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Shacking up has taken a lot of hits lately. First, there was all the data that shows married couples tend to be healthier, live longer, and report being more happier and contented than shacking up couples. Then it has been revealed couples who live together before engagement have higher divorce rates than those who wait.

However, I believe that all these studies overlook the most important benefit of shacking up. You see, when a couple decides to make a life long commitment to each other, in public, before family and friends, there is accountability. Public declarations put our character and integrity on the line. Marriage reveals whether we are truly a person who keeps promises; who is trustworthy and reliable.

Shacking up lets us avoid all that nonsense, especially when the break up comes. Shacking up gives us the benefit of being able to say, “We wanted to see if we were compatible and we’ve decided to go our separate ways.” We can say it’s not big deal because it’s not like we were married, we were just shacking up. Sure, if we shack up and then split it’s still a little death, still just damaging if kids are involved, still a huge hit financially but we don’t have to acknowledge before family and friends the pain and shame of divorce. We never have to face the reality that one or both partners focused on self gratification rather than surrendered, unconditional love.

Shacking up means never have to put your character on the line; with no accountability there’s not challenge to our integrity.