Post # 1
first off, let me mention that my SO and i are not engaged and won’t be for awhile as we’re pretty young (both 21). however, we talk about the future in both general terms and with regards to our future specifically, and he brought up an interesting topic the other night.
we were talking about potential graduate programs vs. jobs and what that would mean for us if our relationship stands the test of time. i mentioned that pursuing our PhD’s would likely push back any potential of getting married to which he replied:
“yeah, but you wouldn’t want kids until we graduate, and what’s the point of getting married except to have kids? i don’t see the difference between a committed relationship and a marriage other than that.”
well, just wondering: do you think that marriage and a committed relationship are the same?
Post # 3
This is a tricky one, up until a few months ago my opinion about marriage was this:
“If you’re in a commited relationship, a paper (marriage license) shouldn’t make a difference, if said paper makes a difference in how commited you are then you shouldn’t get married cause a paper shouldn’t define your relationship. It should be something you do because you want to not because you need to.”
Marriage is about a relationship not kids. Kids shouldn’t be attached to it, does that mean couples who don’t want to have kids shouldn’t get married? I’s like tobe married before having kids just for legal reasons but that doesn’t mean I’m getting married just to have kids.
Post # 4
I do think there is a level of perceived legitamacy given to marriage over just being a committed relationship, both socially and legally. But I think a lot of it depends on the couple. For Fiance and I, marriage is a huge different step than our committed relationship because we don’t believe in sex outside of marriage. There is a much bigger change in our lives coming from marriage because we go from him leaving every night, not living together and all that to BOOM share a bed, and a bathroom and all that jazz. I do think for couples who live together ect before marriage there is less of a big transition, you go to bed next to each other, wake up, get married, repeat. Not to say it is any less monumental or important, but there isn’t the same kind of total life-style change that some exsperiance. I think it really comes down to what is personally important to the couple. If you are both content with your committed relationship indefinatly, then that is awesome for you! But I think the issue does come up when one person wants to get married and the other doesn’t see the point. Because, lets face it, right or wrong, our society does change its outlook on a couple’s seriousness by them introducing “Oh, this is my girlfried/boyfriend” or “Oh, this is my wife/husband.”
Post # 5
@MissElizabeth: I agree and disagree. My Fi and I are not all that crazy about marriage, but we know that it is a responsible thing to do if we are going to live together for a long time and have a house. We don’t want kids outside of marriage, but other than that, we don’t really see it as 100% necessary. Although I see what your SO is saying, I don’t think that it should be used as an excuse to not get married. We saw it as legally responsible and a way to make sure that the other one is taken care of if and when something happens to one of us. Outside of children, marriage is (at least to my Fiance and I) about security/looking out for the other (legally). I know that not everyone views it like we do, but it works for us.
Post # 6
I know LOTS of women who got married and don’t want children. “Child-free” is a lifestyle choice…in fact, I have a good friend who is doing her Master’s thesis on the subject. Just because you don’t want kids, doesn’t mean you don’t want to get married. I love that I got married – I love that it feels like a different level of commitment. Like we are in this world together. I don’t know if I want kids, but the possibility of having them is not the reason I got married.
Post # 7
DH and I lived together before getting married, so it was very much the same afterwards. That said, we never considered not getting married. To me, recognizing our relationship as being life-long and saying our vows to one another in front of God and our loved ones was very important to us.
The legal aspect of marriage (the piece of paper) was much less important to our relationship than the level of committment that our vows and ceremony entailed. Regardless of how many people attended our wedding, I feel like there would have always been the option to leave if we were still “just dating” and hadn’t pledged ourselves to one another for life. For me, my relationship went to a new level by taking time to plege our love and committment and to celebrate our lives together.
The legal aspect helps us prepare for the future – buying a house, life insurance, and having kids, but is more of a logistical piece. Us being legally married is not what binds our relationship together.
For us having kids was always the plan, and now we are incredibly blessed to have our almost 8 month old son. But I don’t think that marriage = children. There are plenty of unmarried people who have children and married people who don’t.
Post # 8
For us, a committed relationship and marriage were different. Mainly b/c we didn’t live together before marriage. It was also really important to both of us that we were married for religious reasons. My husband is Catholic and I’m Orthodox, so we’re both faithful to our religions.
I think the definition varies for everyone. We wanted to be married, but we didn’t necessarily want kids immediately. We put kids off until we were married for about 2 years, so to me, marriage doesn’t equal children. It’s not the sole reason I wanted to get married and I don’t think it was for my husband either.
Post # 9
NO, for us marriage does not equal children, and yes, there is a difference. Regardless of the fact that a couple has a mortgage and shared accounts, it is still much easier to walk away from a relationship than a marriage. Both hubs and I find a happy permanence to marriage, and we aren’t having kids ever. We plan to spend our lives together, and marriage was just the next step in confirming the “foreverness” of our relationship
Post # 10
I’m married at 22 and will be entering a PhD program next fall (fingers crossed!), which pushed back a baby timeline but NOT my marriage timeline. For us, being married last year before grad school felt right, and we were prepared to make that commitment. But to me, having children is mildly unrelated to being married – I prefer to be married when I have children, but I don’t need children to legitimize marriage.
Post # 11
you have echoed almost everything i feel about marriage. although i do want to have children, i don’t see marriage as the reason to have children or visa-versa. i feel like marriage is, in its own right, a new step in our relationship that is completely separate from our committed relationship phase. marriage to me is much harder to walk away from. what’s more, i want to be married a few years before i have children, whereas he feels that as soon as he and i get married, that is the signal to start popping children out. guess we’ll have to reconcile our differences in timelines!
thanks to everyone, also, for the very thoughtful replies 🙂
Post # 12
This has been a rough subject for my Fiance and I, well not between us just his family. My Fiance and I do not want kids but want to be married beacuse we feel it is more of a commitment than just being in a relationship. His family thinks we have no reason to get married if we aren’t going to have kids, it drives me crazy beacuse the two or not mutually exclusive!
Post # 13
I think he is really off-base on that one. A marriage is not for children. A marriage and a committed relationship are not the same. I do believe children benefit from marriage but that is because marriage is about a lifelong proclaimed commitment. IMO, it could never be the same as just a commited relationship; it is in all ways a step past that. Marriage is not FOR children, marriage is for two people that are dedicated to having a good relationship. Society benefits from marriage (I have read studies). Children benefit from marriage, but that is not its sole purpose.