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Help! I don't understand the concept of marriage!


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Hi Everyone,

I am a 30 year old guy, in a relationship with a girl the same age as me. 

We have been together for 3 years now. Everything is great and we are currently looking at buying a house together. 

I'm worried that we have differing opinions about marriage. I have never wanted to get married. I have always made this clear. She has always been kind of wishy-washy about it and I didn't think it was a big deal, until a couple of times recently that she has made comments about wanting to get married. 

I've explained to her that I don't really understand the concept of a marriage. IMO, I don't see the point in spending tens of thousands on a wedding day, and entering a legal contract which makes things very tricky if anything was to go wrong in the relationship. And following the wedding, nothing is different about the day to day life of the relationship between married and not married, so what's the point? 

Perhaps I am hoping for someone to explain the concept to me. Every time I have asked people why they want to get married (including several of my friends who are married) I have only ever had meaningless answers back, like ''it's nice'', or ''I don't really know but we just wanted to''.

It's not the commitment that I'm worried about... I am very happy to stay with this girl forever, and to enter into a mortgage with her which would tie us together financially for many years and put us in hundreds of thousands worth of debt together. To me, that's a far bigger commitment than the concept of a marriage.

To be honest, I think I'll struggle to come around to the idea of wanting to get married. I have always felt this way about it. I feel like I want to convince her that we don't need to get married.... but equally, if that is what she wants, then I don't really want to be the guy that's ruining that for her. 

I know we need to iron this out before signing a mortgage.... but I feel it's a rock and a hard place, and I don't want to lose her. 

Any of your thoughts are appreciated. Oh, and no offence meant to anybody who is married... you do you! 🙂 

Thanks!

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1 minute ago, Reg said:

I know we need to iron this out before signing a mortgage..

Don't buy any property together without legal advice.

You're in for a lot of legal headaches if you buy property with someone who is unrelated to you. Very foolish.

Why make that type of financial commitment? Why bother living together?

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Thanks for your reply Wiseman. 

When buying the house, we will have everything in place legally via solicitors so that our interests in the property are protected should anything happen between us. Here in the UK we can draw up a Deed Of Trust for an unrelated couple buying a house together, so I'm not too worried about this aspect of it. 

We want to live together so that we can have our own place, and build a life together. 

I just don't see why that life together has to include a party day that costs £20,000 and a couple of rings! 🤷‍♂️ It just seems like a waste of money to me....

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Never got it either. Let's wait for people to reply. I am curious as well. 

7 minutes ago, Reg said:

Here in the UK we can draw up a Deed Of Trust for an unrelated couple buying a house together

Good to know that!

 

Edited by dias
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Sadly, it  can be a dilemma 😕 .

It is a common issue for many.  I agree with no need to rush into it.

But, I think for some people, it's like a 'security'.. it shows them that they are that special. ( reminds me of a commercial I think of a little girl twirling in a beautiful dress as she dreams of her big, successful future & being wed in her special wedding dress - almost like that 'dream come true').

BUT, fact is, it's not necessary.  I had an uncle who never married his woman, but they progressed just fine together.  Having 2 kids and no problems.

If you two DO communicate fine, I think you need to have a real 'heart to heart' talk about this.  How you feel compared to how she feels, if it doesn't happen.  That she does mean the world to you, but you just don't see 'marriage' necessary.... let her decide IF she can accept that.

I feel, if she feels just as strong, she should be okay with it.

 

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36 minutes ago, Reg said:

I just don't see why that life together has to include a party day that costs £20,000 and a couple of rings! 🤷‍♂️ It just seems like a waste of money to me....

So, to start with, I am married. I wasn't all that keen to get married, and my mother used to say when asked about me: "Oh, LaHermes is far too choosy".   So I sure was no child bride. Lol.  But my husband did, against all the odds, convince me.  A persuasive man, my husband!  lol. 

A wedding does not have to cost 20.000 or any other sum you care to mention.  Where do you get these ideas.  You can get married with just two witnesses, and perhaps have a nice dinner afterwards with your two witnesses. I know people who have done that.  No big deal.  We had only 23 people at ours, mainly because my parents were alive then and a couple of very dear relatives, and it was nice for them to be there.  So, no, we certainly did not spend 20.000 or anything even close to that figure!

I see no difficulty in living together if that is what you both want. If you are truly opposed to marriage then don't get married.   Don't do it to appease the other. 

48 minutes ago, Reg said:

I feel it's a rock and a hard place, and I don't want to lose her. 

You can't have it both ways Reg.  So it is make your mind up time.  If she downright wants marriage, and you don't, then she may prefer to find someone who would wish to marry her. It is as simple as that. 

There is nothing "wrong" with being married, and there is nothing wrong either with co-habiting.  It isn't a question of "I don't get it" or "I do get it it".  It is quite simple really.

However, in your place I would nonetheless speak with a solicitor about the situation (leaving the mortgage out of it altogether).  It is best to walk on firm ground one way or the other. 

Just a pointer (this is UK law), and they are referring to co-habiting couples:

"The first and often most important distinction is that the unmarried father does not automatically acquire parental responsibility for his child. He must either be registered on the birth certificate, or he must enter into a parental responsibility agreement with the mother. Failing that agreement, he must apply to the court for an order.  (See s.4 of the CA 1989.) Therefore the unmarried father does not have to be consulted about decisions made about the child, unless he has acquired parental responsibility."

Edited by LaHermes
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31 minutes ago, Reg said:

We want to live together so that we can have our own place, and build a life together. 

I just don't see why that life together has to include a party day that costs £20,000 and a couple of rings! 🤷‍♂️

Agree wasting money on one day parties is not the point. The point of marriage is that it's a legal contract. 

Sadly you are already quite incompatible, so buying together seems quite ill advised.

In a year or two she'll be upset and want to split, so save yourselves the hassle.

You're betting she'll be happy playing house indefinitely to cut costs, but she's probably thinking it's a prelude to marriage, so you're both fooling yourselves in your own ways.

You seem to think she's a bridezilla wanting to waste money, but that is easily fixed by eloping. Sadly you're already in disagreement about how and on what to spend money on, and that's huge.

So decide what you are so against. The legal contract of marriage or weddings, because they are two  entirely different concepts.

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Its a ceremonial thing. Sure, you can just go to municipal here and get it done with your godfathers(here you need 2 witnesses and its usually your godfather and her godmother, usually you both take your best friend for that role). But whole ceremony makes it kinda special thing, with both of you, relatives, friends, all there to celebrate you getting into marriage. I can see both sides of the argument, you can surely do it without it. But maybe she wants to make it special. Girls in general like big weddings. They dream about it when they are kids, get bombarded from romantic movies etc. So its up to you if you want to make her wish or not. You can always do something smaller and equally special.

Also, I dunno about anywhere else, but here weddings are a big money gain opportunity. We dont have those shops where wedding couples mark presents that you can buy them. So most people just give money in envelope. Given that the seat at the wedding here is around 20 Euros(depending what you take for menu) for lets say 200 guests that is around 4000 Euros. You have some other expenses like wedding dress, church priest if you want church wedding and stuff like that so lets even double and be 8000E. But you see, most guests know that you pay for seat and give money so they will give a lot more then 20 Euros when they give envelope. So you will at least return that money, or even earn more. I am not joking, friend threw a very big wedding, managed to go to honeymoon with that money, they divorced 3 monts after(they got into argument on honeymoon lol) and split rest of the wedding money. He still managed to buy a car with that rest. 

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41 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

The legal contract of marriage or weddings, because they are two  entirely different concepts.

I must agree.  A "wedding" is one thing, whether it is the (unnecessary) 20.000 or 40.000 gbp bling-laden bash, and the marriage something entirely different. 

And may I add, Reg, that I would have had no difficulty just co-habiting with my husband.  Indeed we did live together prior to our marriage.  

Bottom line: it is up to you, and her.

Explaining concepts will not affect your outcome in this case IMO. 

And the most important conversation you will have OP (trust me) is the one with a solicitor. And you can see the solicitor alone or have your fiancée with you. 

Edited by LaHermes
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Yea. Have you discussed having a ceremony/party to celebrate the fact you are together? Without a legal contract.

I don't get the you have to spend a ton of money. There are so many  ways to celebrate such precious time in your life on a budget.

So, if this is something that she holds dear to her, then you have to find a solution. Either you suggest middle-grounds for e.g. small ceremony (with maybe even rings! No contract, but nice party, she gets to wear her lovely dress and invite friends and family), or you reconsider the future of this relationship. She will grow bitter and resent it if you guys don't have that talk.

Edited by DarkCh0c0
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A pricey wedding is a choice. You can be married legally without much fanfare.

But I have to disagree with you that marriage makes it tricky should things go wrong.

It's actually the opposite.

Marriage and a prenuptial agreement can protect your assets in the event anything goes wrong.

It also makes a difference as next of kin, should either of you die or need medical treatment and unable to speak for yourself. 

You should talk to a lawyer....

 

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What's with this tens of thousands of dollars? Marriage is a wedding ceremony where you exchange vows.  It costs some money to get a marriage license and perhaps to have a religous ceremony where you pay the officiant.  The party to celebrate the marriage can range from hundreds to thousands of dollars.  I've seen people spend that much on commitment ceremonies, bridal showers, engagement parties, - not just wedding receptions.  Nothing to do with marriage.  

I advise not to get married if you think it's just a piece of paper.  I don't think it's relevant for me or anyone to explain the "concept" of marriage.  You are not going to see it any more than a piece of paper just because people share other perspectives.  I do think the piece of paper helps a lot for purposes of having a child and buying property but only if the other person also sees it like you as a waste of money and just a legal contract.  

For me personally being married (12 years now) means the world to me and my husband. I love that we took marriage vows legally and religiously, I love that we have our son together in a family where we're married.  He loves it too.  I love that we have a marital commitment. It solidifies our commitment.  

My wedding including my clothing and shoes and the officiant and lunch for 10 people - our guests -cost $1,500 in a major city in 2008.  It was an amazing, magical day.  And I don't feel like I need to explain the "concept of marriage" to any adult -my son, yes -he's had questions including whether two men or two women can marry, why we got married, etc (and he was there, I was pregnant, he knows that too).

In fact, 11 years before our wedding date we had a big wedding reception planned.  I really disliked the planning but probably because we were not right for each other at that time.  But still wouldn't have liked the planning, the spending all that $$ on a 5 hour party, all the artificial/shallow parts of it -not my thing.  I had a traditional wedding dress for that one -that was nice but again not related to why I wanted to marry.  We then broke up for almost 8 years.

If you need it explained in order to convince you to tie the knot then don't marry.  Marriage is hard enough without being dragged or prodded to the altar.  Certainly if you meet someone who just wants the legal benefits of marriage and you're both on that exact wavelength nothing wrong with it.  Certainly I like the legal benefits as well.  I like the protections it gives to me, our son, our assets.  Not why I got married.  Do I love my engagement ring and wedding band? Heck yes. Especially since my wedding band is a family heirloom and the engagement ring is beautiful.  Not why I got married.  

You and your girlfriend are incompatible on this major life decision.  I'd let her go and find someone who is enthusiastic about marrying her and also about marriage in general (but more the former, all else equal).

Good luck!

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This video is for you.

History and reasons for marriage, pros vs cons.

I won't be able to explain why marriage is important for YOU, but I can say it was the best decision I've ever made, and has been way more than just a piece of paper.  And yes, we celebrated our love, and had a super fun, amazing time that people are still talking about the great food served and games played 10 years later.  In fact, my wedding was so much fun, my only regret was not hiring a videographer to film it.

We also save a lot of money on taxes and benefits being on a family plan.

Edited by tattoobunnie
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39 minutes ago, Kwothe28 said:

Its a ceremonial thing. Sure, you can just go to municipal here and get it done with your godfathers(here you need 2 witnesses and its usually your godfather and her godmother, usually you both take your best friend for that role). But whole ceremony makes it kinda special thing, with both of you, relatives, friends, all there to celebrate you getting into marriage. I can see both sides of the argument, you can surely do it without it. But maybe she wants to make it special. Girls in general like big weddings. They dream about it when they are kids, get bombarded from romantic movies etc. So its up to you if you want to make her wish or not. You can always do something smaller and equally special.

Also, I dunno about anywhere else, but here weddings are a big money gain opportunity. We dont have those shops where wedding couples mark presents that you can buy them. So most people just give money in envelope. Given that the seat at the wedding here is around 20 Euros(depending what you take for menu) for lets say 200 guests that is around 4000 Euros. You have some other expenses like wedding dress, church priest if you want church wedding and stuff like that so lets even double and be 8000E. But you see, most guests know that you pay for seat and give money so they will give a lot more then 20 Euros when they give envelope. So you will at least return that money, or even earn more. I am not joking, friend threw a very big wedding, managed to go to honeymoon with that money, they divorced 3 monts after(they got into argument on honeymoon lol) and split rest of the wedding money. He still managed to buy a car with that rest. 

For me it was about the substance of the vows.  Not the ceremony or who was there, and I was a woman when I married not a girl and I was "bombarded" but I'm no passive sheep - I make my own decisions. I know of men who want big parties, I know of several women who plan much more for the party than the marriage, who want to marry more because of the big party than the person they are marrying.  Ick. We don't all wish that.  I wished for a person I was reasonably sure and excited to marry and who felt the same for me.  Who I was in love with and who I saw as my lifelong partner in crime.  And who felt the same for me.  I wore a blue dress at my wedding because I was having a boy.  It was $100 on the maternity shop sale rack.  My shoes were $200 and I told the salesperson no high heels as I was already waddling with the baby bump.  I borrowed my veil.  My in-laws opened their small home to us for our ten guests. 

My wish - to be happy and excited I was taking these vows.  I was.  It was the most magical and natural feeling I've ever had.  That was my wish.  Not to be the center of attention and expand the wedding to all the other activities -when my friends started getting married in the late 1980s there may have been an engagement party, shower, maybe a rehearsal dinner but not to the extent as now, not over the top, not where the bridesmaids have to spend $$$$ on dresses, party planning, activities all to be spread all over Facebook.

  Look it's just me. I know, some women (girls typically don't marry -they're too young) want all the fanfare -not because they're passive clueless follow the leader sheep.  They really do or they want to please family.  I am being judgey but only because your description make too many women (girls??) look like airheads.  Most are not and I suggest that men don't marry someone like that because marriage should be a partnership with two reasonably assertive, independent, mature and intelligent people -whether academically intelligent, emotionally intelligent, both whatever. 

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1 hour ago, Reg said:

Thanks for your reply Wiseman. 

When buying the house, we will have everything in place legally via solicitors so that our interests in the property are protected should anything happen between us. Here in the UK we can draw up a Deed Of Trust for an unrelated couple buying a house together, so I'm not too worried about this aspect of it. 

We want to live together so that we can have our own place, and build a life together. 

I just don't see why that life together has to include a party day that costs £20,000 and a couple of rings! 🤷‍♂️ It just seems like a waste of money to me....

You don’t have to spend tons of money to be married . I think a total of $5000 was spent on my wedding for every single thing.🤷🏻‍♀️ Still married 27 years later .

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1 hour ago, Reg said:

I think I'll struggle to come around to the idea of wanting to get married. I have always felt this way about it. I feel like I want to convince her that we don't need to get married.... but equally, if that is what she wants, then I don't really want to be the guy that's ruining that for her. 

Reg.  Aside from your conversation with a solicitor, a very serious conversation with her is next.  You need to be honest (and it isn't even about the pros and cons) and tell her you do not wish to be married and do not believe in marriage. 

So, maybe she will live with you (maybe in hope) a bit longer. Or maybe she won't. You need to prepared for that.

Or, you get married to appease her, and then feel resentful all the time going forward. 

So, Reg, what are you going to do?  No one needs to explain to you what marriage means. The meaning is written in black and white in law, in addition to the philosophical meanderings about the institution. 

Edited by LaHermes
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I also want to add, the only person I could picture marrying or having kids with was my husband...so there's that.  I know two buddies, one who dated this one woman for 14 years, well into their 30's at that point, and said they could never get married until gay marriage was legal. Then it became legal in the US.  Then, me, hubs, and our 1st kid went to visit, I said I could get ordained, and marry them. We left and went home, and they broke up.  He is now married with a little kid...he just didn't want to marry the other girl, and just had excuses for why he wasn't or couldn't.  Same with another buddy who's been with the same girl for 25 years now...he will never marry her because he doesn't love her...sometimes, you also don't get the reason for marriage because you aren't with the right person.

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“Entering a legal contract which makes things very tricky if anything was to go wrong in the relationship.”

So on the one hand you say this. On the other you mention this:

“it's not the commitment that I'm worried about... I am very happy to stay with this girl forever, and to enter into a mortgage with her which would tie us together financially for many years”

I’m a little confused. Is it the commitment aspect you worry about? If so, fair enough. But being concerned about possible divorce, but then mentioning you have no issues being bound together eternally by debt makes very little sense to me. The money aspect is easily solved. Don’t spend a ton on a wedding. You can go to a courthouse and spend very little money. 

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I think you should ask her why it is meaningful to her and just listen. Don't clap back with arguments about it, just listen and take some time to really process where she is coming from. You don't have to agree to understand. 

You want to get to the root of what about a marriage is important to her. Sometimes a solution is found there, by finding out you do share the same values... Or not. This happened with my partner and myself. Neither one of us approached a relationship with marriage in mind as something we needed. But of course we did discuss what we both wanted our partnership to be about and that included deciding about marriage as our relationship progressed. We chose a common law marriage, and we had a very small commitment ceremony. It felt, and feels, very authentic to us and what we both value. 

Marriage means different things to different people. It's her you need to understand on this.... I'd really suggest lots and lots of listening before rushing to any conclusions. 

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, itsallgrand said:

Marriage means different things to different people. It's her you need to understand on this.... I'd really suggest lots and lots of listening before rushing to any conclusions. 

 

You are quite right IAG.  

 

8 minutes ago, itsallgrand said:

You want to get to the root of what about a marriage is important to her.

You have been together three years now, Reg, so you must know her reasonably well. 

You said.

2 hours ago, Reg said:

 have never wanted to get married. I have always made this clear.

The thing is Reg, even thought you might have made yourself clear at the outset she may well have thought you'd come round to the idea in time and therefore did not push the idea. 

(I am assuming here that her reasons are not religious-based). 

Just FYI, given that earlier you mentioned the declaration of trust (U.K.).

"You might be able to formalise aspects of your status with a partner by drawing up a legal agreement called a cohabitation contract or living together agreement. A living together agreement outlines the rights and obligations of each partner towards each other. If you make a living together agreement, you should also make a legal agreement about how you share your property - this is called a ‘declaration of trust’."

From:

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/family/living-together-marriage-and-civil-partnership/living-together-and-marriage-legal-differences/

Edited by LaHermes
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6 minutes ago, itsallgrand said:

I think you should ask her why it is meaningful to her and just listen. Don't clap back with arguments about it, just listen and take some time to really process where she is coming from. You don't have to agree to understand. 

You want to get to the root of what about a marriage is important to her. Sometimes a solution is found there, by finding out you do share the same values... Or not. This happened with my partner and myself. Neither one of us approached a relationship with marriage in mind as something we needed. But of course we did discuss what we both wanted our partnership to be about and that included deciding about marriage as our relationship progressed. We chose a common law marriage, and we had a very small commitment ceremony. It felt, and feels, very authentic to us and what we both value. 

Marriage means different things to different people. It's her you need to understand on this.... I'd really suggest lots and lots of listening before rushing to any conclusions. 

 

 

 

I agree you need to find out what it is to her and why it is important to her , not the rest of us. 

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2 hours ago, Reg said:

It's not the commitment that I'm worried about... I am very happy to stay with this girl forever, and to enter into a mortgage with her which would tie us together financially for many years and put us in hundreds of thousands worth of debt together.

Mortgage is a commitment to a bank, not a partner.

It binds you legally with a contract you have with a bank, meaning if anything happens they can apply heavy fees, ruin your credit and foreclose. 

A commitment to debt is also nothing to be happy about. Banks and debt don't love you and you don't "enter into a mortgage", thinking one "M" word is the same as the other.

 

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3 hours ago, Reg said:

It's not the commitment that I'm worried about... I am very happy to stay with this girl forever, and to enter into a mortgage with her which would tie us together financially for many years and put us in hundreds of thousands worth of debt together. To me, that's a far bigger commitment than the concept of a marriage.

Problem is, Reg, none of us can foretell the future.  

That aside, and as Wiseman points out, your commitment is with the bank.  These are the hard facts of the matter. (again from CAB).

"Paying the mortgage when a relationship breaks down

If a mortgage is in joint names, both people are jointly and solely liable for the mortgage payments. This is known as joint and several liability.

This means that if one of you leaves and stops contributing to the mortgage payments, the lender can ask the other person to pay the full amount.

If a mortgage is in one person's name, only that person is liable for the mortgage payments.

If you're not married or in a civil partnership and your name isn't on the mortgage, the lender may try and repossess the property. You could offer to make the mortgage payments when your partner leaves and the lender may agree to accept them. However, it doesn't have to accept."

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Forgive me if someone already pointed this out, but... depending on where you live, sometimes just cohabitating together becomes what is legally called a, Common Law Marriage anyway.  So it still makes things harder to get out of depending on what your laws are.

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