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Marriage - What You Should Know Before You Make That Vow

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Sometimes a young couple in love gets it in their minds it is time to get married, but never stop to think if this is really the right thing to do. Other couples have lived together for quite some time and still don't know if it is time to tie the knot and make the commitment. They argue they don't really need a piece of paper to be married.

Before getting married, I lived with my now husband for 2 years. It worked for us to be a couple without a ring for a while, but I wanted more out of life. I wanted a stable home life with children and the benefits that come with marriage. I also had other men who wanted to marry me and give me the commitment of marriage with the home, the kids and so forth.

When you don't have that piece of paper which acknowledges legally to the world that you are married, the law sees you as two single people. If something happens to your loved one and you are not of common law status, you are not empowered to do much for them in their time of need. If they die, you are not entitled to any benefits. Any property you may have shared can be taken from you and given to their family.

I do not believe every couple should be married. Marriage puts your relationship on a higher legal status than just living together and the legal fallout of dissolving such an alliance can be costly and hurtful.

If you want to be with someone the rest of your life, then a piece of paper is not a guarantee that it will happen. If that were the case, then there would be no divorce. This is why I think not every couple should get married in the first place. Some will do quite fine without the paper. There are too many people getting married for the wrong reasons. Some of the wrong reasons to get married include:

  1. Wanting to get out of their parent's home.
  2. Fear of losing your loved one if you don't.
  3. Because a baby is coming.
  4. Afraid of the person if you refuse to marry them.
  5. Wanting someone to support you financially.
  6. Thinking being married will solve your personal emotional insecurities.
  7. Lust/sex benefits only.
  8. You think you can change that person if you married them.

If you see marriage as a way to leave your parents home, you may want to consider the regret you will feel later when you realize that you went from one home with rules and regulations to another with rules and regulations. Do you ever want to experience life being a free and single person before you commit? Do you want to prove to yourself that you really can make it on your own? If you jump into marriage straight out of your parent's home, you may regret you didn't do this.

If you are afraid the person you love will find interest in someone else, you are not secure enough in your relationship in the first place. He/she could always find someone else to love after you get married and that thought will always be haunting you after the wedding.

While it may be seen as the honorable thing to do, getting married only because of the baby is filled with its own problems. I won't lecture on the pitfalls of single motherhood or putting the child up for adoption as this is a whole other issue. The issue is whether two people who have nothing more in common than having a baby should be bound for life.

What benefit would it be to the baby or to either spouse if there is constant fighting and discord because you do not see eye to eye on very crucial issues where there is no compromise on either party? It would be honorable and noble if both parties could put aside their differences and "grow up" for the sake of the child, but without a common sense of purpose other than the child it would be an awfully lonely marriage.

If you are getting married to someone who is abusive and are more afraid of telling them no, you are really painting yourself into a corner. They will never change and if you marry them, they will only get worse. If you marry an abusive person, it will be that much harder for you to leave when you can't stand it any more. If you are truly afraid of that person and can honestly look at the relationship, you know they won't change and you are voluntarily putting yourself in harm's way. Get out now while you can.

If marriage to you means someone else will go out everyday to hold a steady job while you stay at home and watch tv, but contribute very little to the relationship, I can guarantee it won't last long. Your partner may not mind working if you are doing something which contributes to your joint life together such as fixing meals, keeping house, doing laundry and running errands. But if you are home having fun and spending their money while you run up bills and lounge around doing nothing, they will lose all respect for you and decide they don't need to raise a child.

If your point of marriage is because you feel this is the only way you can feel loved and wanted, you have personal issues that need to be addressed. If you are in need of constant attention, love and approval, you will be disappointed years into the marriage when you get so used to each other that your partner decides to get a life or new interest that doesn't involve you as the center of the show. It's not that they love you less, but they want to expand and do other things than worship your constant craving for love. You need to be secure in your own feelings and love yourself enough to not care when someone else isn't showering you with their feelings of love. They need to spread their wings and so do you.

If you are only interested in that person for sex or just lust after them marriage may not be right for you. If sex is all you have going for you, what will you do when you start to get bored with that and you have nothing else in common?

You think you can change that person if you married them? Real change comes from within a person. If that particular person does not want to change for himself or herself, the change will never truly take place. Eventually, they have to be true to their own nature. If you cannot accept certain things in a person, think very carefully about it before getting married. Unless that person really wants to change, and not just for you, old habits will come back and you will be stuck with those habits you dislike so much. Either you can tolerate the behavior or not, but don't think marriage will change it one bit. Don't become one of those pathetic people who whine and complain after 10 years of marriage that you thought they would change.

There are many other superficial reasons why people get married. Getting married too young is also a big mistake since you will almost never resemble the same person you were as a teenager when you are thirty. Going into the marriage thinking you are going to change that person out of things that you find bothersome is a big mistake as they will never change because of you.

A committed relationship requires effort and dedication on both parties. The difference between a licensed marriage and a common law marriage are the legal matters.

In most states, once you have a license and get married, it takes more effort to get divorced which is designed to help people work out their problems. As a married couple with a legal contract, you are more likely to stay and try to work things out, thus helping you in your commitment to that person.

Also, as a married person, you are eligible for benefits from insurance plans with lower rates, lower taxes, and a better score on credit applications.

A common law marriage can be successful, but do not enjoy the same benefits as a licensed marriage. It is harder for them to legally get the same entitlements. This is why homosexuals are pushing for legal recognition of marriage which cannot be had with a civil ceremony. If you have children and decide to break up, the laws set up to protect all married parties may not protect live in couples.

With a common law marriage it is easier for one or both to walk away from a hard situation rather than working it out. A marriage forces both parties to try and work out their problems.

As for the expenses of a wedding, that is up to each couple - what they want and what they can afford. My wedding cost us $475 which included the $25 fee for the license, $15 for the court ceremony, $75 for both rings, $100 for the honeymoon, $125 for our wedding clothes and the rest for the reception. We did not bother with any expensive engagement or wedding rings to satisfy the diamond kings when that money could be better spent on getting a good used car to get us around. We bought our clothes from a garage sale. I am a good cook. Why hire caters when I could do it, including making the cake. We spent our honeymoon in a Sheridan hotel nearby since we both had to go back to work the following Monday. Our expenses were minimum.

In contrast, my friend got married a month earlier than we did, but she married him because he was rich and wanted to sponge off a rich family. Their parents spent over $30,000 for the wedding. Their divorce was finalized a year later.

A marriage is not about what you spend with money, but what you spend in love, time and caring. This applies with or without the paper. However, when children are involved in your already committed relationship, you should consider getting that paper for the benefit of all involved.

Think very carefully about what is really involved before you make the vow. It is easier to get into it than getting out.

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