Social Question

prolificus's avatar

Other than for reasons related to tradition, religion, and financial benefits (e.g. taxes, health insuance, etc.), why did you legally marry your spouse?

Asked by prolificus (6583points) March 12th, 2010

This question is addressed to couples who are legally married.

Considering the alternatives, why did you take all the actions required to have a legal marriage? What is it about a legal marriage that solidifies the relationship you have with your spouse?

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29 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

So you don’t want to hear from us bigamists? Shame on you for being so bigoted and exclusionary.

prolificus's avatar

@CyanoticWasp – I’m sure the accusation made sense in your head. It doesn’t really answer my question, though.

CMaz's avatar

When I was married.

I got married due to a Mother in law wanting to re-live a marriage through her daughter.
And the old, why buy the cow when the milk is free speech.

I wanted to wait a bit more. A girlfriend and her mother. Nagging and nagging. I did wait 5 years though. ;-)

JLeslie's avatar

It seemed like the thing to do at the time. I wanted to be with him always, so I thought getting married was in order. I was not religious, although I did have a religious wedding, but marriage to me was the legal document. Now, 17 years later, having more understanding of the legal ramifications of being legally married, I am glad I did. I always say it is the one legal contract you sign without reading the paperwork.

I do think being married makes your relationship more like a union of one. Like you two are a single unit together, even though you can also have your independence within the relationship. It’s kind of like blood is thicker than water, you are not blood, but being married makes you family. I am sure this can be acheived without the legal documents too, but that is how it feels to me.

wundayatta's avatar

I wanted to bring together all my friends and all of both our families and stand if front of them and speak my love and commitment to this woman. And, of course, I wanted a cool party, too!

Neizvestnaya's avatar

When I married then I wanted to give that person the past, present and future of me. In my mind that meant honoring the wishes of our families, our friends and presenting to our immediate community the utmost show and recognition of partnerhood. I still feel this way and I’m a lifelong agnostic.

susanc's avatar

A Mormon I met in a recovery program suggested it. Not kidding.

snowberry's avatar

I married because I wanted to get away from my folks. But my concept of love is/was that it’s a commitment first, and love comes second. Good thing, because my husband was no peach at first. But I wasn’t either. 28 of those years were pretty awful. He was abusive; I was an emotional mess. Then God straightened both of us up. And now we’ve been married 34 years.

lilikoi's avatar

Can someone please tell me specifically what the legal benefits of being married are?

JLeslie's avatar

@lilikoi There is good an bad legally. If we can assume both people are good, honest people, legally you are protected financially in many ways. If one of the people are bad news, you could get entangled in their debts being married. So, like I said there is good and bad depending.

If one of the people dies, the other has rights of survivorship, so there is no taxes to pay the way I understand it. If I died, and my longtime live in boyfriend was willed my money, he would have to pay taxes for the money changing hands, but in marriage he owns the money the same as I do (this might be even more important if there are children, because you would want your children taken care of, and not a bunch of your money going to the taxman. If he was dying, God forbid, and only family is supposed to have knowledge of his condition, to make medical decisions, and to be able to be with him in a hospital room, being his legal spouse I have these rights.

If your name is not on the deed of your primary home, most states protect the spouse, even if they do not “own it” on paper, they do have rights of ownership. So, if my house was in my husband’s name, he dies, and wills it to his mistress I never heard of, she doesn’t just get it, not all of it, I have rights as a spouse living there legally, no matter what a f**khead he is. They cannot just throw me out of my domocile. Also, most states it is hard for a spouse to sell property without both spouses signing.

marinelife's avatar

We got married as a symbol of committing ourselves to be together for our lifetimes, and because we loved one another.

I had not planned on being married, but I am so glad we did.

lilikoi's avatar

@JLeslie Thank you! Great answer.

galileogirl's avatar

From the beginning it was about protecting rights and assets, it still is. That’s what contracts do.

In any kind of partnership, not just marriage, you want to protect what belongs to you. When 2 people live together for any period of time there will be financial and social inequities. Partner A is offered a well paid job in another state. Partner B moves with but needs to meet certain requirements in that state (license, credential etc) When Partner B takes required training and pays for it, s/he has lost seniority so loses some lifetime salary. If they are unmarried and they split up it it is grab what you paid for and Partner B is stuck with earning $10,000yr less for the next 35 years. $350,000! If they are married Partner B’s loss can be covered in the divorce settlement

If Partner A supported partner B through school and they decided to live on Partner B’s income and raise a family with Partner A as the stay at home parent. 18 years go by and they split up. If they are unmarried Partner A may collect child support for the next 5 years but that’s about it. Having been out of the job market for 18 years, Partner A will be hard pressed to get a job that will support her/him even if s/he has a degree. If they are married, s/he will have alimony and pension rights.

I also understand that some states have ‘palimony rights to protect the poorer partner, but they generally are not treated as a legal spouse and must hire a lawyer. The reason this doesn’t happen very often is the cost to the poorer spouse and s/he was expected to know better than give things up to someone they weren’t married to.

laureth's avatar

Well, until you’re married, society only sees you as “boyfriend and girlfriend” (or girlfriend and girlfriend, or boyfriend and boyfriend, etc.). You gain a kind of legitimacy as a couple when you do the legal deed, such that they actually think you’re serious about wanting to be together and have no intention of making a quick escape if things go South, and that you plan on staying together, unlike that guy you were with in high school.

Also, it feels more solid. It just does. Before I was married, I always used to say, “If you love each other, you don’t need a piece of paper to prove it. And if you don’t, no piece of paper will make you love each other.” But I feel very stable as a married person, way more than before. When we were ___friends, there was always the thought that he could just up and leave and “oops, sorry, guess it didn’t work out” like so many before. This way, I guess he still could, but it’s a lot more difficult.

It also proves how serious you are to each other unless you’re like a weekend spouse for Britney Spears or somethin’. By voluntarily entangling fates like that, it’s a way of telling your spouse (and hearing yourself) that it’s not some fly-by-night thing.

Being married is pretty awesome.

prolificus's avatar

@laureth – I love this: “By voluntarily entangling fates like that, it’s a way of telling your spouse (and hearing yourself) that it’s not some fly-by-night thing.”

I’m hearing in the answers that marriage has more to do with commitment than with love. While love and feel-good feelings are important, marriage is about making a pack with a person to stick things out no matter the difficulty of working through stuff.

galileogirl's avatar

Oh I married at 19 to have my own home. Because of having a disabled child, I couldn’t work outside the home for 6 years. I left the marriage with the furniture, he took the car. He had a job that paid $20,000 (1976) and I found one w/i walking distance that paid $3800. Since I left the marriage against his wishes, I agreed to 3 years alimony to help with my education and the minimum child support+all medical expenses for our child. Within 6 months he stopped paying alimony (the DA would only collect delinquent child support) and he stopped paying medical deductibles. What would it have been if we were not married (before DNA)

laureth's avatar

You can have love without commitment.
You can have commitment without love.
Both of these sound pretty joyless.

When you have both, that’s a good marriage.

Coloma's avatar

I am 7 yrs. divorced from a 21 yr. ‘union.’
Best thing I ever did! lol

I think marriage is an ongoing RENEWAL of a contract…should be ammended every so often. While not anti-marriage persey, I do think there is a huge risk ( especially amongst very emotionally and spiritually immature people ) to see marriage as more of an entitlement to control another. Very easy to become sloppy and neglectful on many levels.

Love is about choice, not enslavement and entitlement to whatever….?

I doubt I would ever marry again.

galileogirl's avatar

One person’s entitlement might be another person’s right to an equal say in the partnership.

Coloma's avatar

Of course, equality…but you will never get that with a raging narcissisic control freak! lolol

drClaw's avatar

Personally my wife and I care nothing for the conventions of marriage, but her parents are religious and concerns about dealing with the fallout of just living together forever were enough that we decided to make it legal.

In fact we spoke about this recently and if we had to do it over again we may have chosen to stand our ground and live together forever on our own terms.

filmfann's avatar

You don’t mention Love. I wanted the security of knowing I was going to be with the one I loved.

YARNLADY's avatar

We were already married by love, but the legal reasons you mentioned were the reasons we registered our already existing marriage with the state.

cak's avatar

My husband and I were both previously married. We both say that we had just about sworn off marriage until we met each other. There was something so different about wanting to be married, this time. I think, for us, it was maturity. We new we loved each other, we knew we wanted to be a family – but we wanted that final step to solidify the relationship. I can honestly say that when I married him, I cried – but not out of fear – like the first one! This time, because I was so happy. It just made sense.

Pandora's avatar

It makes the commitment solid.
Best way I can explain it is that any one can say they love you but are they willing to take that leap of faith with you and put themselves in a vunerable state.
Its not absolutely necessary but it gives you comfort in knowing that your partner has trust in you and your relationship to perform this legal rand spirtiual ritual.
It didn’t matter to me too much that when my husband and I lived together. I was the one getting the cold feet. But then I realized how easy it was for him to marry me and I realized that he had no fear in our relationship ever going south. It took our relationship to a whole new level. I didn’t think it was possible to love him more but I did and still do.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

My wife and I could easily have chosen not to marry, especially given that between us we had 5 previous failed marriages.

We both felt that our relationship was like nothing we had experienced before and when I asked her to marry me because I wanted her to be my one and only love for the rest of my life. For her, that was a good reason for her to accept my proposal.

We went to the court house in an adjacent county, paid for the marriage license, discovered we needed witnesses. The clerk solicited a few nice young women who worked upstairs and were married in a court room before a judge. That was over six years ago.

I am so glad be got legally married. It felt right then and still does every day.
I’ve never felt so loved as I am by my wife.

JLeslie's avatar

@lilikoi I have heard people say that marriage gives you around 1000 rights/protections. I have no idea exactly the number, or what people are counting, but this is part of the reason there is a fight for gay marriage, so they can have the same legal protections as a practical matter. A person can acheive some of these things by getting a lawyer and drawing up papers, but that costs money; getting married is very inexpensive. Also, some things are impossible to make equal with legal documents, like owing taxes.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

I agree with @JLeslie that same sex couples should have the right to marry whether some people like it or not!

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