“Why buy the cow, when you can get the milk for free?” We’ve all heard this saying before. Especially as it relates to cohabitation or in the words of my mother “shacking!” While some still chide moving in with a man before you’re married, many encourage moving in together before tying the knot.
Reasons to cohabit can range from financial reasons (the ability to save money), living proximity (where one partner relocates to avoid a long distance relationship), getting to know the person better (you truly know someone when you live with them), having children (the need for the family to be under one roof), and plenty of other reasons. One of the main reasons usually tend to be about finances, and in an unstable economy many couples rely on one another to make ends meet.
In some cases cohabitation is a temporary phase leading up to marriage— but there’s no guarantee of marriage, which is why some believe it’s best to move in together after the wedding takes place. The fact is marriage isn’t for everyone. Given the low marriage rate in the black community it’s safe to say many cohabiting are simply living in a roommate situation with their mate. Here’s where the “free milk” factor comes into play. In a tough economy ½ on bills sounds good…but at what cost? The cost of giving a man domain over the household without a commitment, the cost of playing house- cooking, cleaning, etc. without a long-term commitment. Let’s face it, many sista’s can/have/are and will do it all on their own. This isn’t an ode to the independent “I can do it all on my own” women, this is simply to say if you can do it all on your own— why risk giving the milk for free?
In comes, “Smart Cow.” A smart cow realizes a man is in the plans… but a man is not the plan. Big difference. Cooking, cleaning, and going ½ on the bills- sure it’s a win win or lose lose situation for both female and male if it does or doesn’t work out. But a smart cow knows ain’t shit free. Especially in an imperfect world where the majority of black children don’t have the foundation of a traditional family structure. Perhaps it’s time we dispel the notion of cohabiting before marriage (for those that plan/want to be married). More power to those that are successfully cohabiting— if it means the father, mother, and children are all under one roof. Any other reason would be detrimental to strengthening the traditional family structure in the black community.