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tonedef's avatar

There’s lots of reasons. One that was highlighted on Jezebel today is that unmarried (or same-sex married) couples have to pay an inheritance tax, up to 50% of the value of the inheritance. Fun, right?

Even if you’re completely opposed to the concept of a government sanctioned marriage, it doesn’t make sense not to get one. You’ll pay out the nose otherwise.

willbrawn's avatar

I wanted to spend forever with my wife. I love her so much and never want to lose her. Thats why i got married.

EmpressPixie's avatar

grumbles about tonedef beating her to the link

There are approximately 1400 rights and privileges automatically granted to married couples that are exceedingly expensive or impossible to create otherwise. These rights allow people to tie themselves together in ways that make taking care of each other and their family much easier.

Edited to add: My numbers are for the US. IIRC, it is 1000 federal rights/privileges and an average of 400 state granted.

wundayatta's avatar

Hmmm. Tax status is privileged. Insurance issues are easy. Social Security benefits transfer over. Inheritance rights. Right to make decisions on loved one’s behalf in medical situations. Right to take care of children if spouse dies. So many thinks, as @EmpressPixie counted up, so the ones I mentioned are just the tip of the iceberg.

KrystaElyse's avatar

Many people get married because it’s a form of commitment, but I believe that you can be in a committed relationship even without that little piece of paper. As people mentioned above, there are many privileges that come with marriage.

But sadly, many marriages are entered into for the wrong reasons, following tradition/culture, societal expectations, pressure from family and friends, financial gain and even unexpected pregnancy, etc.

There is also something called Common Law Marriage where heterosexual couples can become legally married without a license or ceremony after living together for a specific amount of time. I think if we grant heterosexuals this right then others in non-heterosexual relationships should be able to do this as well, I mean why not?

scamp's avatar

@nikipedia You asked: Why do people bother, if the divorce rate is so high? Why drive when so many cars get into accidents?? Why fly when planes crash??

I agree with everything daloon said above. People can and do still commit for life. Having that marriage certificate makes it a little more difficult to call it quits over something stupid or minor, and makes a couple rethink things when they have disagreements.

nikipedia's avatar

@scamp: I’m talking about probability, though. If your chances of dying in a car accident were 50%, something tells me we’d have a lot more bikers.

scamp's avatar

And bikers don’t wreck?? I don’t understand your reasoning on this subject.

EmpressPixie's avatar

But I would rather prepare for the unknown and save a ton of money while the relationship is good than assume it will be bad and pay far more now, and far more should my partner or I die.

Jack79's avatar

There’s marriage, and there’s the wedding.
Apparently people (women in particular) are very much in love with weddings, white dresses and cakes. But not many people can cope with being married.
I still believe that it’s better to share your life with another person (or even more than one). I still believe in the idea of family. But no, I no longer believe in the traditional “boy meets girl, they get married and live happily ever after” fairytale.

cwilbur's avatar

People bother because it is amazing when it works, and it can even be good for a while when it’s not working.

Have you ever met a couple who are just perfect for each other? That’s why there’s marriage, and that’s what a lot of single people are hoping for.

casheroo's avatar

Daloon listed a lot of reasons that I would have said.

When my husband and I were just engaged, I was in the restroom when they took him back into the ER. I came out and asked to go back. No one would let me. I flipped my shit. I have a son with the guy, pay all my bills together, live together, listen to him fart in his sleep..and they’re trying to tell me I have no right to go back into the ER with him?
Okay, that’s not the exact reason we got married haha, but things like that add up.
I can call and take care of business matters, as long as I say the magic words, “I’m his wife”.
I’m not sure it’s “justification”. I don’t think anyone has to get married, it does make a lot of legal matters much easier, and it’s binding.
I don’t look down upon people who are not married, but in long term committed relationships, they just haven’t made it legally official. I do think once you are married things do change. You cannot just up and leave as easily.

basp's avatar

I married him cause was my beau, still is,and always will be.

Darwin's avatar

Perhaps we should be asking not why do people marry, but rather why do people divorce? My parents have been married to each other for 59 years, my maternal grandparents were married to each other 62 years, and my best friend was married an incredible 73 years to her husband. None of these people were perfect so how could they stick together for so long?

I suspect it has to do with first being in love with your partner and establishing before marriage that you have common goals and approaches to life, secondly with loving your partner (not the same as being in love) as well as respecting their right to be different, and thirdly, with knowing that life is not easy and that sometimes you have to slog through the hard bits to get to the good bits again. In other words, being committed to keeping your promises even if it is hard work.

It is true that several hundred years ago marriage meant physical survival because there was more than could be done by one person to maintain a family by growing or catching and preparing food, making shelter and clothing, and nursing members through illness, but it can still mean emotional survival today. In a good marriage someone always “has your back.”

Another very important aspect is not being self-centered. My brother I must admit has been married three times. The two divorces resulted almost entirely from folks being self-centered and wanting something they felt they had been denied by their partner. This even though they knew my brother and his traits before they married, and even though most of these “things” were something they could have done while married to him, or were things they said they wanted to avoid when they did marry him.

I’ve been married 20 years and overall I have been happy. Our marriage hasn’t always been perfect but as long as we are willing to discuss things we have worked out the bad bits. Now that my husband is disabled I can see how very, very important it is within our legal system to be married, so that I can take care of him.

Perhaps both partners need to pass some sort of adulthood test before they marry, as an assurance that each will be willing to solve problems and accept differences in a mature manner. Since that is unlikely to happen, I suppose we will continue to have high divorce rates.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Look at it this way…

If you had a 50% chance of winning the lottery and spending the rest of your life happy, would you take the risk? Sure you have 50% chance of losing but you could win!

If you find someone you could be happy with, why not risk that 50%? To me, refusing to marry someone simply because the divorce rate is at 50% says “I don’t believe in our relationship. I don’t trust you.”

I can not imagine my life without my husband. I would rather spend just today with him, knowing that there’s a chance our relationship might end tomorrow, than spend my life without him. I’m willing to take that chance because I do believe in us. I do trust him. And if we ever did part, at least I had this time with him.

zephyr826's avatar

I want to spend the rest of my life with my husband, so when he asked me (last February), I said “yes”. We got married in August before his deployment so that the Army would tell me if something happened to him.
I agree with @dragonflyfaith : Not getting married because of the divorce rate implies a lack of trust.

scamp's avatar

@zephyr826 My heart goes out to you. You must miss him terribly. I’ll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers.

zephyr826's avatar

@scamp Thanks so much. We both appreciate it.

bananafish's avatar

Marriage is more than just a “piece of paper” as some would claim. It’s a committment and a blending of two lives. As EmpressPixie mentioned, it grants you hundreds of rights to caring for eachother and sharing in what you’ve built and made together. This is the answer for the people who like their facts and statistics in black and white.

But if you’re willing to venture with me into the abstract, and to accept that there really are people meant for eachother…then marriage is a union of two people dedicating their lives to eachother. Vowing to be there for eachother through thick and thin, to share all of the hopes, joys, and disappointments.

My husband is my best friend, my partner in crime, my confidante. He knows everything about me – from my dreams and fears…to my favorite ice cream flavors…to how many times a day I fart.

And I love him for it.

The problem with divorces is that too many people think they’ve found that type of love and closeness. They fool themselves into it, and love throwing themselves a big weding, and picking out a sofa, and imaging a gaggle of kids. But they marry for the wrong reasons. Just because you want the picket fence and walk-in closet doesn’t mean you’re meant to have them with the guy you’re bumpin’ uglies with. That’s why 50%.

But someday when/if you find that person – the chocolate chips to your cookie, the frosting to your cupcake – you’ll know it, and then you’ll understand for sure why there is such a thing as marriage.

wundayatta's avatar

I’m not sure whether the 50% “failure rate” of marriages is a meaningful statistic. Let’s see. I was in committed relationships of one year, two years, and five years before I met a woman I wanted to marry. All of those relationships lasted longer than a number of marriages. Even though I didn’t marry, it seems fair to me to say I’m on my fifth marriage.

As we’ve said above, a lot of marriage is about the economic and legal advantages it provides automatically. Another part of it is making the public statement before everyone you care about that you want to be with this person. Most people add “until death do we part.” Even if you don’t say that, people seem to expect it if you marry.

Still, it seems reasonable to me to have a number of monogamous relationships in your life, whether you call them marriages or not. I think the one person for life model is not only unattainable except for a very few, but it is also inadvisable. Most of us need a few practice relationships before we figure out what we’re doing. And even then, we could stay together twenty years, and grow apart. It doesn’t have to mean that the relationship has failed. It all depends how you look at it.

As relationships get more mature, separating gets more complicated. There are property and investments, and, most important, more people, in the form of children.

It’s hard to separate these responsibilities, and that’s why a lot of people try to stay together “for the sake of the kids.” Many people think that’s a really bad idea.

A marriage broken, is extremely difficult to disentangle. It’s just easier if you stay together forever. It’s not just relationships with the spouse and children, it’s also relationships with in-laws, and the community. You are fracturing something with implications in many places when you divorce. And yet, people do it. They manage to separate and disentangle their lives. They manage to move on, and find better relationships. I don’t think we have to look at this as failure. It certainly doesn’t seem to me like it’s a reason not to get married.

marinelife's avatar

Becoming each other’s legal next of kin is pretty critical.

Also, human beings love ritual. Having a ceremony is a form of public commitment.

Marriage confers financial rights in regard to a split that are vital.

Today, not enough people are willing to work at marriage even if they make the commitment.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

Getting married gives you twice as many relatives. What’s not to like about that? Getting married is like having kids. If you don’t want to do it, then don’t.

And a funny thing, even taking the averages and percentage of populations into account, the majority of people getting divorces are Christians. The divorce rate among nonbelievers is much lower. Now that’s an interesting development.

Oh, and if you want to get married, I am an ordained atheist minister. I don’t charge anything for my services.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

I have been asking myself this question alot lately, nikipedia.
I have been with my girlfriend for over seven years now. She has brought the subject up a few times the last year or so, so it’s been in my thought process. It’s funny how the majority of the responses contain legal reasons or benefits. These are the exact reasons that turn me off to the idea of marriage in this country. If we are all free and equal in this country, why can I go down to the courthouse, ask permission for a marriage license, go home to the same life as yesterday, and all of a sudden, I’m paying less taxes? I feel like I am being cheated right now.

From how most of you describe your relationship with your husband or wife, mine seems similar with my girlfriend. I just can’t grasp the fact of asking permission from the government to grant me rights that I apparently did not have before.

The one thing I can agree with is Marina’s response about how humans love ritual and ceremonies. I might be willing to have some sort of ceremony with my girlfriend one day, but it would be more to fulfill her life-long wedding fantasy that every girl has.

“How funny, a public vow between man and woman grants instant recognition, whereas time itself proves the success of my relationship and those of, say, a same sex couple. With or without the ceremony, each relationship must pass the test of time.”

Here is a short article which pretty much sums up a good argument against marriage.

nikipedia's avatar

@chris6137: I know we don’t always agree, but: word.

augustlan's avatar

Because I loved him too much not to.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

Those who “bother” don’t find it to be a “bother”? The concept of marriage is a beautiful thing if the vows actually mean something to you when you say them. It is a testament to your partner and the world that you will be committed to them.

You reminded me of a great line from Flight of the Conchords where they say.. in the future there are no elephants therefore there is no harmful mistreatment of elephants… so you can see the future is a much better place. (not an exact quote but hopefully you get it)

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

You are missing my point. I understand vows and celebrating one’s relationship, but I still don’t understand why the god damn government has to be involved. They are already involved in my property, my income, and now they wanna be involved in my relationship. Hell no

Darwin's avatar

@chris6137 – It is because they are already involved in your property and your income, and her property and her income. If something happens to you and you aren’t married you have to have gone to extra work to make sure your stuff becomes her stuff (and the government will take an extra cut here if you do it this way). While much of the time this wouldn’t matter, once you have kids that need food, shelter, diapers and education, it becomes rather important.

And if something happens to you and you aren’t married, she won’t be allowed to help you or even sit by your bedside.

That same government that says your stuff is your stuff (except for the part that is the government’s stuff) will keep your beloved from touching any part of it unless you have told the government it is okay by getting married.

Sellz's avatar

See, when people get married, i highly doubt that divorce in anywhere in their minds. marriage is a sacred bond between two people signifying that neither of them will stray away to another. Simply put.


amirman's avatar

i see it as a way to grow up. my wife and i help each other remain stable and stick to our goals together.

fullOFuselessINFO's avatar

showing your love for eachother
committing to eachother in a recognizable way
not to mention tax benefits.

Johno666's avatar

Marriage might be good in theory, but when it gets messy, its all about 50% for life!

Johno666's avatar

I believe in love, but once you have been betrayed too many times, love becomes second rate!!!

SeventhSense's avatar

That’s just it. The government somehow looks at marriedcouples as more stable and bankable and so offers tax incentives. And the tax incentives are half the uproar over denying same sex marriages. But in all actuality married couples are no more stable or contributing to the economy. But I guess in adding to the population through child rearing they deserve the tax write offs as eventually bringing more value to the GDP.

Lonestarwildman's avatar

Its too bad I can not answer that question as I can neither answer WHY NOT.I have many friends and some have been married for years and are very happy and I have others that have lived together for many years and are not married.So commitment need not be a certificate or a contract but a devotion of the heart and mind.If you truly love someone and that someone loves you also, marriage or not DOES NOT MATTER!

JLeslie's avatar

I love being married. Of course when I say that in front of my husband he says, “I would love being married to me also.” LOL!

JLeslie's avatar

The civil marriage contract is probably the only legal contract you sign without being presented the paperwork explaining what it covers. Probably should be a class in high school.

wickedmaryjane's avatar

i dont understand either it is just a piece of paper and a way for the government to charge you money. if you really love each other a piece of paper shouldnt mean anything; although i did get married for the experience.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@wickedmaryjane: That assessment is the opposite of true. You save a considerable amount of money once you are considered married by the government. The government loses a significant source of income once you are “married”.

Nullo's avatar

For many, marriage has more meaning on the religious end.
This is an issue easily resolved by avoiding cohabitation and practicing abstinence until after marriage.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Sweet holy moly, I think the rates will get higher. With less people even knowing they exist (no advertisement) there will be less policy holders (maybe) and the cost to those who are policy holders will go through the roof to make up for those new people they did not get that quarter.

BeccaBoo's avatar

I have been married, thought it was for life, we stayed together for 17 yrs, but I was really young and grew up in that marriage. We both changed and it didn’t work out, but for a long time it did, and i don’t regret a day of it, and i still believe in marriage. My thoughts are to try it, its a risk like everything in life, but if it works (because you both want it to) then it will be wonderful, but deep down you have to know that he is the one you want to wake up with everyday, argue with over silly things and face the bad and the good together. Take a risk and see.

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