Author Topic: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)  (Read 28317 times)

Kitsune

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #50 on: July 07, 2016, 04:49:44 AM »


People in common-law relationships don't have these protections:

They don't benefit from the protection of the family residence if ownership of the home or the apartment lease is in the name of one person only.
They don't have a right to a division of their property if they separate.
They don't have a right to a "compensatory allowance" for work done by one person that benefited the other person while they were together.
One partner can't ask for support payments from the other partner (financial support for one person in the couple who might need it).
The partners don't inherit from each other if one dies without a will or if one was not named as an heir in the will.

I'll just throw in that I think this is awesome, and personally believe it should extend to marriage as well. I'm a strong believer that people aren't entitled to shit (spousal support, assets, etc) if a relationship ends, unless it's been explicitly agreed to by both parties in writing beforehand. Unfortunately, things seem to be going the other direction, and with the new(ish) Family Law Act in BC, many of the "protections" of marriage now apply to common-law as well.

But when we got married, my husband didn't expect to take a pay cut when we moved for my job.

So if we split u and I said "tough shit, you didn't see this coming 7 years ago and I ain't paying"... That'd be unfair.

That's kind of the point of the legal recognition of marriage - the assumption that both parties have put all their eggs in the same communal basket (time, money, sacrifices, choices made for the common good, etc), and that the results of that basket should get split equitably to benefit both, just as they would have if the marriage had continued.

The point of getting married is that you're accessing a social and legal framework for the communal arrangement you enter. If you don't want to enter it top to that arrangement, fine... But it's there for a reason.

And honestly, I wouldn't own communal property, have kids, take time off work for family reasons, want my partner take time off for similar reasons, etc, without being married. Otherwise, every dollar earned less, or every sacrifice made due to family decisions, becomes not a shared decision made for the common good, but something by which both profit but only one pays, and that's shitty.

human

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #51 on: July 07, 2016, 04:57:02 AM »
Sure, I get all that. I was just trying to point out that QC is one of the only jurisdictions that has this de facto or common law arrangement. You could still enter into a contract without registering for a civil union or a marriage there.

If you get married there is family patrimony, but I think what you brought in remains yours except the house/apartmeng I believe. You can waive your rights when you separate.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #52 on: July 07, 2016, 05:20:21 AM »
Yes, but because I feel like I married the right person for me. We met when we were in grad school, but didn't date for about a year after meeting (he asked me out, but I rebuffed his advances because I was not looking to date). We began as friends and I just knew if I didn't hang on to this relationship, I would just knew I would never meet someone like him again. He is my best friend, we let each other be, we get each other. I feel like I can accomplish all my dreams with him. And he has said similar. No prenups as I had student loans ($70k) and he had a little bit of money (<$50k) and no debt. Everything we have now is because of our joint work, so splitting assets would be very easy. We have 2 wonderful little people and have now built a great, great life. We don't have any drama, just fun and trying to make it through the mundane. Married only 6.5 years, but dating 2 years before that.

I say all this, but I will never marry again. Marrying the right person is key. I see what some of my friends go through and it looks terrible. Friends are divorcing now. It's a struggle. I will never trust anyone else like my DH. I got lucky. I say I will never marry again because of the governmental stuff. Now, I have 2 kids, so I care more about their financial interests based on what my husband and I have built. I would always worry about a pre-nup and loopholes that would hurt my kids. I would live with someone (after my kids are grown), but I don't need comfort of another marriage. My Mom had a few marriages and brought us along for the rides while us kids were young, including having suitors live with us. I hated it and would not do to my kids.

There you have it.....2 sides of the coin.

Kaminoge

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #53 on: July 07, 2016, 05:57:03 AM »
Yes! But I've only been married for 5 months so I can't claim quite the time that most of you seem to be able to.

For me PFHC summed it up brilliantly. It did change something

Quote
Also, something changed when we got married. So, to us, it matters. I didn't believe it would, but it does. Before, I thought that nothing would change. I was true to her, I loved her, and I knew she loved me. I couldn't fathom what could change by going to some silly ceremony. Man, was I wrong. The instant that all finished, everything was different. Better. I felt bound to her, in the best way. I had professed my commitment to her in front of all those whom I most respected. I don't have the right words for it, but honestly, there was a step change.

I'm not saying that people can't be totally committed without being married but for me personally it made a huge difference. I wake up every morning knowing that the person beside me has promised to be there for life. They haven't just promised me personally but they've made the promise in front of our families and legally. In my mind that made a huge difference.

It seems many equate marriage with "sharing a life together" or "being committed". A marriage isn't required for any of those things and all of the divorces mentioned in this thread demonstrates that marriage doesn't mean those things either. Still don't get why the "institution" of marriage is considered important.

For us it not only made an emotional difference but also a HUGE practical difference. We'd been together for 2 years before getting married but could only ever live together for a month or two at a time due to visa issues. Once we were married we were able to get him a visa as my spouse. My lifestyle is built around moving countries every couple of years - as my husband he'll be able to come along each time. As my boyfriend that just wasn't possible (very few countries recognize non-marriages for visa issues). But I would never of married just for a visa - I got married to this person because I truly believed it was the right decision. I figure given my age (42) I'd spent enough time on earth to know someone I felt such a connection to wasn't likely to come around too often. The fact he's from a different country and 10 years younger gave me quite a few qualms but I've never regretted marrying him for a second.

golden1

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #54 on: July 07, 2016, 06:34:35 AM »
I've been married for 21 years, 2 kids.  Here is my take on it.

1) There is no hard and fast rule you can follow about how long you should wait, how young you should be, how much money you should have before you get married.  There really isn't.  I know people in successful marriages that knew each other for 5 weeks for getting engaged and six months before getting married.  One of the best marriages I know are people who got married at age 18 without a pot to piss in.  Sure waiting a little longer is usually prudent, but wasting the opportunity to partner with someone you really love just because he/she didn't come along at a certain age or station in life is foolish IMO and can lead to regrets just as potent as anything else. 
2) People put too much expectation on what marriage "should" provide for them.  They think more about what they are getting out of it instead of what they can put into it.  You can see those marriages all over the place.  "My partner isn't fulfilling MY needs."  vs.  "What can I do to make my partner's day better?"  Go into every day of your marriage with the latter question, no matter how you are feeling, and I guarantee you will have a better relationship.  Focus on the former question, and you will likely just be bitter and miserable.
3) Marriage does not complete you.  It doesn't make you whole.  This person isn't your soulmate.  They are your partner.  They have their own wants, needs, desires.  They have their own lives and the best marriages are the ones where the person really takes joy in nurturing the others growth.  That means that your relationship with naturally change over time so remain flexible.  The person I married 21 years ago is not the person I am married to now, thank god!  Watching someone learn, mature, suffer, triumph is part of what makes marriage a truly unique and special relationship. 
4) Marry your best friend.  This is someone you are spending a lot of time with.  Looks matter, attraction matters, but damn it, you better enjoy laughing, talking and spending time with that person above all else.  That's what gets you through the tough times. 

2Cent

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #55 on: July 07, 2016, 08:14:20 AM »
It is good to look at the science:
Research has shown the best indicator of how well a relationship will last is how people deal with problems/conflict. If both partners are trying to seek a compromise which takes the other into account, and look for the others best interest first the relationship.

To minimize the conflicts apparently the optimum is to find someone about 80% the same as you. The 20% difference is so you're not constantly doing the same thing, and can benefit from each other's strengths.

These are the optimal conditions for marriage. That of course does not mean you can't have a successful marriage otherwise. On the other hand, don't take advice from movies. They totally misrepresent romance and relationships in that they idealize infatuation and pretend that that is what a relationship should look like.

To nicely tie it to this forum a relationship can be compared to savings. If you deposit regularly it will grow and return more each year. If you don't invest it will slowly shrink until the relationship is in debt and you might declare it bankrupt.

wenchsenior

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #56 on: July 07, 2016, 08:45:00 AM »
Mtngrl and Golden have it right.

I NEVER expected to marry when I was growing up. I had poor models, thought my personality wasn't suited and I also wasn't all that interested. To my surprise, I've been extremely happily married for 22 years (together almost 26). We have lived a bunch of places/conditions, lived apart for stretches due to work, and also had long stretches where we've been working and living together nearly 24-7. All of these different arrangements have worked fine for us.

Conventional wisdom that "marriage is lot of work, but worth it" doesn't really resonate with me; although I've found marriage to be terrific, I've never found it to be much work. The REST of life can be a grind, but the marriage is the respite from that. We've had a few tough patches where we needed brief vacations from each other, or where one of us was not handling external pressures well and bringing that dysfunction into the relationship. But that's maybe 3 bad patches, of maybe 6-12 months each?...that required focused attention and effort to keep from irrevocably messing the relationship up. There will likely be a few more bad patches before we shuffle off. But each bad patch teaches you how to be a better partner anyway, so that's a pretty great trade-off IMO for 26 generally great years together.

Picking the correct partner is obviously key. Among my large social circle, there are few divorces, most of the marriages are multi decades long, and most seem quite happy. The divorces have tended to happen in the first few years after marriage, and I suspect that's because people quickly realize they picked poorly. 

If you don't respect and admire the person, and you don't dig the idea of hanging around them all day, I would be hesitant. Contempt is the ultimate marriage destroyer.

Marriage won't 'fix' anybody; it requires two already-mature-and-functional individuals, who then commit to a partnership of shared goals, friendship, and romantic attachment. Each person is still an individual, and the partnership has to flex, within reason, to accommodate 'self actualization' and what have you.

NOTHING in life is permanent...everything is forever in flux (irritating to a person such as myself who prefers stability LOL) and the goal isn't to achieve some perfect suspended state of relationship nirvana. Try to pick a partner who isn't locked into one idea about how life and relationships should be to be happy and successful.

Having said that, I expect it's possible to have all the criteria I listed above, and still have daily relationship stress if your habits or communication styles are wildly different (e.g., introvert/extrovert pairings; slob/neat-freak pairings; passive-aggressive/fight-picker pairings, etc. Probably manageable, but could require a lot more daily effort than my marriage does.

As to whether marriage is better than cohabitation? IMO it's preferable and easier to be married if you have kids, but it's not necessary. Some people really find the vows and the public, legal 'statement' to be a profound experiences. However, if the partnership is volatile and separation is a statistically significant risk, I'd keep my finances and legal status separate and stick to cohabitation, because divorce can be a real financial knee-capper.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 08:46:56 AM by wenchsenior »

begood

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #57 on: July 07, 2016, 09:11:59 AM »
Married 27 years, together for 31. We met in college at ages 19/20, got married at 23/24. Together we've been through:

Five moves (one in-state, four inter-state)
Four parent deaths
Two miscarriages
One international adoption
One career change (his, after 20 years with the same company; he's now starting year 8 at his "new" job)

We stick together through thick and thin. Neither of us seems to know any other way to do it.

Zikoris

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #58 on: July 07, 2016, 09:31:59 AM »

But when we got married, my husband didn't expect to take a pay cut when we moved for my job.

So if we split u and I said "tough shit, you didn't see this coming 7 years ago and I ain't paying"... That'd be unfair.


I don't think it's unfair. Life choices have consequences. I think that the only way anyone should ever have rights to someone else's money would be if both people explicitly agreed to it in a prenup or contract. I honestly believe the default should be "It belongs to the person whose name is written on it", and any deviation from that should only be with explicit written consent. Not that it will ever happen, of course...

Sailor Sam

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #59 on: July 07, 2016, 09:33:41 AM »
Marriage is definitely worth it for me.

A few days ago, I made my wife laugh until she peed a little bit. A week before that, I put my head on her shoulder to rest and she cradled it against her tighter. A year ago I got to be in the audience as she was given a major award. Almost every day we've been together, I've seen her move forward towards her goals with an determination and compassion I admire.

I can't imagine living without that presence in my life. I agree with everything Wenchsenior typed up - my marriage doesn't take much work, with a few exceptional patches, and in exchange I get to see who this woman is becoming. It's fascinating, and I can't detect any hyperbole when I say that my marriage is the finest thing in my life.

I also agree with PFHC, saying the vows meant something huge to me. It wasn't saying them in front of others, it was saying them to her. She's the one.   

Gyosho

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #60 on: July 07, 2016, 09:38:43 AM »
Most of the posters on this thread are pro-marriage, so I am going to provide an alternate point of view.

The main consideration of marriage that people overlook is that it is a LEGAL CONTRACT.  Furthermore, it is the only LEGAL CONTRACT that can be broken by one party. Before getting married, please consult a lawyer familiar with property law in your state.

In my opinion, everyone considering marriage should read "The Case Against Marriage"

(https://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Marriage-Really-Getting/dp/6056321533/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1467905693&sr=8-1&keywords=case+against+marriage)

and then think long and hard about how their marriage will be different.

When I was growing up I never saw any happily married couples.

As an adult I still do not see any happily married couples.

All of you happily married couples posting on this thread - where are you? Why don't I ever run into you?


StarBright

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #61 on: July 07, 2016, 09:45:57 AM »
This is a HUGE question.

As a rule most studies done do find that married people as a whole are happier and healthier than those who are not married.  Time Magazine just recently had a cover story on this in the last month if you want to read something very recent.

Having been divorced myself and now married again, my answer is that marriage is absolutely worth it, but you need to be very careful in selecting your partner.  I can only speak for my experiences and what I learned.  I am a Christian and if I look back on why my initial marriage was a failure and while I am much happier and optimistic in my current marriage it is because I picked a partner the world/culture's way the first time (I think she's fun and good looking and makes me laugh) the first time, and I picked my second spouse God's way (getting to know her character and focusing on everything BUT my feelings and desires).  My first marriage I went into assuming "love conquers all" so even though I saw red flags I talked myself out of them saying that once we were married love would make it all work out.  Getting sexually involved before getting married absolutely was a prime motivator in convincing myself that all the bullshit was worth it.  Doing it without sex the second time around and having to focus on what we liked about each other and not having that cloud the judgment, made all the difference in the world.  I get that most people will say I'm nuts, and I had friends telling me the same thing when I shared with them my approach to courtship the second time around, but the difference in spouses is night and day.  I am certain if I had not changed my focus that I would have ended up with something similar.  The wonderful thing is I ended up with a wife that was more of all the "wordly" things (beautiful, funny, loving) that drive most of us but with a internal core that is God-focused rather than self-focused and that makes it wonderful.  God is good, all the time. 

We have a lot more complexity than most marriages being both divorced and having kids.  This now involves swapping kids, dealing with exes and all the other stuff, but it all pales with the joy of being with someone and knowing someone has your back.  This is what I think a single person never has no matter how much you pretend you do.  It is just very different and I love it.  We certainly disagree, argue, etc. but knowing how to fight productively versus destructively makes all the difference in the world.

We've been married for four years now and I am the happiest I've ever been.  So for me the answer is marriage is absolutely worth it!

You post is so interesting to me! My response is kind of a counter point. I was raised in a religious household and my parents would have disowned me if I had moved in with my fiancee before marriage.  Except not living together and not sleeping together was DISASTROUS for me - there were so many control issues and incompatibility issues that surfaced once we lived together. My parents were actually the ones that encouraged me to divorce once the control began to escalate to scary territory.

When I began to seriously date my second husband my parents told me they would not be upset if we lived together before making any long term decisions. While DH and I kept separate apartments (he was also raised in a religious household) it was important to me that we practiced sharing space before I made any commitment.

I guess with my first I put all my faith in our shared faith. With my second marriage religion was still important but I realized that some additional legwork had to be done on my part as well. While faith may "conquer all" at an individual level, I don't know that it can actually conquer all issues in a marriage :)

That being said - I don't regret either marriage and my second one is going strong at 10 years and 2 kids. My first taught me a lot about myself and my current marriage is a really wonderful relationship.

Just yesterday we had a nightmare of a travel day- two long flights, 4 hour delay, toddler broke her foot during the delay, car didn't start when we finally got back to our home airport, etc and I vividly remember looking over at my husband and thinking "I'm so glad I'm doing this with you." For me - totally worth it!

mozar

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #62 on: July 07, 2016, 10:15:15 AM »
Quote
All of you happily married couples posting on this thread - where are you? Why don't I ever run into you?

Lol, I feel the same way. The only way I know happy marriages exist is because of this forum.

rockstache

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #63 on: July 07, 2016, 10:31:22 AM »
Quote
All of you happily married couples posting on this thread - where are you? Why don't I ever run into you?

Lol, I feel the same way. The only way I know happy marriages exist is because of this forum.

That is shocking to me. But I tend to believe that good relationships breed good relationships. If, as a kid, you grow up watching one parent treat the other like junk, and no one intervenes to tell you it is wrong, or provides a better example, I can see how you would think that is how relationships work. My parents actually did divorce, but aside from them, I was surrounded by happy, lasting marriages and still am. I think that those relationships helped to shape my views about what I would and would not want in a mate of my own. These standards are also (sort of naturally) applied to my friends. I tend to hang around people who are considerate and kind to me, and also to others (including their partner).

wenchsenior

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #64 on: July 07, 2016, 10:33:38 AM »
Quote
All of you happily married couples posting on this thread - where are you? Why don't I ever run into you?

Lol, I feel the same way. The only way I know happy marriages exist is because of this forum.

I'm too lazy to go looking for links, but I know research has been showing that (at least for the past couple decades) the preponderance of divorces occur in lower income couples who marry young, and in less educated couples or those with very disparate education levels. Can't remember the effect of having or not having kids, disparate income levels, or of religiosity. Bible Belt states have a higher divorce rate, but I can't remember if the religious element has been determined to be correlative or causative.

Also, the 50% divorce statistic is misleading. I don't think it's that high anymore; American divorce rates peaked in the 70s and 80s when they first became socially acceptable. Second, some marriages (see above) are much more likely to end in divorce. Finally, the overall divorce rates are skewed by the fact that there is a portion of the population that tends to marry and divorce multiple times, driving up the percentage.

Did you guys grow up/now know social circles mostly consisting of this type of partnership?

ETA: It also occurs to me that people who are unhappy tend to bitch about it, whereas I realize I don't usually start my average bs session with a friend by going on and on about how awesome my DH is.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 10:38:37 AM by wenchsenior »

Gyosho

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #65 on: July 07, 2016, 10:40:20 AM »
"Relationships" are one thing and "marriage" is another thing. To quote from "The Case Against Marriage":

"What is marriage? This may seem like a complicated question. There are many dimensions to it: emotional, sexual, religious, cultural, financial. If you ask a hundred people on the street what marriage is, you are probably going to get a hundred different answers.

However, if you ask a hundred lawyers the same question, you are more likely to get a consensus. Under the law, marriage is quite simple: It is an economic contract to share future income and liabilities. You can layer on top of it whatever emotional meaning you want, but what the law sees is primarily a merging of your economic activity."

wenchsenior

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #66 on: July 07, 2016, 10:51:59 AM »
"Relationships" are one thing and "marriage" is another thing. To quote from "The Case Against Marriage":

"What is marriage? This may seem like a complicated question. There are many dimensions to it: emotional, sexual, religious, cultural, financial. If you ask a hundred people on the street what marriage is, you are probably going to get a hundred different answers.

However, if you ask a hundred lawyers the same question, you are more likely to get a consensus. Under the law, marriage is quite simple: It is an economic contract to share future income and liabilities. You can layer on top of it whatever emotional meaning you want, but what the law sees is primarily a merging of your economic activity."

I understand that you dislike the institution, as you've posted so in a number of threads. That's cool. But that's different than what you asked and I tried to address. Do you mean that you think the very fact of making a relationship 'legal' is causing unhappiness among people you know? In other words, were the people happy together for a fair chunk of time, then got married, and now they are suddenly unhappy? Or is it a correlative observation where you know mostly unhappy married people, and mostly happy unmarried-but-in-a-long-term-relationship people? If so, that is interesting, and I'm not sure what to make of it.

Lski'stash

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #67 on: July 07, 2016, 11:43:24 AM »
We've been married about six or seven years (I should probably know that) and were exclusively dating/living together for seven or eight years before that.

Is marriage worth it?  Sure!  It's pretty awesome.  Is it significantly different than living together and sharing all your stuff/money?  Not really.

This is pretty close to my experience. My husband and I met in high school, actually, dated through college, and had steady income before we decided to marry. I think we always knew that's where is was headed, but we wanted to be financially stable before making a decision like that. We had lived together beforehand, and there really is no difference between then and now, except for a piece of paper.

There are benefits that come along with being married, but mostly, we did it because we wanted to show our commitment to each other and eventually start a family. I wanted people to know that I found my person, and that we are in it together. I see myself growing old with him and raising a family with him.

I think that, possibly, for every horror story you've heard, there's probably ten or so great marriages. I mean, I don't have a direct statistic or anything, but great marriages are posted about online, because, well, what would be talked about?

Post: Hey guys! I just want to say I'm in an excellent relationship!

Replies: Uhh, okay. That's great for you? But why are we talking about it?

Just to play devil's advocate a little further, a lot of the 'horror stories' you mention can (and have) happened to couples who weren't married. Awful things can happen in any relationship, whether there is a marriage certificate involved or not.

PFHC

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #68 on: July 07, 2016, 04:32:43 PM »
When I was growing up I never saw any happily married couples.

As an adult I still do not see any happily married couples.

All of you happily married couples posting on this thread - where are you? Why don't I ever run into you?
It may be the people you surround yourself with. I can name 15 happy marriages in as many seconds. I could easily reach 50 with enough time.

PFHC

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #69 on: July 07, 2016, 04:37:04 PM »
Married 27 years, together for 31. We met in college at ages 19/20, got married at 23/24. Together we've been through:

Five moves (one in-state, four inter-state)
Four parent deaths
Two miscarriages
One international adoption
One career change (his, after 20 years with the same company; he's now starting year 8 at his "new" job)

We stick together through thick and thin. Neither of us seems to know any other way to do it.
Well done!

PFHC

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #70 on: July 07, 2016, 04:40:32 PM »
Marriage is definitely worth it for me.

A few days ago, I made my wife laugh until she peed a little bit. A week before that, I put my head on her shoulder to rest and she cradled it against her tighter. A year ago I got to be in the audience as she was given a major award. Almost every day we've been together, I've seen her move forward towards her goals with an determination and compassion I admire.

I can't imagine living without that presence in my life. I agree with everything Wenchsenior typed up - my marriage doesn't take much work, with a few exceptional patches, and in exchange I get to see who this woman is becoming. It's fascinating, and I can't detect any hyperbole when I say that my marriage is the finest thing in my life.

I also agree with PFHC, saying the vows meant something huge to me. It wasn't saying them in front of others, it was saying them to her. She's the one.
SailorSam, sounds you have an awesome marriage! Congrats!

PFHC

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #71 on: July 07, 2016, 04:41:54 PM »
Quote
All of you happily married couples posting on this thread - where are you? Why don't I ever run into you?

Lol, I feel the same way. The only way I know happy marriages exist is because of this forum.
Others have already said it, but let me chime in. They are everywhere, you just need to surround yourself with them.

PFHC

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #72 on: July 07, 2016, 04:45:38 PM »
I tend to hang around people who are considerate and kind to me, and also to others (including their partner).
This is where its at.

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #73 on: July 07, 2016, 05:44:14 PM »
"Relationships" are one thing and "marriage" is another thing. To quote from "The Case Against Marriage":

"What is marriage? This may seem like a complicated question. There are many dimensions to it: emotional, sexual, religious, cultural, financial. If you ask a hundred people on the street what marriage is, you are probably going to get a hundred different answers.

However, if you ask a hundred lawyers the same question, you are more likely to get a consensus. Under the law, marriage is quite simple: It is an economic contract to share future income and liabilities. You can layer on top of it whatever emotional meaning you want, but what the law sees is primarily a merging of your economic activity."

I don't get how this downplays the importance of marriage. Quite frankly, the legal and economic benefits of marriage are what made it a complete no-brainer for me and my husband to marry. We didn't do it because we wanted to prove our luv and spend a million dollars on florists and wedding planners. We did it because it was the only reasonable way for us to gain legal status to live in the other's country to have a relationship in the first place. That's not romantic, it is coldly practical. But it is a decision that worked out enormously well to both of our individual and collective benefits.

GuitarStv

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #74 on: July 07, 2016, 05:51:07 PM »
Quote
All of you happily married couples posting on this thread - where are you? Why don't I ever run into you?

Lol, I feel the same way. The only way I know happy marriages exist is because of this forum.
Others have already said it, but let me chime in. They are everywhere, you just need to surround yourself with them.

I'm 35, my friends are all the same age . . . the vast majority are married.  I don't know a single couple who got divorced, or who have obviously dysfunctional relationships.

human

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #75 on: July 07, 2016, 05:52:09 PM »
I don't think gyosho was downplaying the legal reasons for marriage. I think he was trying to point out that it should be the major consideration, you don't need the contract for emotional purposes just live together. At least that's the way I understood him/her.

When you get married you should have a serious conversation about what it means and what will happen if it ends badly. People would rather "work it out" for years instead, making their own lives completely miserable. I'm not completely against it, it  just seems to make people miserable when they can't admit it was a mistake or it should end.

mozar

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #76 on: July 07, 2016, 05:58:12 PM »
Quote
Did you guys grow up/now know social circles mostly consisting of this type of partnership?

I grew up around miserable rich people. I'm not saying I disagree with the research about low income people being more likely to divorce. I 100% agree with the research. But in my personal circumstances my family members are rich and all treat each other like shit. No alcoholism, major depression etc, more like emotional abuse across the generations.

Every now and then I would see a couple in the distance who didn't look like they were about to strangle each other, but that was rare.
As a young adult I replicated that and only dated rich people who treated me like shit, and all their friends were also rich people who treated each other like shit.

I gave up on the whole having friends thing so I don't know any other couples right now.
 
I'm currently single and working on finding someone who doesn't treat me like shit.

RonMcCord

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #77 on: July 07, 2016, 08:06:25 PM »
1. Stop thinking about the 50/50 divorce statistic. First off, the most recent research shows it has dropped to around 40-45%, but mostly because the data is flawed. Divorce statistics are usually calculated by looking at the number of marriages and divorces in a year and plugging in the math. That's helpful, but doesn't tell the whole story. 2 PhD with stable jobs who have a long courtship and then get married do not have the same probability of getting divorced as a pair of high school dropouts who went to the courthouse after finding out the woman is knocked up 3 weeks after they met. Circumstances make a difference, and you can generally control your circumstances.

Adding on to this point, since it's just a simple marriages/divorces statistic, it also leaves out that people can have multiple failed marriages, and people who divorce once are more likely to divorce again.  So 50% of marriages, not necessarily 50% of people.

Personally, idk.  Never married, kind of on the fence on if I'd ever will.  Just seems like a huge risk and it just seems like you have to give up too much to be a couple or family than to remain single.  Then again, the whole "Dying alone" thing isn't great either.  I don't really have an interest in dating or anything right now, so I don't know.

.22guy

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #78 on: July 07, 2016, 09:16:56 PM »
Fuck no.  Been there, done that. Never again, it's an emotional and financial trap for men and I won't fall for that shit again.  Fuck the marriage scam.

Any men reading this considering it, don't do it.  Cast off the bullshit societal expectations and live for yourself.


MrDelane

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #79 on: July 07, 2016, 09:36:40 PM »
As a counterpoint to the above post - absolutely yes.
I wouldn't be anywhere near where I am right now, both career-wise and financially, (nevermind emotionally) if it wasn't for my marriage.  Having a team tackling all of life's problems together is exponentially more efficient than trying to do it all myself.

Of course that assumes you find the right partner, that you see eye to eye and that you grow together towards the same goals.  I realize that isn't the case for a lot of people - but I guess I am one of the lucky few.

I would say its definitely not for everyone... but that doesn't mean it's for no one.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2016, 10:22:38 PM by MrDelane »

scantee

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #80 on: July 07, 2016, 10:19:28 PM »

Stop thinking about the 50/50 divorce statistic. First off, the most recent research shows it has dropped to around 40-45%, but mostly because the data is flawed.

Divorce data are definitely flawed, but the oft-misquoted 50% divorce rate isn't the biggest problem with divorce statistics. The biggest problem with divorce statistics is that they fail to account for marriage rates which have changed much more dramatically over the last few decades than divorce rates have. This somehow gets lost in conversations about divorce rates, but it is a really important contextual change to acknowledge.

Why are marriage rates so important to understanding divorce rates? Because currently more than half of adults never get married and so it's impossible for them to get divorced. It's been a near magic solution for dropping divorce rates, although I think most would agree that it is hardly a reason to celebrate.

The story over the last few decades is that marriage rates have absolutely plummeted to the point that the institution itself has fundamentally changed. It used to be that most adults ended up married, at some point, regardless of whether they were poor, middle-class or well-off. Not everyone married, of course, but by far the majority of people did. I don't have the statistic in front of me but I believe around 85% of adults were "ever married" in the 1960's.

Today, marriage is mostly an institution for middle- and high-income people: marriage rates for low-middle and low-income people have fallen off a cliff. This is reflected in the overall percent of adults ever married, which in the past year or two has dipped below 50%. Some of that decrease is a statistical artifact related to the increase in age at first marriage,  but a lot of it is due to huge swathes of the population, particularly lower income people, simply opting out of the institution of marriage entirely. That's a huge cultural change and one that is, I think, more important to acknowledge than the drop in the divorce rate, which is small by comparison.

If you're a mid- to high-income (or wealth) person, as many of the people here are, you're much more likely to both get and stay married. That's probably why there are a lot happy couples on this board who are surrounded by mostly intact and happy-seeming marriages. Their peer groups are likely composed of people similar to them and they don't know a ton of lower income people who have completely bypassed marriage altogether.



mxt0133

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #81 on: July 07, 2016, 11:18:01 PM »

Today, marriage is mostly an institution for middle- and high-income people: marriage rates for low-middle and low-income people have fallen off a cliff. This is reflected in the overall percent of adults ever married, which in the past year or two has dipped below 50%. Some of that decrease is a statistical artifact related to the increase in age at first marriage,  but a lot of it is due to huge swathes of the population, particularly lower income people, simply opting out of the institution of marriage entirely. That's a huge cultural change and one that is, I think, more important to acknowledge than the drop in the divorce rate, which is small by comparison.


One reason for the lower marriage rate for those in with low income is due to the structure of our social benefits.  The current income requirements for benefits disincentives-es marriage.  A single parent will qualify for higher benefit amounts at a proportionally higher income threshold vs a married couple with children.  So what to they do?  Rationally, a couple wants to be together they stay unmarried and have kids because they will qualify for benefits.



If you're a mid- to high-income (or wealth) person, as many of the people here are, you're much more likely to both get and stay married. That's probably why there are a lot happy couples on this board who are surrounded by mostly intact and happy-seeming marriages. Their peer groups are likely composed of people similar to them and they don't know a ton of lower income people who have completely bypassed marriage altogether.


I am having a hard time finding a personal example of this mythical couple with a "happy marriage".  Of all the friends and family members I know, no one ever had a fairy-tale marriage.  The ones that have lasted are the ones that decided to work on it through thick and thin.  Rich or poor they all had their problems and moments where it could easily have ended up in divorce.  At the end of the day people stay together for many reasons, off-spring, finances, companionship, even if they seem miserable.  The only rational reason to stay in a unhappy marriage is because the alternative would be even worse for them.

To answer the OP's question of is marriage worth it or not, for me it was.  I wanted to have children and a family more than I wanted to be 'happy by myself'.  I knew it was going to be tough, it might end up in divorce, and may not last forever.  If it was easy then it wouldn't be as meaningful and rewarding to me.


pancakes

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #82 on: July 07, 2016, 11:29:00 PM »
I refer to myself as married but I'm not really.

We have been together for well over 10 years now and committed to each other a long time ago.

It is interesting to read the people who say that going through the wedding process changed their relationship for the better as I have have friends who decided not to get married and have told me that they believe their relationships would have survived if they were married.

I'm still open to getting married and wear an engagement ring but it really just isn't that important to either of us. Our actions with each other seem much more important than a commitment made in front of other people. There is no financial or legal advantage to marriage over a defacto relationship in Australia either.

Dicey

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #83 on: July 08, 2016, 12:00:54 AM »
I started to reply yesterday but it got waaay too long. Here's a shorter answer. Cancer at 21, focused on living a great life for as many more days as it was going to last. Wanted to get married and have kids. Dated my brains out. Completed everything on my bucket list that I could control. Lived, loved, dreamed, traveled. Danced at weddings, kissed babies, just not my own. Got involved in my community and volunteered a lot. Saved for the future I hoped I'd have. Lived a great life, despite lack of spouse. Was content. Sought FIRE with determined focus.

Finally found my "Missing Piece" (Thanks, Shel Silverstein!) and eloped at age 54. That was four years ago. I am so damned happy! If I had known what I was missing all those years, I think I would have been positively suicidal...Good thing I didn't know.

Takeaways: Don't be in a hurry and don't settle. Focus on figuring out who you are first and then seek a mate. Always, always trust your gut. If you can't accept something about your future mate, understand that they are not likely to change just because you want them to, even if you're sure they love you. Find someone who makes you laugh.

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #84 on: July 08, 2016, 12:26:57 AM »
I am having a hard time finding a personal example of this mythical couple with a "happy marriage".  Of all the friends and family members I know, no one ever had a fairy-tale marriage.
That's because you have a fundamental misunderstanding of a happy marriage. There is no such thing, anywhere, as a "fairy-tale" marriage. 

Quote
The ones that have lasted are the ones that decided to work on it through thick and thin.
This is what makes a successful marriage. And successful is a broad term. No married couple anywhere, ever, has had a 100% positive marriage. There are fights, arguments, troubles, and pain. But, guess what? That's life. If you are in a good marriage, you handle those struggles together.

pbkmaine

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #85 on: July 08, 2016, 12:36:48 AM »
I am having a hard time finding a personal example of this mythical couple with a "happy marriage".  Of all the friends and family members I know, no one ever had a fairy-tale marriage.
That's because you have a fundamental misunderstanding of a happy marriage. There is no such thing, anywhere, as a "fairy-tale" marriage. 

Quote
The ones that have lasted are the ones that decided to work on it through thick and thin.
This is what makes a successful marriage. And successful is a broad term. No married couple anywhere, ever, has had a 100% positive marriage. There are fights, arguments, troubles, and pain. But, guess what? That's life. If you are in a good marriage, you handle those struggles together.

OMG, so true! In my first marriage, it did not work that way, and I felt so lonely. Then I met DH, and with every obstacle, it was: "What do we do together to fix this?" So different. Such a relief.

Villanelle

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #86 on: July 08, 2016, 12:39:25 AM »
Fifteen years in, it's definitely been worth it for me.  He's my partner, in nearly every sense of the word.  We are much better as a team than we'd either be alone, though both of us are whole and complete and would be okay as singles, which I think is important.

And there are some practicalities for our situation that make the marriage worth more than just being together unmarried.  Most notably is the fact that we are about 6 years in to a 8 year stint living overseas, and we simply could not have been together had we not been married, as immigration and visa issues wouldn't have allowed it, and frankly for financial security reasons I never would have even considered giving up my job to follow him even if I could have. 

I didn't feel that going through a wedding or the wedding planning process changed our relationship, but I do think that being married did shift things over time, for the better.  While of course divorce is always a possibility, I think the security of having things be official created a comfort that helped us settle in somehow. 

There are a lot of other things I could say about how happy I am, but I recognize that many of them would apply to a long-term committed relationship as much or nearly as much as they would to a marriage, so I'll leave it at that. 

Kaminoge

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #87 on: July 08, 2016, 01:39:36 AM »
"Birds of a feather flock together"

I realise anecdotes are not data but about 10 years ago I became fascinated by the fact that I know virtually no divorced people. In my family (which is pretty small - I only know out to cousins, nothing more extended) there have been no divorces. In my close friends. No divorces. In my less close friends (but still more than acquaintances) there is one divorce. He married straight out of university, it lasted about 2 years and then they split. No kids. He's now remarried.

10 years later and the stats are still the same. I'm in my early 40s so most of my friends are similarly aged. Still no divorces. My brother and cousins are all married (apart from one who is gay but he's been with the same partner so long I presume there's a good chance they'd be married if it was legal) and none of them have divorced.

Even acquaintances, colleagues etc I know very few who have ever been divorced.

Now I'm not saying all these marriages look wonderful (all though many seem genuinely happy to an outsider at least) but it does make me wonder where all the divorced people are. I presume it's some combination of random luck and some of what is being talked about above. Most of my friends are university educated, firmly middle or lower middle class. Most hold similar value systems to me. I guess it was easier for me to eventually get married because all my life I've been surrounded by people that have shown me that it can work.

2Cent

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #88 on: July 08, 2016, 04:39:54 AM »
"Relationships" are one thing and "marriage" is another thing. To quote from "The Case Against Marriage":

"What is marriage? This may seem like a complicated question. There are many dimensions to it: emotional, sexual, religious, cultural, financial. If you ask a hundred people on the street what marriage is, you are probably going to get a hundred different answers.

However, if you ask a hundred lawyers the same question, you are more likely to get a consensus. Under the law, marriage is quite simple: It is an economic contract to share future income and liabilities. You can layer on top of it whatever emotional meaning you want, but what the law sees is primarily a merging of your economic activity."
There is more to it than just money. It gives you a next of kin status. This means a spouse is legally closer than a parent or brother, but a boy/girl friend is almost the same as a stranger. This is a big deal in medical situations or when having kids or going abroad.

Fishindude

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #89 on: July 08, 2016, 06:40:02 AM »
Some interesting discussion.   I am one of six siblings and have been married for 33 years, meanwhile all of my siblings have been married and divorced, some a couple go-arounds.
In thinking about it, my spouse and I tend to socialize with and hang around other married couples and families and for the most part always have.

Knapptyme

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #90 on: July 08, 2016, 07:00:06 AM »
Going on 12 years with my wife straight out of college together. While disagreements are bound to happen with anyone you live and/or work with, I would consider our marriage to be quite collaborative and happy. We did wait a while (8 years) to have kids, and I think that was a great choice. We were in a better place with each other and had left a lot of our individual tendencies behind--which was even more important when the kids came along.

On a tangential note that I find relevant, I enjoyed and played on many team sports growing up. Individual sports were never my favorite even if I played them. There is a team element to marriage akin to that. I never wanted to do life alone. In times where I drop the ball, so to speak, my teammate picks it up. Many of you against marriage will say that's where friends and other family come in. That's where I would contend that I, a total stranger before we met, want to be my wife's teammate. I don't have to do it; I choose to do it. That's what makes marriage potentially great.

Cohabitation and/or LTR may produce similar results, but I believe there is something about that bond of marriage albeit legal, religious, or otherwise that speaks volumes for a couple's future.

Mtngrl

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #91 on: July 08, 2016, 07:13:42 AM »
I have good friends who lived together for 30 years without a legal "marriage." They were very happy and compatible and had no intention of marrying. Then one day he suffered a stroke. Though they had all the paperwork for his long-time partner to make medical decisions for him, etc, she had a heck of a time dealing with doctors, etc. As soon as he was out of the hospital, they went down to the courthouse, took out a marriage license, then said vows to the justice of the peace. They didn't make a big deal out of it (I didn't even know until a month after the fact.) For them, it became a practical matter to allow her to care for him without impediment.

Perhaps a sad commentary on the world we live in, but something to think about.
I'm in the camp that being actually married -- that legal commitment -- meant a lot to us. That may very well be because we were raised to see marriage that way and others could feel the same commitment without the license.

golden1

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #92 on: July 08, 2016, 07:28:33 AM »
Quote
Divorce data are definitely flawed, but the oft-misquoted 50% divorce rate isn't the biggest problem with divorce statistics. The biggest problem with divorce statistics is that they fail to account for marriage rates which have changed much more dramatically over the last few decades than divorce rates have. This somehow gets lost in conversations about divorce rates, but it is a really important contextual change to acknowledge.

Why are marriage rates so important to understanding divorce rates? Because currently more than half of adults never get married and so it's impossible for them to get divorced. It's been a near magic solution for dropping divorce rates, although I think most would agree that it is hardly a reason to celebrate.

The story over the last few decades is that marriage rates have absolutely plummeted to the point that the institution itself has fundamentally changed. It used to be that most adults ended up married, at some point, regardless of whether they were poor, middle-class or well-off. Not everyone married, of course, but by far the majority of people did. I don't have the statistic in front of me but I believe around 85% of adults were "ever married" in the 1960's.

Today, marriage is mostly an institution for middle- and high-income people: marriage rates for low-middle and low-income people have fallen off a cliff. This is reflected in the overall percent of adults ever married, which in the past year or two has dipped below 50%. Some of that decrease is a statistical artifact related to the increase in age at first marriage,  but a lot of it is due to huge swathes of the population, particularly lower income people, simply opting out of the institution of marriage entirely. That's a huge cultural change and one that is, I think, more important to acknowledge than the drop in the divorce rate, which is small by comparison.

If you're a mid- to high-income (or wealth) person, as many of the people here are, you're much more likely to both get and stay married. That's probably why there are a lot happy couples on this board who are surrounded by mostly intact and happy-seeming marriages. Their peer groups are likely composed of people similar to them and they don't know a ton of lower income people who have completely bypassed marriage altogether.

I definitely agree with a lot of this.  I see less and less people getting married in general, even in middle class and upper middle class circles.  It is very rare for the lower middle class and poor people I know to be married, and most of them have one or more children.  People just don't really seem to see the point anymore.  Many women used to marry for financial stability, and that is becoming less of a factor.  It is hard to put into words, but it just feels like our increasingly individualistic culture is making the expectations around marriage change.  If it isn't making you happy right here, right now, then it must be flawed somehow.   

jrhampt

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #93 on: July 08, 2016, 11:19:21 AM »
Mtngrl and Golden have it right.

I NEVER expected to marry when I was growing up. I had poor models, thought my personality wasn't suited and I also wasn't all that interested. To my surprise, I've been extremely happily married for 22 years (together almost 26). We have lived a bunch of places/conditions, lived apart for stretches due to work, and also had long stretches where we've been working and living together nearly 24-7. All of these different arrangements have worked fine for us.

 The REST of life can be a grind, but the marriage is the respite from that. We've had a Conventional wisdom that "marriage is lot of work, but worth it" doesn't really resonate with me; although I've found marriage to be terrific, I've never found it to be much work.few tough patches where we needed brief vacations from each other, or where one of us was not handling external pressures well and bringing that dysfunction into the relationship. But that's maybe 3 bad patches, of maybe 6-12 months each?...that required focused attention and effort to keep from irrevocably messing the relationship up. There will likely be a few more bad patches before we shuffle off. But each bad patch teaches you how to be a better partner anyway, so that's a pretty great trade-off IMO for 26 generally great years together.

Totally agree with the bolded comment above (no kids, so maybe this makes a difference).  I think if you pick someone with whom you have enough in common, this is true -- and of course you have to keep some things in common as you change with age, although they may be different things than you started out with.  I've been with my spouse for 17 years total (8 years prior to marriage, 9 years after marriage). 

dycker1978

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #94 on: July 08, 2016, 11:33:12 AM »
I have been married for exactly 16 years.  There has been trying times for sure.  But for me it has been the best experience.  She has helped me grow as a person and challenged me in many ways.

I think the reason that there is sometimes so much despair in marriage is two things.

1. Life is not a movie.  Those "fairy tale" type scenarios don't exist.  You will see your partner at the best and worse they have to offer.  That is what marriage is, in my opinion.  Two people propping each other up for the betterment of both people. 

2. Divorce is to easy.  There is not one relationship in this world that will not go through things.  It is to easy to say, "we don't like each other" now and have it dissolved.  Some one earlier said that marriage is hard work.  It is the hardest job that I have ever had.  It is also, by far, the most rewarding.

So to answer the OP's question.  Is Marriage worth it?

Fuck yes.  I would choose my wife everyday forever.

SimplyMarvie

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #95 on: July 08, 2016, 12:39:35 PM »
Mtngrl and Golden have it right.

I NEVER expected to marry when I was growing up. I had poor models, thought my personality wasn't suited and I also wasn't all that interested. To my surprise, I've been extremely happily married for 22 years (together almost 26). We have lived a bunch of places/conditions, lived apart for stretches due to work, and also had long stretches where we've been working and living together nearly 24-7. All of these different arrangements have worked fine for us.

 The REST of life can be a grind, but the marriage is the respite from that. We've had a Conventional wisdom that "marriage is lot of work, but worth it" doesn't really resonate with me; although I've found marriage to be terrific, I've never found it to be much work.few tough patches where we needed brief vacations from each other, or where one of us was not handling external pressures well and bringing that dysfunction into the relationship. But that's maybe 3 bad patches, of maybe 6-12 months each?...that required focused attention and effort to keep from irrevocably messing the relationship up. There will likely be a few more bad patches before we shuffle off. But each bad patch teaches you how to be a better partner anyway, so that's a pretty great trade-off IMO for 26 generally great years together.

Totally agree with the bolded comment above (no kids, so maybe this makes a difference).  I think if you pick someone with whom you have enough in common, this is true -- and of course you have to keep some things in common as you change with age, although they may be different things than you started out with.  I've been with my spouse for 17 years total (8 years prior to marriage, 9 years after marriage).

I also totally agree with this, and we have three kids. The kids? Are sometimes a hell of a lot of work. Being married actually makes the kids less work -- because we can switch off and tag-team -- and has never seemed like work in it's self. Sometimes being married inspires me to keep doing my own personal emotional work to not be a selfish jerk... but that is work that I should be doing anyway, and is part of growing as a human. I interact with a lot of different kinds of people in my life, it'd be really sad if the only reason I tried not to be a total asshat was my spouse.

Other than that, we've had to have some moderately uncomfortable conversations in our marriage about kids, and money, and depression and not leaving dirty underpants on the living room floor. But that's life, not work. I honestly don't understand this 'marriage = work' meme. Maybe it's generational?

GuitarStv

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #96 on: July 08, 2016, 12:55:35 PM »
Other than that, we've had to have some moderately uncomfortable conversations in our marriage about not leaving dirty underpants on the living room floor.

Where else would they go?

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #97 on: July 08, 2016, 01:19:49 PM »
Other than that, we've had to have some moderately uncomfortable conversations in our marriage about not leaving dirty underpants on the living room floor.

Where else would they go?

I predict a moderately uncomfortable conversation sometime in your marital future.  :>

GuitarStv

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #98 on: July 08, 2016, 01:29:47 PM »
Other than that, we've had to have some moderately uncomfortable conversations in our marriage about not leaving dirty underpants on the living room floor.

Where else would they go?

I predict a moderately uncomfortable conversation sometime in your marital future.  :>

Next you'll tell me I should shut the living room windows while removing my soiled underwear. . .

Tanor85

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #99 on: July 08, 2016, 01:35:15 PM »
Marriage is an antiquated custom. Father "gives away" his daughter to another man. She takes on his last name. Please...

As far as "is it Worth it" goes, it is certainly not the optimal decision. Being in a committed relationship is great, but do you want to go through a divorce when his or her feelings inevitably change?

It is ok to be in a long-term relationship without being married. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if one day legal marriages disapear entirely.