacted at

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