Wednesday, May 09, 2007

To shack or not to shack, that's the question

Is cohabitation really a good economic decision?

My Daddy seems to think so and for some reason I thought he'd think otherwise.

"Shoot sometimes you have to live with someone you love in order to survive," he said in his northern Mississippi accent. "Heck, me and your mama lived together a while before we got married."


An ex-boyfriend of mine asked me to move in with him. I laughed in his face.

I've been wondering if living with significant others is a good thing since one of my best friends has been living with her fiancee since last year and has yet to set a date for her wedding. I suspect she's waiting to see if the man she says she loves is right for her.

"To me living together is like driving a car before you buy it," my Daddy said. "You want to know all the ins and outs of the vehicle before you get it."

So cliche. But I guess its true.

I read an article in this month's Ebony Magazine that asks if "shacking" is acceptable today than it was 30 years ago. They interviewed some field experts and several couples who live together.

The conclusion was that cohabitation is accepted, regardless of what parents or The Bible have to say about it.

But I wasn't so sure. I asked a couple of people what they thought. Here's what they had to say.

Donecia Pea, 27, Shreveport resident, Times reporter and fellow blogger said, "I don't agree with shacking in its most common sense: two folks co-habitating. I know that's completely antiquated because the way I see it, that's what most of the world is doing now. Living together seems to be practically regarded as a basic tenet of courtship nowadays.

However, besides the fact that it goes against my Christian principles, I just think it's stupid, spoils the fun and completely ruins the element of surprise and newness. If you DO do it and marriage is your goal, then it should only be for a limited amount of time. I'm talking MONTHS if that longbecause if it goes any longer - you're never gonna get married, ESPECIALLY if you have kids in the process.

Donecia also said that she doesn't see anything wrong with people occasionally spending the night with a significant other.

Janelle Rucker, 25, Shreveport resident, Times reporter and fellow blogger said, "As much as I talk about not wanting to live with a boyfriend it might be something I would consider if I had a contract that stipulated what would happen during a breakup and who would pay which bills."

The Ebony Magazine article also featured a couple who lived together but had a contract. It's where Janelle stole the idea.

Curtis Mills, 25, Shreveport resident and musician said, "Cohabitation is not a good idea. At first I was all for it but now I'm not. As a person who has dabbled in cohabitation (meaning he had spent many continuous nights with a former girlfriend) I think it rushes the relationship and spoils the excitement that should be saved for marriage."

My very best friend Crystal Ellis, 23, who lives in Nashville, said that she was pro-shacking depending on the situation. She said she thought if two people loved each other and were nearing marriage then it seem logical for them to live together if they wanted.

I've got tons of friends who live with their boyfriends/girlfriends. A friend of mine recently moved in with his girlfriend to save money, plus he's considering proposing to her soon (I can't put his name here because I don't want to ruin the fun for his future fiancee).

But he hasn't saved much money yet. He said he'll start next month...after they finish paying for furniture and other house stuff.

I guess...

What do ya'll think?


Adam Kealoha Causey said...

I thought shacking meant staying at someone's house temporarily (like a night) rather than living together. Or living in sin as many Baptists in these parts refer to it.

Greg Pearson said...

Adam's right..."living" together means sharing bills, chores, cooking meals, being "together".....basically all the things you do when you have that piece of paper that says it's legal. People dont get married right away for a variety of, work, personal name it.

Ashley Northington said...

Really? I always thought shacking meant living together... Is this some type of Louisiana diction difference. OR, maybe my granny is wrong.

Janelle Rucker said...

Naw, we call it shacking too. Staying at someone's house temporarily (like a night) is simply spending the night.

I also call shacking, "playing house" and for years I was against it. I kinda still am, but I guess it depends on the situation. But like Ashley said in her post, I'd definitely be more inclined to do it if there was some type of written understanding of what was what. (man, is that bad?)

But, I agree with Donecia. I think shacking has the potential to lead to those common-law situations where the couple is together for 10 years with 2 kids and no marriage.
That, I don't like.

Diane Haag said...

Something else to consider: statistics say people who live together before they get married are more likely to get divorced when they do eventually get married.

Why? I'm not sure, but my guess is people get used to the idea they can leave whenever they want and those notions never disappear once they get married.

Personally, I'm opposed to the idea. I think there are some things you're better off not knowing about your partner until it's too late.

Joel Anderson said...

You know, I don't ever think it's a good idea to find out things about your partner until it's "too late." Surprises are good for gifts; not marriages.

I want as much information as possible when I'm making a decision about whom to get married to. And if shacking is the best way to do it, I'll go ahead and clear out more room in my closet.

Anyway, there are no guarantees about marriage no matter how you enter into it. I mean, if you want to guarantee that you'll stay married, you're better off finding your partner through an arranged marriage.

Diane Haag said...

When I said that about finding out some things too late, I meant things like he leaves the cap off the toothpaste tube not that he doesn't want to have children. Those values and future plans are much more important and they can be discovered outside of living together.

Joel Anderson said...

No, I get where you're coming from Diane. And, in theory - not practice, I agree with you.

But being able to live with someone is a huge part of marriage. How do you figure that out without actually doing it?

I mean, it's one thing to be surprised about someone not wringing out their washcloths or whatever, but another to look at all those things as a whole, which start off as annoying but can be something much more over the years.

Keep in mind, I'm not a fan of "shacking." Not at all. But still, I can understand why some folks might do that to get a better understanding of their partner.