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Learning, Sharing, and Teaching => Ask a Mustachian => Topic started by: FXF on May 18, 2015, 01:18:44 AM

Title: .
Post by: FXF on May 18, 2015, 01:18:44 AM
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Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: swick on May 18, 2015, 01:29:37 AM
You say you have a deeply held conviction, but is there really anything to it other then an idea you have had in your head for so long you are comfortable with and hold it up as truth?

Are you planning on having kids? I don't know how the laws in Germany work, but say you are part of that 50% that doesn't make it...where would you stand as far as paternal rights?

As an aside, I swore up and down and part of my identity was a swore I would never even consider dating someone from the town I grew up in. I moved as far away as fast as I could....

This September will be my second anniversary. I have known my husband for 23 years...we met in grade 1.

Sometimes convictions need to be pulled out, dusted off and examined to see if they really fit who you are today and who you want to be in the future. Sometimes it is worth it to bend them, or break them for something/someone better.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: MDM on May 18, 2015, 01:30:43 AM
Neither of us is the least bit religious...

...80 a month to sell my soul...
Interesting juxtaposition of comments.

On the larger issue: it's too bad the two of you have invested nine years together but still have such divergent opinions on this very important point.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Argyle on May 18, 2015, 02:34:17 AM
You say that it's "pointless," but one point in its favor is that it is meaningful to your partner.

However, it doesn't sound as if you think it's pointless, but as if you think it's objectionable.  That is, you are not indifferent; you are actively opposed.

In the States, being married means you have different rights when it comes to making medical decisions should your partner be incapacitated, visiting her in the hospital, inheritance issues, and other things.  These are among the reasons why gay people have been struggling for the right to marry.

Many people feel that it signifies a greater commitment than not being married.  Maybe to you it doesn't, or maybe you don't want to make that commitment anyway.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: 11ducks on May 18, 2015, 02:56:27 AM
Theres no right or wrong answer here - but logically, what is the end game here likely to be?

ie - will your SO get  to a point where she will leave you over your refusal to marry? or will you leave her rather than marry her? I think that's what it comes down to - whether, if it came to the crunch, you would choose marriage or separation (if there was no happy middle ground that could be had). I guess your partner needs to consider the same thing.

I've been with my partner 3 years, I would like to get married, he doesn't want to. I've made it clear that, while I would never want him to compromise on his beliefs or marry me out of guilt/pressure, I  won't be hanging around compromising mine. If he can't see his way to making such a commitment, It would be a shame, but in the end, i want a partner for life, which to me means marriage. Sadly, if that isn't him, my life will still be awesome regardless! And I don't say that to guilt him or give him an ultimatum, I would hate to be without him, but if he chooses not to make that commitment, and it is that important to him, that's okay, and that is absolutely his choice. Mine will be to remaining open to finding someone I love just as much who is willing to make that commitment to become a family.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Hoosier Daddy on May 18, 2015, 03:20:36 AM
You guys have been together 9 years, and it seems it's still going strong. If you think you are going to stay together, why not save on some taxes? If you had a crystal ball and saw you guys stay together, it would be illogical to pay extra taxes for that long duration lol.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: 11ducks on May 18, 2015, 05:41:17 AM
You say that it's "pointless," but one point in its favor is that it is meaningful to your partner.

However, it doesn't sound as if you think it's pointless, but as if you think it's objectionable.  That is, you are not indifferent; you are actively opposed.

In the States, being married means you have different rights when it comes to making medical decisions should your partner be incapacitated, visiting her in the hospital, inheritance issues, and other things.  These are among the reasons why gay people have been struggling for the right to marry.

Many people feel that it signifies a greater commitment than not being married.  Maybe to you it doesn't, or maybe you don't want to make that commitment anyway.
I probably am actively opposed.
And your point about rights to make decisions is taken and also true in Germany.

Theres no right or wrong answer here - but logically, what is the end game here likely to be?

ie - will your SO get  to a point where she will leave you over your refusal to marry? or will you leave her rather than marry her? I think that's what it comes down to - whether, if it came to the crunch, you would choose marriage or separation (if there was no happy middle ground that could be had). I guess your partner needs to consider the same thing.

I've been with my partner 3 years, I would like to get married, he doesn't want to. I've made it clear that, while I would never want him to compromise on his beliefs or marry me out of guilt/pressure, I  won't be hanging around compromising mine. If he can't see his way to making such a commitment, It would be a shame, but in the end, i want a partner for life, which to me means marriage. Sadly, if that isn't him, my life will still be awesome regardless! And I don't say that to guilt him or give him an ultimatum, I would hate to be without him, but if he chooses not to make that commitment, and it is that important to him, that's okay, and that is absolutely his choice. Mine will be to remaining open to finding someone I love just as much who is willing to make that commitment to become a family.

See I find this argument kind of amusing and have told my gf in similar terms.
Let me get this straight after more than nine years you want both of us to commit to a lifelong relationship because we both want to stay together (even though a marriage is most certainly not a lifelong happy relationship guarantee) . Yet if I don't want to marry you would break up with me, signifying that your commitment is not as large as previously implied and now you still want me to marry? I'm not sure why she would question my overall commitment to this relationship after almost a decade together.


Haha, to get it straight, no , I'm not fussed in the slightest what you do, and didn't suggest what you should do, I was merely offering an opinion as asked. You absolutely have a right to make your own decisions as to what you will accept in a relationship, as does the other person, and their opinions, while different, are probably just as valid. 

My commitment to myself and my happiness/beliefs outweighs my commitment to my partner (as yours does- you are prioritising your own beliefs over hers, no? Essentially telling her "this is what I'm offering- take it or leave it". While you aren't threatening a breakup, the whole 'like it or lump it' is essentially the same ultimatum. She accepts your decision or is dissatisfied enough to move on.). Why is having a belief amusing in my case and justified in yours? Because you value your beliefs more highly than mine?

There's no right or wrong answer here,  I guess it depends on whose belief is stronger, and what they're willing to do to meet that belief. Good luck with it
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: GeorgiaCPA on May 18, 2015, 05:44:40 AM
It may only be 80 Euro per month, but to use MMM math it will cost you over 9,600 Euro over a decade.

Other than your feminist views on marriage, is there any other reason that you oppose marriage?  I look at the institution in the opposite manner as you.  You noted that it enslaved women.  The institution allowed stability for the raising of a family whereby both participants benefited.  If you want to consider the current enslavement of women look no further than the current status of the single mothers struggling to raise a family you also mentioned.  The institution of marriage began to breakdown with advances in birth control.  Cheating no longer produced unwanted children, and women were "freed" to give their bodies away for a moment of pleasure.  In the past they would have held out for the most suitable man to build a future with.  It turned into a bit of an arms race whereby more women give it away for free than not (just conjecture).  And as the old saying goes: why would you buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?

Do what you will, but given your current viewpoints it would actually show how much you love your SO if you were to commit to marriage.  If you don't want to enslave your SO, encourage her to earn a higher income than you so that the disincentive to work is in your court.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Ohio Teacher on May 18, 2015, 06:09:04 AM
From your description, it sounds like this is an important issue to your SO.  Now, I'm not saying you should marry someone just to make THEM happy, but you have been with her for 9 years.  She wants to be able to call you her husband.  Simple as that.  Make her happy.  Marry the girl.  Nothing will change except you will have shown you can be flexible.  It's not always about you.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: andreamac on May 18, 2015, 06:32:34 AM
I see both sides of the agreement here and this is becoming very common in Canada as well. Most of my 40ish co-workers have girlfriends and children but I guess I still can't comprehend why if you want to have children with someone, you don't make this commitment, that to me symbolizes stability. The taxes benefits are an extra perk.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Sibley on May 18, 2015, 06:56:28 AM
Are you afraid that if you're married, and everyone knows that you're married, that it would change you? Your behavior, how people perceive you, etc? If so, what do you fear would happen? What would it mean for you?

If your SO wants to get married and you won't marry her, then eventually it'll probably cause stresses in your relationship. In a way, you're being disrespectful of her wishes and beliefs. Not sure what the answer is, but food for thought.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Guesl982374 on May 18, 2015, 07:01:10 AM
It sounds like you need to answer these questions yourself:

-Am I ok if she decides to leave me over not getting married?
-If I do get married, will I resent the decision/her long term?

Decide your priorities and be clear with your partner.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: TrulyStashin on May 18, 2015, 07:01:30 AM
"The fact is, marriage is this magic thing. Marriage... symbolizes commitment and love like nothing else in the world. And it's known all over the world. I mean, wherever you go, if you're married, that means something to people, and it meant a difference in feeling the next day."

-Edith Windsor, plaintiff in U.S. v. Windsor which overturned federal law on same-sex marriage.

Maybe this helps articulate why it matters to your SO. 

You might also consider Emerson's point:   "Foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds." 

Edited to add:  What if you were not allowed to marry?   Consider this deeply for a moment -- turn the question 180 degrees -- what if you were barred from openly showing your love and commitment?  Would that change your perspective?  It's easy to take something for granted and dismiss it when you've always known you're entitled to it.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: I'm a red panda on May 18, 2015, 07:05:53 AM
In the States, being married means you have different rights when it comes to making medical decisions should your partner be incapacitated, visiting her in the hospital, inheritance issues, and other things.  These are among the reasons why gay people have been struggling for the right to marry.


This is why marriage is different for me; and I would want to be married to someone I had been with for so long and cared so much about.

But I have never been "actively opposed" to the institution.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: TrulyStashin on May 18, 2015, 07:06:52 AM
It sounds like you need to answer these questions yourself:

-Am I ok if she decides to leave me over not getting married?
-If I do get married, will I resent the decision/her long term?

Decide your priorities and be clear with your partner.

If he reconsiders and marries her, then he needs to completely and totally let go of his opposition to marriage and embrace it, and her, with a full heart.  Otherwise, he's doing her no favors and should let her go find someone else.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Bracken_Joy on May 18, 2015, 07:13:22 AM
I'll come from the perspective of someone in the medical field. I've seen more than 1 family having their world torn apart because the partner (in the last month: in one case, a gay couple, in one case, a straight couple, neither married, both long term relationships) isn't the decision maker/power of attorney/etc. And the parents of the patient, even if estranged, were the closest relative and 'technically' had the legal right to make critical care choices. In these cases, we have to bring in social workers, and there is a lot of yelling and crying and it is just awful for everyone involved.

To be fair, I am not a lawyer, but my advice would be this: if you opt not to get married, please do whatever the german equivalent of an advanced directive, living will, and power of attorney type documents. Especially if you plan on having children. (Also, while I'm on my soap box, please make sure your partner and family know your wishes in general for emergency and life sustaining care).
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: druth on May 18, 2015, 07:23:10 AM
My mom and step dad were not married for 10 years.  Neither cared about the institution at all.  They finally got married because my mom was hospitalized for a couple weeks.  I was the one that got to make all the decisions, and while my mom was fine with that it scared her enough that they finally decided to get married.  I think that she would say she would have preferred to be married before going into the hospital, rather than having a scare and realizing that it is important.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Mr. Green on May 18, 2015, 07:42:29 AM
My mom and step dad were not married for 10 years.  Neither cared about the institution at all.  They finally got married because my mom was hospitalized for a couple weeks.  I was the one that got to make all the decisions, and while my mom was fine with that it scared her enough that they finally decided to get married.  I think that she would say she would have preferred to be married before going into the hospital, rather than having a scare and realizing that it is important.
One of the biggest legal reasons for marriage outside of taxes, right there. Not sure how it works in Germany but in the US if you're not married the partner doesn't legally have the right to make decisions for the other person. That right stays with the biological family of that person. There might be some kind of court document to file that would fix that but it would be just as easy to get married at the courthouse. Is there a concept similar to a Justice of the Peace in Germany? It's a non-religious event that costs $50 or something like that and gives you all the legal protections the law affords a marriage. If something like that exists and you're going to be together for life anyway...
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: mskyle on May 18, 2015, 07:49:02 AM
To me, the attractive thing about marriage is that it is (or at least should be) an active decision that you make. Surely all of us have *stayed* in jobs or homes or relationships that were no longer working for us, that we wouldn't have chosen, just out of inertia - it's just a human tendency to accept the status quo. Ideally I see marriage as an opportunity to make a decision and public commitment about being together for the long term.

Of course, it's entirely possible to slide into marriage because "we've been together long enough" and "it's what people do" and that's probably a mistake as well. I don't know whether people who stay together for 20 years without getting married are any more or less likely to break up than people who get married 5 years in. I guess to me the important thing is being explicitly on the same page about where you would like your relationship to be going.

Basically, I don't find your arguments against marriage or your girlfriend's arguments for it particularly convincing.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: The_path_less_taken on May 18, 2015, 07:53:57 AM
It sounds like you need to answer these questions yourself:

-Am I ok if she decides to leave me over not getting married?
-If I do get married, will I resent the decision/her long term?

Decide your priorities and be clear with your partner.



1+++  to Liberty Stache: I believe you've nailed it.



I remember being about 12 and watching some goofy rom com movie where they were getting married in Vegas and when the preacher said, "By the powered vested in me by the state of Nevada.."

...I burst out laughing and had to leave the room.

Because I, personally, would never agree to 'vest' that power in anyone.

Like the OP, I'm not 'conventionally' religious. The thought that some state could decide such a personal life decision for me and MANDATE how it affected me and CHARGE ME for that process....mind boggling.

I'll keep that power for myself, thank you. I'm not a lawyer and know zip about German law, but the medical proxy (or whatever it's called over there) that is the equivalent of power of attorney is probably a fairly simple notarized document, as it is here?

That said...you already ARE married: in the US it's called common law marriage. It affords a few of the rights of those 'conventionally' married, but not many.

I would love to find someone who  is on my same wavelength, that 'gets' me, who has the same values, sense of humor, goals, ethics, etc. But my promises tend to be more personal, and I prefer not to involve a state/country in that process.

And I make promises that are more ironclad than any contract. If I choose live with a man, my promises would be fidelity, respect, honor, and allowing them the freedom to be themselves.

To me, that's married. But on my terms.


Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: limeandpepper on May 18, 2015, 08:13:36 AM
From your description, it sounds like this is an important issue to your SO.  Now, I'm not saying you should marry someone just to make THEM happy, but you have been with her for 9 years.  She wants to be able to call you her husband.  Simple as that.  Make her happy.  Marry the girl.  Nothing will change except you will have shown you can be flexible.  It's not always about you.

From his description, it sounds like this is an important issue to him. Now, I'm not saying she should stay unmarried just to make HIM happy, but they have been together for 9 years. He wants a commitment that is true to his values rather than that of the government. Simple as that. Make him happy. Don't worry about marriage. Nothing will change except she is able to show him that she can be flexible. It's not always about her.

And in the same vein...

If your SO wants to get married and you won't marry her, then eventually it'll probably cause stresses in your relationship. In a way, you're being disrespectful of her wishes and beliefs. Not sure what the answer is, but food for thought.

If your SO doesn't want to get married and you keep putting the pressure on, then eventually it'll probably cause stress in your relationship. In a way, you're being disrespectful of his wishes and beliefs. Not sure what the answer is, but food for thought.

:p

P.S. I don't actually care what they do. I am neither for nor against marriage, so I see myself as fairly impartial about this whole thing. I'm just wondering why people tend to encourage the anti-marriage person to yield, rather than the pro-marriage person. Obviously one person has to at least somewhat come around to the other person's point of view if they want to stay together in harmony, but that depends on the personalities involved. I'm not sure why some people are insinuating the OP is the selfish one here and that he should be the one to yield. They're both selfish because they each want what they want. ;)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: mom2_3Hs on May 18, 2015, 08:30:46 AM
+1 for the legal ramifications.  If you were suddenly and critically injured, would you want your SO to be able to make medical decisions for you?  Be in line to inherit your material goods?  If yes, get married.  If no, break up.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: catccc on May 18, 2015, 08:36:54 AM
Shes recently come up with the idea of marrying while we are on vacation in Australia. Which is just about the only type of marriage I could see myself agreeing to: no one knows and there is no big huff about it. :p
That doesn't however change any of my fundamental thoughts on the matter.

It sounds like you are arguing against a wedding, not a marriage.  They are two very different things.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Guizmo on May 18, 2015, 08:41:46 AM
From your description, it sounds like this is an important issue to your SO.  Now, I'm not saying you should marry someone just to make THEM happy, but you have been with her for 9 years.  She wants to be able to call you her husband.  Simple as that.  Make her happy.  Marry the girl.  Nothing will change except you will have shown you can be flexible.  It's not always about you.

But it's not always about her?! AMIRITE?!
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Guizmo on May 18, 2015, 08:52:11 AM
I always saw marriage as a religious institution. I'm an atheist so I don't really see the point of marriage for me. I mean when the divorce rate is 50% so how serious can it really be.

One of my buddies has been with his girlfriend for over 10 years and they have a kid.They have a more committed relationship than many married couples that I have seen.

Since you are not religious, I say don't get married. If she leaves you over a piece of paper then you know that she didn't love you enough anyways.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: TrulyStashin on May 18, 2015, 09:15:22 AM
I always saw marriage as a religious institution. I'm an atheist so I don't really see the point of marriage for me. I mean when the divorce rate is 50% so how serious can it really be.

One of my buddies has been with his girlfriend for over 10 years and they have a kid.They have a more committed relationship than many married couples that I have seen.

Since you are not religious, I say don't get married. If she leaves you over a piece of paper then you know that she didn't love you enough anyways.

The divorce rate is not 50%  -- it's closer to 25% for first marriages.  And, it's not just a "piece of paper."  Aside from the legal aspects, marriage -- whether civil or religious --  has tremendous symbolic importance because two people stand up and publicly and affirmatively commit their lives to one another.   It's an affirmative choice, and it's HARD (or it should be) to make that decision.   Allowing the years to slide by without really thinking about it is easy -- that's why they're 9 years together and this issue is just now coming up.  Big difference.

Note, that's neither an argument for it or against it.  But I disagree with the argument that it's trivial.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Kris on May 18, 2015, 09:48:31 AM


Since you are not religious, I say don't get married. If she leaves you over a piece of paper then you know that she didn't love you enough anyways.

Well, you could easily flip this and say to his girlfriend, "If he can't even sign a piece of paper that won't change anything for him just because he doesn't see the point even though it means so much to you, then he didn't love you enough anyway."
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: partgypsy on May 18, 2015, 09:58:06 AM
Hmm.

What are the benefits?
It legally codifies a relationship so for example your spouse comes before other family members when being able to visit hospital or prison, also health decision making, will, occupancy of house, etc. Some cases tax advantage. Makes kids "legal" and both parents automatically have parental rights (and responsibilities). Provides stability for children. If marriage was pointless, same sex partners would not be fighting for those rights. I have same sex friends who had to spend a lot of money in attorney's fees to get equivalent or near equivalent rights for their respective partners.  Otherwise there may be nightmare situations for things that you as a relatively young person don't necessarily think will happen to you.

It provides a lot of other intangible benefits. Men who marry live longer than men who are not married. It provides the woman more protections, stability when taking this huge risk of raising a child.  In general, studies have found married couples are financially better off than singles or non-married couples (2 people working together as a team does better financially than singles or couples not on the same page).

So for me, if I was with you, you would have to provide a more compelling argument than just you don't feel like it, at this stage in the relationship.

My husband didn't particularly care about getting married, and I was ambivalent about marriage as well (my parents divorced after 25 years of marriage). But after 5 years of living together I changed my mind about it, and so we got married. Did he suddenly get all romantic and get down on his knee, etc? No, but he married me because he wanted to make me happy, and making me happy made him happy. It's a symbolic way of saying, the relationship is greater than the sum of its parts.
 
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: norabird on May 18, 2015, 10:00:34 AM
I feel similarly to 11ducks--I want to be with someone who is eventually able to make that commitment to me. It matters to much to me to be able to accept that it's off the table, even if that's not fully rational.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: frugaldrummer on May 18, 2015, 10:14:06 AM
Quote
Why would I do something that I think is absolutely pointless and an archaic institution to enslave women.

I see it differently.  Marriage - especially where children are involved - is an institution that can protect women.

For instance - my (now-ex) husband and I met in medical school. We both were on equal footing at that time in terms of education and career.  But once we planned to have children, I chose a more flexible area of medicine and he chose a more demanding surgical field.  I worked part time when my children were young so that our children wouldn't have two parents who were gone all the time, and so that I could relieve my husband of many of the household chores so that he could excel in his chosen career.

When he had a midlife crisis at age 50 and decided to leave me to find a 20 years younger Asian chick, I was back working but making less than third of what he was (and much less than I would have been making if I had been as free to concentrate on MY career over those years, as he was to concentrate on HIS).   My earnings will never catch up with his.

After our divorce, I am still in a much decreased financial position, but it is buffered by the protections that marriage afforded me - half of our mutual assets, a third of his pension (which we had both been counting on for our retirement) and some spousal support for several years.  If we had just been living together I would have had little of this.  Marriage makes things fair for the spouse who takes on the bulk of the at-home parent role, and in my experience, in two career families, this is often the woman (not always).

If you never plan to have children then this is not as much of a consideration.  I will say, though, that being married makes you work harder at working things out, than if you weren't married.  The formal commitment in front of friends and family is not a negligible things.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Cpa Cat on May 18, 2015, 10:31:24 AM
Her feelings on the matter: (As fair and balanced as I can recite them)
Its just what one does and the normal thing to do.
It makes having children and taking care of one another easier.
There is a tax advantage to being married.

These sound like counterpoints - not feelings.

IE: Your partner made certain argument in order to counter what you say against marriage. It's a list of fairly rational advantages to marriages, crafted to counter your position that marriage is a pointless relic. See? Look at all these "points" to marriage that she's listed for you.

Given that you seem to strongly believe that it's pointless and irrational to get married... she can't very well counter with, "Well, I just want to, for totally pointless and irrational reasons that are important to me." Instead, she made an argument for you that essentially left feelings at the door.

For the record, I was raised by an anti-marriage parent. The majority of my family members engage in long-term non-marriage relationships. Most end up consulting with lawyers to get around the various legal issues that can be problematic. Pension issues seem to be the number one thing that pushes them toward a legal marriage. I married for immigration purposes - but I live in a culturally conservative area, which has influenced me to put more weight on marriage than I ever had previously.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Chrissy on May 18, 2015, 10:34:53 AM
What's this about for HER?  I doubt it's about the taxes.  Could it be about the other government benefits?  If so, can you find other legal agreements that confer the same benefits?

OR, is it about the ceremony?  Creating a memory?  You can have a "dedication" ceremony, or even a wedding ceremony without becoming legally married.  In this case, there's a couple costumes, some vows, a candle-lighting or other ritual, and usually photos--bada-bing!  Married.  You could get a friend to "officiate."

Since you're both considering children, I wonder if your SO has envisioned sitting on the sofa with your son or daughter, showing them pictures of the ceremony, which is one way children are shown that, before they were born, their parents valued each other, and put effort and planning into their union.  It's a helpful tool to communicate stability and your own particular family custom to future generations.

Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Guizmo on May 18, 2015, 11:10:02 AM
I always saw marriage as a religious institution. I'm an atheist so I don't really see the point of marriage for me. I mean when the divorce rate is 50% so how serious can it really be.

One of my buddies has been with his girlfriend for over 10 years and they have a kid.They have a more committed relationship than many married couples that I have seen.

Since you are not religious, I say don't get married. If she leaves you over a piece of paper then you know that she didn't love you enough anyways.

The divorce rate is not 50%  -- it's closer to 25% for first marriages.  And, it's not just a "piece of paper."  Aside from the legal aspects, marriage -- whether civil or religious --  has tremendous symbolic importance because two people stand up and publicly and affirmatively commit their lives to one another.   It's an affirmative choice, and it's HARD (or it should be) to make that decision.   Allowing the years to slide by without really thinking about it is easy -- that's why they're 9 years together and this issue is just now coming up.  Big difference.

Note, that's neither an argument for it or against it.  But I disagree with the argument that it's trivial.

The OP said in his country the divorce rate is 50%. You don't have to married to affirm that you want to be with someone. Likewise many marry because as the OPs SO said, that is just the normal thing to do, thus not making it a real affirmative choice.

All I'm saying is that you can have a deep commitment to someone else without having an institution (government or religious) affirm it and a piece of paper does not dictate how strong that commitment is.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: kite on May 18, 2015, 11:13:26 AM
Marriage protects the weaker partner in a relationship.  In a completely egalitarian society it could be considered archaic, but that's not what we have.  Nor are you ever likely to have it.  There is always an imbalance.  What no one tells you:  that imbalance between the two of you is not fixed, but is in flux.  My spouse out-earned me 2:1 early on in our marriage and is now, after 30 years together, disabled.  If we were unmarried, he could be either destitute or supported by me out of the kindness of my heart.  But we married 27 years ago, so he is legally entitled to support from me.  I have to keep a roof over his head, even if I don't especially feel like it.  I'm a kind & loving person, but imagine how much more vulnerable he would be if he had to depend on my kindness instead of the legal protection that entitles him to half of what I've earned and amassed. 

As far as the divorce rate, I think it's exactly the right rate  People should be able to leave a bad relationship and it is good that there is a proscribed, legal protection  (again) for the weaker partner that governs the dissolution of a marriage and provides for disbursement of assets.   Absent divorce and divorce law, the weaker person is at the mercy of the one who wants out and has more resources. 

As for whether you should marry at all or marry this woman in particular is another matter.  She wants to commit and declare her feelings publicly....that's what getting married is.  Some people receive that news with utter joy, and are over the moon that their partner has such a degree of love for them.  Others cringe.  Maybe you don't feel the same, but don't articulate it for fear of losing what you've got going on now.  Maybe you "love what you have together" but don't love her to the extent that you would, for example, forsake all others.  Maybe you are holding out for something else.  Maybe, deep down, you are selfish and wouldn't put everything into the relationship with her.  Personally, I'd respect selfishness over a contorted, mansplaining statement that says marriage is a disincentivizing influence for the lower paid person to go out and find better paying employment.  "Ladies, it's not that there is or has been sexism and gender discrimination.  See, it's that gold band on your left hand has made you just a bit lazy.  Let's keep shacking up....for your own good"

That you've stuck together for the past 9 years could be just as much from inertia as out of deep abiding love.  You two are exactly at the age where people like to take stock of where they are and where things are headed.  What strangers on the Internet think pales in comparison to what the thoughts and feelings are of the one who parks her head next to yours each night.  That SHE wants it is as good a reason as any.  But, heck, I'd take a bullet for my spouse and vice versa.  I wouldn't have wasted time with him if that weren't the case, so it's perplexing to me that so many settle for a halfway measure....... which is my opinion of living with someone who isn't committed, it's an unsatisfying half measure.   Wouldn't it be more fun to be a free agent if the other person wasn't sure?  Why tie yourself through your fertile years to someone who is "actively opposed" to the future you envision.  Admittedly,  I'm amused by members of a generation that appears afraid to make a commitment in marriage, but is unafraid to tattoo their school mascot or a song lyric on their body.  It's close to impossible to get rid of ink. 
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: I'm a red panda on May 18, 2015, 11:20:57 AM

It sounds like you are arguing against a wedding, not a marriage.  They are two very different things.

THIS.


You could always get married, and just not tell anyone.  Nothing would change except in the mind of your girlfriend who wants to get married and your tax papers. (Unless one of you were hospitalized or another situation where being married has benefits.)
Title: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: lifejoy on May 18, 2015, 11:22:34 AM
For me, marriage is a social signifier. It tells people that I meet that the relationship I have with this guy is serious, committed, and long-term. In the past, when I would mention my boyfriend, how would people know that it was serious? Sure, I could explain or they could get to know me, but "husband" signifies all of that in a way that I really enjoy. I'm proud to be committed to him, and I like everyone to know it.

Also, I like separating my DH from past bf's - he deserves a whole new category. He is so much more than a bf :)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: jzb11 on May 18, 2015, 11:23:56 AM
If you want to be partners and do life together, great. However marriage is a very risky proposition for men today with little or no benefit, and down right catastrophic consequences for men in the event of divorce.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: BlueHouse on May 18, 2015, 11:39:45 AM
When I was younger and the financially weaker partner, marriage was important to me.  Now that I'm older and the financially stronger partner, I don't see any point in getting married.

Marriage creates a legal and financial obligation to the other party.  Sometimes people just need that in order to really feel secure in the relationship and in their own future. 
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: lakemom on May 18, 2015, 11:41:48 AM
So......if its "a meaningless" commitment/piece of paper/ceremony and you've done it your way for 9 years....just go ahead and do it HER way (married) for the next 9 years then if you still don't like it, get a divorce, and still be together for the next 9 years after that.  After all, its all meaningless to you anyway, you say you love her and want to be with her for the rest of your life, so since she's humored you for nine years its maybe your turn to humor her for a decade?  Hmmmmm just food for thought as a committed relationship (and a marriage) is all about give and take and compromise or, no matter what your situation (married/living together/just being together), it won't work long-term (and I'm celebrating 31 years married to my only husband this summer).
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: kite on May 18, 2015, 11:42:25 AM
"The fact is, marriage is this magic thing. Marriage... symbolizes commitment and love like nothing else in the world. And it's known all over the world. I mean, wherever you go, if you're married, that means something to people, and it meant a difference in feeling the next day."

-Edith Windsor, plaintiff in U.S. v. Windsor which overturned federal law on same-sex marriage.


+ 100
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Guizmo on May 18, 2015, 11:42:56 AM
For me, marriage is a social signifier. It tells people that I meet that the relationship I have with this guy is serious, committed, and long-term. In the past, when I would mention my boyfriend, how would people know that it was serious? Sure, I could explain or they could get to know me, but "husband" signifies all of that in a way that I really enjoy. I'm proud to be committed to him, and I like everyone to know it.

Also, I like separating my DH from past bf's - he deserves a whole new category. He is so much more than a bf :)

This is super interesting. Did you ever consider just calling him your partner or significant other instead of boyfriend? Another thing that I wonder is why would you care if other people thought your relationship is serious? I hope you don't think I am trying to be mean. I am really curious because I think I have a more introverted personality and I don't really care what many people think about me or what I do.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Psychstache on May 18, 2015, 11:52:14 AM
As many have noted, there are tangible benefits to marriage. In the US, there are roughly 1100 rights/benefits that legal marriage including things like power of attorney, spousal privilege in testimony, medical directives, taxes, estate planning, pension and SS spousal benefits, survivor benefits, etc. It might be worth investigating whether or not there are more things legally tied to a marriage than just taxes in Germany. That might better suit your pragmatic sensibilities.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 18, 2015, 11:55:09 AM
If you are not interested in ever getting married, then I think it's critical you tell her that clearly.  She can then make her own choice of whether this is acceptable or if she would walk over it.  (Note that if she came with the same question, I'd be telling her to decide whether she can live forever without marriage and if not, to communicate it to you.  The onus being on the one asking for advice, and not gender or position specific.)

Why get married?  People marry for many reasons.  My perspective is US based because that's where I live:

Legal Rights: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States
- Government benefits: Disability, Social Security, veteran's pension
- Employment benefits: Health care, pension, funeral/bereavement leave (for spouse plus close relatives of spouse), sick leave (to care for you)
- Medical decisions: Decisions about care, visitation rights
- Inheritance: To inherit w/o paying taxes
- Immigration benefits: Priority
- Legal rights: To institute a wrongful death case, to sue for loss of consortium in your own right, marital communications protection
- Death: Decisions on handling remains and examinations
- Other: Rights to family memberships at various organizations, family discount on insurance

You can contract for some things, which I've italicized.  You can't contract for others.  Contracting can be an expensive endeavor.

Social Status:
- In our society, a long-term commitment to someone is generally shown through marriage.  People often - on purpose or unconsciously - treat unmarried couples differently than married couples.  For example, friends may not send a +1 for a small wedding.  People may talk about or to you differently.  On a personal level, I will share that my parents wouldn't let us share a room while unmarried.  (Whether you believe their treatment appropriate or not does not change the fact that it happens.)  Some people find it difficult to "buck" the status quo. 

Religious Meaning:
- You dismissed this as irrelevant for both of you, but for some people, this is a significant driver in getting married.

Greater Commitment:
- You may be more likely to work through problems

I cannot speak for you or your partner as to whether any of these rights or factors are significant for you.  (Note there are some corresponding obligations to provide support to the other partner as well to consider.)  I can only tell you that I consider having a child a far bigger commitment than marriage, and for me, would never willing choose to have a child with someone who was unwilling to commit to marriage with me.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: I'm a red panda on May 18, 2015, 12:04:41 PM
If you want to be partners and do life together, great. However marriage is a very risky proposition for men today with little or no benefit, and down right catastrophic consequences for men in the event of divorce.

Marriage can totally screw over women too (especially those who give up careers to care for children).

Divorce is a pretty equal "ruin everything" opportunity.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: swick on May 18, 2015, 12:07:29 PM
Also - and this IS rather archaic, but there are many countries that under law or moral code, will not rent you a hotel room if you are not married. So it can be a PITA when you are traveling. 
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: tlars699 on May 18, 2015, 12:36:27 PM
1. As previously noted there is the social status. You keep saying on how marriage is used to ensalve women, but take a look around at the general culture today:
(https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR-lN0h99MIkY10sBRFuV9z1EEt0MLrdwJDUIRgBtHOTnI_dmfIwg)

Women are taught culturally that they are not worth as much unless someone is willing to say "Yes, I will contractually oblige myself to stay with you forever in the eyes of the law".

Women who have children outside of wedlock are constant judged and put upon by other people who have no clue what their status may be (Noted from personal experience).

There is a comedienne out these whose first bit is entitled "War Paint" which refers to what Make-Up is "truly used for" by girls/women.

Face it: Today, culturally and socially speaking in the western world, the institution of marriage is viewed as enslavement of Men.

Yes, it's annoying that the government is involved in your bedroom in this regard, but if you benefit, and she wants the socio-economic security that marriage affords her, why else would you say no?

Also: Not noted very well, but child support collection, at least in the US, IS NOT RECOURSE for when you split up/never get married.
There is NO economic security in it whatsoever, and more and more there are laws passed that support the payer (reduced interest on late payments, sketchy jobless searches accounted for, shared placement rulings, etc.) Because single mothers can't afford lawyers, and are basically treated by the law as though they deserve everything they get. (Sorry, went through this due to a two-timing, lying chump, and it sucks hardcore.)

Basically, the only way to be financially secure in having children is to be a high income earner/completely financially independent, or to be married to your partner.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: kite on May 18, 2015, 12:50:45 PM
If you want to be partners and do life together, great. However marriage is a very risky proposition for men today with little or no benefit, and down right catastrophic consequences for men in the event of divorce.

Married men live longer, earn more money and have more sex than their unmarried peers.  They generally have more respect in society and the love and companionship of an extended family.  I confess to being confused as to how all that equates to "little or no benefit"
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: mlejw6 on May 18, 2015, 01:26:46 PM
So......if its "a meaningless" commitment/piece of paper/ceremony and you've done it your way for 9 years....just go ahead and do it HER way (married) for the next 9 years then if you still don't like it, get a divorce, and still be together for the next 9 years after that.  After all, its all meaningless to you anyway, you say you love her and want to be with her for the rest of your life, so since she's humored you for nine years its maybe your turn to humor her for a decade?  Hmmmmm just food for thought as a committed relationship (and a marriage) is all about give and take and compromise or, no matter what your situation (married/living together/just being together), it won't work long-term (and I'm celebrating 31 years married to my only husband this summer).

You said it before I could! OP, you've tried the not-being-married for nine years. Now try the being-married. It's not like you can't reverse it if you don't like it!

But seriously, what if you did a legal form of marriage without the marriage? i.e. you are each other's powers of attorney and what-not so that you don't have to experience the horrors of not being able to visit each other in the hospital. How would your partner like that compromise?

Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: jzb11 on May 18, 2015, 01:27:00 PM
If you want to be partners and do life together, great. However marriage is a very risky proposition for men today with little or no benefit, and down right catastrophic consequences for men in the event of divorce.

Married men live longer, earn more money and have more sex than their unmarried peers.  They generally have more respect in society and the love and companionship of an extended family.  I confess to being confused as to how all that equates to "little or no benefit"

Because 50% of all marriages end in Divorce, which results in the total emotional, psychological, and financial devastation of men.

Because in nearly all instances, the wife will be rewarded custody, child support and alimony - regardless of whether or not she is at fault for initiating the divorce.

Because men can go to jail for not being able to pay, yet women face no legal consequences for alienating children from their father, or preventing their father from seeing their children.


In regards to married men earning more money, they do so because they feel the motivation and pressure to provide for their dependents. A single doesn't need the income that a married man or woman does.

In regards to married men having more sex than their peers - LOL.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 18, 2015, 01:36:04 PM
If you want to be partners and do life together, great. However marriage is a very risky proposition for men today with little or no benefit, and down right catastrophic consequences for men in the event of divorce.

Married men live longer, earn more money and have more sex than their unmarried peers.  They generally have more respect in society and the love and companionship of an extended family.  I confess to being confused as to how all that equates to "little or no benefit"

Because 50% of all marriages end in Divorce, which results in the total emotional, psychological, and financial devastation of menboth parties.

Because in nearly all instances, the wife primary caretaker parent will be rewarded custody, child support and alimony - regardless of whether or not she who is at fault for initiating the divorce because fault is an outdated concept as 1) courts prioritize the best interests of the children and recognize fault for marriage ending has nothing to do with who is best suited to have primary custody and 2) courts now allow people to divorce without proving fault.

Because men parents can go to jail for not being able to pay, yet women parents face no insufficient legal consequences for alienating children from their father the other parent, or preventing their father the other parent from seeing their children.

ftfy
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Cressida on May 18, 2015, 02:11:47 PM
If you want to be partners and do life together, great. However marriage is a very risky proposition for men today with little or no benefit, and down right catastrophic consequences for men in the event of divorce.

Married men live longer, earn more money and have more sex than their unmarried peers.  They generally have more respect in society and the love and companionship of an extended family.  I confess to being confused as to how all that equates to "little or no benefit"

Because 50% of all marriages end in Divorce, which results in the total emotional, psychological, and financial devastation of men.

Because in nearly all instances, the wife will be rewarded custody, child support and alimony - regardless of whether or not she is at fault for initiating the divorce.

Because men can go to jail for not being able to pay, yet women face no legal consequences for alienating children from their father, or preventing their father from seeing their children.


In regards to married men earning more money, they do so because they feel the motivation and pressure to provide for their dependents. A single doesn't need the income that a married man or woman does.

In regards to married men having more sex than their peers - LOL.

This is standard MRA claptrap. I suggest we ignore this person.

p.s. Ha, I was so busy rolling my eyes at the above that I forgot to respond to OP. This is the thing: It's an all-or-nothing situation where you two do not agree. No compromise is possible; you can't be half married. It's hard to see how this ends well.

(edited: postscript)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: IAmBadWolf on May 18, 2015, 04:43:03 PM
I should probably thank you first--this is the thread that convinced me to stop circling and set up an account on MMM. (Straw that broke the camel's back, I guess, more than anything. I'll post an intro thread at some point. Anyway.)

I wanted to weigh in because I don't see anyone addressing the first thought I had when reading the original post: Your main argument against marriage seems to be that, as an institution, it disempowers women. Yet the woman most directly affected by your position--your girlfriend--wants to get married. So in effect, what you're saying is "The only way for me to treat my gf the way she deserves to be treated is to disregard her wishes, because I know what she needs better than she does." I don't think that's the message you really mean to send.

Which makes me think there's more going on than just the feminism angle. (Warning: armchair psychology ahead!) Human brains--yours, mine, everyone's--are experts at dreaming up comfortable reasons for us to do what we do, when the real reason is something that would make us uncomfortable if we ever admitted it. I'm guessing if you think about it hard enough, you'll come up with some other reasons why you don't want to get married, maybe that you don't feel comfortable sharing here. Maybe you're subconsciously worried the relationship won't last. Or part of you is just a little uncomfortable with change, in general. Or, given that you're drawn to the Mustachian philosophy, I wonder if it might simply be reactance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactance_%28psychology%29). Mustachians pride themselves on their ability to break from the crowd and make independent choices, but (and I say this from experience) it's sometimes all too easy to confuse "breaking from the crowd" with "fighting the crowd." I wonder if you might be opposed to marriage because everyone else seems to like it, and therefore getting married makes you feel like just another lemming, which is something you generally strive to avoid.

So the way I see it, the answer to your question depends on which of these options seems most accurate:

1) You have psychoanalyzed yourself 100% correctly, and your objection to marriage is rooted in your desire to help empower women. Why not empower the woman in your life by letting her make this decision?

2) You have some other, subconscious, possibly slightly embarrassing reason(s) to resist getting married. You need to figure out what these reasons are and discuss them with your girlfriend. After 9 years, you two should be more than capable of admitting embarrassing things to each other. Hopefully she will either assuage your fears or acknowledge that they're valid and come around to your point of view. If a discussion is simply impossible, either because the two of you aren't comfortable talking or because the conversation will hurt your girlfriend (e.g. "I don't love you as much as we both thought I did") then you should probably reconsider whether to remain in the relationship at all.

3) If your other, subconscious reason should turn out to be "Society is telling me to get married and I don't like doing what I'm told," don't even bother discussing it. Punch yourself in the face and go get married. Opposing society for the sake of non-conformance isn't any more independent than going along for the sake of conformance; either way, society is dictating your actions.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: okits on May 18, 2015, 05:22:24 PM
I am curious to know, OP, if any of the responses have prompted you to ponder further down a train of thought or made you question your or your partner's position?

My general feeling is that unless both parties really want to marry, you shouldn't do it.  Ideally a big commitment like that is not made under any sort of duress (reality is not always so perfect, but for such an important thing I say shoot for the ideal.)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Quince on May 18, 2015, 05:53:30 PM
I'm not a big fan of marriage, but my husband is,  so married we are.

There are definitely legal benefits in the United States that are worth having. I would have been happier quietly filling out the paperwork and not telling anyone, but he wanted a wedding, so we had a very small one.  Tiny ceremony, that emphasized that getting married did not change our relationship, just shared it with others.

In my mind, my commitment to him is unchanged . If a public declaration of commitment is important to him, that's OK. He's not the kind of asshole who will project his feelings about marriage onto unmarried, committed couples, or single people, for that matter.  If he was, we wouldn't be married or together.

Also, we saved $50 on car insurance.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Bracken_Joy on May 18, 2015, 06:38:19 PM
I should probably thank you first--this is the thread that convinced me to stop circling and set up an account on MMM. (Straw that broke the camel's back, I guess, more than anything. I'll post an intro thread at some point. Anyway.)

I wanted to weigh in because I don't see anyone addressing the first thought I had when reading the original post: Your main argument against marriage seems to be that, as an institution, it disempowers women. Yet the woman most directly affected by your position--your girlfriend--wants to get married. So in effect, what you're saying is "The only way for me to treat my gf the way she deserves to be treated is to disregard her wishes, because I know what she needs better than she does." I don't think that's the message you really mean to send.

Which makes me think there's more going on than just the feminism angle. (Warning: armchair psychology ahead!) Human brains--yours, mine, everyone's--are experts at dreaming up comfortable reasons for us to do what we do, when the real reason is something that would make us uncomfortable if we ever admitted it. I'm guessing if you think about it hard enough, you'll come up with some other reasons why you don't want to get married, maybe that you don't feel comfortable sharing here. Maybe you're subconsciously worried the relationship won't last. Or part of you is just a little uncomfortable with change, in general. Or, given that you're drawn to the Mustachian philosophy, I wonder if it might simply be reactance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactance_%28psychology%29). Mustachians pride themselves on their ability to break from the crowd and make independent choices, but (and I say this from experience) it's sometimes all too easy to confuse "breaking from the crowd" with "fighting the crowd." I wonder if you might be opposed to marriage because everyone else seems to like it, and therefore getting married makes you feel like just another lemming, which is something you generally strive to avoid.

So the way I see it, the answer to your question depends on which of these options seems most accurate:

1) You have psychoanalyzed yourself 100% correctly, and your objection to marriage is rooted in your desire to help empower women. Why not empower the woman in your life by letting her make this decision?

2) You have some other, subconscious, possibly slightly embarrassing reason(s) to resist getting married. You need to figure out what these reasons are and discuss them with your girlfriend. After 9 years, you two should be more than capable of admitting embarrassing things to each other. Hopefully she will either assuage your fears or acknowledge that they're valid and come around to your point of view. If a discussion is simply impossible, either because the two of you aren't comfortable talking or because the conversation will hurt your girlfriend (e.g. "I don't love you as much as we both thought I did") then you should probably reconsider whether to remain in the relationship at all.

3) If your other, subconscious reason should turn out to be "Society is telling me to get married and I don't like doing what I'm told," don't even bother discussing it. Punch yourself in the face and go get married. Opposing society for the sake of non-conformance isn't any more independent than going along for the sake of conformance; either way, society is dictating your actions.

This was very well framed and structured. An excellent contribution to the discussion. Thank you!
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: SilveradoBojangles on May 18, 2015, 07:01:38 PM
I felt very similar about this issue. I not only had no interest in getting married, but was mostly opposed to it. My SO did want to get married, but he wasn't pushing it. In the end, I decided to do it because I realized that if he were to suddenly become very ill or die, looking back I would regret not having married him. Both because of the medical/financial benefits marriage brings, and because I would have been withholding something from the person I love best in this world because I was philosophically against it, despite the fact that it would have no negative (and probably some positive) repercussions for my life. I still generally call him my partner because I don't like the word husband. But I have made my peace with marriage.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 18, 2015, 07:16:52 PM
I should probably thank you first--this is the thread that convinced me to stop circling and set up an account on MMM. (Straw that broke the camel's back, I guess, more than anything. I'll post an intro thread at some point. Anyway.)

I wanted to weigh in because I don't see anyone addressing the first thought I had when reading the original post: Your main argument against marriage seems to be that, as an institution, it disempowers women. Yet the woman most directly affected by your position--your girlfriend--wants to get married. So in effect, what you're saying is "The only way for me to treat my gf the way she deserves to be treated is to disregard her wishes, because I know what she needs better than she does." I don't think that's the message you really mean to send.

Which makes me think there's more going on than just the feminism angle. (Warning: armchair psychology ahead!) Human brains--yours, mine, everyone's--are experts at dreaming up comfortable reasons for us to do what we do, when the real reason is something that would make us uncomfortable if we ever admitted it. I'm guessing if you think about it hard enough, you'll come up with some other reasons why you don't want to get married, maybe that you don't feel comfortable sharing here. Maybe you're subconsciously worried the relationship won't last. Or part of you is just a little uncomfortable with change, in general. Or, given that you're drawn to the Mustachian philosophy, I wonder if it might simply be reactance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactance_%28psychology%29). Mustachians pride themselves on their ability to break from the crowd and make independent choices, but (and I say this from experience) it's sometimes all too easy to confuse "breaking from the crowd" with "fighting the crowd." I wonder if you might be opposed to marriage because everyone else seems to like it, and therefore getting married makes you feel like just another lemming, which is something you generally strive to avoid.

So the way I see it, the answer to your question depends on which of these options seems most accurate:

1) You have psychoanalyzed yourself 100% correctly, and your objection to marriage is rooted in your desire to help empower women. Why not empower the woman in your life by letting her make this decision?

2) You have some other, subconscious, possibly slightly embarrassing reason(s) to resist getting married. You need to figure out what these reasons are and discuss them with your girlfriend. After 9 years, you two should be more than capable of admitting embarrassing things to each other. Hopefully she will either assuage your fears or acknowledge that they're valid and come around to your point of view. If a discussion is simply impossible, either because the two of you aren't comfortable talking or because the conversation will hurt your girlfriend (e.g. "I don't love you as much as we both thought I did") then you should probably reconsider whether to remain in the relationship at all.

3) If your other, subconscious reason should turn out to be "Society is telling me to get married and I don't like doing what I'm told," don't even bother discussing it. Punch yourself in the face and go get married. Opposing society for the sake of non-conformance isn't any more independent than going along for the sake of conformance; either way, society is dictating your actions.

This was very well framed and structured. An excellent contribution to the discussion. Thank you!

+2
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Kris on May 18, 2015, 07:49:40 PM
I should probably thank you first--this is the thread that convinced me to stop circling and set up an account on MMM. (Straw that broke the camel's back, I guess, more than anything. I'll post an intro thread at some point. Anyway.)

I wanted to weigh in because I don't see anyone addressing the first thought I had when reading the original post: Your main argument against marriage seems to be that, as an institution, it disempowers women. Yet the woman most directly affected by your position--your girlfriend--wants to get married. So in effect, what you're saying is "The only way for me to treat my gf the way she deserves to be treated is to disregard her wishes, because I know what she needs better than she does." I don't think that's the message you really mean to send.

Which makes me think there's more going on than just the feminism angle. (Warning: armchair psychology ahead!) Human brains--yours, mine, everyone's--are experts at dreaming up comfortable reasons for us to do what we do, when the real reason is something that would make us uncomfortable if we ever admitted it. I'm guessing if you think about it hard enough, you'll come up with some other reasons why you don't want to get married, maybe that you don't feel comfortable sharing here. Maybe you're subconsciously worried the relationship won't last. Or part of you is just a little uncomfortable with change, in general. Or, given that you're drawn to the Mustachian philosophy, I wonder if it might simply be reactance. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reactance_%28psychology%29). Mustachians pride themselves on their ability to break from the crowd and make independent choices, but (and I say this from experience) it's sometimes all too easy to confuse "breaking from the crowd" with "fighting the crowd." I wonder if you might be opposed to marriage because everyone else seems to like it, and therefore getting married makes you feel like just another lemming, which is something you generally strive to avoid.

So the way I see it, the answer to your question depends on which of these options seems most accurate:

1) You have psychoanalyzed yourself 100% correctly, and your objection to marriage is rooted in your desire to help empower women. Why not empower the woman in your life by letting her make this decision?

2) You have some other, subconscious, possibly slightly embarrassing reason(s) to resist getting married. You need to figure out what these reasons are and discuss them with your girlfriend. After 9 years, you two should be more than capable of admitting embarrassing things to each other. Hopefully she will either assuage your fears or acknowledge that they're valid and come around to your point of view. If a discussion is simply impossible, either because the two of you aren't comfortable talking or because the conversation will hurt your girlfriend (e.g. "I don't love you as much as we both thought I did") then you should probably reconsider whether to remain in the relationship at all.

3) If your other, subconscious reason should turn out to be "Society is telling me to get married and I don't like doing what I'm told," don't even bother discussing it. Punch yourself in the face and go get married. Opposing society for the sake of non-conformance isn't any more independent than going along for the sake of conformance; either way, society is dictating your actions.

Aptly put.

And welcome.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Exhale on May 18, 2015, 07:57:46 PM
I want a partner for life, which to me means marriage.

I'm curious about how marriage = commitment. I'm not trying to be snarky. I'm genuinely curious. Is it that marriage is harder to get out of than, say, just walking out the door? Or is it the fact that marriage is usually conducted in front of friends and family? Or...? My point is that marriage doesn't automatically mean commitment. I might be open to celebrating our relationship after ten years or so of commitment (but not before the ten years even start). Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the whole marriage = commitment, if you wish to do so.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: ender on May 18, 2015, 08:16:50 PM
I want a partner for life, which to me means marriage.
I'm curious about how marriage = commitment. I'm not trying to be snarky. I'm genuinely curious. Is it that marriage is harder to get out of than, say, just walking out the door? Or is it the fact that marriage is usually conducted in front of friends and family? Or...?

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the whole marriage = commitment, if you wish to do so.

Well, one perspective is that you are tying your future income/earnings to your spouse.  You are much more legally ensuring they will be a part, if only financially, in your and potentially your children's lives.

Without marriage it's not as clear cut (not that it's 100% clear cut in divorces, either).

... not really a glamorous way to think about it :)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 18, 2015, 08:35:39 PM
I want a partner for life, which to me means marriage.

I'm curious about how marriage = commitment. I'm not trying to be snarky. I'm genuinely curious. Is it that marriage is harder to get out of than, say, just walking out the door? Or is it the fact that marriage is usually conducted in front of friends and family? Or...?

I got married because my ex felt that showed commitment. I didn't need that external ritual to show my commitment, but honored the wishes of my ex. Ironically, it's my ex who, four years later, decided to leave the marriage (we agreed it was the right thing to do - my ex was no longer interested in our relationship). BTW - no tax benefits for us, so that issue wasn't in the equation.

My point is that marriage doesn't automatically mean commitment. IMHO what shows true commitment is the person who chooses me day-after-day. In my experience, it's easy to say "I do" and have a big party, what's hard is to stick with someone year-after-year. Hmm, writing that, I realize that I might be open to celebrating our relationship after ten years or so of commitment (but not before the ten years even start).

Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts on the whole marriage = commitment, if you wish to do so.

Well the OP only has one year to go then!
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Zamboni on May 18, 2015, 09:28:26 PM
Just pretend you are Dutch and sign a 5 year co-habitation contract ;-)

Seriously, though, don't oppose getting married just for the sake of opposing it. 9 years seems long enough to decide: if you still want to be with her, then buy her a big gawdy diamond ring that would embarrass Ivana Trump and surprise her with a proposal.

Disclosure: This message brought to you by de Beers. Zamboni is a paid spokesperson and is not actually a married person.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: kite on May 19, 2015, 05:28:24 AM
I keep looking for the sentiment to be expressed that you love this person and already are committed, so what's the point of fomalizing it with a marriage license .  But I haven't seen it.  Instead, you say you're conflict averse....
Interesting. 
I'm pro marriage  (for some) but despite your 9 year history, i sense quite a bit of ambivalence from what you've written.  Ambivalence isn't a great start to marriage. 
You actually haven't written much about what you envision the future to be like, only that you may want to have kids some day.  Well for her, the window slams shut with some finality and there isn't a do-over with someone else if you are still ambivalent after 9 more years. 
I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the feeling is there.  Regardless,  you don't need to tell or convince me.  She's the one who is entitled to an answer.
You've already spent your entire adulthood,  full third of your life, with this woman.  If you're looking for an out, she's handing it to you.  But if she's so fucking awesome that having her in your life makes you feel like the luckiest man alive and you can't wait to get home to her each day, you don't need convincing from strangers on the Internet to do what needs to be done. 
Best of luck to you both.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 19, 2015, 08:04:05 AM
Thanks all so far for contributing. There is lot's of food for thought.
A few general things. I'm not sure exactly when, but I would say the topic of marriage first came up 2+ years ago and I was very open and direct about not wanting to marry from the very start of that discussion. It's not something that has just recently come to surprise and haunt her. Prior to that discussion it just never came up, partly because it was a foregone conclusion for me which I never gave any active thought.. ;)

Interesting.  I tend to think of the "will get married, eventually" as the default because well, most people either do get married or are looking to do so.  So if the topic didn't come up for 7 years, I'd think I was headed towards getting married soon.  I wouldn't think "no, not marrying" as the default.  Frankly, it seems to me you both made some pretty bad assumptions that 2 years ago came around to bite you.  (I'll admit I feel more for her than you, as right now, it's your ideal world, not hers.  As Kite noted, she's spent 9 years in the relationship, so if she wants both marriage and kids, she's biologically speaking left with a limited time to meet the frogs, find the prince, marry and produce kids.  Not impossible, but pretty cruel to keep her in limbo any longer so she can make a decision.)  I'm pretty puzzled as to WHY you both ignored such a critical topic, but you have so you have to both accept responsibility for that colossal error and move forward with what you've got now. 

As kite mentions, love isn't really coming through your posts.  You seem pretty ambivalent about the relationship.   Tell us about her.  Do you love her?
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: ChaseJuggler on May 19, 2015, 08:15:04 AM
My gf and I have agreed to never get married, unless we can find an incentive to (we can't.)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: TrulyStashin on May 19, 2015, 12:28:35 PM
Thanks all so far for contributing. There is lot's of food for thought.
A few general things. I'm not sure exactly when, but I would say the topic of marriage first came up 2+ years ago and I was very open and direct about not wanting to marry from the very start of that discussion. It's not something that has just recently come to surprise and haunt her. Prior to that discussion it just never came up, partly because it was a foregone conclusion for me which I never gave any active thought.. ;)

Interesting.  I tend to think of the "will get married, eventually" as the default because well, most people either do get married or are looking to do so.  So if the topic didn't come up for 7 years, I'd think I was headed towards getting married soon.  I wouldn't think "no, not marrying" as the default.  Frankly, it seems to me you both made some pretty bad assumptions that 2 years ago came around to bite you.  (I'll admit I feel more for her than you, as right now, it's your ideal world, not hers.  As Kite noted, she's spent 9 years in the relationship, so if she wants both marriage and kids, she's biologically speaking left with a limited time to meet the frogs, find the prince, marry and produce kids.  Not impossible, but pretty cruel to keep her in limbo any longer so she can make a decision.)  I'm pretty puzzled as to WHY you both ignored such a critical topic, but you have so you have to both accept responsibility for that colossal error and move forward with what you've got now. 

As kite mentions, love isn't really coming through your posts.  You seem pretty ambivalent about the relationship.   Tell us about her.  Do you love her?

You could change the details in this thread and it would bear a striking resemblance to a "Should I buy a Prius?" threads.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: James on May 19, 2015, 12:45:44 PM
As kite mentions, love isn't really coming through your posts.  You seem pretty ambivalent about the relationship.   Tell us about her.  Do you love her?

I think the blunt objectivity of the OP can come across as callus disregard for some. Objectivity in discussion does not require lack of passion for the subject of the discussion.

It certainly could mean he is ambivalent rather than caring, but I doubt it, and choose to view it as objectively considering the idea on a forum, keeping his emotional thoughts and expressions to himself. That is how I would handle the discussion if it were me, and if my wife then read it she would consider it callus and uncaring despite my actual concern and love for her. Just a different perspective to consider.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: southern granny on May 19, 2015, 01:05:30 PM
Although the divorce rate is 50%, I think a lot of people who marry and divorce 4,5 or 6 times affects the rate.  I have been married 40 years.  Everyone in our wedding party is still married to original spouses except one  woman whose husband died at age 38 and she has been married to second husband for 19 years.  Between my husbands original family and mine there were 10 children and only two have divorced and one never married. My marriage is precious to me.  Like every marriage, we have had rough spots along the way.  Possibly, if we were only living together we would have split up during those times instead of working it out.  Had that happened we would have missed out on a lot.  I personally would never have children with a man who refused marriage. 
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 19, 2015, 01:36:03 PM
As kite mentions, love isn't really coming through your posts.  You seem pretty ambivalent about the relationship.   Tell us about her.  Do you love her?

I think the blunt objectivity of the OP can come across as callus disregard for some. Objectivity in discussion does not require lack of passion for the subject of the discussion.

It certainly could mean he is ambivalent rather than caring, but I doubt it, and choose to view it as objectively considering the idea on a forum, keeping his emotional thoughts and expressions to himself. That is how I would handle the discussion if it were me, and if my wife then read it she would consider it callus and uncaring despite my actual concern and love for her. Just a different perspective to consider.

It's possible.  It's also possible the OP has let inertia set in over this relationship and he's not really excited and in love with this woman.  That's why I asked the question, for the OP to consider it.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Zamboni on May 19, 2015, 01:45:30 PM
It sounds like you need to answer these questions yourself:

-Am I ok if she decides to leave me over not getting married?
-If I do get married, will I resent the decision/her long term?

Decide your priorities and be clear with your partner.
- I think it would be an extremely silly reason to break up, but I would respect her decision.
- I would probably get over it.


There's your answer.  Marry her. 

I think you love her.  I think you want her to be as happy in her life as she can be.  So let her enjoy a fancy wedding dress, let her mother and sisters be excited and fuss over her big news, go on a nice honeymoon with her.  Much more importantly, let her call you "her husband" whenever she refers to you and never let her feel embarrassment at being an "unwed mother."  Let her stop her lame efforts at explaining why you haven't proposed yet (trust me, people are asking.)  Obviously she is not as modern in viewpoint on marriage as you are.  Bottom line:  it is important to her.  You love her.  Be kind and think about her feelings in this big issue and all other major things in the future and you are putting your life on a path to happiness. 

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 19, 2015, 04:01:56 PM
It sounds like you need to answer these questions yourself:

-Am I ok if she decides to leave me over not getting married?
-If I do get married, will I resent the decision/her long term?

Decide your priorities and be clear with your partner.
- I think it would be an extremely silly reason to break up, but I would respect her decision.
- I would probably get over it.


There's your answer.  Marry her. 

I think you love her.  I think you want her to be as happy in her life as she can be.  So let her enjoy a fancy wedding dress, let her mother and sisters be excited and fuss over her big news, go on a nice honeymoon with her.  Much more importantly, let her call you "her husband" whenever she refers to you and never let her feel embarrassment at being an "unwed mother."  Let her stop her lame efforts at explaining why you haven't proposed yet (trust me, people are asking.)  Obviously she is not as modern in viewpoint on marriage as you are.  Bottom line:  it is important to her.  You love her.  Be kind and think about her feelings in this big issue and all other major things in the future and you are putting your life on a path to happiness. 

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

Yeah, on a tangent, can I say how much this pissed me off?  Apparently after 2 years of dating, once I hit 30, people felt entitled to ask such personal questions.  As it's usually the man proposing still these days, why not at least ask such an intrusive question of him, rather than me?!  (In our case, I wasn't ready to get engaged until 3 years, about 6 months before he did propose.)   I can't imagine fending off inquiries for 9 years.  (Not a reason in and of itself for a marriage, but still, it is cause for sympathy and understanding.)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Ellsie Equanimity on May 19, 2015, 04:33:37 PM
Whether you are religious or not, marriage is a vow you make (religion adds an element of "before God" to the vow, but without it you can still have a vow before man). High divorce rates show you that people don't take their vows very seriously. But the "state of marriage" means very little compared to what it means to you. Do you take vows seriously? If you don't, marrying doesn't mean much - you're not really meaning any promise to stay together forever even if you say the vow. On the other hand, if you do take vows seriously, it means a lot - the vow is a commitment till death do you part, it is an unconditional promise of love and commitment to say and mean that you will be there no matter what feelings, circumstances, etc, come and refusing to make the vow calls into question your actual commitment to that (if a vow means something to you and you refuse to make that commitment it does imply that you aren't actually committed to that level; if you are not willing to be that committed then she should know that, and if you are then why not make the commitment).

The other question is, is it the marriage (the vow, the commitment) she really wants or the wedding? Some people really want the wedding, but they don't take the vows seriously, so it doesn't mean much (one reason divorce rates are high). Some people want the marriage and don't care for a big wedding to note it. Some weddings are deeply about the vow and what marriage means to the couple. Others are about celebrating current romantic feelings, having a party, fulfilling an expectation or lifelong dream, etc.

Separate the marriage and the wedding questions and discuss both. And don't let other people's failure to keep vows determine your own views on what a vow means to you and whether it's something you want to exchange in your relationship.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: TrumanGrad on May 19, 2015, 07:49:54 PM
First, I want to second the fact that a few other posters have pointed out - the divorce rate is 50% in large part because of people who marry two, three, four or more times.  Another statistic, in the United States the divorce rate is not staying steady but actually falling for college-educated people younger than baby boomers.

I also heard any interesting thought exercise on a public radio show (can't remember which one off the top of my head) to figure out if you really think marriage is just a piece of paper or really is a different kind of commitment.  Say a man is in a horrible car accident, will needs many surgeries and years of rehab.  His significant other decides she doesn't want to deal with it so she leaves him.  Substitute the phrase long-term girlfriend for SO and then wife for SO.  Does your reaction or feelings change when you sub long-time girlfriend for wife?  Basically, if you think it is ok for either a wife or girlfriend to leave OR you think that either would be horrible for leaving - basically that the switch in title doesn't change your feelings about the story- then marriage probably doesn't mean anything to you.  But if you say, hey the wife committed for life so she is breaking her vow, but the girlfriend didn't make the commitment so she Is free to stay or go as she pleases, then being married does mean something to you.  Please feel free to substitute genders in this story -  I am just using the example provided by the public radio program.

I am very pro-marriage.  Also, my husband and I are both athiests.  We had a huge wedding, but got married by a judge - we were by no means making a religious commitment but a legal, emotional, and public commitment.  To me, making that commitment in public is very important.  My joy and my burdens became his and his mine.  We are a team, but importantly we also have a public face of making such a deep commitment to support each other forever.

That being said, I have a close friend who doesn't really believe in marriage and I think that's perfectly great for her.  The problem as I see it is when two people in a relationship don't match views on topic because I think it's such a core value that being out of sync would cause deep problems.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: monarda on May 19, 2015, 08:33:04 PM
We've been together for 18 years. We own houses together, we're official domestic partners, so he's on my health insurance. We have tons of joint accounts. There is no "common law marriage" in our state, but there is in some other states after 7 or so years of cohabitation.

We have no kids.  Neither of us is religious. We haven't found the need to marry, but still might do it some day. For old-age sorts of things, the benefits become more substantial.  But it wouldn't provide us with anything we don't already have at this point in our lives.

Maybe you'll be like us in 10 years? Maybe you'll marry when you're 60?
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Dicey on May 19, 2015, 09:22:53 PM
I waited until I was 54 to get married, because I just hadn't met the right guy. I was accused of being fickle, picky and who-knows-what-else, but I am so glad I waited for the right one. Now I joke that if I had known how awesome marriage was I'd have done it a lot sooner.

If you love your GF, marry her. I agree that the wedding is unimportant, it's the marriage that counts. Otherwise, I'd advise her to dump your ass in favor of her future someone who just can't see himself living his life without being married to her. If that's not you, maybe it would be kinder not to stand in her way.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Otsog on May 19, 2015, 10:14:24 PM
I wouldn't be with someone who was so dogmatic they gave up 80 a month in free money. Very anti-mustachian.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Ann on May 20, 2015, 02:31:34 AM
What I am curious to know (and may be too personal to share) is what exactly does the OP mean when he says he is "committed" to his SO?
Are you saying you are committed until death?  That you are committed for a lifetime, and promise never to leave?

Forget marriage and the divorce rate for a second.  What is your thought on that?

It may be realistic to think that humans were not built for life-long monogamy.  How could you predict the future?  I'm starting to believe that myself.  If I were ever to get married, I would want to at least be under the conviction that I wanted and could delivery a lifetime of monogamy and commitment.

If you say "No, being a realist, I can't ACTUALLY say I want to commit a lifetime, with or without "a piece of paper" then I think it may be time to part ways.

Marriage guarantees squat about lifelong commitment.  It won't make you stay with her.  You could always appease her and divorce later.   But the question I'm posing is: do you desire a til-death-do-you-part commitment?

It may be the girlfriend does.  If so, she should be free to pursue that.

If you are 100% on board with monogamy for the next 50+ years, then perhaps it can work out between you.  Either she will see and accept your commitment or you will come to terms with her request.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Ann on May 20, 2015, 03:35:23 AM
The only guarantee in life is that things change.  If you are considering children, then the the situation and people WILL change.  So, to me, that seems like hedging and not a lifelong commitment. 

Being a stark realist is valid, but so is being with someone who shares your world views and perspectives.  Can you tell I'm conflicted on marriage myself?
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Dee 72013 on May 20, 2015, 04:46:16 AM
Wow, this hit close to home for me. I met my first real love in high school, he was a few years older than me and had already graduated. We ended up moving into together a few months after my graduation. That Christmas he proposed to me and I of course said yes and couldn't wait to marry him and say he belonged to me.
Well, he got another job offer out of state a few months after Xmas and wanted me to move with him but wasn't ready to get married but I didn't want to quit two jobs to an uncertain future because I needed that marriage license for security more for emotional reasons than financial. Well, he moved out of state and we had a long distance relationship for probably just shy of a year. I finally gave him back his ring and he said that it didn't mean anything to me and I said sadly no it didn't mean anything to him.
I then met my husband, who calls himself my rebound man on a blind date. From the moment we met he made it clear that he was very interested in me and really fought to win me over since I was still not over my ex when we first met. One of the reasons I fell in love with my husband was that fact he never wavered in his feelings for me and wasn't afraid to show it. He wanted me, loved and wasn't afraid of a commitment with me and I needed that stability in our relationship. He's always shown me that we're in it for the long haul (26+years)I didn't want a big wedding or fancy ring, I had neither and don't miss them but I needed a man to have two feet firmly planted in a relationship with me, with us.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: redbird on May 20, 2015, 06:06:19 AM
I always saw marriage as a religious institution. I'm an atheist so I don't really see the point of marriage for me. I mean when the divorce rate is 50% so how serious can it really be.

Same. And I was together with my (then) boyfriend for 7 years and completely fine with not getting married. But then we got a job offer that required moving overseas. And the job would not pay to move us together unless we were legally married. It would've cost us THOUSANDS to not get married if we wanted to stay together. That was what made us decide to go ahead and do it.

We've now been married for 6 years (so, obviously, added up, we've been together for 13). We married for those financial reasons and for the legal reasons as well (power of attorney, medical, etc). That's it. Not for any other reason. We would still be together even if we hadn't married, so it's not at all a commitment thing. We decided fairly early on that we wanted to be together for life. I don't regret getting married, despite my feelings on it feeling like a religious thing and not caring for that aspect, because there were valid other reasons to get married. Not only that, but these were reasons we agreed upon.

If you can agree on a best course for your relationship, that would be the best thing. Like I said, there are valid reasons to marry someone other than religion or commitment. If you can't agree, however, you need to think about what would feel right long term. Relationships do involve compromise. However, if you marry her only because she wants it, you may grow to resent her. That's not a good thing for either of you.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: TrulyStashin on May 20, 2015, 07:02:13 AM
In principle, if nothing changes I am quite happy to commit for life. Now (imho) obviously if situations, people and whatever change that commitment can also change. [snip]

But, this is the OPPOSITE of commitment.  What you've described here is more accurately called an "option."
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: amazingAkj on May 20, 2015, 07:12:56 AM
Hey,
your confused to take one step ahead of your nine years relationship?
The point of tax is all your only concern it seems?

Well then, why don't you both try living relationship? and cast your bills together before parenting a child?
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: begood on May 20, 2015, 07:14:31 AM
I am perfectly happy with a monogamous relationship for life.

As for what do I mean with commitment that's a good question. In principle, if nothing changes I am quite happy to commit for life. Now (imho) obviously if situations, people and whatever change that commitment can also change. That doesn't sound particularly outlandish or unusual to me.

Your answer is right in there.  You aren't ready and it might not ever be right for you.  This is very much like discussions of rent versus buy a home.  There is a clear financial winner for the majority, but your own circumstances dictate which is best for you.
I don't follow, are you telling me if one decides to marry adjusting to changing circumstances is a no go?

Marriage means adjusting to changing circumstances together, as a unit, a team, a partnership.

I have a quote from Phyllis McGinley stuck on the refrigerator: "In a successful marriage, there is no such thing as one's way. There is only the way of both, only the bumpy, dusty, difficult, but always mutual path."

It kind of sounds like you are still walking your own path, and she's following gamely, hoping eventually you'll come around and marry her. If she said she'd like to get married while you're on vacation in Australia, she is telling you she wants to get married.

Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 20, 2015, 07:52:45 AM
It's possible.  It's also possible the OP has let inertia set in over this relationship and he's not really excited and in love with this woman.  That's why I asked the question, for the OP to consider it.
I might be naive, but to me it seems absolutely natural and inadvertent that relationship inertia sets in at some point. I've never had the expectation to have butterflies in my belly all the time over a course of a decade long relationship.
Love is something I find very hard to quantify. But do I look forward to snuggling up with my partner on the couch in the evening? You bet I do. Am I giddy with excitement to see my gf after work, no probably not like a teenager thinking about the first crush during school.

I can enjoy snuggling on the couch with a good friend.  Giddy excitement is most often rose colored crush/lust.  Love is something more and deeper.  Perhaps start a thread asking people what love means to them, and see if the responses resonate with you or not.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Runge on May 20, 2015, 07:57:49 AM
In principle, if nothing changes I am quite happy to commit for life. Now (imho) obviously if situations, people and whatever change that commitment can also change. [snip]

But, this is the OPPOSITE of commitment.  What you've described here is more accurately called an "option."

+1

OP, if these are your real feelings on your relationship, then you should not get married. Marriage has been traditionally (and for good reason) set apart from other forms of dating/courting/whatever because of what it really means. The joining of two houses, two humans into one unit. It's a commitment publicly and privately to one another that you will support the other person no matter what until death. It's a commitment to always love the other person, as in put them before yourself, even if the emotional feelings of lust and desire aren't present later on down the road. Let's all not lose sight of what a marriage really is.

If you're not willing to be with that person, whatever the circumstances may be or how they will change, until death, then you should not get married. If she does want to get married, but you still don't, then you need to let her go so she can find someone who will marry her. And if you don't then aren't you acting out of selfish desire to keep her to yourself, i.e. (if you'll allow me to make the leap) enslaving her?

:edited for grammar
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Apples on May 20, 2015, 08:15:36 AM
For me, marriage is a social signifier. It tells people that I meet that the relationship I have with this guy is serious, committed, and long-term. In the past, when I would mention my boyfriend, how would people know that it was serious? Sure, I could explain or they could get to know me, but "husband" signifies all of that in a way that I really enjoy. I'm proud to be committed to him, and I like everyone to know it.

Also, I like separating my DH from past bf's - he deserves a whole new category. He is so much more than a bf :)

+1 My thoughts exactly.  Also, if the going ever gets rough, it's much harder to leave a marriage than a relationship.  And by that I mean that when you're working out big issues like taking care of parents in the future, having kids, working jobs with opposite schedules where you don't see each other much, suddenly one of you is sick or disabled long term...choosing to stay and be committed to the marriage is easier.  Because you married this person, you love them, and you're committed to them.  And in your worst moments, divorce still seems like a long and ugly process, so it's not worth leaving.  Note that last sentence is coming from "I'm at the end of my rope right now/questioning things/life is hard this moment" not "you can never leave marriage".  (Note I'm pro marriage but not for any religious reasons, but for commitment reasons).

Also, I think society as a whole expects more from married people than unmarried.  Your husband has to have a REALLY good reason to not go to your family events, while your boyfriend can get more of a pass.  That's just one example, but I think marriage puts both people on pedestals.  Marriage is the next level.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: partgypsy on May 20, 2015, 08:28:43 AM
Ha ha. Some of these things are ringing a bell for me. I am also conflict adverse, and had a pattern of with my prior relationships, holding my tongue, not bringing up issues that bothered me, till they got too much and I decided this wasn't working for me. When I was going out with my now husband, he could see my weasely ways, and called me out on it. He wouldn't let me walk away, not talk about stuff, we had to hash things out. That was scary and uncomfortable for me, because I was afraid we might come to some problem that we couldn't agree or resolve, and that would be it. It felt like a loss of control to me. I am better communicating but still something I will always have to work on. Being married doesn't change the fact that there will be problems and disagreements, and unpleasant things one doesn't want to deal with. There are no guarantees in life that 2 people will always be together. But having that commitment, we are agreeing that we are going to try harder, and love harder, exhaust options, before walking away. And now that we have kids, the attitude is what is best for them, comes even before what is best or most fun for us. A very different, and possibly scary attitude than being single or being in a relationship you are not making a commitment for the future.

Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: starbuck on May 20, 2015, 08:47:51 AM
3) If your other, subconscious reason should turn out to be "Society is telling me to get married and I don't like doing what I'm told," don't even bother discussing it. Punch yourself in the face and go get married. Opposing society for the sake of non-conformance isn't any more independent than going along for the sake of conformance; either way, society is dictating your actions.

This was true for myself. (I have now been married for 4 years, together for 9.) I never felt the need for marriage, esp. as an atheist -  we were committed, wasn't that enough? But I wasn't adamantly opposed, and when my spouse proposed, I accepted, and we eloped. In the beginning, I noticed absolutely zero difference once we were married. Vindication, right?! But as time has gone on, I think it has influenced how we discuss our future since everything is legally entwined now. We were always a very equal partnership pre-marriage, but it feels different now. Like there's an undercurrent of stability and permanence, that was probably there in theory, but now it's much more concrete. So I personally didn't think marriage was necessary, but now on the other side I couldn't imagine NOT being married.

And seriously, the legal protections that come with marriage are very important to me now that we're older with quite a few assets, children on the horizon, and I've taken my head out of the sand.

YMMV, but I am in a commited and loving relationship, and I have yet to see a downside to legal marriage, only upside. I'm not some schmoopy romantic person that couldn't wait to be Mrs. BullshitHisName, but I'm surprised at how much I've enjoyed being married. I thought it would be a non-event, and I was wrong.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: mlejw6 on May 20, 2015, 09:47:23 AM
I'd like to point out that the OP gave us his thoughts on marriage. But, everyone who is arguing he should marry her obviously does not think the same thing about marriage. So, who's right? Is marriage an archaic institution to enslave women? They call marriage an institution, which means society agrees on the basic tenants of marriage. What does society think the tenants of marriage are today?

OP, do you honestly think that the majority of people (let's say men) getting married today do so to suppress the rights of women?
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Posthumane on May 20, 2015, 10:00:32 AM
I used to have almost exactly the same feelings as the OP regarding marriage - that it was archaic and that there is no need to "register" one's commitment with the government. After all, you can be completely committed to someone without getting married, and you can be less than totally committed in a marriage and get a divorce, so what's the point, right?

However, after spending a number of years with my girlfriend (who did always want to get married), I changed my mind about marriage and finally proposed to her. Why the change? I still am not "pro-marriage" in that I could be in a long term committed relationship without getting married, but am no longer against it either. I think part of it was that when I finally realized that I wanted to spend my life with this person, there were no real drawbacks to getting married and a number of benefits which were pointed out by other people, some of which I hadn't even considered before. In previous relationships and earlier on in this one there was a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that I would be getting trapped and losing some of my freedom, that I would be risking many of the things I'd worked for (such as half my pension, house, etc.) but that nagging went away after I decided I no longer wanted to exercise that freedom. I didn't want to necessarily make decisions about my life without considering her opinion.

So I guess my point is, consider if there are any real, tangible drawbacks to being married other than the emotional aspect of taking part in an archaic institution, since the tangible benefits have been pointed out already by other people. If you are as logical and scientific as you say then the argument so far has been fairly one sided. Pros: tax benefits, legal entitlements, less hassle when travelling, etc. Cons: Well, you don't really feel like it...
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: hexdexorex on May 20, 2015, 10:04:45 AM
I have the same feelings as the OP. I would probably though get married with my SO wanted to. No doubt I would want tons of paper work signed to make sure there is no legal battle following a divorce if in 10 years we decide to break it off.

I say all this but my SO of 8 years has no desire for kids/marriage and neither do I. We have a hard enough time choosing the right couch for our house much less making any other life changing decisions.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: kite on May 21, 2015, 09:05:06 AM
I am perfectly happy with a monogamous relationship for life.

As for what do I mean with commitment that's a good question. In principle, if nothing changes I am quite happy to commit for life. Now (imho) obviously if situations, people and whatever change that commitment can also change. That doesn't sound particularly outlandish or unusual to me.

Your answer is right in there.  You aren't ready and it might not ever be right for you.  This is very much like discussions of rent versus buy a home.  There is a clear financial winner for the majority, but your own circumstances dictate which is best for you.
I don't follow, are you telling me if one decides to marry adjusting to changing circumstances is a no go?

Not at all.  It's that your condition "if nothing changes" sets up an impossibility from the outset.  Marriage is committing to face those changes together, as next-of-kin. 

Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Gyosho on May 21, 2015, 10:17:01 AM
Marriage is not just an archaic institution, it is an archaic institution with extremely important legal, financial and emotional ramifications that could have a severe negative impact on the rest of your life.

I recommend that EVERYONE who is considering marriage read this book:

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Marriage-Getting-ebook/dp/B00C8YW0JA/
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: MsPeacock on May 21, 2015, 05:36:45 PM
I voted Gerbil. Been there, done that - it was expensive to get divorced. The divorce was *horrible* - really the worst year+ of my life.

I'd never marry again - happy to set up whatever legal things need to be in place with a partner so they can be spouse-like (like power of attorney for medical decisions or whatever) w/o involving the state in my relationship. I am happy with my boyfriend and one day we may live together and such - but I have no financial (fully self-supporting and plan to remain so), religious (athiest), or legal (won't be having more children - etc.) incentive to get married. Not sure what "believe" in marriage means. I found that being married meant nothing to my ex-spouse. And not being married still means I've got a solid commitment w/ my boyfriend. I don't think a legal marriage makes anyone stay where they don't want to be.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Britan on May 21, 2015, 05:51:03 PM
This thread hits pretty close for me. After 5 years my now-fiance proposed, and I said yes. Thing is, I'm also pretty ambivalent about the "institution" of marriage. I have an aunt and uncle who are common law and have a brilliant relationship. I also watched my parents go through an incredibly acrimonious divorce. I know that being married =/= lifelong commitment and I know that not married =/= not committed. For added irony, I'm the theist and fiance is the atheist.

I disagree with anyone who says that if you don't want to get married then you aren't truly committed. Getting married doesn't mean you're committed (see: the divorce rate). Relationships are specific to the people in them, not to their married/unmarried status.  If you're committed enough to be married for the rest of your lives, then you're committed enough to be unmarried together for the rest of your lives. I decided years ago that I was fully committed to my fiance for the long term, pieces of paper signed by a JoP be damned. I'd be fine if we never got married and I'd still be committed to him. I am no Beyonce and he didn't need to put a ring on it.

But I do want him to know that, since he asked, why yes, I will totally stand on top of a mountain/in front of a government official and scream at the top of my lungs for my family, friends, neighbors, The Man, strangers on the street, etc. to hear that I vow to be on a team with him for forever. When I introduce him, I want people to immediately know that I've made that commitment. Could we have a committed relationship without this? Absolutely. But emotionally it means something to him, and emotionally it does mean something to me.

And, even as an INTJ,  I think a lot of reasons you'll get for it are entirely emotional and that's not a bad thing. There are logical reasons both for and against it. You have logical reasons against it, and if you google "reasons to support gay marriage" you'll find a whole host of logical reasons for it. In the end it comes down to what you both feel is most important to you individually and together. To her, that might be the validation from you and from society. To you, that might mean actively not supporting "the institution" of marriage. And no one on this board or any other can tell you how much those things relatively mean to each of you except the two of you. We can tell you how we feel, but we aren't you or you're girlfriend.

On that note, I try not to think of marriage as an "institution" defined by other people that I'm buying into or supporting, but rather an idea. It's my promise and his. And "marriage" is an idea that he and I can change the definition of, together with other people like us. Just like a wedding doesn't have to have all the trappings that society thinks you "must have", your marriage is what you make of it.

Does a marriage mean that you might combine all finances? That the woman might have kids and quit work and eventually be left and stuck in a low paying job? Sure. But it doesn't have to if you don't want it to, and not being married doesn't guarantee it won't happen. She may have tax incentives not to work, but the whole premise of MMM is that you should do what you want, not for financial reasons, but because it's what makes you happy. If she values her work, she'll do it. And because the two of you sound deliberate and thoughtful about why you're doing your relationship the way you are, you're much less likely to fall into some of the common marriage traps if you do get married.

Of course, you could also just have a "commitment vow" type event for family and friends, call each other husband and wife to anyone who asks, jump through legal hoops to get similar rights, all without having the government's "blessing" and paperwork.

Wow, that was a really long way of saying: you can try to win with logic, but in the end I think the decision depends on how strongly both parties feel about it. And none of us can tell you how you two feel. But you probably already knew that. :)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: expatartist on May 21, 2015, 08:28:12 PM
Christo & Jeanne-Claude describe marriage well in their "Wedding Dress". And they were married for decades.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: aspiringnomad on May 21, 2015, 08:53:15 PM
Marriage is a bit of an anachronistic institution from our days creating broods to till our fields for us (or if our ancestors were lucky enough to be born noble, then from our days strategically joining families to create peace or vanquish foes). I was mostly anti-marriage through my 20s, but never ideologically so, just from a logical standpoint. But I relented due to the practical equation flipping, ie: a woman I deeply cared about and wanted to keep around who was decidedly pro-marriage.

I honestly have no regrets about that, and am happily married, but think that the consequences of marriages not working out are unduly harsh. I've seen so many failed marriages (it's like a 75% fail rate among the people closest to me) and with one exception, it all ends very horribly from a financial, logistical, and emotional standpoint. The risk of such failure and fallout outweighs the legal benefits for most people. As for the argument that a ring is necessary to show commitment, to me that sounds very insecure and overly concerned with societal expectations, but I usually keep that particular opinion to myself outside of internet forums.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: ltt on May 21, 2015, 09:39:51 PM
From reading through these posts, this sounds more like a roommate situation, not a live-in relationship situation.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: UltraRunning on May 22, 2015, 12:40:09 AM
From reading through these posts, this sounds more like a roommate situation, not a live-in relationship situation.

I'm genuinely not sure where this sentiment, from you and many others in this thread, comes from.

I purposefully didn't lead into the discussion with 'oh I love her sooo much and could never see myself without her again' because that would lead to 99% of replies being a foregone conclusion.

I'm looking at this like everything in my life in a very pragmatic way. And if you think I'm low key on public shows of affection, you should meet my significant other. :p

There is no question about it, we do not have 'dreamily thinking of each other every waking moment' relationship. I don't believe many, if any, do over a long period of time. Maybe my expectations for what a loving relationship after a decade of ups and downs is is wildly different from the norm or what other posters here have experienced.

I've never really subscribed to the Hollywood notion of 'love at first sight' and 'the one true one' and 'you'll know it when you see it' kind of thing. It all seems very intangible to me. In real life I don't think I know no anyone who talks about their relationship in those kind of words.



Whatever. The discussion in this thread has been incredibly enlightening and interesting to read for me.
On the one hand many things said here have pushed me further into the camp of just going through with it and marrying my partner in a very private setting while on vacation with no one apart from us knowing about out plans till we return home. Seeing the look on the faces of our parents could be golden.
I'll get over the fact that I never really wanted to marry and I'm sure my partner would be over the moon.
On the other hand I just cannot quite rid myself of the feeling that marriage might just not be the right thing for me in general. I'm definitely going to discuss the options of a 'Partnershipcontract' with her. As I have now learnt that is the German legal framework in which we can deal with all sorts of legal matters without marrying.

So in short I'm still undecided. And it is something we will have to continuously discuss over time.
I'll probably let my SO read this thread next week to have her read the reactions here. She's the one who originally brought up the idea of posing the question here.

Best of luck to you sir. I mainly married  due too all the benefits it would bring due to my military commitment.  I look at life quite logical and break every situation down just like you. My marriage definitely means more to my wife then it does to me in the sense of the traditional meaning of marriage. Overall both very independent people. Work different shifts. I work mids and she works day shifts. My days off are Monday and Tuesday and her's are the normal Saturday and  Sunday. So we really do not see each other much but when we are able to chill its quite enjoyable. A lot of our time together too involves reading in the same room or working on class work as I am working on my bachelors and she her masters.  Marriage in no way to us means that we have to spend enormous amount of time together.  For us it just makes being together in the military a possibility and allows us to live under the same household.  We have already written out a contract that if we do split up we will just  split our assets down the middle 50/50. It works for us. Probably would not work for many people but maybe this outlook on marriage will help you in your journey sir. 
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Pooja Sharma on May 22, 2015, 06:25:56 AM
If you love your life, soul, happiness, freedom etc., then just DONT get married. No matter how the strong bonding between you two guys is, ego is always going to be there in you and your partner that will end up in arguments, fighting or even worse i.e. divorce. Money doesn't matter always ;)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Bracken_Joy on May 22, 2015, 08:59:01 AM
From reading through these posts, this sounds more like a roommate situation, not a live-in relationship situation.

I'm genuinely not sure where this sentiment, from you and many others in this thread, comes from.

I purposefully didn't lead into the discussion with 'oh I love her sooo much and could never see myself without her again' because that would lead to 99% of replies being a foregone conclusion.

I'm looking at this like everything in my life in a very pragmatic way. And if you think I'm low key on public shows of affection, you should meet my significant other. :p

There is no question about it, we do not have 'dreamily thinking of each other every waking moment' relationship. I don't believe many, if any, do over a long period of time. Maybe my expectations for what a loving relationship after a decade of ups and downs is is wildly different from the norm or what other posters here have experienced.

I've never really subscribed to the Hollywood notion of 'love at first sight' and 'the one true one' and 'you'll know it when you see it' kind of thing. It all seems very intangible to me. In real life I don't think I know no anyone who talks about their relationship in those kind of words.



Whatever. The discussion in this thread has been incredibly enlightening and interesting to read for me.
On the one hand many things said here have pushed me further into the camp of just going through with it and marrying my partner in a very private setting while on vacation with no one apart from us knowing about out plans till we return home. Seeing the look on the faces of our parents could be golden.
I'll get over the fact that I never really wanted to marry and I'm sure my partner would be over the moon.
On the other hand I just cannot quite rid myself of the feeling that marriage might just not be the right thing for me in general. I'm definitely going to discuss the options of a 'Partnershipcontract' with her. As I have now learnt that is the German legal framework in which we can deal with all sorts of legal matters without marrying.

So in short I'm still undecided. And it is something we will have to continuously discuss over time.
I'll probably let my SO read this thread next week to have her read the reactions here. She's the one who originally brought up the idea of posing the question here.

One you are decided, it would be VERY interesting to read your experiences and thoughts on your decision. If you're up for it, an update down the road would be greatly appreciated! Best of luck to you, whichever way you go. It seems to me this thread was worthwhile, because either way, you're on track to having the legal protections that should be afforded to a partnership of your duration.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Habilis on May 22, 2015, 09:55:40 AM
No, you should not get married. You are considering on a level which is not ready for lifetime commitment.

Marriage is a commitment to:

Love her until one of you dies
Honor her until one of you dies
Cherish her until one of you dies

And staying married is not proof you are keeping these vows. Many if not most people who are married are not really loving, honoring, and cherishing their partner with their whole self, opening their heart, making themselves vulnerable and going all in. Being married and breaking your vows is no different than divorce, IMHO. This does not mean people should never divorce, but the right time to decide if the person is right for you is BEFORE you are engaged.

Another way to think of it is this: marriage is like a full body tattoo. It will be with you for life, you will be forever changed, it is painful and can be breathtakingly beautiful. If you ever decide it's not for you, you can try to remove it but it will be painful, expensive, and it will leave you scarred.

There is no commitment in our society that even comes close to the commitment of marriage.

Bringing kids into the equation only increases the level of commitment required. Their lives are in your hands and the strength of your marriage is critical to their health, happiness, strength and freedom.

I highly recommend the book, Finding the Love of Your Life, by Neil Clarke Warren (http://www.amazon.com/Neil-Clark-Warren-Finding-Second/dp/B00N4F2P3I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1432309958&sr=8-2&keywords=finding+the+love+of+your+life+second+edition (http://www.amazon.com/Neil-Clark-Warren-Finding-Second/dp/B00N4F2P3I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1432309958&sr=8-2&keywords=finding+the+love+of+your+life+second+edition). It is short and dirt cheap vs. the cost of a bad decision. Here is the table of contents:

1.   Eliminate the Seven Most Common Causes of Faulty Mate Selection
  a.   Deciding to Get Married Too Quickly
  b.   Too Young (not just age, not your grown up self, not on mission)
  c.   One or Both People Are Too Eager to Get Married (to relieve grief, loneliness, to have a child)
  d.   Choosing a Mate to Please Someone Else
  e.   Unrealistic Expectations (love will fix everything, he/she will change)
  f.   Unaddressed personality/behavioral/emotional problems
2.   Develop a Clear Mental Picture of Your Ideal Spouse
3.   Find a Person to Love Who is a Lot Like You
4.   Get Yourself Healthy Before You Get Married (emotionally, spiritually)
5.   Find a Love You Can Feel Deep in Your Heart
6.   Let Passionate Love Mature to Companionate Love Before You Marry
7.   Master the Art of Intimacy (spirit/heart communion, not just sex)
8.   Learn How to Clear Conflict From the Road of Love (healthy conflict that grows closeness)
9.   Refuse to Proceed Until You Can Genuinely Pledge Lifelong Commitment
10.   Celebrate Your Marriage with the Full Support of Your Family and Friends

It might sound like I am down on marriage. Nothing could be further than the truth. Just be very, very, very careful about this choice. The 9 years you have spent with your partner are sunk cost. If it is not right, end it. It will be a gift to both of you. If you go deep on this issue, get clear with yourself, your family, friends and loved-ones that this is right for you and she agrees, then do it. Marriage is beautiful, life-affirming and a gift to those around you, your children and those you love.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: rocksinmyhead on May 22, 2015, 10:19:01 AM
It sounds like you need to answer these questions yourself:

-Am I ok if she decides to leave me over not getting married?
-If I do get married, will I resent the decision/her long term?

Decide your priorities and be clear with your partner.
- I think it would be an extremely silly reason to break up, but I would respect her decision.
- I would probably get over it.


There's your answer.  Marry her. 

I think you love her.  I think you want her to be as happy in her life as she can be.  So let her enjoy a fancy wedding dress, let her mother and sisters be excited and fuss over her big news, go on a nice honeymoon with her.  Much more importantly, let her call you "her husband" whenever she refers to you and never let her feel embarrassment at being an "unwed mother."  Let her stop her lame efforts at explaining why you haven't proposed yet (trust me, people are asking.)  Obviously she is not as modern in viewpoint on marriage as you are.  Bottom line:  it is important to her.  You love her.  Be kind and think about her feelings in this big issue and all other major things in the future and you are putting your life on a path to happiness. 

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

Yeah, on a tangent, can I say how much this pissed me off?  Apparently after 2 years of dating, once I hit 30, people felt entitled to ask such personal questions.  As it's usually the man proposing still these days, why not at least ask such an intrusive question of him, rather than me?!  (In our case, I wasn't ready to get engaged until 3 years, about 6 months before he did propose.)   I can't imagine fending off inquiries for 9 years.  (Not a reason in and of itself for a marriage, but still, it is cause for sympathy and understanding.)

OMG. I know I'm a little late but can I just say how NOT ALONE these two comments made me feel?!? getting close to 5 years dating here and this drives me fucking insane :(
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 22, 2015, 10:35:17 AM
It sounds like you need to answer these questions yourself:

-Am I ok if she decides to leave me over not getting married?
-If I do get married, will I resent the decision/her long term?

Decide your priorities and be clear with your partner.
- I think it would be an extremely silly reason to break up, but I would respect her decision.
- I would probably get over it.


There's your answer.  Marry her. 

I think you love her.  I think you want her to be as happy in her life as she can be.  So let her enjoy a fancy wedding dress, let her mother and sisters be excited and fuss over her big news, go on a nice honeymoon with her.  Much more importantly, let her call you "her husband" whenever she refers to you and never let her feel embarrassment at being an "unwed mother."  Let her stop her lame efforts at explaining why you haven't proposed yet (trust me, people are asking.)  Obviously she is not as modern in viewpoint on marriage as you are.  Bottom line:  it is important to her.  You love her.  Be kind and think about her feelings in this big issue and all other major things in the future and you are putting your life on a path to happiness. 

Good luck to you, whatever you decide.

Yeah, on a tangent, can I say how much this pissed me off?  Apparently after 2 years of dating, once I hit 30, people felt entitled to ask such personal questions.  As it's usually the man proposing still these days, why not at least ask such an intrusive question of him, rather than me?!  (In our case, I wasn't ready to get engaged until 3 years, about 6 months before he did propose.)   I can't imagine fending off inquiries for 9 years.  (Not a reason in and of itself for a marriage, but still, it is cause for sympathy and understanding.)

OMG. I know I'm a little late but can I just say how NOT ALONE these two comments made me feel?!? getting close to 5 years dating here and this drives me fucking insane :(

Sorry to hear!  You are totally not alone.  I was even talking to a friend about it this past weekend, even though we're both married for a bit now, because the pressure has now changed to kids.  I didn't know her before her marriage, but she said if her mom had pressured her to get married like she is now about kids, then she probably wouldn't  have waited even longer than the 9 years (7 dating, 2 engaged) she did to get married.

Strategies:
1. Come up with some stock somewhat funny replies.  People laugh and you then change the subject.
2.  To persistent queries by someone, ask them one on one to stop (or ask someone else to get them to stop.  e.g. my brother ask my dad to get my mom to stop making kid comments to them).
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: ltt on May 22, 2015, 04:20:16 PM

I do mind, I don't have her (emotionally) locked up, she is free to leave our relationship whenever she pleases.  It cannot all be bad even if I don't want to marry, otherwise why stay together for 9 years.


This sentence right here is why I mentioned that it seems more of a roommate situation.  There doesn't seem to be an emotional connection with this woman, even after 9 years, if you mention that she is free to leave whenever she pleases.  Typically, people who are in love in a marriage or live-in situation have an emotional bonding.  It sounds like there is some sort of disconnect in this situation.  If she wants to marry and she's approaching 30, trust me on this, it's most likely because her biological clock is ticking and she wants children.  Remember, approaching early to mid-30s, it becomes much more difficult--that's just biology.  If she does want children, then there's another matter to think about. 
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: mozar on May 23, 2015, 09:27:32 AM
Women don't see it that way. They hope forever that the man they love will come around and propose. If you feel you are free to leave whenever then you are not committed. I left my last relationship because although they were willing to marry me, I had to talk them into it. I don't want to be with someone who feels they can leave whenever, that's not committment. And in our society, right or wrong, proposing marriage is how people show committment.
My cousin is getting married in august and it is so sad. I think her fiance loves her but said to me he waited as long as he could get away with before proposing and didn't want to be the first of his friends to get married which is a dumb reason. I think he also feels inertia and likes things the way things are. I think you two should take a break from living together so you can see if you feel committed or not. What would be much better is for her to post in this forum so we can tell her to leave you and find someone who isn't ambivalent and is ready to commit.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Merrie on May 23, 2015, 09:52:38 PM
On that note, I try not to think of marriage as an "institution" defined by other people that I'm buying into or supporting, but rather an idea. It's my promise and his. And "marriage" is an idea that he and I can change the definition of, together with other people like us. Just like a wedding doesn't have to have all the trappings that society thinks you "must have", your marriage is what you make of it.


Agreed with this. You decide together what you want your relationship to be, rather than having it be what someone else says it is.

Personally I do not really grok the idea of being committed to some extent and wanting to stay so but wanting to stay unmarried. I always wanted to spend my life with someone who was committed to spending his life with me and building that life together, come what may. Someone who chose me as his partner and who I chose as my partner. To me that means marriage. Most of the reasons that people have given me for wanting to be committed but not wanting to marry do not resonate with me at all (the one I heard that did make sense to me was that she didn't want to privilege one partner over another--this person was polyamorous, and I'm not, so that reason wouldn't apply to me anyway). If a boyfriend had told me he was opposed to marriage for any of the reasons I've heard, I'd have split with him and gone looking for someone who wanted what I wanted. I would feel like he was looking for an "out" or trying to keep his options open, and I'd rather not spend my energy wondering whether my partner really wants to be with me.

Obviously if others choose to be in a long-term unmarried partnership that is their business and none of mine. But I don't understand it and it's not what I want for myself.

The question is what do you and your partner want, and can you find a way to bring those desires into line, either for you to be okay with marrying or her to be okay with staying together and not marrying. (I suppose that isn't super helpful.)
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: okits on May 23, 2015, 10:27:03 PM
On the other hand I just cannot quite rid myself of the feeling that marriage might just not be the right thing for me in general. I'm definitely going to discuss the options of a 'Partnershipcontract' with her. As I have now learnt that is the German legal framework in which we can deal with all sorts of legal matters without marrying.

So in short I'm still undecided. And it is something we will have to continuously discuss over time.
I'll probably let my SO read this thread next week to have her read the reactions here. She's the one who originally brought up the idea of posing the question here.

Perhaps the best thing would be setting up the Partnershipcontract, then seeing how you both feel after that. For some people (like me), there's an emotional component to marriage that goes beyond the legal paperwork.  In your relationship the Partnershipcontract may be enough to satisfy you both.  If not, there's still always the option of holiday and marrying abroad.

I think it's a great idea for your SO to read this thread. There's a broad range of opinions expressed that will spark discussions you may not have had otherwise. I hope you'll post an update on what you two decide!

Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: norabird on May 24, 2015, 04:05:19 PM
I thought of this thread while tearfully reading the Irish referendum coverage. To me it's so much more than a legal contract. If you don't get emotional over reading about couples striving to have the right to marry, it makes sense to not care about your own marital state. But for the rest of us it has an emotional resonance that can outweigh the practical side.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: alurblaze on May 24, 2015, 04:58:11 PM
Wait, if you can get all legal affairs settled anyway, how is it different from marriage?

Good luck figuring out together with your SO this crossroad situation. I cannot give advice for you, but I can offer my perspective - I will not have children out of marriage and if my SO wants to stay with me long term, we'll have to marry. I am probably going to work internationally, so if he wants to follow, the easiest way is to get a partner's visa. As an atheist, I do not feel any religious significance, but I do feel that taking on legal obligations to each other is a sign of commitment I want to see from a person I am trusting to be beside me.

If you have doubts over becoming a single unit, get a contact to ensure you can walk away unscathed financially.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: partgypsy on May 26, 2015, 10:53:13 AM
Maybe you need to have a conversation about what each of you means to the other person. Then your views about what "marriage" means to you.

That may decide things (one way or another). It sounds like she may be assuming things about your relationship (commitment/future-wise) that is not necessarily true. I would suggest being honest about how you feel, and your intentions, because otherwise it is not fair to the other person to stay in a relationship not knowing all the information.
And if she decides to stay knowing all this, then you get to have your cake and eat it too!
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Ishmael on May 26, 2015, 11:59:47 AM
Quote
Why would I do something that I think is absolutely pointless and an archaic institution to enslave women.

I see it differently.  Marriage - especially where children are involved - is an institution that can protect women.

For instance - my (now-ex) husband and I met in medical school. We both were on equal footing at that time in terms of education and career.  But once we planned to have children, I chose a more flexible area of medicine and he chose a more demanding surgical field.  I worked part time when my children were young so that our children wouldn't have two parents who were gone all the time, and so that I could relieve my husband of many of the household chores so that he could excel in his chosen career.

When he had a midlife crisis at age 50 and decided to leave me to find a 20 years younger Asian chick, I was back working but making less than third of what he was (and much less than I would have been making if I had been as free to concentrate on MY career over those years, as he was to concentrate on HIS).   My earnings will never catch up with his.

After our divorce, I am still in a much decreased financial position, but it is buffered by the protections that marriage afforded me - half of our mutual assets, a third of his pension (which we had both been counting on for our retirement) and some spousal support for several years.  If we had just been living together I would have had little of this.  Marriage makes things fair for the spouse who takes on the bulk of the at-home parent role, and in my experience, in two career families, this is often the woman (not always).

If you never plan to have children then this is not as much of a consideration.  I will say, though, that being married makes you work harder at working things out, than if you weren't married.  The formal commitment in front of friends and family is not a negligible things.
As a counter point to this example, I know a couple where the husband gradually changed over the course of the marriage, becoming an emotionally abusive alcoholic, while the wife worked diligently at her career, trying her best to hold everything together. She ended up divorcing him when the children were adults. Not only did he decide at one point that he wasn't going to bother working anymore, he also decided to blow through as much of her money as he could get his hands on. When they divorced, he ended up getting spousal support from her, and his negative contribution to the relationship wasn't factored into anything.

So, in your example, it protected the spouse whose role it was to raise and look after the children. If the example I know best, it protected and benefitted the most useless person in the relationship.

I could relate other anecdotal stories where husbands were left in complete poverty and debt, while the ex-wives received alimony and child support, entered into new relationships and financially benefitted from living with their new partners as well.

Here's a funny one - if you stay married, you have no legal obligation to pay for your kids university. However, if your spouse leaves you and gains primary custody - you have to pay for the whole thing!

My advice to my kids will be to only marry if your spouse earns more than you; otherwise, protect yourself as there are too many financial incentives in the system designed to rip couples and families apart. It sucks, but that's the legal world that's been created for them.

Personally, I'm very happily married and can't imagine going through the divorce process. So it's not that I'm opposed to the idea/concept of marriage, just that I think the legal system is designed to benefit lawyers.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: mm1970 on May 26, 2015, 12:51:36 PM
Quote
However, if your spouse leaves you and gains primary custody - you have to pay for the whole thing!
Really?  Someone should have told my dad that.

Oh wait, he couldn't afford to pay for my college, and wouldn't have anyway.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: I'm a red panda on May 26, 2015, 01:14:30 PM

Sorry to hear!  You are totally not alone.  I was even talking to a friend about it this past weekend, even though we're both married for a bit now, because the pressure has now changed to kids.  I didn't know her before her marriage, but she said if her mom had pressured her to get married like she is now about kids, then she probably wouldn't  have waited even longer than the 9 years (7 dating, 2 engaged) she did to get married.

Strategies:
1. Come up with some stock somewhat funny replies.  People laugh and you then change the subject.
2.  To persistent queries by someone, ask them one on one to stop (or ask someone else to get them to stop.  e.g. my brother ask my dad to get my mom to stop making kid comments to them).

Tell them it is none of your business and ignore them.
We've been married 10 years- after about 5, they stop asking about kids.  If they keep asking, I would keep telling them it is none of their business.  Another good response could be "You should consider how hurtful that question might be to someone who wants kids and can't have them before you ask it of anyone."
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: CommonCents on May 26, 2015, 01:32:46 PM

Sorry to hear!  You are totally not alone.  I was even talking to a friend about it this past weekend, even though we're both married for a bit now, because the pressure has now changed to kids.  I didn't know her before her marriage, but she said if her mom had pressured her to get married like she is now about kids, then she probably wouldn't  have waited even longer than the 9 years (7 dating, 2 engaged) she did to get married.

Strategies:
1. Come up with some stock somewhat funny replies.  People laugh and you then change the subject.
2.  To persistent queries by someone, ask them one on one to stop (or ask someone else to get them to stop.  e.g. my brother ask my dad to get my mom to stop making kid comments to them).

Tell them it is none of your business and ignore them.
We've been married 10 years- after about 5, they stop asking about kids.  If they keep asking, I would keep telling them it is none of their business.  Another good response could be "You should consider how hurtful that question might be to someone who wants kids and can't have them before you ask it of anyone."

Yes, or as my sister-in-law (and others, I've now heard) put it: "How do you even know I can have kids?"  (She has some medical considerations that would make it more difficult for her, but also currently has no intention of having kids.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: partgypsy on May 27, 2015, 09:57:29 AM

Sorry to hear!  You are totally not alone.  I was even talking to a friend about it this past weekend, even though we're both married for a bit now, because the pressure has now changed to kids.  I didn't know her before her marriage, but she said if her mom had pressured her to get married like she is now about kids, then she probably wouldn't  have waited even longer than the 9 years (7 dating, 2 engaged) she did to get married.

Strategies:
1. Come up with some stock somewhat funny replies.  People laugh and you then change the subject.
2.  To persistent queries by someone, ask them one on one to stop (or ask someone else to get them to stop.  e.g. my brother ask my dad to get my mom to stop making kid comments to them).

Tell them it is none of your business and ignore them.
We've been married 10 years- after about 5, they stop asking about kids.  If they keep asking, I would keep telling them it is none of their business.  Another good response could be "You should consider how hurtful that question might be to someone who wants kids and can't have them before you ask it of anyone."

For most people, it's none of their business. Still, for me it was hard to tell the would-be great grandparents it's none of their business, when they would say something like they want to hold their great grandchild before they die...
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: cerat0n1a on January 20, 2016, 04:49:10 AM
In case anyone is interested we got hitched on 2015-12-09 without anyone knowing about it.
We facetime'd with our parents after the 10 minute 'ceremony' at the Standesamt was done and dusted.
So our Vacation to AUS/NZ was a de facto honeymoon.
So far nothing has changed. :p

Congratulations!
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Bracken_Joy on January 20, 2016, 07:10:41 AM
In case anyone is interested we got hitched on 2015-12-09 without anyone knowing about it.
We facetime'd with our parents after the 10 minute 'ceremony' at the Standesamt was done and dusted.
So our Vacation to AUS/NZ was a de facto honeymoon.
So far nothing has changed. :p

Congratulations! Hope your de facto honeymoon was excellent.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Merrie on January 20, 2016, 08:47:42 AM
Congratulations to both of you, and best wishes for many happy years together.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: partgypsy on January 20, 2016, 09:46:28 AM
Congratulations! thanks for giving us an update.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: Dicey on January 20, 2016, 10:03:12 AM
When I saw this thread had been revived, I was hoping it was an update. Glad to see it's so. Congratulations!
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: onlykelsey on January 20, 2016, 10:18:55 AM
OMG. I know I'm a little late but can I just say how NOT ALONE these two comments made me feel?!? getting close to 5 years dating here and this drives me fucking insane :(

I got married last year and the questions have quickly moved from that to why I'm not pregnant yet.  This is actually worse, somehow.  Why would I update you on the status of my uterus and why in the world would you think you get a say on it?!

To the OP, I was the more marriage-ambivalent partner in my relationship.  Once I realized it was important to my now husband, and that I was amenable to it, I wanted to move very quickly towards it.  We didn't get engaged in the traditional sense but we got married 6 months after we decided to, and it only took that long because we decided to have guests.  I think if you decide to get married, just get it over with.  Don't drag it out and make it about other people, or treat it as a test run.  Make it whatever it needs to be for you two to find it meaningful.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: robartsd on January 20, 2016, 11:00:56 AM
I got married last year and the questions have quickly moved from that to why I'm not pregnant yet.  This is actually worse, somehow.  Why would I update you on the status of my uterus and why in the world would you think you get a say on it?!
I'm glad our family and friends have not been not so intrusive, but unfortunately this is not an uncommon problem.
Title: Re: To marry or not to marry that is the question
Post by: okits on January 20, 2016, 11:23:50 AM
In case anyone is interested we got hitched on 2015-12-09 without anyone knowing about it.
We facetime'd with our parents after the 10 minute 'ceremony' at the Standesamt was done and dusted.
So our Vacation to AUS/NZ was a de facto honeymoon.
So far nothing has changed. :p

Not better...  But also not worse.  If you ever notice a change I hope it's for the better!  Consciously or unconsciously I think society and I regard my relationship more positively because it is a marriage (not sure what DH perceives, will have to ask him!)

Congratulations, and wishing you both much happiness!