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Old Mar 25 2006, 02:54 AM   #1
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Default Just for the sake of Controversy...

I thought I'd toss in something meaty for us to debate on.


Is marriage an outdated institution? Is co-habitation replacing the institution of marriage, and will this affect the security and stability of children?

What do you all think?
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Old Mar 25 2006, 03:29 AM   #2
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Uh oh, sensitive topic. My parents split up a year ago. But many people I know have only one parent and are perfectly happy
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Old Mar 25 2006, 03:29 AM   #3
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

I think there will always be marriages. Many people want security, and even though there's nothing to STOP a person from having an affair - to me it would be just as much of an offense to cheat whether just in a committed relationship or while married - yet I think the vows of marriage seem to cement that monogomy. Unfortunately, people don't seem to be putting as much effort into their marriages anymore, or at least not choosing well enough before taking the vows. There seem to be almost as many divorces as marriages now. And yes, for some co-habitation would be more appealing, it doesn't have such a massive commitment attatched, but I don't think marriage will be outdated anytime soon. For the children, it would be a tragedy, there would likely be many more single parents if the majority of couples opted for mere co-habitation.
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Old Mar 25 2006, 03:32 AM   #4
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Myt
Uh oh, sensitive topic. My parents split up a year ago. But many people I know have only one parent and are perfectly happy
As a person who grew up most of my life with one parent, I turned out alright I guess, but for the parent it is MUCH harder to raise a child alone than with a partnership. It ain't easy for the child or the parent (not that it would be a piece of cake with both parents, but you know what I mean).
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Old Mar 25 2006, 03:55 AM   #5
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

I don't believe in staying together merely for the sake of children. The worst possible case is when parents are arguing with each other, using the child as a pawn in their personal battle. It's much better to split up while you can still maintain a civilized relationship. Once children are involved, you're never completely rid of the other person.

I think some people, especially in the US, are getting married without considering it long enough, just because getting a divorce is so easy these days. It would be far better to live together for a while, to see if the relationship really cuts it or not. Splitting up from a cohabited relationship is much cheaper than getting a divorce, and those leeches otherwise known as lawyers are sucking us dry as it is.

I would prefer to be married before having children, but without kids involved I don't think there's anything wrong with cohabitation.
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Old Mar 25 2006, 04:09 AM   #6
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

There's a point to marriage: it's a symbolic recognition of the relationship, but that said, if you feel happier cohabiting, then fine. There should be choice, just as there was in Ancient Rome--they had three types of marriage, ranging from civil to full-bore religious. And they got along well with those until Christianity.

This is not to say I feel marriage is particularly sacred. Nothing is sacerd to me, as an atheist, and I find arguments along such lines spurious and meh.
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Old Mar 25 2006, 05:10 AM   #7
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by ghyle
There's a point to marriage <little snip>
There is? Ah, I knew it, I knew it!
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Old Mar 25 2006, 12:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hans
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghyle
There's a point to marriage <little snip>
There is? Ah, I knew it, I knew it!
Yep

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Old Mar 25 2006, 04:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

As a singleton, I'm prepared to accept that there's a point to marriage - anyone care to define what that point is?
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Old Mar 25 2006, 04:43 PM   #10
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

I think that there is definitly a point to marriage, but it's sure not for everyone!

My girlfriends parents, for example. From what I can tell, they get along great. Perhaps the perfect ex-couple. But I imagine if they were married again, the would hit the fan.
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Old Mar 25 2006, 05:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

marriage is a man-made institution, and these days, it seems that most governemnts are making it hard for couples. A single parent, for example, gets more tax breaks than married parents in many places. Also, divorce is so easy.... and, sometimes, I think GETTING married is too easy, as well.

That being said, old Brehon laws recognised 10 forms of valid marriage, lasting from one night to life....
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Old Mar 25 2006, 05:50 PM   #12
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

To me, marriage is a joy, but being with my husband was a joy before we said I do, and thrity years later it is still a joy.

We lived together for about a month before we decided to get married, it was just the same as being married, so why not get the paper. We knew that we were right after spending one hour together talking (we took a long walk together).

That is what I think that is wrong with a lot of couples today, they don't talk together, heart to heart. You need to want to know that person, and you want to be with that person, more than any other person. When you don't have those kind of feelings, then you need to move on and find them somewhere else.

I think that too many people are afraid to be alone, so they marry the wrong person instead, and end up in divorce when they realize that they have made a mistake.

I think that you need to know a person inside their heart, before you can be apart of them and that is what a true marriage is, being a true part of someone else, sharing yourself with someone completly. That is what the word Marriage is to me, Joining another completly, heart and mind, and soul( if you believe in that).

Today too many people don't want to give that much of themselves, away to another person. They are afraid of being hurt, but if you don't risk your heart, you have no heart in the relationship, and no heart in the relationship means no love. You migh as well just get together with someone else for short periods times, if you are going to keep all of yourself, for yourself.

Does marriage have a point, I think it is up to each person to decide for themselves. For me "YES" whole heartedly.
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Old Mar 26 2006, 12:38 AM   #13
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Hear hear, Lady M! That's in large part why I'm still single: I've yet to meet the person I can share that level of intimacy with yet.
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Old Mar 26 2006, 01:03 AM   #14
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Don't forget the legal aspect - getting a marriage certificate, getting joint accounts, hospital visitation rights... I know there's more but you get the idea.
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Old Mar 26 2006, 04:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

I guess that depends on where you live. Here cohabitation is recognized pretty much as marriage is. Only thing that really counts there is the certificate. Most people who cohabit here have deemed each other their next-of-kin, meaning that they have hospital visitation rights. Many married couples here don't have joint accounts, and many cohabiting ones do. Taxation is always separate these days in any case. One big difference here is that if you're married, your husband is the father of the child on the birth certificate by default (you have to go through bureaucratic hoops to prove otherwise), but cohabiting fathers need to give their consent. Once the father admits his paternity, though, it cannot be rescinded and children born out of wedlock have the same inheritance rights as those born in marriage. Many couples think that having a joint mortgage is just as much a show of commitment as a marriage certificate.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 12:24 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenda
Don't forget the legal aspect - getting a marriage certificate, getting joint accounts, hospital visitation rights... I know there's more but you get the idea.
You can get a joint account with out being married.

You can get hospital visitation rights without getting married.

You can buy property together without being married.

You can get insurance without being married.

You can name anyone you want to name on a retirement plan, as recipient if you croak off without collecting on it.



Marrieds have a marriage liciense that says they are married.

They also may IN to Uncle Sam come April 15, instead of getting money back.


There may be reasons to be married. Not real sure what those reasons would be.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 06:27 AM   #17
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Marriage is not 'out-dated', but as a man-made social institution, there is bound to be ups and downs in the level of take-up amongst the populace. However, marriage is still highly regarded - why else would homosexual couples campaign so much, and for so long, for the right to get married? The problem is simply that divorce is too easy to get. It means that people jump into marriages without thinking it through fully, as they know that they can get out of it relatively easily.

For co-habitation to replace the institution of marriage, then there would have to be a large social change to bring that about, and it is full of many prickly issues and difficult problems, such as: when are two people co-habiting, or simply living together? Would there be tax breaks for co-habiters?

I cannot see marriage dying out, though it may fully change from being a religious ceremony to a purely legal one.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 06:33 AM   #18
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

WHY should people have to get married? Who NEEDS a ring and a bit of paper to say they love someone?
I don't see me ever getting married, purely because I don't agree with it. As co habitors, you get just about all the rights of a married couple, even now the father named on the birth certificate of a child holds legal rights, even without a marriage.
Much rather stay as a co habitor then get married, just another excuse for your family to get drunk and have arguments.
Bleh.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 06:44 AM   #19
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Co-habitors have NO legal rights, unless you have been doing so for long enough to be considered married under the common law. Otherwise, there are no more solid legal rights than any two other people.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 06:52 AM   #20
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After a year living together, a couple has equal rights to a house on the council. We have to claim together if on benifits... That's all that matters to me.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 07:38 AM   #21
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Marriage doesn't have to mean that you had a big party and that you are wearing a ring that your husband/wife put on your finger.
I'm not the romantic type, so when me and my husband got married (almost two years) we kept it a secret until after the visit to the city hall. We didn't dress up fancy (I wore jeans and a sweater), and we didn't have friends and family come watch us sign a paper. We called our family and friends from our cell phones after getting married (before we went to see a movie). Earlier we had gone to the zoo as we always do on our anniversary of when we met (got married on our 3 year day). The day was about us and about what we wanted to do. Friends and family was of course surprised, and I must admit that my father used the word: 'disapointed'. I don't have a wedding ring, but I do have the most wonderful man I could wish for.

To me marriage isn't more special than a serious relationship. One of the reasons that we did get married was that we have to move around the world (well, that will be Europe actually), and life is indeed easier as a couple if you have a paper saying that you are married. My husband actually gets extra money paid for being married to me (as long as I don't have a job), but that is just one of the perks about living in the catholic part of Germany I think.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 04:05 PM   #22
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I have to say that I have never understood the whole parents being disappointed about missing a wedding.

Big fancy weddings did not happen until the RECENT past. I mean the past 40 or 50 years or so.

When they first started happening, it was rich folks. Now, poor folks will go into hock to have a huge wedding. I do not understand that. I know a marriage that fell apart before the wedding was paid for. How sad is that?

To pay hundreds to thousands of dollars for a dress that will be worn once. Stupid.

I have a friend who paid $50 for her wedding...including the liciense and the blood tests.

I have a friend who's parents paid something like $25,000 for her wedding.

The $50 wedding took. The $25,000 wedding did not. 3 years later, they are divorced.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 04:30 PM   #23
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

that says something about society.
My little sister (age 18) is determined to get married asap.
Me on the other hand, I know that I have far too much to do in the next few years to think about it, so I don't.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 05:33 PM   #24
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Marriage should not have anything to do with money, or big weddings. It should have to do with how you both feel about each other.

Marriage is just paper, love is a lifetime, love is the heart and mind joined, moving through life together.

To have your family and friends with you to celebrate the joining of your two lives together, that is wonderful, but not necessary for you to survive together.

Married or just living your lives togeter, what is the difference? Love is the only difference between two seperate individuals coming together and becoming one.

The rest is all for other people, or the government, to make it easier to live and work in the society we all have around us.
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Old Mar 27 2006, 11:22 PM   #25
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If I love someone enough to live with them, sleep with them, share emotional details of my life with them, make major financial and social decisions with them, share the same vision of the future and goals with them, why WOULDN'T I marry them? Make a public commitment that this is permanent, that I'm not holding part of myself back, or holding out on the chance that something better is going to come along.

I suppose I don't view marriage as just "OMG we're in love!" as a combination of love, respect, and shared goals. I also have issues with the argument for divorce or non-marriage that "well, people change." No **** people change. If you love each other, not just romantically but are really partners, you know that they're not going to be the exact same person forever and neither are you. Marriage isn't just supposed to be about the romantic happies and if that's gone, well, so goes the marriage. There's a reason that arranged marriages can and do end up working-they don't come in with rose-colored expectations. Being happy and in love every minute is not the point of a marriage. Otherwise every marriage would fail.

I think that the current obession with, not necessarily expensive, but unique and "meaningful" weddings, with the general fixation on the wedding itself, contributes to the idea that it all has to be perfect and romantic and wonderful EVERY SINGLE MINUTE or it's just over. The WEDDING is not the point, but I think some people miss that part.

(Note I'm not talking about children. For me, natural children are likely a moot point. For health reasons I'm not likely to have any. I would not be marrying because I wanted to have children, though adoption is obvioiusly possible. But I would not adopt alone. I really do think children do best with two committed, stable parents in the house, and I don't see people who are cohabiting as ABSOLUTELY committed. Obvioiusly, some part of them doesn't want the ties. Otherwise, there are 1001 variations on marriage and legal commitment ceremonies--you don't have to have the white dress and attendants and such to get married.)

To the overall question: maybe I should ask some people I know from work, Mark and Peter, if marriage is an outdated concept that's not relevant to modern life. Because yes, they're married to each other, in the only state I know of that it's legal and actually called a marriage. I somehow doubt they would say that it's irrelevant.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 03:24 AM   #26
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth
.

Being happy and in love every minute is not the point of a marriage. Otherwise every marriage would fail.

.
Anareth, honey, you just gave me the kick in the butt I needed.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 07:55 AM   #27
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Unfortunately for many gay couples, marriage DOES confer legal and financial rights which are unavailable w/o that "little piece of paper." Just recently PsyD was telling us at the NKT about the difficulties a couple of friends of hers had. They are a gay couple, and one of the men had to be hospitalized for something, I can't remember what it was, but seem to remember that it was NOT something minor. The man who was NOT hospitalized had no access to visit his partner, even though he even WORKED at that hospital and everyone there knew him. I've heard stories of partners being inable even to visit their loved ones when they've been dying. So being legally married IS important in certain situations.

Today is my 23rd wedding anniversary with Doc, thank G-d. I've seen some wonderful explanations in this thread about the significance of marriage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth
If I love someone enough to live with them, sleep with them, share emotional details of my life with them, make major financial and social decisions with them, share the same vision of the future and goals with them, why WOULDN'T I marry them? Make a public commitment that this is permanent, that I'm not holding part of myself back, or holding out on the chance that something better is going to come along.

I suppose I don't view marriage as just "OMG we're in love!" as a combination of love, respect, and shared goals. I also have issues with the argument for divorce or non-marriage that "well, people change." No **** people change. If you love each other, not just romantically but are really partners, you know that they're not going to be the exact same person forever and neither are you. Marriage isn't just supposed to be about the romantic happies and if that's gone, well, so goes the marriage. There's a reason that arranged marriages can and do end up working-they don't come in with rose-colored expectations. Being happy and in love every minute is not the point of a marriage. Otherwise every marriage would fail.
Anareth, I love so many of your posts, including this one. (Note about the following paragraph or so: I know that many people go into marriage unprepared and without the serious commitment I am describing that follows. This next bit is illustrating a marriage in which the couple has undergone the serious thought and preparation I believe is very important, but not altogether essential, for a lasting marriage.) When a couple stands up to make an oath that they will hold each other dear above all others, it strengthens and intensifies their commitment to each other. It also gives them the ability to remain confident in their spouse and draw strength from them even when times are tough and/or the romantic tides are at an ebb.

The intimacy and history that Doc and I have accumulated over the past 23 years has intensified and enhanced the romantic/physicial part of our relationship. I am grateful to G-d to have had the opportunity to work to make this relationship grow and strengthen.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 10:27 AM   #28
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No life is all roses, it has it's ups and downs, and if you have a true heart bond with the other person, the lows won't seem as low, and the highs will lift you off the ground. Being together means that you have someone to be there with you through it all.

YOU WANT TO BE, THE COMFORTING SMILE AT THE START AND END OF THE DAY, AND THE SUPPORTING LAUGHTER IN THE MIDDLE, FOR THE ONE YOU LOVE.

Marriage is only paper, commitment to another person comes from the heart, and mind, it has to last through all that life can send at you.

In the thirty one years that I have been married, my husband and I have gone through all the ups and downs, the smiles and the sorrows, and through it all we are still enjoying all the fluff from the start, and the strength that can only come from fighting, and winning all the battles together, that life has thrown our way so far.

I wish for all of you the best that love and life can offer, and the strength to make it all the way through with your love still by your side.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 10:48 AM   #29
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Default Re: Just for the sake of Controversy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth
<<snippies>>If I love someone enough to live with them, sleep with them, share emotional details of my life with them, make major financial and social decisions with them, share the same vision of the future and goals with them, why WOULDN'T I marry them? Make a public commitment that this is permanent, that I'm not holding part of myself back, or holding out on the chance that something better is going to come along.

I suppose I don't view marriage as just "OMG we're in love!" as a combination of love, respect, and shared goals. I also have issues with the argument for divorce or non-marriage that "well, people change." No **** people change. If you love each other, not just romantically but are really partners, you know that they're not going to be the exact same person forever and neither are you. Marriage isn't just supposed to be about the romantic happies and if that's gone, well, so goes the marriage. There's a reason that arranged marriages can and do end up working-they don't come in with rose-colored expectations. Being happy and in love every minute is not the point of a marriage. Otherwise every marriage would fail.

I think that the current obession with, not necessarily expensive, but unique and "meaningful" weddings, with the general fixation on the wedding itself, contributes to the idea that it all has to be perfect and romantic and wonderful EVERY SINGLE MINUTE or it's just over. The WEDDING is not the point, but I think some people miss that part.

I really do think children do best with two committed, stable parents in the house, and I don't see people who are cohabiting as ABSOLUTELY committed. Obvioiusly, some part of them doesn't want the ties. Otherwise, there are 1001 variations on marriage and legal commitment ceremonies--you don't have to have the white dress and attendants and such to get married.)
Very well said Anareth!

Marriage is something two people need to decide on together. It may not be ideal for some. For me, I like the idea. You gather together with those you love, and right there acknowledge your love for each other. For better or for worse, through sickness and in health. It's important to hear those vows spoken and acknowledged. The "little piece of paper" isn't really the issue (on an emotional level), although it is is important legally (here). I personally wouldn't go for the living together bit. For children, you NEED that bit of extra security.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 12:50 PM   #30
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I don't understand some of the objections for formalizing the commitment.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 03:44 PM   #31
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I, as an atheist, have objections to a religious ceremony, but not a civil one. It's part of who I am and what I believe in.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 04:12 PM   #32
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Yes, but even when I mentioned the legal aspects of a civil one, just signing a contract, there seemed to be objections.
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Old Mar 28 2006, 11:46 PM   #33
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For some people, the lack of total commitment is what keeps things insecure enough for them to make a proper effort to make the relationship work. I know two long-term couples, one cohabited for 6 years, the other for 8 years before getting married. Within 5 years of their respective weddings, both got divorced, although one couple moved back together again mere months after the divorce came through.

For some people, knowing that the other person could just up and leave at any time, is what keeps them working on the relationship. Getting the certificate to them means "oh, we're together forever, no need to work on it when things get hard"... They don't realize that the problems don't go away just because they're married, that any relationship needs work from both partners to last.
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Old Mar 29 2006, 11:49 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by granath
For some people, the lack of total commitment is what keeps things insecure enough for them to make a proper effort to make the relationship work. I know two long-term couples, one cohabited for 6 years, the other for 8 years before getting married. Within 5 years of their respective weddings, both got divorced, although one couple moved back together again mere months after the divorce came through.

For some people, knowing that the other person could just up and leave at any time, is what keeps them working on the relationship. Getting the certificate to them means "oh, we're together forever, no need to work on it when things get hard"... They don't realize that the problems don't go away just because they're married, that any relationship needs work from both partners to last.
Granath, You have said this very well, and that is the point that many coulples should take into account, and rarely do.

You need to have two people who are willing to work through all of the problems that come there way!! marriage contract or not. If they want to stay together, and have a good life, they must work to that end or it is not worth joining their lives at all.
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Old Apr 2 2006, 12:26 PM   #35
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I remember something from an Agatha Christie book that really struck me at the time when I read it (which was when I was a teenager). Miss Marple confronted a couple who were "living together" with her deduction that they were really secretly married. Her reasoning was that people who live together often do not feel secure enough in the relationship to argue very viciously! She said the knowledge that the other person couldn't just get up and walk away from the relationship frees people to say what they really mean.
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Old Apr 2 2006, 05:08 PM   #36
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oh, I know the one you mean- I can't remember the name of it but I remember it because she makes a comment which I thought was poking fun at dorothy L Sayers. (who in my opinion wrote faar better books)
I suppose it's true, you have to trust someone and know that you cant just walk away!
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Old Apr 3 2006, 09:58 PM   #37
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**shrug**

There is only one way I know of for a person in the hospital to get visitors. You tell people you are in the hospital. If you tell only one person, you will get only one visitor. If you tell your Doctor to speak to the one person you have told you are in the hospital, that is who your Doctor will speak to. Same for nursing staff. I doubt very much that the nursing staff knows or cares about your marital standing. Unless you tell them.

If you are asked for LEGAL papers, well, ANYONE can have medical power of attorny. If you and your partner are not married, you can still give your partner medical power of attorny. And it would be recommended.

Either way. If you want to make decisions for your partner, you simply state that you are married. And then you make those decisions.

Not like anyone at the hospital asks to see your marriage liciense.


Otherwise, anyone can own property in common with another person. I know a lot of folks who own property, a house or apartment, with a boyfriend or a girlfriend.

Anyone can get life insurance on themselves, and name a partner or a friend as payee.

Laws have changed. Marriage is only a way to go. Not THE way to go.
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Old Apr 4 2006, 07:43 AM   #38
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JJ, that might be true where you live, but when the NKT is up and running, PM PsyD and ask her about what happened to her friend. I've noticed from different posts that people make that laws seem to vary widely from state to state. Even Missouri (where you are) and Kansas (where she is), although contiguous, must have very different laws about this stuff. Also it's a totally different situation if someone is brought into the ICU unconscious than if they are in for two days having a baby.
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Old Apr 8 2006, 01:53 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leahiniowa
I remember something from an Agatha Christie book that really struck me at the time when I read it (which was when I was a teenager). Miss Marple confronted a couple who were "living together" with her deduction that they were really secretly married. Her reasoning was that people who live together often do not feel secure enough in the relationship to argue very viciously! She said the knowledge that the other person couldn't just get up and walk away from the relationship frees people to say what they really mean.
I'm not 100% sure but I think that was The Body in the Library. It's interesting, really, that the same thing that makes some people feel secure has the opposite effect on others. I think it all boils down to the old axiom, Different strokes for different boats.
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Old Apr 8 2006, 04:18 AM   #40
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Yup, it was The Body in the Library. The worst thing is, of course, if one partner desperately wants to get married and the other one doesn't. I think that the relationship is doomed sooner or later if that's the case.
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