Should You “Test-Drive” a Potential Mate by Shacking Up?



For those of you who may have never heard of the term, “Shacking Up” it means, a couple who lives together and are not married. Okay the real term is called, “Cohabitation“.

I’ve heard people remark that marriage is “just a piece of paper.” This downplaying of such a significant part of life makes cohabiting seem more appropriate. I believe that cohabitation is an open-door policy that allows for flight. Cohabitation by its very nature does not promote the same deep connection of mutual trust and emotional vulnerability.

The “try before you buy” view misrepresents marriage. I once read that 80% of shacking up relationships end before marriage or in divorce after marriage.  So, it is 80/20 against you getting married, or staying married, to that person.  I believe that is because there is no commitment when you move in before marriage.  A relationship without commitment will not last, and marriage is the biggest commitment we can make in life.

Living together removes the “being your best” part of your relationship. Kind of like most job interviews. You wore the suit to the interview, but once hired you show up in khakis and a polo shirt.  Men, if you’re living with a woman and getting some of the “benefits” of marriage – having someone to help around the house, cook, sharing the bills – you can get lazy about taking the next step in your relationship.

Living together reminds me of test driving a car before you purchase it. It’s not really like owning the car. Everything is shiny and new and on its best behavior until you bring it home and settle in. That’s when the maintenance costs start trickling in or the battery dies. But if you own it, you fix it. But when it’s owned by the dealers, you just trade it in for a new one.

Marriage is a higher level of commitment to your relationship than just dating or cohabiting. It’s a major step in a relationship that requires love, turning away from all other romantic relationships, relying on each other and making the decision to work through hard times together.

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family”

—–Justice Anthony Kennedy



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