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Is Marriage Becoming a Past Time?

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55% of different-sex cohabiters do marry within five years of moving in together. 40% break up within that same time period. About 10% remain in an unmarried relationship for five years or more. - Smock, Pamela. 2000. "Cohabitation in the United States." Annual Review of Sociology.

I am 21 years old, first time mother to a 3-month-old, and have been living with my partner for about two years now. In the beginning of our relationship, we talked fantasized about the idea of marriage, but as time went by...I stopped bringing it up because it seemed like he was uncomfortable to the idea of such a big and oftentimes, expensive commitment. He is my first and only and not long after, I became pregnant, he got scared, we broke up because of it, and then he got over himself and supported me through the last six months of my pregnancy and is still here! (I'm not saying that's impressive, but this is all I know haha) I bought him a custom-designed ring from a budding designer with our birth stone(the pearl) that he has worn everyday for almost a year.

Out of all of my friends that are in their twenties, I have two who are married to each other and they haven't had children yet. The rest live with their SOs or are single moms living with family. Some of the cohabiting already have children, some are planning on having one in the near future, and the rest aren't even thinking about it.

Nobody talks about marriage. I don't know how I feel about it, because...the security of having a husband is almost the same as having a SO that you fully trust, but without a big bill to divorce, if it ever came to that. Marriage doesn't stop cheating, so that security isn't there.
Cohabiting is almost like marriage, but without the legality, right?
And maybe it's just me, with my insecurity...but it seems like it'd be really scary to have children with different people and still try to make your relations all work and the kids feel deeply connected with both parents even when they may have separate lives. I don't know...tell me your story.

I love him with all my heart and we love our daughter even more. My family has blacklisted us because we're not married. His family is cringing behind the sidelines, hoping things don't get nasty and I go after him for child support. But, is it really a big deal? Marriage or cohabitation? Please share.

I think almost every girl dreams of having a wedding and being a Mrs. Somebody Else, hehe, but....I don't think it's ever going to happen and I kind of just want somebody to tell me that that's okay. XD
by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 6:05 AM
Replies (21-30):
by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:32 AM
I could not have said it better! I absolutely agree!! :)

Quoting Simple-Beauty:

I've tried to type out why marriage is important to me a few times, and I can't seem to get my thoughts together.

It just is.

It was a completely organic process for us, even though we had only known each other for 7 1/2 months when we said our vows. It was the ultimate declaration of our love, we weren't thinking about legalities or any other aspect of marriage at the time, but I'm certainly thankful for those privileges and protections, now that we have children. It was our way of telling the world "Hey, this is us, Shawn and Shannon B, we're in this for the long haul." Not that it mattered at 20 years old, no one took us seriously, and a few family member made bets on how long our marriage would last.

Now that we're a year and a handful of months away from our 10th wedding anniversary, people see that we were and are very serious about our marriage. I think the most important thing for me, though, is the example we're setting for our children, of what a happy and healthy marriage should be. We're teaching them how to love and be loved, how to respect and be respected, how work though conflict, and how to nurture a marriage, knowing that it will only ever be as healthy as the "food" you feed it.

Ultimately, they're going to see us live the vows we took, and I hope our marriage will be the one they model their own after, one day.

I dont know if that helped you in your situation, you have to do what you feel is right for you and your family.

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by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:34 AM
1 mom liked this

Living together unwed is no longer taboo. Many people are chosing this over marriage, and there is NOTHING wrong with that!! Some people just dont feel why pay money for a peice of paper that will give us the life we already have? I have been married for 5 1/2 years now. I met my husband through a guy that I was having a "fling" with. My husband didnt like the way his friend was lying to me about how many women he was sleeping with (I thought I was the only one!), so he told me the truth. I stopped my fling with my husbands friend, and started dating my husband. within one month of dating, we were living together, within one month of living together I was pregnant, and three months after delivering the most precious angel we got married. I honestly dont feel any more tied to my husband than before he became my husband, though I can see myself having a meltdown if he wanted a divorce! (and when we werent married I knew i would be sad if he left, but not meltdown". I think the word "divorce" is scarier than "break up" for some odd reason!! But if YOU dont want to get married, then its ok. but dont settle for being the "girlfriend, baby mama" if you want more! :)

by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM
2 moms liked this
I never thought I would get married because I was the one afraid of the huge commitment...

I was like you, I never thought it mattered. I was a live in girlfriend for many of my exes. And I was okay with that.

Then I got to be 24 and thought hmmm...I don't like this role anymore. I'm ready to settle down, be a wife, and take care of a household with that title.

So I met this guy. We moved in together after a month of dating (yes, crazy). We started kicking the idea of marriage around after we had been together about five months. He's 33, a bit older than me, and never married. I was getting to the point in my life I wanted a husband. I wanted stability. So, we eloped this November.

I love being married. I love knowing that the love of my life is going to grow old with me, and that we are more than just living together with no commitment. He means everything to me, and it just feels right.

A marriage license won't change your love, it just cements it in concrete. If you don't want to get married, don't. If you do, than do it. Marriage isn't for everyone. But you will most likely get to the point in your life that you are ready to stop just being the girlfriend.
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by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:35 AM
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I don't understand how someone can take the step to have a kid but not the step to marry.
by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:37 AM
1 mom liked this

I think its harder for those that aren't married to stay together, because there is no going through a divorce, so there is nothing to really hold you back. With that said, that makes the relationship stronger because there is no barrier to slow you down, there is no snag in the road that way (unless theres kids involved), so really, there is something special about people that don't get married. 

When I married, I  had lived with my husband for a year, and after we made it official, it really felt no different, and it would be the same either way. I love him very much, married or not, it made no difference. 

by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM

 I can't really put into words why marriage is important, but it just is. When you change your mindframe to: Well it's cheaper to get divorced *IF* it comes to that, you're setting yourself up for disaster. Marriage makes you stronger as a couple, but also strengthens yourself. You're a team. And think about it this way (if we're thinking about the financial aspect), if you're married, it's expensive to get divorced so maybe more thought and work would be involved in breaking up. If it's something you really want, then your SO should be more open to talk about it, and if you guys are really ready for the big leap of marriage, than you'd both feel comfortable bringing it up whenever. By the sound of things, I don't think you're ready right yet anyway.

I'm sorry, but I can't be the one to tell you it's okay. It's just not like that for me, but you wanted my story. Hope that helps a little. Good luck.

by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 10:44 AM

As a Christian, I would not be comfortable being intimate or having children with my husband if we were not married. Marriage is important to me because it joins us two individuals into one unified front before God. Marriage is sacred to us.

by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:00 AM
1 mom liked this
Im beginning to wonder why people get married any more. I have a few friends that got married because they were prego and they have all been divorced. Now im not saying my marriage has been perfect but i know that i love my dh and he has said he will only marry once, so im it. He chose me to marry and though we were married when i was 18 and he was 23 and now we are 24 and 29 we have made it through stuff that would normally tear couples apart. We are stronger and have WAY better communication skills then we ever did. I love my dh with all my heart i would do anything to make him happy, i love him for everything he is and everything he isnt. He may not be the most handsome have the strongest body, he may drink too much for some people smoke too manys cigs get pissed easily but honestly this he is the same man i fell in love with 7 years ago....more mature and responsible but the same man. I hope he feels the samd about me... Lol

But marriage means you are together forever, now i know there are certian things that would cause a marriage to end....abuse, unexpected death, death because of health, and some may consider infidelity to be a deal breaker. But some things can be worked through if both parties are willing to work on it. And if those parties arent willing to work and compromise then they need to rethink why thye got married in the first place, marriage is about compromise each party gives and takes equally. Its wrong for someone to judge someone in their marriage/commited relationship because they arent apart of the relationship.

Op if your happy with your relationship and so is your SO then be happy dont let the pressures of marriage get to you, be happy! I think its better to be in a happy relationship then to be in a marriage that you both felt pressured into, so just be happy. But i honestly think more people need to think about marriage long before they pop the question because i think the divorce rate is higher then marriage rate which is very sad.
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by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:05 AM
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i am 27 years old i have a 3 year old son i wish i could have waited to a be a married women before i had him but i didnt work that way i want to be married someday & i hope i will 

by on Dec. 3, 2012 at 11:51 AM

 Marriage is important to me. I love being married. I'm not sure how to explain it but it just is.

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