Let's Talk Sociology: Marriage and Commitment (POLL & Discussion)

posted 6 months ago in Relationships
  • poll: Would you stay with an otherwise perfect partner who sees marriage differently?
    I would stay because I know we will get married some day : (9 votes)
    6 %
    I would stay even if we never get married, as long as I have some form of commitment : (49 votes)
    33 %
    I would not stay for either of these reasons, marriage and timeline are important to me : (82 votes)
    55 %
    Other (explanation in comments) : (9 votes)
    6 %
  • Post # 34
    Member
    743 posts
    Busy bee

    ispeakingifs :  I would have stayed even if my finance were not looking to remarry. He was married before, and I’ve never been married. I’m 42, without kids. We had a wonderful, trusting relationship before, and it felt as though we were married anyway (or so I thought). One day, my fiancé told me he was tired of calling me his girlfriend, and six years later, here we are! Engaged. I have to say we have grown even more close as a couple since the proposal. Our relationship is on a level I didn’t know it could reach before. The commitment feels even stronger. I truly believe the commitment of marriage should be a mutual want from both people in the relationship. Even though I was happy being my fiancé’s girlfriend, I wasn’t scared off by his suggestion we take it to the next level. I think if marriage is truly important to a person, they shouldn’t settle for less. I understand now the partnership that comes with marriage, and I am happy he decided we should take our relationship a step further. It’s something I didn’t know we needed. I guess we feel more like a family now, as opposed to just being a couple. It’s hard to put into words. 

    Post # 35
    Member
    9540 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: August 2016

    I would have stayed with my husband even if he did not want to get married. We were together for 8 years before getting married and I didn’t feel any more committed after the wedding. We’d been living our lives fully committed to one another and knowing we’d be together for the rest of our lives for long before we got married.  We both agree nothing felt different between us after the wedding.

    What’s most important to both of us is having the other one in our life. We did both happen to want marriage eventually but I think if one of us had said hey I don’t want to get married for X, Y, Z reasons it wouldn’t have been a dealbreaker.

    Post # 36
    Member
    1178 posts
    Bumble bee

    My parents divorced when I was 17. As a child I never knew they had issues. But their issue is mainly personality clashes (both strong personalities) and differences in values to do with money. This hasn’t impacted how I look at marriages, except teaching me not to find someone with personality clashes or differing core values. My parents are still friendly.

    My husband grew up watching his parents happy together and he wants marriage. People I knew from divorced parents, especially at a young age, tend to not want marriage or feel reluctant.

    People I see divorcing around me are mostly ones that I knew before they were married that will inevitably fail because things weren’t right from the start.

    So I always felt that divorces have their reasons. And always thought if you’ve spent time actually working out what it is that you want, what works and doesn’t work for you (sometimes through trial and error) and have then found the right person, divorce is not something to fear. And thus neither is marriage. 

    Getting engaged didn’t really make me feel differently about our relationship. It wasn’t something I would say I particularly enjoyed and wanted to prolong. It was just a promise to marry. 

    While not getting married and just live together was never an option or consideration for me, I never knew that I would feel differently about us after the wedding, and I do.

    We’re both more gentle with each other and feel more like part of a family, an entity. And there was something special about having closed ones be there to witness you saying those vows out loud. It was really nice. You remember those moments fondly and take them seriously and I hope to keep remembering them in years to come to remind myself to never take things for granted.

     

    Post # 37
    Member
    1891 posts
    Buzzing bee

    I honestly truely only want all women to be comfortable enough and feel empowered enough to speak up for what they want within a relationship. If that’s marriage, or kids, or even just having a partner who supports them in the way they need. Everyone has different wants and needs and that is fine. On these boards specifically I feel so strongly for the women who come here and don’t seem to be able to find their voice to tell their partner what they want. That’s all I want for them, and sometimes they need tough love, sometimes encouragement, and sometimes to simply see that it’s normal to be an equal partner in a relationship with a voice of their own. 

    I think we need to also be careful about throwing around the word ultimatum. Sure some women don’t voice their wants and then get so frustrated that what comes out when they reach their limit is technically an ultimatum. However, we should be careful to not assign that word to women simply stating their standards for their life. Because we all have standards and we don’t call them all ultimatums. It’s easy to continue the stereotype that women are the ones who demand marriage and men just do it because they have to, and that’s dangerous to keep perpetuating. It reduces women to marriage hungry, stripping away their right to have standards. 

    Personally my parents (45 years married) and most of my aunts and uncles and cousins have been married once and are still in love and been married for years if not decades. That’s my normal. My boyfriend has a similar experience ( his parents are 36 yrs married. I’ve always wanted kids and especially feel that drive because I was adopted and so I really would love to have a kid that is part me to experience what it’s like to have someone in my life who is a part of me and looks like me. I also just love the idea of marriage and that commitment. I also am well aware it’s not going to be easy but I really look forward to all the personal growth that comes with being married and working to stay married.  ispeakingifs :  

    Post # 38
    Member
    2215 posts
    Buzzing bee

    ispeakingifs :  I really thought this post was titled “Let’s talk Scientology” when I clicked on it… LOL!

    But getting to your question, I don’t think that marriage is necessary for a loving lifetime partnership.

    Post # 39
    Member
    94 posts
    Worker bee

    Ditto on the Scientology misread! I was like, o dear, what is this…..

    Anyway, I am a child of divorce (such a weird term), so I definitely DO NOT see marriage as the be-all and end-all as far as commitment goes. I see it as a wise thing to do if you’re thinking about buying property with/having children with/spending your dotage with someone. As someone else mentioned, if I lived somewhere other than the US, where so many legal processes favor marriage, I might not give a hoot about it either. My partner and I are committed to remaining together until we die, whether or not a license reflects that. We plan to get married because it makes sense for us, though, as far as our goals and the logistics surrounding them. So our marriage ceremony will just be giving voice to something that we both have been practicing for years, along with granting both of us and our children security and protection.

    In our minds commitment is more of an emotional understanding between the two of us. It has nothing to do with our legal status as a couple, and its definition will not change after we’re married. We both believe in long-term (monogamous in our case) partnerships regardless, though. If my partner were resistant to the idea of marriage because he didn’t think it was necessary I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that he was refusing to commit to me, that he was stringing me along or that he wanted to “keep his options open”. We know plenty of couples who manage to keep their options open while married! *lol*. Now, if he had told me that he didn’t believe in marriage because he didn’t believe in long-term partnership between two people, we’d have a bit of a problem on our hands and I probably would have jumped ship long ago. But as I say, this is not the case.

     

     

    Post # 40
    Member
    94 posts
    Worker bee

    Regarding ultimatums vs. standards: I would suggest that the definition within relationships is dependent upon when the “demand” is brought up, chronologically speaking and therefore the severity of its consequences. In other words, if someone brings up the fact that they won’t enter into a relationship with someone unless marriage is on the table before any significant commitment (whether that’s exclusivity, cohabitation, etc., however you see it manifesting) has been broached, then that can be considered a declaration of standards. If, however, the demand is brought up once the relationship has passed the point of commitment, and the rejection of that demand will result in the termination of said commitment, what you’ve got there is an ultimatum. No opinion on whether they’re healthy or not, just that one is arguably more destructive than the other.

    Post # 41
    Member
    743 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    I’m posting from my new account because I closed my original between posting this thread three months ago and now.

    ladyjane123 :  “I honestly truly only want all women to be comfortable enough and feel empowered enough to speak up for what they want within a relationship”

    Yes, this. I am so pro-independence with everything in life, I think it is absolutely essential for each individual to live his or her life (or whatever inclusive pronoun you want to use) according to how each individual sees fit.

    I don’t think getting married will improve a bad relationship and it may not make a good relationship better. I think marriage is a genuinely special thing when it’s with the right people. I think seeing couples who are truly amazing for each other is kind of a luxury for me compared to an expectation; I don’t expect married people to be happy just because.

    My mom has been married and divorced three times and she told me she would have married her most recent ex-boyfriend, who was the worst guy she’s ever dated and an absolute fucking case if you ask me. So her throwing the husband title at any guy who doesn’t cheat on her kind of degrades the concept of marriage for me. Being a spouse is a privilege, not a right; it is earned through relentless love, trust, respect, and sacrifice for the other person, and I honestly don’t think everyone is capable of that level of devotion. It’s not given because “fuck it”.

    Every time I watch a David Attenborough show, I’m humbled by the fact that humans are one of the only species with the potential to mate for life; and not just for the sake of protecting any young the couple has created, but to find genuine happiness. I am so happy I have the opportunity to experience that if I work hard enough to find and keep it.

    I never wanted marriage before I met my guy. I understood the desire others had to find partnership and I definitely wanted a committed LTR, but I was not into having a husband. But now that I’m with my boyfriend, I want to marry him. This isn’t to say that I wouldn’t be perfectly happy not getting married to him, or that I would expect or want marriage from every LTR moving forward. He’s just the type of person to change my mind. He’s like that one in a million; he’s not *A* guy I would marry, he’s *THE* guy. I’m not going to do it just to do it, I will only do it with the right person. Just like I want to be a mother, but I would give up that pursuit if I wasn’t confident in my maternal abilities; I would rather be childless than a bad mother, and I would rather be a good girlfriend than a bad wife. I don’t do anything I’m not sure of, so for me it’s less about the idea of marriage and more about the person I’m marrying. I would rather be his girlfriend than anyone else’s wife.

    For me, knowing I have these feelings about him makes me all the more confident in our relationship. So when we talk about timelines, I understand that they’re fluid and depend on a lot of things. I really can’t see myself ever giving him a solid timeline or ultimatum. Although I can’t speak for what I would do if I wanted marriage absolutely.

    ETA my boyfriend’s mother once asked me why I want to marry her son. I responded with “he’s engaging, intelligent, genuine, compassionate, kind”. She pointed out that “nowhere in there did [I] mention why [I] love him” and I said “it’s not about me”. She ended the conversation with “that’s a good answer” and a really warm smile on her face, and she seems more secure in our relationship. She has always been welcoming, but now she seems to know explicitly that I’m committed to him.

    The things I love about him, the things that make up his character and will make him a good husband, will not change if I stop loving him. And I don’t believe you can build a marriage solely on love, you need respect, trust, devotion. If at some point, we lose the spark and I don’t love him the way I do now, what happens if our marriage was built on that love alone? The marriage fails. I want to marry him for a whole host of reasons that have nothing to do with me and have everything to do with him, and those are the things that will guide us back to our spark if we ever lose it. Keeping sight of why we love each other is important; I don’t love him just because, I love him because of who he is as a person. He’s my person.

    Post # 42
    Member
    8 posts
    Newbee

    We celebrated 16 years together recently.  Two kids, a couple of homes and now planning retirement–together.  Never married, but certainly never felt as though we were ‘playing house’.  Our commitment to one another and our children is very real. 

    We have had good times and bad –we are going strong.  We agreed long ago if there was an administrative need to marry (ie:  residency status for me in his home country where we may retire), then we would do it. Very few divorces in our families, so I can’t say there was any particular reason not to get married…there was just no compelling reason to get married–it all came together naturally and felt right.

    I will say though, living in Canada, we have common-law status, which appears to confer the same legal status as married spouses.  Perhaps I would feel differently if we had met while living in another country?

    Post # 43
    Member
    761 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: October 2019

    ispeakingifs :  Marriage is an expectation for me for the following reasons:

    1) The legal benefits that many people mentioned such as being able to make medical decisions, automatic transfer of assets in case of death (when no will is present)

    2) Financial benefits like tax savings, child support, social security, medical benefits, couple pricing at certain places (where a couple is charged the same as an individual)

    3) Societal importance to husband / wife vs. other labels

    4) This may be a coincidence but the guys I’ve met/known that didn’t want marriage are commitment phobes. My fiance had never thought about marriage until I mentioned it but he was open to it when I mentioned it. The guys in my life who freaked out or panicked ended up being players/committment phobes.

    Post # 44
    Member
    743 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    chillbee29 :  (posting from new account, see previous comment)

     

    I will confirm #1 and #4. There was no way in hell I was going to marry my ex. Imagine Chandler Bing with commitment issues, a cocaine problem, and a skinny dick, and voila. His views on marriage were alarming, and I totally know the guys you’re talking about.

    And yes, I will say the legal benefits and protections are real. I don’t have a set timeline for marriage now but boyfriend and I are talking about our plans for the next 1-5 years right now (of course life is a puzzle and some things move around), but we agree it is important to get married for legal reasons. But as I mentioned previously, this is only with the right person, there are definitely a few people I would not want to be tied to.

    Post # 45
    Member
    886 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: September 2016

    I would not be with my husband if he didn’t want to get married. He wouldn’t have made it to boyfriend status if he didn’t want to get married either. Dating to me was leading towards marriage, and long term goals were discussed early on. (I should say dating in my late 20s/early 30s. I had a few boyfriends “just for fun” when I was younger) 

    There are so many reasons for this, but the main one is that getting married is professing your love publicly to the world. Marriage is for life. Marriage protects you and gives you equal rights to marital assets. Divorce is hard and takes months to complete. If we were not married, my husband could easily leave me, regardless of how long we had been dating. Marriage makes it much harder to walk away when the road gets tough. 

    Post # 46
    Member
    2055 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: March 2017

    I was with my husband for 19 years before we got married. He had always told me that he didn’t want to ever marry again (he was divorced). I stuck by him with no assumptions that we would ever get married. My mom was married and divorced twice and I had a good number of friends with failed marriages. 

    Somehow over time our thoughts changed and we decided that we wanted to be married. 

    Post # 47
    Member
    6936 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: September 2012

    Marriage was/is important to me. For that reason I would not stay with someone who was “otherwise a perfect partner”….because they wouldn’t be perfect. For me, the perfect partner is someone who also wanted to get married. Honestly I find statements like this one of the reasons women stick it out in relationships they should leave. You should be with someone who wants the same things in life as you. I see sooooo many women who stay in relationships they should leave because “he’s a nice guy and would be a great husband/father” but they admit they aren’t crazy in love. Of course those of us who have been married a while know that crazy in love feelings tends to fade over time, and your relationship ebbs and flows…but you shouldn’t start off a relationship with faded feelings. 

    Like a previous poster mentioned, marriage is important to me not just because I had a desire to be married but also for the legal protection it provides. My husband and I were together 12 years before marriage and are coming up on almost 20 years together total. I don’t envision that as part of our future but I’m also not so naive to think divorce couldn’t happen to us. Most of us have been around the bee and other social media platforms long enough to see the endless stories of women who had kids with someone, never married, stayed home to raise said kids, and then when the breakup comes they’re freaking out about how they’ll afford to be on their own. Aside from child support, they’re not entitled to alimony or assets – and that can be crippling. 

    Post # 48
    Member
    54 posts
    Worker bee

    My views on marriage have changed with my life experiences. I come from a family where marriage is the norm. My parents were married, my grandparents, etc. Divorce wasn’t unheard of but it was rare. I thought marriage was what I wanted mainly because I had never been exposed to any other way of being. 

    After my divorce I thought I would never want to be married again and even now I could still go the rest of my life without marriage. HOWEVER, I was not monogamous either. I dated, had relationships, but was not traditional or monogamous with anyone I dated. I bought my own home, lived my own independent life, and still did what I wanted and when I wanted.

    Fastforward to present day and my now fiance decided he wanted more of a commitment from me (when we first met he was fine with not being monogamous or committed in a traditional sense). I made it clear I don’t do monogamy without marriage for various reasons but the main one is the legal protections afforded and tax break. I’m not buying a house, moving in together, being monogamous, answering to someone, and combining our lives without not only a spiritual ritual but a legal contract – both for my protection. So he gave me a ring and here we are, lol.

    This is the reason why I can change and mold what all the aspects of a traditional marriage look like according to my own personal beliefs. The ring matters to me. I wanted something pretty, big, and sparkly and I have wanted a diamond since I was child. The ring isn’t a symbol of his commitment in my eyes, so I’m free to be as materialistic about it as I want, lol. I will not be taking his last name and any children I have will also not be taking his last name. Because we don’t believe in marriage the traditional/Judeo/Christian/Islamic way, we are free to change it up and make it fit both of us.

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