(Closed) What makes a "real" marriage?

posted 8 years ago in Ceremony
Post # 62
Member
4654 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

You are married when you decide you are married. No state or deity can decide that for you. It is something unique to you as a couple and only you have the power to choose the moment at which you are married. If you feel that you are married, and the state disagrees, guess what? You’re still married (just missing out on some possible benefits.) If you are legally married but have not yet decided to be married (having a ceremony later) guess what? You’re not married until the moment you decide to be. (You’re just being sensible, perhaps.)

 

No state or god can tell you when you are or are not married unless you give them that power. (Although you will want to be very careful with your paperwork if there’s a discrepancy with the former.)

 

View original reply
@nellybee: A certification implies there are qualifications, and one can be unqualified. What would you say disqualifies a person from marriage? 

 

Post # 63
Member
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

I’m not implying there are qualifications. Simply saying there are technicalities, guess i should have used a different example. 

 

To break it down I know someone that dropped out in their last semester of college, only really needed about 6 credit hours and they really weren’t classes required for his major, more so electives needed to meet the required number of hours. So while he may know the same amount of information necessary to perform the jobs as someone  who actually finished. He did not, and so he cant simply say he has a b.s. because he knows the necessary information and feels like he graduated. Until he went back to finish his credits he didn’t have a degree. Even though most would agree that he knew just as much. 

 

A better way of stating it may be there may not be qualifications, but there are requirements. So while the may be qualified as far as skill they did not get the requirement of getting the certificate to call themselves that. While OP may be qualified and have the same level of commitment/love the requirement to say you’re married includes the legal part. So she can say she is married, feel that way, and many may agree with her, but until she meets the requirement not qualification of making it legal she is not married. 

Post # 64
Member
7365 posts
Busy Beekeeper

To me its like being a little pregnant, either you or you aren’t. I fully understand that for many people there are three aspects to a marriage (legal/civic, social and religious/spiritual). I can respect that you only require 2 out of three. But in the States, 2013, the criteria of marriage is clear cut. Hence why gays are fighting so hard for equal recognition. However, I think one needs to honest and upfront with people that they invite to witness their “wedding/marriage”, because most people would assume they will be witnessing a “legal” commitment (and/or spiritual depending on their values). To me if someone is so okay with 2 out of 3, why not shout it from the rooftops? There is part of me that simply finds it hard to respect lying about it. 

 

Isn’t this what Brandy did many years ago? Claimed to be legally married and then back peddled that it was a “spiritual ceremony”…then why not simply call it that? 

Post # 65
Member
3696 posts
Sugar bee

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@Bebealways:  A number of things, actually: not being of legal age. Consanguineity. Already being married to someone else. Coercion. Lack of discernment (in the legal sense of not being of sound mind).

And you overstate your case a bit:

You are married when you decide you are married.

Not *quite* that simple – at the very least, the other person has to be consulted. And what if *you* decide that you are married, but s/he doesn’t agree? Or you decide on Monday that you are married, but Partner doesn’t make up his/her mind until Wednesday – are you married on Tuesday or aren’t you? What if you get fed up with Partner’s indecision so that by Wednesday, when s/he decides that s/he is married, you decide that you no longer are? What about the teenage couple who is passionately in love and decide that they are married because they say so? What if you commit fully to the marriage but Partner only goes through the motions to make you happy, harboring inward reservations all the while and not really meaning what s/he says, and then years later decides to leave and declares that the two of you were never really married anyway because s/he didn’t mean it when s/he said it?
 
Tongue-in-cheek thought experiments, maybe, but your sweeping generalizations are a bit too pat. It may feel empowering to say “it’s whenever you decide,” but saying does not make it so. Human relationships can be messy and muddy and blurry, and, like it or not, it’s important and useful to have clear, agreed-upon definitions of marriage, even though they hinge on a social convention. Living with social conventions is part of living in a society. If you want to go off on a desert island with just your partner, a self-declared marriage makes more sense, but here in the world full of other people, you don’t get to make up your own arbitrary definitions of widely-recognized concepts.

Post # 66
Member
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

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@KCKnd2:  +1

Post # 67
Hostess
7547 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2013

@rosegardener:  I totally agree with you. The government shouldn’t be involved in marriage but unfortunately it is. I don’t think not filing government paperwork makes you any less married. Marriage has existed for thousands of years without government intervention. I would just clarify that you’re not “legally married.” Personally, I wouldn’t share this information with people who are not close to you. Why? Because your relationship is none of their business. 

The only things I would think about are these –

If you go abroad, your wills or power of attorney paperwork may not be recognized. Only government sanctioned marriages “translate” in some places.

How will being/not being legally married affect your child? Will your husband not have rights that he may need? What would happen if you died? 

 

Post # 68
Member
4997 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

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@lolot:  I agree. Taxes are there for a reason and it sounds like you can afford the extra amount you would have to pay. Some people are fighting a hard battle for the right to get married and would  do just about anything for it. So if it’s not worth a few grand to you then don’t do it.

Post # 69
Member
7365 posts
Busy Beekeeper

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@KCKnd2:  +1. In my mind I swear I’m Beyonce. Doesnt make it reality.

Post # 70
Member
4654 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

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@KCKnd2:  Ah, I see where I stumbled a bit. What I should have said, to avoid defining a word with itself, is that you are married when you have decided to partner romantically with someone and become a single social unit permanently.

 

I meant “you” in the plural sense, as in “you, together” — when a couple makes the commitment to marriage, that is all that is required. Young people, teenagers included, often marry and divorce soon after, the “certification” does little to change that course of events. Divorced people sometimes reconcile, again, paper and ceremonies do nothing to change that. If the couple, together, have decided to be married, made the commitment to be married, and present as married, it makes little difference what outsiders to that relationship say or what ceremonies you’ve had or not had.

 

I personally think having a state institution of marriage is silly and should be done away with altogether, leaving marriage as merely a social/spiritual/community thing. This way, if you want the one person who makes medical choices for you to be different from the one person who benefits from your health/life insurance and different from the one person who you file taxes with, it could be permitted.

 

These sorts of things should all be separated from marriage, particularly because of what you say about relationships being messy. (If you want to write the same name on all those forms, that’s fine, but if you don’t, that should be fine too.) If you want to write a contract protecting someone’s interests in the event of breaking up, that should be an option, not essential or assumed. All these things marriage imparts ought to be optional.

 

It’d handily solve the problem of who is allowed to marry whom, how many spouses one can have. It’d eliminate a lot of divorce problems (though certainly not all, I suspect those lawyers would still have plenty of business), and give legal and social options to those whose relationships don’t quite fit the bill for marriage but are close in some other way.

 

There would be no more arguing about whether it’s OK to have your ceremony six months after your legal wedding because the practicalities would be untangled from the romantic and the spiritual, as they should be.

 

The point was not that marriage is so flighty, it’s that it’s a determination that is entirely up to the partners who create it, it shouldn’t be up to some outside interest to go “OK, you’re married” or “You’re not married/can’t be married.” (unless the couple invites that person, like a religous leader if they wish, to help them with their determination.)

Post # 71
Member
972 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2012

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@rosegardener:  “The government rewards married couples where one person earns a lot more than the other, and penalizes couples with a more even distribution of income.”

While this may be true in your case because of a child, high income, assests, etc or whatever the case is it is NOT true across the board.  We got married last year, made the same amount (within $1k) and got back about $100 MORE than we would have filing single (we ran the numbers just for fun).  Either option for filing married would have gotten more money than single.

As far as your original post, you’re not technically married unless you’re legally married.  Call it what you want but it’s how it works.  Some people you know likely will be offended if they find out the truth.  However you are an adult and can do what you want and say F-you government just to not pay taxes.  I may not agree, but I’m not going to personally judge you or think less of you because I’m not perfect and have been known to thwart some rules in my life too.  🙂

Additionally I didn’t care if I got married, DH was never getting married.  It was his idea by the way, we were already so enmeshed as a couple and planning for forever that there was no reason to, but that’s why there was every reason to. 

I imagine you have no idea what it’s like to say “this option” in an emergency and they just look at you and say “I’ll need medical power of attorney”.  My dad has MS, been in the hospital more times than I care to count, and my mom is useless (love her but it’s true).  I have power of attorney, but she can say “I’m his wife, do what she says.” and BAM they start running.  The sinking feeling of “I’m going to have to drive to their house, get that paper, and come back while something could be done now” is horrible.  That alone is worth it to me.

Post # 72
Member
2120 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: June 2014 - DD born 2015 DS born 2017

For those who say you aren’t married if you aren’t legally married in the eyes of the government.. then what about marriages between your ancestors just a few hundred of years ago?

The definition of marriage has changed from social to religious to legal in a few hundred years.. who’s to say it won’t change again? and who cares?

I say have a commitment ceremony and if anyone asks (which they probably won’t) just say you aren’t actually legally married. Keep your money for a more secure future for your family!

Post # 73
Member
257 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

View original reply
@MrsYoshida: I personally am not talking about then, im talking about here and now. The past is irrelevant. 

And it doesn’t sound like OP needs the money, she just doesn’t want to have to pay, 

Post # 74
Member
5867 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: April 2013

God, the American tax system is an absolute disaster.  Insanity.

I actually don’t think there is anything wrong, ethically, with doing the ceremony but not the legal bit.  In our society the meaning of marriage and wedding has changed so much.  I think it really is defined by yourself and your community these days…athough as you can see from this board my opinion is not popular!

Post # 75
Member
11 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: June 2013

I might understand this if you were struggling financially but you say both your incomes are ‘fairly high’. I really do not understand your dilemma. If I were you, I would just get married and pay a bit more tax.

 

Post # 76
Hostess
3571 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

Ok, I’m going to freely admit I didn’t read the whole thread, but only part of it. 

Personally, I don’t care what you do. HOWEVER, I think you should know the following because I’ve been there. 

Sure, you’ll save some money on your taxes. But do you also know:

  • In most states, even if you have the notarised paperwork giving you medical power of attorney, if you are not married, the hospital does not have to allow you to make the medical decisions for your partner if he were to become incapable of making them himself. This could default to his parents, who may choose treatements, etc other than what you and he have spoken about. 
  • This is also similar for finances and power of attorney in that case to.
  • Not to mention, to have a lawyer properly draw up this document will probably cost you as much as you’d save.

Is that really worth saving the money? It would rip my heart out if something happened to me and DH couldn’t make the decisions necessary to save me or at least abide my wishes. 

I feel like you’re being very short sighted about this. 

 

 

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