Why get married.

popi_gwMarch 26, 2011

There seems to be a trend for young adults not to get married, in Australia, and maybe in the US...and just cohabit.

My daughter is in this situation and I often find myself thinking about the pros and cons of marriage. She says she has no need to get married and I really cannot think of a reason why marriage is better than living together.

I would appreciate some comments about this.

Apart from religious reasons for getting married, why do people get married, these days ?

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colleenoz

It's a different feeling from co-habiting. Marriage means making a commitment to one person hopefully for life. With co-habiting at the back of your mind you know you can always just walk out the door and there will be few complications or ramifications. With marriage you know it isn't so straightforward. Marriage means standing up in public and saying,"This is the person for me."
Marriage also has a lot of legal ramifications co-habiting doesn't- for instance, if a person is suddenly in intensive care, a spouse has rights regarding that person's medical treatment a FWB doesn't; inheritance laws come into play; if the relationship breaks up there are formalised rules regarding disbursement of assets and custody of any children.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 1:13AM
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asolo

IMHO...it's best for kids. It's what families are made of. It's good. I'm in favor of it.

However, without kids, it's a an agreement you make to allow the state to make it a three-way, voluntarily assigning to it the role of absolute judge/arbiter in case of any serious disagreement.

I don't need that or want it. It has been made abundantly clear to me that my own ideas of fairness and equity are superior to the state's.

Having been divorced twice and having seen the state's idea of "fair and equitable" resulting in less for my spouses -- the attorneys collecting the difference -- I am less than impressed. I have no children. There was nothing to decide except for division of assets.

It is very clear to me that my own ideas of fairness would have resulted in a far better situation for my divorced spouses. At least both have told me as much. Financially, the result was the same for me in both cases. In both cases, the amount the attorneys took was less than the amount I offered both free and clear and tax-free in the beginning. Basically, the attorneys took from my ex-spouses what I'd offered them voluntarily in the beginning. Except that we were "married" and my spouse must have watched too much TV. And their attorneys told them what a b***tard I was. And so on to court we had to go.

If other people have different ideas of "fairness" than I do....well, I can't speak to it. I do know myself and my own ideas. And I know the state screwed both of my former wives. They didn't know it while it was going on. They surely knew afterwards. I advised and would have chosen otherwise. Because I was "married", the state -- via the court -- was allowed to examine and decide. Net/net it's very clear to me they decided that attorneys needed OUR money. I was fine. They both came out with less. Stupid.

Don't marry unless there's a reason. Simple contracts can handle everything that needs handling.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2011 at 8:30PM
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cocontom

We got married for the piece of paper/legal benefits- inheritance, insurance, right to make medical decisions.

Nothing in our relationship changed- we had already decided that "this one's the one for me" before we got married.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 4:50PM
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asolo

For lots of people, tradition and familiarity carry the day. For example, upon introduction what is one to say? "This is my poslq?" (Person of opposite sex sharing living quarters.) People understand "husbands" and "wives". Anything else still raises eyebrows.

As far as "...legal benefits- inheritance, insurance, right to make medical decisions." All can be handled by simple contracts.

When children are involved, I think marriage is always best. If it's just two people, keeping the state out of it is something to consider, IMHO.

In both of my marriages I, too, decided "this one's for me". Didn't work. 50% of the time, it doesn't. Many lawyers and real estate people make their livings from the circumstance.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2011 at 1:41PM
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lee676

> IMHO...it's best for kids. It's what families are made of. It's good. I'm in favor of it.

It's worst for kids when the parents don't get along well but "stay together for the kids". I could write a book about the living he!l said kids go through, and the distorted perceptions they learn about adult relationships as a result.

The OP is in Australia, where, from what I understand, there are nothing like the kinds of legal ramifications of married vs. single that there are in the U.S., which make me wish I lived in Australia sometime. I've never heard of Australians getting married so one of the two could obtain healthcare from their new spouse's insurance plan; I know two American couples that married almost solely for that reason.

Personally, I think marriage is detrimental to good relationships. It artificially holds you together by imposing massive divorce costs and such. I don't feel any need for a piece of paper registering our relationship with the government. I don't want anything holding us together except that we want to be, which paradoxically, makes for a stronger relationship than if it were government- or religiously-enforced.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 3:21AM
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pattybags

I'm on the fence.

If I had married when I was younger and more immature, I'd be divorced by now. Too many marriages fail when they are rushed into.

However, I'm also with the belief that marriage is forever. I consider mine forever, but 10 years into the relationship I realize I married the right man. Someone else, perhaps my situation would be different. But that's the difference between marrying in my 20's vs. my 30's. I'm a lot more mature and established in my 30's. I have different priorities in my 30's. And, I also cohabitated in both my 30's and 20's. Luckily, or unluckily, my mother was divorced twice. I knew better than to rush into marriage.

I think you learn a LOT about someone cohabitating with them vs, getting married. And sorry, being honest here, but I could never fathom marrying anyone before the bedroom stuff, because I'd die if he were a complete dud in the bedroom.

Also, from an economical standpoint, it makes sense to have a "roommate" whether that be platonic or a love relationship, after all, we're at their house most the time anyway and sharing our lives together in every other aspect, so why not split the bills rather than paying "extra" rent for that other place?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:04PM
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popi_gw

"I've never heard of Australians getting married so one of the two could obtain healthcare from their new spouse's insurance plan; I know two American couples that married almost solely for that reason. "

You are correct about the healthcare issue. Everyone is covered here, whether you are married or not.

I think, here, when a couple are thinking of buying a house, or buying anything as joint owners, it is probably more secure to get married. I assume a marriage contract is more secure in a financial way, for each person, than the legal issues around a de-facto relationship.

I guess when a couple marry everyone knows where they stand, there is a contract. If a couple live together perhaps their rights and obligations to each other are in a grey area, unless you actually sit down and talk about it.

Our Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, is not married, but has a long term boyfriend. I think it is curious that this man, lives with her in the PM's residence in Canberra. I think this is a first for our country and I am surprised that people have not made it an issue. People can be very conservative about these things.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 8:48PM
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lee676

> from an economical standpoint, it makes sense to have a "roommate" whether that be platonic or a love relationship, after all, we're at their house most the time anyway and sharing our lives together in every other aspect, so why not split the bills rather than paying "extra" rent for that other place?

Exactly, and that's why I've shared my home with over 20 people over my adult life, sometimes to known friends or lovers, mostly to unknown roommates. Having someone around to talk to, share cleaning and food preparation duties with etc. is worth $600/mo - hey wait, they pay me $600/mo. to live in my apartment. Why do so many people live alone?

> I think you learn a LOT about someone cohabitating with them vs, getting married. And sorry, being honest here, but I could never fathom marrying anyone before the bedroom stuff, because I'd die if he were a complete dud in the bedroom.

Me neither, but someone in my family did just that, only to learn too late he had no interest in the bedroom stuff after they got married either. If you marry someone with whom you've never shared a bed or shared an apartment, you really don't know each other well and it's a crapshoot.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2011 at 8:51AM
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Meghane

For me it was all about the legal and financial benefits. Otherwise what's the point of getting married? Which is why I am a strong supporter of marriage for gays and lesbians. To offer such benefits to one group and not another is wrong.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 9:43PM
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asolo

I'm still waiting for "benefits" for single, white, non-religious, bald guys who are very obviously required to pay for hauling everybody else's freight.

Thinking maybe I should get a job at the post office along with roomie.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2011 at 11:37PM
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SaintRuthie

Heh, I've only been married a couple of years, and we are "relatively" young (28 & 27). Hub comes from a religious background so I assume that his feelings about marriage would come from a religious standpoint.
Personally, I chose marriage for a couple of reasons. One was that upon seeing my husband for the first time my first thought was "I'm going to marry that guy!" - so, it was a goal LOL..Another reason is that I really believe in the concept (I also believe that anyone who wants to marry anyone should be allowed to do so). It is better for families, I've seen how hard it is for kids whose parents weren't married - I have also seen that it's just as hard (if not moreso) for kids whose parents stay together "for the children".
I got married because it seemed right to be legally bound to the man I loved for the rest of our lives. There are many ways to be bound to a person for life, and marriage seemed ( to us anyway) the best way to prove to eachother that no one else would do for us.
Although... I must admit, if he'd asked me a few years earlier I would have rather had a "Handfasting Ceremony", as at the time I thought marriage was just a piece of paper. To me (now, anyway) it's MUCH more than that.
Luckily we chose marriage for the "right" reasons, as I've seen many people get married just for the tax purposes or health insurance or green cards or all the other legal trappings of The Institution.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 8:14PM
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rob333

Too bad you didn't have a ex like me asolo, I agreed with him and we shared the lawyer. It can happen. The next time, he didn't agree, but I gave him the antiques and we both had to bankrupt anyhow. It's the agreeing that makes it easier.

But, had we not been married, things would be really different Popi. Whose rights would've been supplanted completely, while the other completely prevailed? It could happen. It's not for the good times one needs to consider the legal ramifications, those are for the what-ifs.

Marriage is good if you have children. Marriage is good if you want to show the world, you want to "seal the deal". Outward show of the inward feeling. But we all know how that intangible can be enough to get you through. I'm not down on marriage just because I can't get it right. I had a 50/50 chance each time. There were good times, but people aren't perfect. Backing out is harder when you're married and that can be a good thing when trying to work out the problems. Gives you stability.

:)

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 3:21PM
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asolo

To bad in all kinds of ways!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2011 at 8:38PM
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