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Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Posted by jenswrens (My Page) on
Sat, Mar 4, 06 at 11:39

After reading the interesting thread on living together before marriage, I got curious. What was the driving factor for marriage for those of you who cohabitated before? That was always my mom's question -- why buy the cow?

Yes, my DH and I lived together before marriage too. I'm just curious to hear from different people. You've been living together for a year, a few years,....when did you decide and what made you decide to finally tie the knot? And how did the issue come up? Were there ultimatums involved? Or did it just evolve naturally? Was it a legal thing? A money thing? A love thing?

When in cohabitating is just living together not enough? Why did you want more?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

We got married after 5 years of "living in sin". I was pregnant with #2. It was cheaper for taxes to stay unmarried, as we already had one child and I was reaping the benefits of being a 'single mother', earned income credit, financial aid at school, etc. It ended up being better for health insurance purposes for us to be married, though, and that was one of the main reason we tied the knot.

I have never regretted it! We got married barefoot (and pg) on the beach in Jamaica. It's now been 10 years as of Jan 27 and we have been together for 15.

I never blame people for not getting married, as I had some financial benefits as a single mother that I wouldn't have had if I was married. I really liked having 'the ring' and being able to say 'my husband' instead of 'my boyfriend' (even though he was the father of my child). Lame, I know, but I got tired of explaining our situation to others.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

One day after living together a couple years, I had concerns. I said to DH, "Now I'm thinking there's a reason we're not married that I'm not gonna find out about for years until we end up not married. But meanwhile it's gonna bother me, and the only way I'll be sure that's not gonna happen is if we do get married." DH said, "What?..."

So we drove down Route 95 to Dillon, South Carolina. Got in line at the Wedding Chapel and did it.

It'll be twenty two years March 22nd. No regrets.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

To me, marraige is a very sacred bond. In addition, it's the only way you can prove your absolute dedication to each other, because from a legal standpoint, you make yourself completely vulnerable to each other. ALso, you need to think ahead. When the time comes and it's time for one of you to pass on, a spouse has alot more rights than a "significant other", even with a will. As I stated in the other thread, I DO believe in living together first, but that's only in preparation for marraige. Not in place of it.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

That was always my mom's question -- why buy the cow?

I guess I just have a very different attitude toward marriage than this. This attitude implies that somehow marriage "costs more" or is in some way worse than just living together... like you get all of the benefits "for free" by living together so why "pay more" to get married? I just don't see marriage that way.

My wedding was the public statement of a lifetime committment between two people. IMO, our relationship was ENHANCED by getting married. We were committed before, but delcaring it publicly and celebrating it with all of our loved ones kicked it up a notch. We're in this life together and life is a heck of a lot better knowing that.

I suppose if someone had ever said that to me (why buy the cow...) I would ask them "why did you buy your house instead of renting?" By the same logic, renting is better than buying... more freedom to come and go as you please, no headaches of maintenance, most people spend more on housing once they buy a house (between decorating and maintaining etc). Yet the american dream is to own a home. I suppose that's because the "easier" things are not always the most worthwhile.

JMHO from a former cohabitator who has been happily married for nearly 8 years now with no intentions of calling it quits.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Well back in the day my group of friends got married around 20 yrs old. NO ONE lived together before marriage, around a yr or 2 later we started our families. We didnt have any options, marriage then moving out, sounds ancient right? My parents were old fashioned and we abided by their rules, life was much more simpler then. My husband lived in the same town as I did and after High School we both got jobs and met up again when I was 19. Money was scarce because I stayed home to raise our 4 children. We lived in a small house, old cars and only 2 vacations. My daughter lived with her boyfriend 3 yrs before they married and my son lives with his girlfriend now and will be getting engaged this year, the 3rd does not want to live with her b'friend and my last goes to college. I think it is definitely ok to live with someone before married with the intent to marry.
Oh we will be married 33 yrs in June.
Hope you dont mind I'm enclosing a picture of my kids.
Image hosting by Photobucket


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Wow, zshopper! That is an incredibly good looking group!


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

zshopper--what a great looking bunch of kids.

You are a lucky woman.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Good Lord, zshopper, nobody at the Academy Awards was as gorgeous as any of your kids!

Those kids have to have some Italian (I'd guess a LOT) in them- your brunette daughter is a dead ringer for my DivaD1, who is a taffy-blonde.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Just another voice in the chorus of "They're so gorgeous!"


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

I agree with the "buy the cow" argument not working. Let's be frank, it means if you are getting free sex and perhaps meals and housekeeping, why get married? If that's all you want out of marriage, then by all means, live with a free cow.

But marriage usually means a lot more to people, and that's why we decided (together)to get married after 5 years of living together, almost as a gift of commitment to each other. I did prod: "I would like to have our wedding sometime before the year 2000." We got married 9/28/99. Deciding to start a family is a biggie, that's when a lot of my friends tied the knot.

I do wish people understood more about the complicated financial (and tax) changes that happen with marriage, because that is where a lot of the problems come from later.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Hmm, some of you seem to have taken offense and I think misinterpreted what I meant by the cow statement. I thought the meaning behind the adage was common knowledge, but apparently not. Let me reiterate. It was my mother's old-fashioned, deeply Southern argument IN FAVOR of marriage (not the other way around!)...her way of always trying to disuade us girls from fornicating and cohabitating. Her way of saying we should respect ourselves and hold out for that sacred institution--marriage. A sexist remark I am sure, because she never said it as coming from the female's point of view...always the male's. Her message was Don't be a free cow.

I also wasn't asking about whether or not you agree with living together -- that was amply covered in the other thread. I wanted to know the impetus of what finally pushed you to marriage, as in celticmoon's response (and lpolk). For me, it was a similar situation. I never really wanted to live together (probably driven by the guilt I had after listening to mom all those years), but did so just because in our early 20's it was the "cool" thing to do. That's what the Brat Packers were doing, after all. Had I been a stronger person, I would have said no and held out. In retrospect I sometimes wish I had. So much more romantic to do it the old-fashioned way. But I also had a strong drive to get away from home (or not to return home after college), and this was the quickest route out. So for me, marriage was always the goal. I'm not really sure how it happened for us. I think I hinted around enough that he finally got the message. After all, I quit law school for this guy. If he had no intention of committing, my pride couldn't afford to waste any more time on him. See, how unromantic.... But we both think that marriage is sacred, and it turned out to be a very romantic relationship and still is, all these years later. We were childhood sweethearts, soulmates, separated by long-distance moves in grade school, reunited in college and have been together ever since. For us, money or taxes or any of that was never an issue (he was already supporting me - I was never much of a women's libber). It was more an issue of love and proving that with a sacred committment.

So those are the stories I was looking for with this thread. Not arguments in favor of or against free milk.... :-)


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RE: Free cows and such....

Hmm, some of you seem to have taken offense and I think misinterpreted what I meant by the cow statement. I thought the meaning behind the adage was common knowledge, but apparently not. Let me reiterate. It was my mother's old-fashioned, deeply Southern argument IN FAVOR of marriage (not the other way around!)...her way of always trying to disuade us girls from fornicating and cohabitating. Her way of saying we should respect ourselves and hold out for that sacred institution--marriage. A sexist remark I am sure, because she never said it as coming from the female's point of view...always the male's. Her message to us was Don't be a free cow.

I also wasn't asking about whether or not you agree with living together -- that was amply covered in the other thread. I wanted to know the impetus of what finally pushed you to marriage, as in celticmoon's response (and lpolk). For me, it was a similar situation. Deep down, I never really wanted to live together (probably driven by the guilt I had after listening to mom all those years), but did so just because in our early 20's it was the "cool" thing to do. That's what the Brat Packers were doing, after all. Had I been a stronger person, I would have said no and held out. In retrospect I sometimes wish I had. So much more romantic to do it the old-fashioned way. But I also had a strong drive to get away from home (or not to return home after college), and this was the quickest route out. So for me, marriage was always the goal. I'm not really sure how it happened for us. I think I hinted around enough that he finally got the message. After all, I quit law school for this guy. If he had no intention of committing, my pride couldn't afford to waste any more time on him. See, how unromantic.... But we both think that marriage is sacred, and it turned out to be a very romantic relationship and still is, all these years later. We were childhood sweethearts, soulmates, separated by long-distance moves in grade school, reunited in college and have been together ever since. For us, money or taxes or any of that was never an issue (he was already supporting me - I was never much of a women's libber). It was more an issue of love and proving that with a sacred committment.

So those are the stories I was looking for with this thread. Not arguments in favor of or against free milk.... :-)


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Ack!!!

Sorry for the crazy double post -- it kept saying internal server error....


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

jenswren-- I understand completely, and it only bolsters my argument in FAVOR of living together, first-- to FIND OUT if the "cow" advantages are the only reason your SO wants to get married. If someone only wants the cow, I'm not interested in marrying OR living with them. The whole reason for the intimacy of sharing every aspect of your life with someone has nothing to do with sex on tap, combining of bills to make living cheaper, sharing the chores, etc.. It's completely and ONLY for spiritual reasons that it should happen. The reason for living together first is to make sure that your SO is in it for the same spiritual reasons. When you're with someone all the time, it's alot tougher to "fake it".


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RE: The devil made me do it

Free cow? That's bull!

Sorry- I just had to say that...


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

I never thought of myself as a cow, but if I WERE a cow, I guess I'd rather give my milk away for free than to SELL it, because wouldn't that make me a ... :-)

About one month after our first date, I knew I would marry this man. I believe strongly in marriage, especially if you want to have children. But we were 19 at the time. In my family, as in all families, there were a few things that one just did and didn't do. It was not a question of my parents saying "Do this and don't do that." It was just the way it was. Say "Please" and "Thank you." Clean your plate. Do your homework. Don't interrupt. Don't get married young.

So we lived together at 20 but waited until we we were 24 -- out of college, working, homeowners, able to pay for our own (small) wedding -- to get married. It was not like living together was a trial before marriage, it was just as if we were married except we didn't freak our parents or ourselves out by getting maried "too young." I know this may not make a lot of sense, but there it is.

When we did have the wedding, my poor mother thought it must be because we were ready to have kids. She spent the next two years holding her breath in anticipation before her first grandchild finally materialized.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

OT: I've said for years I want to be reincarnated as a cow on the west coast of Ireland. Now that image has gotten all complicated... LOL


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

LOL Pecan! And susan, dang! Why didn't I ever think to answer my mom with that one!? I also believe everyone thought the only reason we finally married was to have children because the questions started at the wedding, "So when are you having kids?" I guess we disappointed them all by waiting another 5 years for that.

And Bill, I totally agree with you there. I've said it before, you're a special one.

And since we're talking cows....


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Looks like 'someone' wants a kiss!!


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

This was almost 25 years ago, so getting married and having a wedding were pretty much something most young women aspired to, so when he finally asked (two years after we started living together), I was thrilled!

I think it's still true today for most women.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Dh and I got married because it was something that was important to him. I was fine just living together. Our relationship was strong, with no serious issues. I didn't need a man for anything that I wasn't already providing for myself, I was educated, had a good job, owned my own house, car paid for etc... Getting married just wasn't an issue for me, but like I said it was important to Dh. So we tied the knot. Nothing has changed. Our relationship is as it was, which makes me happy, and we're married, which makes him happy. : )


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

For some, marraige is nothing more than a piece of paper. For others, it's a state of mind. But there are still a few of us around that marraige, as I said before, is a very spiritual thing, and elevates a relationship to as high as it can get.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

IMHO- Two long standing reasons to get married...children and property. We don't have any children, but we do have property :)

Of course, there are also lots of other, somewhat more romantic reasons for getting married, but traditionally, those are the two big ones!

Jenswrens- I was trying to see if you had posted a new kitchen layout and found this instead. Very interesting...and often humorous! LOL


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

I'm lactose intolerant....

Ok no really, we got married after purchasing property together and living there a few years. Why? My son is five and we have been married four years eleven months...heh heh And even with the surprise pregnancy we did consider continuing our status quo but money or assets I guess, sort of made it necessary. We were in our fourties and dh owned a couple of big companies. With the baby estate issues could have been very complicated if something had happened to dh. In addition, that whole kids with a different last name thing is a nightmare IMO

Prior to the baby I made a great living and didn't need to rely on dh and I expected that to continue. So it was really more due to legal issues I guess initially. But I have to admit that while we had a strong relationship prior to ds and marriage, it actually became stronger with the addition of both. We walked into it thinking it was a piece of paper but as bill and others point out, it really is so much more.

That said, given that I had to give up my career and travel constantly because of ds's illness, I will say that the less emotional legal issue reason also ended up being a big deal. If we hadn't have been married a hard time might have been much harder.


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RE: Cohabitators - Why did you marry?

Health insurance


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