The Pitfalls of Shacking Up

I listened in on –ok eavesdropped to a woman at a café the other day as she bemoaned her daughter moving in with a dude before marriage.  The woman had apparently discouraged her daughter but the girl rashly went ahead (as most young people do) and packed up her bags to shack up with her new man.

The girl claimed she wanted to “test” their compatibility before they invested the time and energy in marriage.

(Reminds me of test-driving a car)

But the problem with this popular view in culture is that relationships are not like buying or trying on a consumer product.  You generally don’t return a dress after you’ve worn it and laundered it for a year or two, right?

But that’s what we do in the “trying before buying” model of dating.

Relationships are built on a foundation of trust and security, so when you destroy the main foundation before you begin to build the structure –you end up with a house of cards just waiting to fall down.

According to research, a trial run before marriage is not the answer for couples who are considering exclusivity.

Nancy Pina –relationship expert and life coach said this, “In my experience as a Christian relationship coach, those who chose to live together experienced a decline in emotional intimacy instead of a strengthened bond.

A new study by World magazine measured feelings of commitment and intimacy for unmarried couples who live together, and found they never achieved the level of closeness married couples enjoy.”

Ouch…NEVER?

Nancy suggests that living together sets most couples up for probable failure, because at that point, at least one person in the relationship is unsure if it should lead to marriage. Instead of addressing their reservation with openness and honesty, the uncertain person agrees to a trial arrangement. As seen in the study, 52 percent of men are not “almost certain” their relationship will last. More than half had reservations about the longevity of the relationship.

(Remember that saying about “why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”)

Marriage brings security –a woman’s greatest need.  Marriage validates responsibilities and expectations within the relationship.

Shacking up is the opposite of commitment.  It is friends with benefits.  It’s an open door policy that allows for flight.  It’s “hey, I’m in as long as you meet all my needs…but if you don’t…there’s the door.”

In marriage, partners have more incentive to learn what pleases each other and they become good at it because they expect to stay together.

“Merely living together is an open question mark because the future is undecided. Cohabitation by its very nature does not promote the same deep connection of mutual trust and emotional vulnerability. Intimacy that is reserved for marriage is cheapened by this experience and cannot be replicated.” states Nancy.

What do you think?

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