Post # 1
Last week, FI and I were talking about our upcoming wedding plans and (for fun) I thought we could talk about what marriage means to each of us. I knew he didn’t feel exactly the same way I do, but I didn’t realize we were SO different. Warning: this is kinda long and VENT-y.
FI casually said that marriage is just a piece of paper and it wouldn’t change anything in our relationship. He said it wouldn’t change the way he feels about me, and that he’s been committed to me, I’m already his family, and marriage won’t make him more committed. He also said he knew marriage was important to me and would make me happy, so he was marrying me to make me happy. I was shocked. I asked him if he wanted to get married and his answer was that he wanted to get married because he knew I wanted to get married. But he independently has no desire of his own to get married and feels like marriage doesn’t mean anything to him. He basically said he loves me SO much that he’s marrying me and helping with the wedding because it’s something I care about and he wants me to be happy… but it makes me so sad. The worst part is that he said wedding ceremonies are just performances and a show for people- and he’s just excited for the wedding to be over so that we can be just us again without all the wedding planning stuff.
I don’t think a wedding ceremony is just a show you put on for people- I think it’s incredibly meaningful and now I am having a freak-out moment because it means nothing to FI. Our marriage means nothing to FI and it is so incredibly important to me. I have a hard time even understanding how our marriage could mean nothing to him. We’ve been engaged over a year and he has never mentioned this to me- he just always said he wanted to marry me- and he does I guess but not for the reason I thought (like maybe he actually wanted to marry me). In my head, I just can’t get over that he doesn’t want to marry me- why bother having a wedding if marriage means nothing to him?! He also mentioned that he knew he wouldn’t cry or anything so he wanted me to know now so that I am not disappointed if he doesn’t at the wedding.
I just can’t imagine marrying someone who doesn’t care about marrying me and the idea that he doesn’t want to marry me is just haunting me. The other night, I had a nightmare about our wedding ceremony where he just said all these things at our wedding!
Do any bees or their SOs view marriage as nothing but a piece of paper that grants you legal rights? If a couple has different and drastic views about marriage, are they doomed? Our wedding is in less than 4 months and many people have already purchased plane tickets. I know he loves me, and I love him, but I feel suddenly feel so insecure- like I’m not good enough for him to want to marry me- and riddiculous- that I am putting on a show for our family and friends when it doesn’t mean anything to my FI. Why am I even having a wedding?! Sigh.
Post # 2
I agree with your FI about a wedding/marriage not changing anything if the couple is already committed to each other. Nothing changed about my relationship with my husband once we were married (we already owned a house, were living together, etc). However, I would still want the person I’m marrying to be excited about our wedding/marriage.
Post # 3
That would really hurt me too- but it sounds like he has the important part (a life long commitment to you) he just doesn’t need marriage to have that secured. As long as he means his vows of pledging his life to you I think it’s okay- and he doesn’t know nothing will change post marriage. You are legally stuck with the person and respected way more as a couple/unit- how could it not feel different? He might be surprised.
I would talk to him though about how hurt it makes you that pledging your love publically is just a performance to him. If he doesn’t mean his vows he should not say them- it would give me serious concern if he felt he was just playing along and not actually pledging his life to you.
Post # 4
I think you’re taking his comments too hard. What he said was lovely — he already loves you as if you were his wife, views you as a family, and that you have a strong relationship that won’t be changed by a legal change.
My relationship felt no different after we got married. We already lived together, had divided up holidays, and made our own traditions.
Post # 5
I agree with your FI and actually think the stuff he said was rather sweet. To me, marriage was a piece of legal paper. Our relationship didn’t change just because we signed it and had a ceremony. We were already committed to each other and viewed each other as family.
Post # 6
HeartsandSparkles: eh i think my FI probably feels pretty similar to your FI. I think deep down, it means something to them- but planning a wedding increases so much stress, and probably makes them wonder why they popped the question! lol My FI told me the other night he thinks things are going to be over the top, and we should just do a BBQ in someones yard. i said- do i look like a backyward BBQ person to you? no lol i dont even like BBQ! Anyways- i think they asked us to marry them bc they really wanna lock it down to spend the rest of their lives with us. If youre having kids, legally itll be easier. and with things like benefits, or shoot- if one of you is in the ER itll allow the other to be able to be by your side. I think they look at those as the obvious reasons why they want to marry us, but deep down, they want to be our husbands. I’d say take a deep breath. It will be SO worth it. He’s going to have a really fabulous time at the wedding, and love living the rest of his life married to you. <3
Post # 7
I understand why you feel that way. Yes, you can have a committment without any legal ties to each other. You can have a life together, a home, a family. But marriage is way more to me than a piece of paper. It’s us coming together in front of family, friends, and God and saying that we commit our lives to each other. So, while I do value the symbolism of the committment over any legal document that confirms it, I’d still be a little hurt if my FI felt that way.
Post # 8
Personally, I think the ‘marriage is a piece of paper’ approach is kind of immature. Try telling someone your restraining order is “just a piece of paper”. Try telling your employees their employment contract is “just a piece of paper”. Marriage is a legal contract with benefits and responsibilities, and has very powerful social meaning as well. It might not affect how you FEEL about your partner, but it definitely affects the quality and course of your relationship – especially when the relationship is ending. Try telling a man or woman fighting to keep his/her house or kids that marriage is just a piece of paper.
If my FI pulled the “piece of paper” thing on me, I’d tell him the above. If he stuck to it, I’d assume he was just being stubborn or doing that cool guy thing where they pretend not to care about silly emotional stuff that girls care about. and I’d judge him for that.
Post # 9
I think it’s just semantics and men are sometimes dumb. I honestly wouldn’t worry about it too much. My husband was not really into the wedding, but I knew he really want to be married. Yes it’s just a piece of paper, but it is also legal! And while nothing really changes if you lived together before, it still does feel a little different, which I honestly didn’t think it would. I understand why you are upset, and I probably would have been too, but from the other side of it I feel like it’s not that big of a deal. As long as he really wants to marry you, even if his main reason is to make you happy, then you should be fine.
Post # 10
He cares about spending his life with you, he just doesn’t care about marriage. My FI and I have similar viewpoints to your FI. We were ready to spend our lives together long before engagement was even in the picture, and we both knew this. So when we actually got engaged, nothing felt different. We still shared our home and lives together the same way we always had. I’m getting married in 2 months but I can already pretty safely say that not much will change after that either.
It’s important to tell your FI why you feel hurt by his comments, because he needs to know. But, I wouldn’t stop everything and reconsider the marriage. It sounds like he wants to be with you for life and didn’t express it in the most tactful way.
Post # 11
HeartsandSparkles: I would try not to worry about that too much. I think things have changed drastically now. Most people seem to live together, own a house together, even have kids together and they’re not married. So the piece of paper doesn’t change any of that. In the old days you’d get the piece of paper and THEN do all of that. I think it has more meaning for women (generally) than men. I for sure think that (generally) men don’t care about a wedding so much as women. You have 2 things you take issue with: the piece of paper and the wedding. I agree that a wedding is a show for the most part and for a small part it’s sharing your day with people you love. If you want to mention to him that a marriage certificate allows him to get the house if you die or pull the plug if you get hit by a bus and vice verse, you can. There are plenty of unromantic reasons to get married.
Post # 12
I agree with your fiance. Weddings are pretty parties put on so everyone can dance, drink and be merry. But they’re not important to the marriage. My husband and I got married in our living room with our parents, dog and cat, next to our christmas tree. We didn’t go out and party or have a 20 tier cake or have everyone and their brother show up, it was quiet, quick and lovely. Before we were legally married, we were already “married” in the fact that regardless of marriage or not, we were spending our lives together, we loved each other, and not even a piece of paper would change that.<br /><br />Other than the fact that I’m on his insurance now and I can get on base without his help, nothing did change. <br /><br />Sure, there are lots of legal things we’re now entitled to (Life insurance, regular insurance, if one of us is put in a vegetative state, stuff like that), but I really don’t think that would have been denied to either of us regardless since both of our next of kin were our parents originally and they would have given it to us since they didn’t want it.<br /><br />Yes. Marriage is, by every definition, a piece of paper. However, it’s what you make of that piece of paper that is important. A lot of people don’t… which is why our divorce rate is so high. So worry less about the terminology and put that effort you’d spend worrying into effort into showing your SO that he is loved.
Post # 13
ohnatto: I was going to reply with a post about how ultimately marriage is ‘just a piece of a paper’, but in many regards does not magically change a relationship….until I read your post! You put a completely different ‘spin’ on this ideology, and for that I thank you. It was well-said, and you made many valid points!!
Post # 14
HeartsandSparkles: I can see why you would be hurt, but I wouldn’t take this to mean that your FI is not commited to you. I have known couples that have been together for 20 and 30 years and never get legally married. There is no difference in the level of their love and commitment because they don’t have the piece of paper. Marriage should not change someone or the core of your relationship. I think that is why we see so much divorce, people get married thinking that it will somehow change things for the better. Then they get married and realize that nope, they are still the same person and the relationship hasn’t changed. Now it is just harder to make a clean break.
For my husband and me, marriage is a very important institution in our faith, but we would still be the couple we are without it.
Post # 15
I mostly agree with him. That piece of paper yes comes with tons of benefits but ultimately a relationship is about the emotional bond and mutual respect. Signing that paper won’t really mean a thing once those two things are gone. I think you looking way too deeply into his comment and wanting him to think exactly like you while by passing what he said. He loves you and wants to be with you and already considers you his “wife” and he wanted to get married to because its important to you. To me that speaks volumes.