Ooh, you know the saints is scurred to go here! lol! But I’m certainly not afraid of the murky topics that beset the modern day church of our Lord.
Let’s go ahead and put it out there…
Not only is the divorce rate high, but the rate of unmarried couples and cohabiting households has steadily increased.
I used to be one of them.
I’m not here to condemn but mainly to give my perspective based on my experience.
First, let me say that living with a man is certainly way different than living apart and maintaining a relationship. I can tell you that it’s a whole lot harder to get over a rough patch when you have to stare the rough patch in the face every night and smell his morning breath. It’s also very similar to a marriage. I happen to live in one of the handful of states that still recognizes common law marriages as legally binding. Thankfully, I nor my exes ever took the extra steps that would have solidified this type of union but sharing a house key was enough. When it came time to part ways, it felt eerily like a divorce.
In a way, cohabiting has become the new “wedding day”.
Let me just give u my honest take on it…
- Cohabiting appears to be the easiest and most cost effective next step in a relationship. For starts, it gives a woman the false sense of progress and commitment, after all, they’re sharing bills, beds, and closest space. He’s giving up a degree of privacy and secrecy which he maintained while living apart and what woman, desperate for an upgrade to her current relationship’s plan, wouldn’t sign up for what appears to be a down payment on a marriage?
- Unfortunately, a lot of women find out the hard way that shackin up often becomes a curse instead of a blessing. In my case, my ex took an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude and saw shackin as a mutually fulfilling and adequate compromise that left the both of us holding most of what we wanted. But what I discovered was that he had ALL of what he wanted, not most. He had the comfort of home, the comfort of me, the assurance that I was all his, the appearance of a marriage without the responsibility of it. When it comes to marriage, I think most men view it as a cage, a trap, a bottomless pit of gloom and despair to be avoided at all cost and only surrendered to when he has less than 10 years left in his lifespan. Dramatic? Maybe. But for some women, reality.
- Shackin isn’t a solution or bridge that carries you over to marriage. It can be a pit that you struggle to pull your relationship out of. If finances are a problem singularly, they won’t improve dually. When two different spending habits meet under the same roof, rarely does that roof stay nailed down. Ask any two income household just how much easier two incomes makes their quality of life, particularly when deep seated financial management issues persist. Don’t buy into the lie that shackin improves ones quality of life. Not so.
- Also, shackin is not a marriage. It feels like one, looks, smells and sometimes acts like one. But unless you’re in a common law state, it is not a marriage and I would take a closer look at any man who would go right to the door of marriage but refuse to step on in. What is it, a fear of licenses? Make it official. Do not accept counterfeits and knock offs.
In my opinion, shackin is a BAD idea. I’m sure there are those who would disagree and who have gone on to enjoy delightfully successful (ok, was the word “delightfully” sprinkled with just a tad too much hate? lol!) marriages. You can almost always find a silver lining behind every dark cloud. But for the average lady like me with the average man, like the one I had, who was just a tad bit on the immature and non-committal side, shackin does us no huge favors.
I also found that living with the father of my children was not the healthiest decision for our children. We argued and fought a lot, mainly because as most men do, he wanted the reigns but I wasn’t about to give the keys of the relationship to a reckless driver. The decision to go our separate ways as far as living arrangement was concerned was probably one of the most adult and responsible decisions we ever made. Once 9-1-1 is dialed, even once, it’s time to rethink the decision.
Co-habiting couples and families cannot be denied or ignored. Unfortunately, they have largely been overlooked by the church. Too many saints are still on the fake and phony kick which believes that no one is breaking a commandment or committing a sin in God’s house and if we simply overlook it, we won’t have to deal with it. But as youth departments grow with children who have different last names than their mothers and fathers and pews swell with single parents, I’d say it’s time to deal.
I don’t have all the answers to what plagues us but I do know from experience that there is NOTHING that God cannot do nor that the Light of His Word cannot illuminate. There is a way out of the darkness. There is a way back to the right track. Ok, so I had two children before taking the stroll down the aisle. Does that disqualify me from the Kingdom? Absolutely not! Does that mean that once wrong, always wrong? Absolutely not! How do couples who find themselves in co-habitating arrangements get back into the will and purpose of God for them?
That’s what needs to be discussed in pulpits. It’s time to see the people who are in the pews and HELP them.
These are homes. There are children in the middle. Simply declaring, “leave him, leave her” does not fix what’s broken. For those who aren’t shacking, I’d strongly suggest they remain as they are. Sure, it makes good financial sense to share living expenses, but if marriage is your desire, don’t fool yourself.
Whether you agree with co-habiting, shackin’ or whatever you call it, the Church must open her eyes to the needs of these families. They are real. They exist. And they are growing.
The Church of our Lord must arise in the strength and wisdom of our Lord to address the needs of God’s people and equip these families so that they too can be the recipients of the grace of God and advance the Kingdom of God.