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Exclusive: Michael Ealy On Why You Should Live With Your Partner Before Marriage

"If you really want to try and make it last forever, you might want to do a little test run."

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Falling in love is easy, it's what comes after that makes it one of the most difficult things you'll ever do in your life. Taking the next step and marrying your partner is all fun and games until pesky habits that you may not have recognized before they become a part of your every day life.

Although it may not have bothered you in the past that your man always forgets to put the cap back on the toothpaste, seeing this ritual every day might just drive you to your breaking point, which is why star of the new feature film, The Intruder, Michael Ealy thinks if you're serious about spending the rest of your life with someone, you should take that theory on a test drive, first.

"Marriage is hard and living with somebody is cohabitation," he shared with xoNecole exclusively. "If you really want to try and make it last forever, you might want to do a little test run."

In his new psychological thriller, Michael Ealy stars alongside actress Meagan Good and the two play a couple who have made the decision to buy their very first house together. Little do they know, it comes with a pretty nostalgic, highly creepy houseguest who won't leave.

Needless to say, this couple has a lot more to worry about than a lost toothpaste cap, but the stars had some advice for couples who, like their characters, are looking to take the next step in their relationship. First off, make sure that you don't buy a house from a strange white man who wants to kill you; and second, try couples counseling. Michael stated:

"I always tell people to go to counseling before you get married. Go to counseling so you're not surprised by the person you ended up with later on down the line when you got kids."

MICHAEL EALY REVEALS THE HARD LESSON HE LEARNED IN HIS MARRIAGEyoutu.be

The actor also advised that a couple move in together before they get married. Although the idea of "shacking up" would probably make our great grandmothers cringe in their graves, it's a new world; one that doesn't shame or ridicule lovers for cohabitating. Michael said that living together for at least three months before making a commitment to get married is actually essential to ensure longevity in a relationship.

According to the 45-year-old husband and father of two, love doesn't always conquer all, especially if all includes some bad habits. "Love doesn't always conquer everything. I think there's certain habitual issues that can come up and you know, just kind of divide people over time," he revealed. "Let's be honest, in a relationship, there are certain issues that really irritate you about the person. And the question is, before you get married, can you handle that long-term? Because you can't expect them to change."

Dating for marriage is a dangerous sport, and to make it to the finish line, you need to have a strategy and be able to answer some tough questions. It may not be easy to talk about financial planning, having children, and how you prefer your toothpaste to be capped over your 2 for $20 at Applebee's, but couples counseling could be the perfect environment to better understand each other's belief systems without feeling pressured. Michael said that without having these tough conversations, you could likely end up in a contract to spend your life stuck with someone that you don't even like. "Talk about things like having children, and what are your expectations of me, and all of that stuff. Because the more you get out upfront, the less likely you are to be sucker-punched later."

The actor also explained that you and your partner should make a move to counseling sooner than later. Nothing is worse than feeling rushed in a relationship, especially when you have a deadline as significant as your wedding date. "If you feel like it's close, you know, look, let's have some frank conversations so that nobody has to step backwards."

The Intruder is in theaters this Friday (May 3) and you can check out our full interview with Michael Ealy and Meagan Good below!

THE INTRUDER - Official Trailer (HD)www.youtube.com

Featured image via Michael Ealy/Instagram

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A music lover since childhood, Amira grew up in an artistic household where passion for music was emphasized. “My dad has always been my huge inspiration for music because he’s a musician himself and is so passionate about the history of music.” Amira’s also dealt with deafness in one ear since she was a toddler, a condition which she says only makes her more “intentional” about the music she makes, to ensure that what she hears inside her head can translate the way she wants it to for audiences.

“The loss of hearing means a person can’t experience music in the conventional way,” she says. “I’ve always responded to bigger, bolder anthemic songs because I can feel them [the vibrations] in my body, and I want to be sure my music does this for deaf/HOH people and everyone.”

A Black woman wearing a black hijab and black and gold dress stands in between two men who are both wearing black pants and colorful jackets and necklaces

Amira Unplugged and other contestants on Becoming a Popstar

Amira Unplugged / MTV

In order to lift people’s spirits at the beginning of the pandemic, Amira began posting videos on TikTok of herself singing and using sign language so her music could reach her deaf fans as well. She was surprised by how quickly she was able to amass a large audience. It was through her videos that she caught the attention of a talent scout for MTV’s new music competition show for rising TikTok singers, Becoming a Popstar. After a three-month process, Amira was one of those picked to be a contestant on the show.

Becoming a Popstar, as Amira describes, is different from other music competition shows we’ve all come to know over the years. “Well, first of all, it’s all original music. There’s not a single cover,” she says. “We have to write these songs in like a day or two and then meet with our producers, meet with our directors. Every week, we are producing a full project for people to vote on and decide if they’d listen to it on the radio.”

To make sure her deaf/HOH audiences can feel her songs, she makes sure to “add more bass, guitar, and violin in unique patterns.” She also incorporates “higher pitch sounds with like chimes, bells, and piccolo,” because, she says, they’re easier to feel. “But it’s less about the kind of instrument and more about how I arrange the pattern of the song. Everything I do is to create an atmosphere, a sensation, to make my music a multi-sensory experience.”

She says that working alongside the judges–pop stars Joe Jonas and Becky G, and choreographer Sean Bankhead – has helped expand her artistry. “Joe was really more about the vocal quality and the timber and Becky was really about the passion of [the song] and being convinced this was something you believed in,” she says. “And what was really great about [our choreographer] Sean is that obviously he’s a choreographer to the stars – Lil Nas X, Normani – but he didn’t only focus on choreo, he focused on stage presence, he focused on the overall message of the song. And I think all those critiques week to week helped us hone in on what we wanted to be saying with our next song.”

As her star rises, it’s been both her Muslim faith and her friends, whom she calls “The Glasses Gang” (“because none of us can see!”), that continue to ground her. “The Muslim and the Muslima community have really gone hard [supporting me] and all these people have come together and I truly appreciate them,” Amira says. “I have just been flooded with DMs and emails and texts from [young muslim kids] people who have just been so inspired,” she says. “People who have said they have never seen anything like this, that I embody a lot of the style that they wanted to see and that the message hit them, which is really the most important thing to me.”

A Black woman wears a long, salmon pink hijab, black outfit and pink boots, smiling down at the camera with her arm outstretched to it.

Amira Unplugged

Amira Unplugged / MTV

Throughout the show’s production, she was able to continue to uphold her faith practices with the help of the crew, such as making sure her food was halal, having time to pray, dressing modestly, and working with female choreographers. “If people can accept this, can learn, and can grow, and bring more people into the fold of this industry, then I’m making a real difference,” she says.

Though she didn’t win the competition, this is only the beginning for Amira. Whether it’s on Becoming a Popstar or her videos online, Amira has made it clear she has no plans on going anywhere but up. “I’m so excited that I’ve gotten this opportunity because this is really, truly what I think I’m meant to do.”

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