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chelle21689's avatar

Has marriage changed your relationship?

Asked by chelle21689 (5182 points ) January 1st, 2014

Since I saw someone propose and accept it just got me thinking. What changes when you get married? They’re already living together, have a 2 year old, and have been together about 5 years.
Other than the law, name change, etc. what changes between the two people?

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14 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

Marriage changes relationships, but not in consistent and predictable ways. Some couples become symbiotic, closely bonded and working together and keeping the Other as a primary focus. Other couples rely on the commitment to take the Other for granted. And there are a host of reactions across the spectrum.

When i was married it was a matter of feeling committed and strongly involved in promoting us as a couple. That’s why it was so hard when my marriage turned into an abusive relationship, because that feeling of commitment and encouraging growth as a couple had been betrayed.

Coloma's avatar

No matter what anyone says most people, except those that have a lot of self awareness, have hidden expectations about marriage. Mostly unrealistic if not downright dysfunctional.
It takes TWO intelligent and self aware people and a whole lot of self examination to untangle most of the faulty programming IMO. A very rare occurence. lol

geeky_mama's avatar

I always figured if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it..

But seriously..at least for me, marriage felt like a commitment. At the very least it’s legally more difficult to get uncoupled when married than not..and for better or worse (ha!) people seem to take a relationship more seriously when you can introduce your spouse/mate/husband or wife vs. boyfriend/long time live-in boyfriend/partner. Not sure why that is..it just is for now.

In my case it was extra important that we got married because it gave me some legal standing (legal guardianship) with respect to his daughter from a previous relationship—and that enabled me to do things like add her to my insurance, take her to the dentist, etc. (My employer provides all our health insurance benefits.)

As for whether it changes things.. I think in our case the fact that we married made things feel more solid & permanent (made me less insecure? Because he had an Ex, but I was the current wife?)..but didn’t fundamentally change how we interact with each other..
It takes work, patience, love and good communication whether you have a marriage license or not.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Before my husband and I got married, we had been together for over 4 years and we’d been living together for a year. Both of us, but mostly him, we’re told how marriage changes everything. “Just wait until you’re married,” they said.

We’ve now been married for a year and a half. Nothing about our relationship has changed. The thing is, we didn’t expect it to change. A lot of people get married thinking it’ll make their relationship better in some way. It doesn’t.

Marriage fixes nothing. It also doesn’t ruin anything. It’s a piece of paper, unless you make it something else. Marriage itself isn’t to blame for anything that happens with the relationship after the fact. The people involved are to blame.

The financial benefits of marriage have been quite nice, though.

filmfann's avatar

I dated my wife for a year before we married. During that time, she was very happy whenever I saw her.
After marriage, I saw how often she was unhappy. No, our marriage didn’t make her sad. She was always like this, but I never saw it.

chelle21689's avatar

@filmfann yeah I think even in a year it isn’t enough to see everything of someone. I think the honey moon phase died down for me after a 1½–2 years.

hearkat's avatar

My thoughts are very much like @livelaughlove21‘s – it depends on the relationship before the marriage. I have seen many people over the years put romantically idealistic and unrealistic expectations on others and on what ‘getting married’ means. In those cases the people are disappointed and it often doesn’t work out in the long run. A colleague was with her partner for over 20 years and they had kids together; but once they got married, his possessiveness became even worse and they are now divorced.

When I was dating after my divorce, people would ask if I would get married again. It is not unusual to see divorced people either desperate to marry again, or dead-set against it. My reply was this: Marriage and commitment are mutually exclusive, as each can exist without the other. If I find a partner with whom I share a strong commitment, and it makes financial and legal sense for us to get married, then I have no problem getting married again.

In my current relationship, we have had commitment from the time we started dating four years ago. I made it clear that I was not going to risk a solid friendship just for fun. As it stands, it currently does not make financial sense for us to get married; so we live together, share everything and are engaged, but will not marry until it offers us benefits. Nothing about our relationship will change because we are married in every other sense but legal.

marinelife's avatar

Our commitment level changed (we had been living together before). Our willingness to work on the marriage.

glacial's avatar

@filmfann I think your experience might be unique to those who don’t live together before marriage.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband and I were together 2 years when we finally married. For 6 months before the marriage we lived together. The first few years of our marriage nothing changed. We went through some difficult times in the 3rd and 4th year because my illness was getting more difficult. My husband admits to making a conscious decision to stick with his committment of our marriage. I don’t know how seriously he thought about leaving, he never mentioned it as we went through the worst times. It wasn’t that we were angry with each other, or had different goals, we just had this horrible card dealt to us and it was extremely dissappointing. Navigating doctors was very very hard. Dead ends were nerve wracking. I think if we had not been married the relationship would have fallen apart.

Somewhere along the way being married really feels amazing. Sometime after the 7th year it began to really feel like forever. Like he truly is my family; bonded in a way that is different than dating. I think it can happen without the marriage certificate, but less likely.

Coloma's avatar

Having been married once, I would never even consider marriage until I had been with someone for at least 5 years. It takes that long to really see how people consistently show up.
Of course I don;t want to be married at all, I like my freedom, once was more than enough for me and it was my choice to divorce.

Darth_Algar's avatar

My wife and I had been living together for years before we decided to get married. To be honest I don’t think anything really changed for us other than hand adornments.

Smitha's avatar

The biggest change will be that they will be able to call each other husband and wife. Other than that married couple will feel a little more sense of security after marriage. The relationship would just feel more official and more recognized.

KNOWITALL's avatar

My husband and I thought that thing’s would stay the same. We were together three years, lived together a year before, so no big deal right? Wrong.

Some of his family flipped out because we didn’t ask their permission (his big bro), we didn’t do a big wedding, we just kind of officialized it and went on with our lives. His mom did start invading our space a little bit after marriage, too, and his friends started acting a little funny (he was a pushover with loaning them money, etc…)

There were also still a few growing pains, like not being able to say ‘I’m done’ and leave if you argue, dealing with the things you want to change but can’t (like socks on the floor). You have to be very careful who you link your life with, they can make it blissful or hell on earth from all the stories I’ve heard.

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