Author Topic: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)  (Read 28539 times)

astvilla

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Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« on: July 06, 2016, 08:03:07 AM »
I've always wondered reading through life stories here...is marriage worth it? There are so many horror stories, pain, suffering (though I don't think you should avoid marriage to avoid those pains). Even when I work with others, it sorta surprised me how many are and are not divorced.  Many times, I can see a pattern in the type of person that divorces though not always. And I'm sure the ex will say bad things but others may have different views. 

Cause marriage is basically, "you know, I like what we got going here, let's keep doing this until one of us drops dead 50-60 years later, and if you leave...."

The reasons vary, sometimes it's valid, sometimes it's random and no real reason.  Some divorces are amicable, others bitter and contested.  It just makes marriage seem like a really BIG gamble because you don't really know.  You might not even know your partner or even yourself well in the end and make a big mistake.  Are there any words of wisdom, sage advice from those experienced on how to avoid divorce or settling with the right person?  If you could go back, what would you have looked for or done different?  (and would you do a prenup?  Because prenups sounds like one step out the door itself...though I'd probably do it and I feel bad for feeling that way).  Sometimes I see people marry and it's not all what it seems...people even say singles are happier...idk

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2016, 08:10:02 AM »
I struggle with this question a lot myself, and have gone into my own thoughts on the topic in my journal.

Marriage is a contract between you, your spouse, and the government.......if I could get rid of that 3rd party it would be a no brainer for me.

Signing a contract, for which the terms and laws can change any time in the future and dictate my life doesn't sit well with me. As someone who is in a committed long term relationship for over half a decade I don't see the benefits of marriage outweighing the risks/negatives in my situation.....at least for now.

acroy

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #2 on: July 06, 2016, 08:30:09 AM »
Yes. Quality of the spouse is important.
To  2Birds1Stone's point, I take the strictly libertarian stance that gov't should not be in the marriage business. I don't understand it. Get 100% out.
The only way to mitigate gov't interference in a marriage is via a pre-nup. But that's going into the marriage prepared for failure - hardly a marriage!

catccc

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #3 on: July 06, 2016, 08:32:47 AM »
There are practical values, such as taxes (for our situation, at least), employer sponsored insurance, SS benefits, etc.

I'm really happy with my marriage and would do it again in a heartbeat.  We did know each other really well when we finally got married.  We started dating right when he was graduating college, and got married 9 years later.  Been married for 8 now.  For us it isn't random, it's a promise we made in good faith to one another to build a life together.  Yes, this can be done without marriage, but I've always liked the idea of marriage.  I don't believe in "the one," but I believe in staying in love and not bailing if things occasionally get difficult.  And that is what marriage is to me. 

(and I pay a lot less taxes.)

OTOH, I don't think divorce is awful and to be avoided at all costs.  I do think DH and I will make it, this is a buy-it-for-life kinda relationship, IMO.  But I have seen marriages end and both people are better for it.  Nothing wrong with that.

Psychstache

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2016, 08:37:21 AM »
Happily married for about 3 year now with our first child on the way and hear are some of my thoughts marriage and relationships:

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.

2. DW and I have been married for 3 years, but we are coming up on 8 years together. I think it is very important to significant time together before marriage where you can truly evaluate who the person is and who they are becoming as you grow up. You can hide your crazy for 6 months or a year, but not forever. Make sure you see the crazy before you commit.

3. Going along with the previous point, when someone shows you who they are, believe them. I wasted a lot of time in past relationships by ignoring the warning signs my partners were sending me. People act in accordance with their beliefs, so take their actions into account while you try and understand who they are.

4. Listen to your tribe. The people in your tribe (close friends and family) will have an insight about the relationship that you are missing because they are removed from the emotions of the situation. I had dated a girl for a while that most people who observed us interacting together thought I was not being valued in the relationship, but I wrote it off. After wasting far too much time with that person, I saw what they were talking about in the post relationship autopsy. You don't need to break up with someone just because your friends don't think you are right together, but pay attention to what they are saying and try and see it for yourself.

5. I am sure this is clear to you being on this forum, but money is a proxy for a person's values. Pay attention to where they place their values.

6. If you want a relationship to last, find an effective way to communicate that works for the two (or more if that is your thing) of you. I generally recommend 'The 5 Love Languages' to couples as a way to learn how to communicate with each other. (Note: works best if you get 2 copies and read it together then do the activities).

7. Pay attention to how someone treats retail employees/restaurant servers. Very telling of a persons character.

8. Get your lives and financial situations on some solid footing before having kids. They make things harder and will not fix the problems in your relationship (they will add problems in the beginning in fact)

And finally, most importantly, marriage is absolutely worth it.....if you are truly inclined to being pair bonded for life to someone. Just like the credo for this board, truly examine this concept and make sure it is something that you would truly value and want for yourself, rather than just do it because it is what is the most common path in society.

For me, my marriage makes my life. It is what has allowed me to become the person I am today and I would be worse off in many respects for it. But, I had to really do a lot of soul searching to get here. My parents got married young without a plan and learned pretty quickly that they were not compatible, but by then they had a couple of kids. So they stuck it out and fought with each other for a decade and a half in front of us until everything blew up (business failure, car repos, and home foreclosure) and they finally separated. I was angry at them for a long time and scared that I would screw up a marriage and set myself up for failure. I spent a lot of time and research into figuring out whether or not I could make a marriage work and ultimately felt like I could (and so far so good).


There are a lot of horror stories out there and it is scary to think about how badly divorce could set you back (emotionally, practically, and financially), but I would also keep in mind that everyone loves a good trainwreck, so you see more stories about bittier divorces with crazy turns than you do about happy couples who are just living their lives.

P.S. reread your post and saw I skipped the part about the prenup. DW and I met in grad school, so really there was nothing to nup, so I got nothing here. I guess technically my wife should've pushed for a prenup, since she did have some assets and I had student loans where she didn't (in fact I think when we married they brought our net worth to almost exactly zero).

rubybeth

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2016, 08:57:03 AM »
I've always wondered reading through life stories here...is marriage worth it?

This is such a broad question. For some people, marriage is "worth it" (however you define "worth") and for others, it isn't. If you're looking for reasons to not get married, you will find many. If you are looking for reasons to get married, you will also find many.

I have a husband of nearly 8 years (been together 10 years) who shares many of my core beliefs and life goals, and who has been incredibly supportive of me, and I of him. Of course, every relationship has ups and downs, tragedies and trials, but having a spouse who has empathy and is willing to work on the ugly, un-fun stuff is pretty awesome. I have seen a lot of people marry and divorce, and I'm no longer surprised to learn that people's marriages aren't what they seem (in real life, or on social media).

Edited to add: I think the number once piece of advice I can give to someone considering marriage is to talk about expectations. For every aspect of your life, you are likely assuming something will be one way, and your partner may assume it will be another way. The distance between these two assumptions and reality equals frustration or worse. So talk about everything you possibly can related to your expectations and their expectations--on some things, you may be close, and on others, worlds apart. Our pre-marital preparations with our church facilitated this conversation, but we had talked about most of that stuff before getting engaged. Everything from finances, household duties, children, where to spend holidays, etc. was up for discussion. It can be a very eye-opening exercise.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 09:35:10 AM by rubybeth »

dougules

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #6 on: July 06, 2016, 09:30:27 AM »
I assume we're talking about getting married vs. having the exact same relationship without the legal certificate. 

We were all but officially married for 4 years before we made it legal.  Honestly we just did it for the legal benefits.  For us it didn't change the dynamics of our relationship.  I think making a big deal about being married would diminish the fact we were committed for 4 years before getting the piece of paper. 

That being said, it makes a difference emotionally or religiously for some people.  If your SO is one of those people, you should do it.  Divorces may be a big PITA, but splitting up is going to be very messy if you're all but married, too.  I don't know how to really tell if you're with somebody that's going to last, but I would say take the time to get past the honeymoon period before going through with it.  Also make sure both you and them are realistic about the fact there will be lots of compromising and occasional times when you will hate each other. 

If you're just thinking about the legalities it's really just going to depend on your situation. 

Honestly it sounds like you've just got a typical case of cold feet. 

Helvegen

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #7 on: July 06, 2016, 09:39:01 AM »
Marriage is worth it to me. We did not spend as much time together before marriage as a lot of people here probably did and did not live together before marriage (immigration issues - why we got married so quickly). I don't know, it just clicked. We have similar (but not identical!) personalities, interests, expectations, goals. We figured out early where our strengths and weaknesses were and how to work on/with them. It hasn't always been 100% smooth sailing, particularly at the beginning when we were dirt poor and new parents. But we got through it and I have to say that our marriage and life in general is really good right now.

Together 13 years, married 12.

GuitarStv

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2016, 09:43:04 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.

WGH

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2016, 09:47:35 AM »
I'm in the midst of a divorce over a situation that is so insane I am considering writing a screenplay and selling it to the Lifetime network.

That being said marriage can be wonderful. My favorite quote on the matter:

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."

You don't need to be married to do this of course but having someone to make the insignificant times significant to me is the core of the value. Psychstache made some great points and I will just toss out one more.

Opposites attract but they don't often endure. I learned this one the hard way. You feel connected to someone because you're introverted and they are extroverted. Because you are good with money and they are bad and you feel needed and fulfilled helping them with their finances etc. Until you discover that they didn't learn anything and you are just enabling and they take you down with them. Take the time to really make sure your core beliefs are aligned and that they are kind, patient, and not crazy.

Good luck.

ysette9

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2016, 09:54:40 AM »
What a potentially fraught topic but as usual, this forum has intelligent people having a reasoned discussion. I especially think Psychstache brought up good points. First, when you dig into the marriage/divorce statistics, the likelihood of two educated, older (late 20s+) people getting divorced is actually fairly low. Anecdotally, in our cohort of friends (30s-early 40s, over-educated engineering professionals) almost no one has been divorced. The one person I can think of went ahead and married the wrong person while knowing things weren't right, but cowed to family pressure. That person has subsequently remarried a better match and is happily raising a kid.

I am thrilled to be married and think it has been and continues to be wonderful. I personally feel more stable, valued, settled, and content being married than just living together. We are truly a single team with joint goals and purpose and we kick ass at getting what we want out of life. When we were together but not married we had similar parallel goals, but it just wasn't as powerful as planning life together. Financially, getting married and combining households has been a (insert stupid sports metaphor here. I was reviewing our net worth and the growth over the past several years and remarking at how it seems the combo of compound interest and dual income professionals is making wealth building this snowball rolling downhill.

This might be the type of topic to generate more interest from the people with negative experiences which is why I wanted to speak up. I think there are a lot of people out there who are happily, but silently, married. It does take work though, and the biggest lesson we have learned is that everything ultimately comes down to communication. The class Crucial Conversations I took at work has done more to improve my personal life than anything at work. I highly recommend taking the time to figure out how to safely and calmly discuss the tough things. That will get you everywhere.

pbkmaine

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2016, 09:55:43 AM »
I'm in the midst of a divorce over a situation that is so insane I am considering writing a screenplay and selling it to the Lifetime network.

That being said marriage can be wonderful. My favorite quote on the matter:

"We need a witness to our lives. There's a billion people on the planet... I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... all of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."

You don't need to be married to do this of course but having someone to make the insignificant times significant to me is the core of the value. Psychstache made some great points and I will just toss out one more.

Opposites attract but they don't often endure. I learned this one the hard way. You feel connected to someone because you're introverted and they are extroverted. Because you are good with money and they are bad and you feel needed and fulfilled helping them with their finances etc. Until you discover that they didn't learn anything and you are just enabling and they take you down with them. Take the time to really make sure your core beliefs are aligned and that they are kind, patient, and not crazy.

Good luck.

Sounds like a good reason for a journal, WGH

ysette9

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2016, 09:58:21 AM »
Quote
You're saying 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'."

What a lovely way of putting it. There is a lot of truth to that quote. We are all flawed and will (if lucky) grow old and ugly. Having someone next to you who still thinks you are wonderful despite your warts and wrinkles is fantastic for the ego. Having someone with aligned values who understands what you do and why you do it and can support you through problem-solving and exploration is such a gift. Knowing there is someone reliable to lean on when shit hits the fan is immeasurably valuable, mentally and physically.

Ah, I am a lucky woman. Life is good!

caracarn

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2016, 10:02:21 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! 

rockstache

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2016, 10:27:41 AM »
I'm not an expert on the matter, having only been married for 6 years myself. but for me the answer is absolutely yes. I will add the caveat that we were good friends (never dated) for about 12 years before getting married. We both knew what we were getting, so there have really been no surprises. We didn't do a prenup for the reasons you mentioned, plus the fact that we didn't have too many assets at the time.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2016, 10:38:47 AM »
From a purely financial standpoint, about $5,000 in year one.

I have seriously considered framing our first joint 1040.

Zikoris

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2016, 10:51:46 AM »
No. In Canada, at least, you get all the tax benefits and such just by living together for 2 years. It seems pointless.

Stupendous

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2016, 10:52:12 AM »
I don't think you will get a good answer given the age of people on this board. Notice how all the people responding haven't been married for 30+ years. Also when marriage was originally designed things were very different back then e.g. life expectancy wasn't in the 70's.

Helvegen

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #18 on: July 06, 2016, 11:00:42 AM »
What a potentially fraught topic but as usual, this forum has intelligent people having a reasoned discussion. I especially think Psychstache brought up good points. First, when you dig into the marriage/divorce statistics, the likelihood of two educated, older (late 20s+) people getting divorced is actually fairly low. Anecdotally, in our cohort of friends (30s-early 40s, over-educated engineering professionals) almost no one has been divorced. The one person I can think of went ahead and married the wrong person while knowing things weren't right, but cowed to family pressure. That person has subsequently remarried a better match and is happily raising a kid.


For anecdotal fun...

My brother and SIL married in their late 20s after I want to say 8 years together. Lived together for 3-4 of those years. He is a mechanical engineer and she works in lab (I forget in what capacity).

Anyway, they got separated and she moved out after one year of marriage and they're getting divorced. No kids, thank whatever, but wow, that blew up fast. They are too focused on saving face for whatever reason to explain to anyone what happened so all of us are left scratching our heads.

My sister and BIL, their marriage is exhausting. They also married after many years living together in their late 20s. They are not getting divorced...today...but my god, is their marriage bipolar. One minute it is all flowers and sunshine, the next they are calling divorce lawyers and looking at apartments, and then five minutes later, act like nothing happened. Rinse and repeat. I don't get how two very high drama people can stay married for as long as they have. Makes my and my husband's head spin though.

Alenzia

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #19 on: July 06, 2016, 11:27:42 AM »
For me it's been worth it all the way. Our relationship didn't change much - we were already committed, had a house together, etc. Being in a committed relationship has brought me more joy than I ever thought it could have (I was against staying with one person all the way for quite some time).

The legal contract part of the marriage is more helpful on the society expectations front than on our relationship itself - people get it much easier that I need to go take care of a medical issue for my husband's family than my boyfriend's. The outward display of commitment saves energy and sets expectations.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2016, 11:45:46 AM »
For us, absolutely worth it.

Fishindude

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2016, 11:47:35 AM »
33 Years running.
I think it's going to work out OK.

Paul der Krake

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #22 on: July 06, 2016, 11:50:33 AM »
My sister and BIL, their marriage is exhausting. They also married after many years living together in their late 20s. They are not getting divorced...today...but my god, is their marriage bipolar. One minute it is all flowers and sunshine, the next they are calling divorce lawyers and looking at apartments, and then five minutes later, act like nothing happened. Rinse and repeat. I don't get how two very high drama people can stay married for as long as they have. Makes my and my husband's head spin though.
Maybe because the exit cost of a married relationship is so much higher?

Philociraptor

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #23 on: July 06, 2016, 12:15:16 PM »
So far so good. Married for only 2 years, together for nearly 10. Started dating in high school, went to colleges 1,800 miles away from each other and did the long-distance thing, I moved back home after, and we bought a house together about 4 years ago. I'm glad we're married vs. simply long-term committed. Simplifies lots of financial matters (I already handled all her finances once we moved in together). Easier for others to understand when things come up with the other person. Our commitment just feels stronger now that we're married vs. before.

Words of wisdom: really get to know each other beforehand. 6 months is not very long. Many of my aunts/uncles and parents' friends who only dated for a short time before getting married are all divorced now. COMMUNICATE! You absolutely must communicate with your partner, they aren't a mind-reader. And honesty: Once you are committed, your partner should accept you for all your faults, but it's certainly helpful if you bring those faults up first and don't let them find out another way.

If I could go back: been more honest up front; I always felt like I was the Reacher and her the Settler, so I felt like I needed to hide my faults to hold onto her. Turns out she's very accepting of my faults. Also would have listened to her advice when she told me to not go to an expensive private school and to not buy a new car straight out of college. I'm a lucky guy.

We didn't do a prenup because we had no assets. Only debt is my student loans, which would follow me in the event of a separation.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 02:46:39 PM by Philociraptor »

caracarn

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #24 on: July 06, 2016, 12:21:34 PM »
I don't think you will get a good answer given the age of people on this board. Notice how all the people responding haven't been married for 30+ years. Also when marriage was originally designed things were very different back then e.g. life expectancy wasn't in the 70's.

I was married for 17 years the first time and had been with her for 7 before.   Not sure how life expectancy goes into this.  Are you saying you could stand them for 40 years but if you need to be married to them for 50, well damn, that's too long?!

Helvegen

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #25 on: July 06, 2016, 12:31:02 PM »
My sister and BIL, their marriage is exhausting. They also married after many years living together in their late 20s. They are not getting divorced...today...but my god, is their marriage bipolar. One minute it is all flowers and sunshine, the next they are calling divorce lawyers and looking at apartments, and then five minutes later, act like nothing happened. Rinse and repeat. I don't get how two very high drama people can stay married for as long as they have. Makes my and my husband's head spin though.
Maybe because the exit cost of a married relationship is so much higher?

It would be a divorce that lawyers would drool and crawl over themselves to get to, I am sure. Financially, it would be a nuclear disaster for both of them. But finances, while a big motivator, shouldn't be the only glue that keeps two unhappy people together. These kinds of blow ups are becoming more and more frequent. I don't know how I could live with such relationship instability, just speaking for myself. It is exhausting just to watch from outside, let alone be first party to. How much stress is your money worth? IDK.


Picklemeister

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #26 on: July 06, 2016, 01:57:57 PM »
I am unhappily married, but trying to work on my marriage. I would not get married to the same man again if I knew what I know now. If we end up divorcing, I don't know if I would ever get married again.

If I did, I would choose someone who is capable of true compromise and who doesn't judge other people's emotions as valid or invalid and disregards them entirely if they're deemed invalid. I would also pick someone who wasn't overly judgemental, because eventually you have that judgement turned on you.

2Birds1Stone

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #27 on: July 06, 2016, 02:14:27 PM »
I am unhappily married, but trying to work on my marriage. I would not get married to the same man again if I knew what I know now. If we end up divorcing, I don't know if I would ever get married again.

If I did, I would choose someone who is capable of true compromise and who doesn't judge other people's emotions as valid or invalid and disregards them entirely if they're deemed invalid. I would also pick someone who wasn't overly judgemental, because eventually you have that judgement turned on you.

Wow, sounds like you are fundamentally dissatisfied......I would ponder long and hard if it's "worth" compromising the rest of your life to be with someone who you aren't truly compatible with?

lhamo

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #28 on: July 06, 2016, 02:25:52 PM »
My DH and I have been together over  21 years, married for nearly 20.  We're currently going through a bit of a rough patch in our marriage, complicated by his mid-life crisis.  I am hopeful that we will stay together, but only time will tell.  I am not going to accept the responsibility for single-handedly holding things together/turning them around, so the ball is in his court in many respects.

With that as background information, I would say yes, marriage has been worth it to me.  We have built a significant financial cushion, to the extent that we should both be FI either together or apart.  That feels like quite an achievement, and something to be proud of considering we both started our professional careers in the non-profit sector relatively late, and only worked FT for about 15-16 years (I had a year of PT work after #2 was born).  The other huge achievement that makes it all worthwhile is our two amazing kids.  I can't imagine my life without them, so for that reason alone I am glad I got married (I would not have had kids as a single woman). 

I think that, if we do decide to part ways, we will be able to do so amicably.  We have our various levels of dysfunction, but I think we both genuinely like each other and wish nothing but the best for the other party, so that makes it easier and simpler.  I think it is much harder to view a marriage as having been worth it if there was a lot of active meanness or worse, and if the split is not desired by both parties.     

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #29 on: July 06, 2016, 02:33:54 PM »
Married 14 years. Currently frustrated with my husband for stupid mundane impermanent reason, but as much as I want to say no because I am a grouch... it's so worth it.

Mr. Marvie and I don't have a traditional marriage though. Because we knew going into it that it was going to be non-traditional we talked A LOT about expectations and about why we were getting married. Most of the easy, simple answers didn't work for us -- we're not monogamous, so if we were expecting to have other loving, sexual relationships during the time we were married, why privilege this one? We had to talk a lot about what made the relationship we have with one another different. We have a family together. We travel the world together. We love each other fiercely and are building a life together in a way that I never will or would with anyone else, and there's a lot of ordinary magic in that, every single day.

...even when he takes the car to go bowling and forgets that I was supposed to go pick up the intern from the airport, leaving me stranded at home and panicking. :)

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #30 on: July 06, 2016, 02:37:39 PM »
Absolutely. Pain is the price of love. Everything awesome (kids, careers, art, etc) requires some risk and sacrifice.

For me, shared values and trust are 2 key pieces to making marriage work.

I met my husband when we were in our early 20s, out of college and living on our own. We seem to do better than couples we know who started dating in college or highschool. I think that is because we had more time to grow as adults ourselves, and figure out what we wanted a little more…but we were still young enough to be flexible and not too attached to “our way” of living. We know couples who have been together since 17yrs old who are not on the same page about kids, because well at 17yrs old most people aren’t really thinking about that. Same goes with other big issues like finances, career, spirituality, the role of extended family, etc. When you just stick around with the same person you met in highschool, it may be romantic, but you bypass that critical early dating period where adults normally find out if someone is truly compatible based on values and lifestyle. So many people find that what they loved about their 15yr old sweetheart has 0 bearing on whether or not they will be a good partner forever.

Shared values are critical. Your hobbies can differ, he can love horror flicks while she loves rom coms, and you may never see eye to eye on whether it is Indian or sushi night. But things like whether you want to be parents, religion, parenting/career balance, frugality and finances…all the big stuff…you really should be more similar than different if you want to stack the odds in your favor.

The prenup issue gets at trust. I personally would never do a prenup under first marriage circumstances and I would seriously consider breaking up with a man who asked for one. To me, prenups are for people with baggage – they have kids from another partnership they need to protect, large assets that they believe might attract a gold-digger, etc. For someone going into a first marriage without any of those conditions, a prenup screams “I don’t completely trust you and I’m covering my ass just in case.”  Why the hell would you legally bind yourself to someone if you trust them so little that you are making contingency plans for an easy exit before you even walk down the aisle? If you aren't generally convinced that your marriage has a good shot based on the character of your partner and quality of your relationship, you should be arranging to break off the engagement, not a prenup.

Trust will be tested time and time again in a marriage. Every time your husband is working late you have to trust that he really is working late, or else you will go insane thinking he is cheating. You have to trust your wife will be a good mom when you leave her home with the baby all day, and that she won’t ignore or worse, hurt the child. Every day marriages have numerous little tests of trust. If it isn’t there, stuff falls apart rapidly.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 02:46:31 PM by little_brown_dog »

CindyBS

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #31 on: July 06, 2016, 02:39:09 PM »
For me, it has been worth it.  DH and I have been together for 18 years, married for 16.  There are ups and downs and the past year has been a down, but it is back on the upswing.  DH can drive me crazy, but he really is my best friend.

My magic formula is that you have to like or have no opinion of about 90% of the person's personality, you can maybe change 2% of the personality and the other 8% of it you just have to be willing to accept.   If someone thinks they can change 25% of the other person's personality they will be disappointed. 

If you are willing to be married to a real person and not have an idealized image of how the perfect man/woman will be and what a perfect marriage will be, you can be happy. 

That being said, I do not think I would marry again if DH dies before me.  The kids will be raised and I now have a lot of $$ that I don't want to combine with someone else. 

Cassie

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #32 on: July 06, 2016, 03:03:15 PM »
I got married young at 18 and that marriage only lasted 3 years. I then married at 22 to someone that was 30. We only knew each other 8 months and did not live together. It was always a struggle but because we had 3 boys together I stayed until the youngest was 18  (22 years). We went to marriage counseling numerous times, etc. If I had lived with him I never would have married him. I decided never to marry again. Fast forward 18 years ago I met a great man and told him right off no marriage.  After living with him for 5 1/2 years I changed my mind and we married. everything is good.  My HS friends (4 of them) all married between 25-30 and then had kids and all are still happily married.  I think it was because they were more mature and had dated for a few years so knew what they were getting into.

Mtngrl

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #33 on: July 06, 2016, 04:28:17 PM »
Married 36 1/2 years. Together 37 years. (Yes, we knew each other 6 months when we got married.)
Marriage has been absolutely worth it for us. When you have a partner who shares your goals and vision, you are a team working together and you'll get to those goals much easier. It's wonderful to have someone who is rooting for you to succeed (as you are rooting for them), who you know will give you an honest perspective and with whom, over time, you build a shared history.

When my husband retired two years ago, so many friends warned me that he would drive me crazy, we would annoy the heck out of each other, etc. But it's been a great two years. We like doing things together and still enjoy each other's company after all these years. (We are not, however, joined at the hip. We each have activities and friends that we enjoy apart from each other.)

I can't tell you how to find that partner. My only advice is to take off the rose-colored glasses some people seem to wear when approaching matrimony. Don't expect your partner to solve your problems, 'fix' you, entertain you or make you happy if you are unhappy. Spouses can do some of these things, but it's not really their job. You have to try to be a healthy individual and bring that to the marriage. Find someone you can be friends with and stay friends with. Listen to your gut and if anything doesn't seem 'right' to you, take a step back and wait. Many of the people I know who ended up divorced (though not all) have told me they had doubts going into the marriage but did it anyway because of other people's expectations, they were tired of being single, etc.

Twelve

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #34 on: July 06, 2016, 04:46:05 PM »
Going against the grain here, no, marriage is not worth it. Its a lot of work for no reward. Every thing you try to accomplish will face another obstacle. Everything requires another layer of communication. Sex, one of life's great joys, is rendered a boring pointless chore by long term monogamy. And escaping it is often financial suicide, forcing you to stick with a relationship instead of allowing it to progress to a natural end.

JLee

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #35 on: July 06, 2016, 05:01:05 PM »
Going against the grain here, no, marriage is not worth it. Its a lot of work for no reward. Every thing you try to accomplish will face another obstacle. Everything requires another layer of communication. Sex, one of life's great joys, is rendered a boring pointless chore by long term monogamy. And escaping it is often financial suicide, forcing you to stick with a relationship instead of allowing it to progress to a natural end.

That's indicative of a significant flaw in the relationship, IMO.  Marriage does also not necessitate monogamy; there are plenty of polyamorous / ethically non-monogamous married people in the world.

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #36 on: July 06, 2016, 05:07:30 PM »
Speaking from personal experience, nothing is better than a good marriage, and nothing is worse than a bad marriage. Your spouse will either make you or break you, both emotionally and financially.

My former bride divorced me 21 years ago, and I have no interest in repeating my matrimonial mistake.

Like many things in life, you take your chances, then you either pay the price or reap the dividends, as the case may be. If you ever wed, I hope your outcome is better than mine.

human

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #37 on: July 06, 2016, 05:14:06 PM »
No. In Canada, at least, you get all the tax benefits and such just by living together for 2 years. It seems pointless.

I agree, common law status seems to get all the benefits of marriage. Not sure why it's necessary anymore.

Quebec has the right idea on marriage and civil unions, but since it's civil law I'm not exactly sure what happens if you don't register.

Totally worthless and not worth all the waiting around for a divorce when one is necessary. All this drama I read about people trying for years to "make it work" is insane. Just get it over with already, and don't try to stay together for the kids, in the long run they are better off with separated parents if they no longer love each other.

edit: answering my own question about QC, seems unregistered you are "de facto" and the term common law is still strangely used. Oh and they have the right idea here:

Common-Law Couples: Not Automatically Married After a Period of Time

A couple can live together without being married. But even if they have been together for one, three, 15 or 40 years, and even if they have several children together, they are never "automatically" married.

This means that, if they break up, common-law couples don't have some of the protections married couples have.

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.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2016, 05:20:38 PM by human »

Capsu78

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #38 on: July 06, 2016, 05:15:19 PM »
31 years on with my wife who was previously married... we are laughingly appalled when we run across the "I married my best friend" crowd.  She would certainly find better friends if I was the best one she had!

We sorta go on year to year contracts, but always try to have a nice trip planned together sometime in the future that neither of us would want to miss.  My view is every flaw I have cultivated was present in our dating period... If someone runs a little late sometimes, they probably won't be fixed with either carrots or sticks.  If someone "watches a little sports to unwind", they are probably commish of at least one FF league,  if they treat service people as lessors (as mentioned above on a very good post) they may not change their ways.  I have changed many thngs over the years about myself that my wife is happy about, but not the things she takes credit for modifying.

Successful marriage isn't a 50/50 proposition, it's 60/40- 60% effort by you, 60% effort by your spouse. 

FIRE me

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #39 on: July 06, 2016, 05:20:28 PM »
Is marriage worth it?  Sure!  It's pretty awesome.  Is it significantly different than living together and sharing all your stuff/money?  Not really.

Or, as my Grandpa used to say, “What's your's is mine, and what's mine, you keep your damned hands off!”

MsPeacock

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #40 on: July 06, 2016, 06:42:11 PM »
Married 14 years and now divorced for almost 3. The marriage became problematic at about year two and never got better despite my efforts (and basically only my efforts). Divorce was financially ruinous and very hard on my kids.

I will never marry again. I am In a nice LTR, but will never hitch myself legally to some other person. No thanks. Untangling a relationship was bad enough and devastating with lawyers and bills and court battles. No thanks.  I am not religious, so I no reason in that regard to marry.

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #41 on: July 06, 2016, 06:59:09 PM »
If I hadn't been married the first time I probably wouldn't have met my current future husband- the best one.
I got a prenup for the first marriage and would recommend them. I'm not sure if I'll bother for the second. I'll leave it up to him. A paper trail and a separation agreement seems to be most important if god forbid we separated. I wouldn't marry someone who even hinted at being unfair, vengeful or unethical. My ex and I negotiated everything ourselves, before and after. My lawyer pretty much disregarded my prenup and separation agreement, which was annoying.

What I would have done differently: dated more people and lived together pre-marriage. I also should have known myself better.
I still think marriage to the right person is well worth it.

Kitsune

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #42 on: July 06, 2016, 07:01:23 PM »
Marriage vs cohabitation in a long-term relationship with someone? Yes. Significant legal advantages, and advantages relating to property transfer taxes.

Marriage vs being single? Depends on the day. ;) snark aside, yes overall, and I love my husband, but honestly, if we split up, I'm not sure I'd sign up for another cohabiting relationship. It's a stupid amount of work to keep functional.

elaine amj

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #43 on: July 06, 2016, 07:15:21 PM »
Yes - having someone to share my life with is an incredible joy. We dated for 2 years and got married when I was 21. I was super young and I bet a lot of ppl wondered if it would last. 16 years and 2 kids later, our marriage is the strongest it has ever been.

What has helped us is shared values, and a genuine liking for each other. About 5 years ago, we had the opportunity to go on a long weekend away together after spending many years focusing primarily on our family and daily lives. It actually surprised me a teeny bit to discover we could still spend 4 whole days together talking almost nonstop and still enjoy each other's company.

Also, he's incredibly giving, always doing stuff to make things easier for me. Very much my better half. I also think that one of the reasons our marriage is strong is because he thinks I'm his better half (he's wrong but I won't argue lol).

I've watched friends who have failed marriages. The #1 problem has been when one party no longer respects the other. That seems to be the one thing that destroys the unity of a marriage.


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azure975

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #44 on: July 06, 2016, 07:39:10 PM »
From a purely financial standpoint, about $5,000 in year one.

I have seriously considered framing our first joint 1040.

Keep in mind that marriage does not always result in tax savings. Depending on the relative incomes of the 2 spouses, marriage can also result in a marriage penalty. This is usually among higher earners.

human

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #45 on: July 06, 2016, 08:54:17 PM »
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.

I really lucked out, my partner and I agree that legal marriage is not needed.

teen persuasion

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #46 on: July 06, 2016, 09:26:37 PM »
Marriage has been worth it for us - married 26 years, together nearly 30 years.  I honestly at this point can't imagine NOT being married, it just feels right, not like it is an effort to maintain.

For me/us, divorce was not an option, so I had to be absolutely sure this was it before tying the knot.  Several years of cohabitation was a good test for us - we felt married from the beginning, and the eventual ceremony was just a formality at that point.

Knowing your partner well is important, as is trust.  I think that our "divorce is not an option" attitude was important, too (at least for us).  There is no me vs you buried back in your subconscious, there is just "us" and our happiness at stake.  So I always approached things with the goal of maximizing our joint (and soon, family) happiness.  Choosing to do things that make my family happy makes my life more pleasant, too, while choosing to do things that make any member of my family sad/angry/unhappy has the potential to expand those bad feelings.  We chose the positive feedback loop, deliberately.  But we both had to be willing to make that choice.   


I think that having good role models helped us, too.  My parents just celebrated their 50th anniversary, and long marriages are the norm rather than the exception in our families.  We've grown up watching couples laughing with each other, teasing good-naturedly, compromising when needed, valuing each other's traits, knowing when to turn a blind eye to minor faults, showing affection.

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #47 on: July 07, 2016, 02:56:12 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.

PFHC

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #48 on: July 07, 2016, 03:56:26 AM »
Fuck yes.

It is the best thing that has ever happened to me. Hands down... and it has nothing to do with the legal and financial benefits. I couldn't give a smaller shit about that. In fact, I would wager if that is weighing heavily in one's consideration, then perhaps one should reconsider.

I love being married. My wife is an amazing human. She brings so much into our life. My life would be so much less without her. She has brought into the world my two favorite people. No joke. We've been together 10 years and if I had to go back, I would do it all again. Twice.

Don't bother about all the bullshit that surrounds marriage. If you love another person enough to chart the rest of your life around them, and they feel the same, then go for it. Its amazing. To be able to live and grow and learn with another person for your whole life is such a joy. She has been through everything I have since we met. She gets me, I get her, we get how we work together. There is no awkwardness, no trying to figure out where the other person is coming from, no explaining needed, we just know. She's my best friend on the planet. I could spend my life next to her and do anything. Talk, read, nap, play, whatever. We could go anywhere, do anything, conquer any obstacle.

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. And the cool thing is, it has only gotten better since then. The longer I live with this woman, the more incredible she becomes, the more strength and love and character she shows.

Maybe we just got lucky, but I doubt it. I know of many marriages, intimately, where the spouses feel the same. Just love the other person with all your being, not one iota held back, and you'll be happy. I promise you.

davisgang90

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Re: Is marriage worth it? (for you?)
« Reply #49 on: July 07, 2016, 04:29:02 AM »
Marriage has certainly been worth it for me and my wife.

We've been married 25 years last March.  I'm active duty Navy, we have a son with autism and my wife suffers from depression and a host of physical ailments.  Any one of those is a magnet for divorce.  Instead, each of those has brought us closer together and more determined to continue building our lives together.

In our case, we take our marriage vows very seriously and we will always be together. 

In my opinion, relationships other than marriage can often be much more casual in nature and folks just move on if challenges arise.  That's why I think the whole "for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health" stuff is so important.  Of course plenty of married folks don't take their vows seriously either and quit when it gets challenging.