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Do you think formal marriage has any advantages over mere cohabitation?

IMO it's just a piece of paper, daily life and issues of living in the same home with another person stay the same whether you are formally married or not. I've seen long-lived relationships which were never legalised, and people who married only to divorce after a few years.

So why do some people say that formal marriage is so important? The only reason I see is religion.
 

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Yup, mass delusion and fitting in.

"If we get married it consolidates our love and means we're truly committed!"

3 years later.... Divorce.

Again, and again and a fucking gain.

This shit will never cease though. We see it everywhere. Society, religion, politics, economics... people come out with hand-wavy non-explanations for things that really amount to nothing other than, "I want it to be this way and everyone else does it this way so I'm going to do it too!"

I detest the sheep-like nature of most of society, and I use the term 'sheep' without any hint of "2004 wants its buzzwords back" irony.
 

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So why do some people say that formal marriage is so important? The only reason I see is religion.
Idky.
Jurisdictional reasons. Two colleagues bought housing in Spain. They basically had to marry their respective partners to be able to buy.
 
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One of the things that marriage does (which some people consider to be an advantage) is to make it much more difficult for people to break up and leave each other when the going gets rough. Married couples are more likely than unmarried couples to stay together during hard times, some of whom end up weathering the storm and then being glad that they stayed together, finding that they actually have a stronger relationship than they did before.

Among the (presumably) billions of breakups that have occurred between unmarried couples throughout human history, it stands to reason that a meaningful percentage of those couples wouldn't have broken up had they been married, and among those couples, a meaningful percentage would have ended up being happy that they had stayed together. Whether that's good or bad is up to you to decide, but "making it harder to break up" is clearly something that makes being married different from not be married.

Of course, it's also true that some married couples stay together and are unhappy. Marriage is a commitment to stay with someone through good or bad, and human beings don't like commitment because we want to keep our options open. But we can't always have our cake and eat it too, and saying "Yes" to some things necessarily means having to say "No" to others...
 

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Do you think formal marriage has any advantages over mere cohabitation?

IMO it's just a piece of paper, daily life and issues of living in the same home with another person stay the same whether you are formally married or not. I've seen long-lived relationships which were never legalised, and people who married only to divorce after a few years.

So why do some people say that formal marriage is so important? The only reason I see is religion.
If your question is serious, this guy sort of puts it more eloquently than I could.


It's specifically to put obstacles in the way of separation, with the intention of forcing the parties to really exhaust their options and trying to work things out before splitting up. Also to force people to really think before taking that step.


If your question isn't serious, and this is just another trendy marriage bashing thread, ya ya marriage sux kk.

Marriage bashing and antinatalism are drone ideologies IMO. It's fine if you decide kids or marriage aren't for you (I for one am more into cohabitation because I don't want anything tying people to me besides their own desire) , but at least learn why people do these before flinging poo.
 

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human beings don't like commitment because we want to keep our options open. But we can't always have our cake and eat it too, and saying "Yes" to some things necessarily means having to say "No" to others...
Why do people make these random, unlikely, unscientific, and unverifiable blanket statements about human nature. Seen this shit so many times on PerC.
 

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Why do people make these random, unlikely, unscientific, and unverifiable blanket statements about human nature. Seen this shit so many times on PerC.
Well, you ARE in a personality typing website....
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Marriage bashing and antinatalism are drone ideologies IMO. It's fine if you decide kids or marriage aren't for you (I for one am more into cohabitation because I don't want anything tying people to me besides their own desire) , but at least learn why people do these before flinging poo.
If you read my posts you would know I never was a trendy Leftist, nor a libertine of any kind. I seriously wanted to know if it's such a big deal or not.
 

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If you read my posts you would know I never was a trendy Leftist, nor a libertine of any kind. I seriously wanted to know if it's such a big deal or not.
Errr shit. No I was not referring to you as in you specifically. More as a general you, as in a hypothetical you, closer to "One", as in definitely not ....you.

You know what I mean....sorry. I need to stop using that general "you" it lends itself to misunderstandings.
 

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Yes...

As I thought about it, I concluded that reason is that it is - at least in the US - the highest available status of partnership, and that there are a number of circumstances attached to that, whether inherently or artificially, that designate it as most permanent and most serious of all available options. Of course that does not mean that any one single marriage has a better chance of surviving when pitted against any one single non-marriage relationship, but on the whole it does pan out that marriages (about 50% eventually fail) do have a better chance of surviving than relationships (about 70% fail within the first year alone).

Legally, it enables a number of rights including joint tax filing, hospital visitation rights, insurance/retirement/social security benefits, inheritance, and medical power in the case one's spouse becomes unable to make decisions. The law could be changed, but realistically it saves both the legal system and individuals wanting to be legally partnered (I think it's estimated that 52% of Americans will marry at some point during their lives, so that's about 172,000,000 people per generation) a huge amount of time, energy, and money to not have to go through the steps to enable these things manually instead of having them granted automatically via marriage.

Socially, there is recognition afforded to married couples that isn't there with other forms of partnership. This may of course change from social environment to social environment, but generally there are shifts like both partners always being invited to events, always being assigned to stay in the same room, no more questions about whether one is still with the other, and so on. Workplaces and other organizations one is a part of often warmly welcome spouses. Extended families are generally more keen to embrace and get to know a married partner. Essentially, people do not hesitate to put social resources into getting to know and embrace a partner that has been formally designated as "forever".

Emotionally, @D4P and @Necrofantasia explained it well - it creates barriers to leaving. I don't think I need to go into this much more than to say from personal experience that it helps shift focus from compatibility (does this work?) to adaptability (how do we make this work?). Relatedly, financially, many states (again, US) have joint ownership, so everything becomes "ours". That's definitely a cognitive shift, too. Suddenly there's no "that's my car". Both spouses become responsible for everything. Non-married couples certainly could make this adjustment on their own, and/or some states have different rules. But it's worth mentioning, anyway. Regarding cohabitation specifically, I think this is important. Cohabiting is challenging! Suddenly you're combining two lives and having to really accommodate two preferences in close quarters. I've read research that suggests that cohabitation is more likely to succeed when it is intentional - linked to emotional closeness and for the purposes of increased intimacy/stability, not as a convenience or practicality. This doesn't have to mean being married or moving towards marriage, but it tends to help.

Spiritually, ceremonies mark changes both internally and externally. If one is religious than there is a high significance. Still, regardless of what one believes, there is generally a solemness to a marriage ceremony that is unavailable otherwise. (Of course one may choose to get married spiritually and/or socially but not legally).

Lastly I'll just reiterate - it's the highest available form of partnership. Personally, I would always question someone who didn't want to get married - why don't they want to try to make it as solidified and permanent as possible? Of course marriage is an imperfect institution, but unless they are actively, intensely protesting marriage rights for more people, and don't want to get married until that's available, I can't see a lot of reasons to not get married. I've also observed quite a number of people through my lifetime who wouldn't marry for a long time, said marriage wasn't for them, but then finally did meet someone and suddenly married! Overall my viewpoint is that marriage tends to increase stability and chance of success, and is therefore the best option available - so unless a partner had a really sound ethical objection, I wouldn't personally be ready to accept anything less.
 

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@angelfish As an addendum to the above, I've always seen marriage as a setup where cheating becomes more likely. Think about it: you can't leave as is because it's a comfort zone, add the extra bindings of marriage and kids, and you're going to find ways to scratch whatever itches the union doesn't scratch without ending it....cheating is sadly one way to do that.
 
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@angelfish As an addendum to the above, I've always seen marriage as a setup where cheating becomes more likely. Think about it: you can't leave as is because it's a comfort zone, add the extra bindings of marriage and kids, and you're going to find ways to scratch whatever itches the union doesn't scratch without ending it....cheating is sadly one way to do that.
Interesting point!

I was curious to see if the statistics would pan out, though I am not having a ton of luck finding married vs. non-married relationship (which I have discovered can be termed "dyadic") cheating statistics - seems like research mainly focuses on married couples when it comes to cheating. I did find this one 2005 study indicating cheating present in 25% of marriages and 40% of non-marriages, but that is a single source and from quite a while ago. Regarding cohabiting in particular, a 2013 University of Denver study evidenced that "living together was not associated with greater odds of cheating nor was it associated with lower odds of cheating" [... i]n contrast, other variables studied by Shaw et al. were associated with greater odds of exclusivity, for example commitment to one’s partner or engagement to marry." So even engagement appeared to decrease likelihood of cheating, interestingly - I have seen it posited across several sources that it is the intention of commitment that mainly correlates with difference in behavior. I definitely see your point about why partners in a marriage might be more inclined to cheat, though the ramifications of cheating are at least in theory also a more substantial deterrent (curiously, some sources don't even really seem to acknowledge behavior as cheating until partners are married).

Here were some other interesting data bits I wandered across... cheating during marriage appears to be higher after the first year of married life, after a first child, and at years 5-7, the point at which affairs are also most likely to last the longest. I did also find the curious statistic that about 50-60% of men who cheat report being satisfied with their marriage, and about 30-40% of women.

Of course, all these statistics rely on people actually reporting cheating, so it's hard to get a real idea of what's actually going on!
 

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Interesting point!

I was curious to see if the statistics would pan out, though I am not having a ton of luck finding married vs. non-married relationship (which I have discovered can be termed "dyadic") cheating statistics - seems like research mainly focuses on married couples when it comes to cheating. I did find this one 2005 study indicating cheating present in 25% of marriages and 40% of non-marriages, but that is a single source and from quite a while ago. Regarding cohabiting in particular, a 2013 University of Denver study evidenced that "living together was not associated with greater odds of cheating nor was it associated with lower odds of cheating" [... i]n contrast, other variables studied by Shaw et al. were associated with greater odds of exclusivity, for example commitment to one’s partner or engagement to marry." So even engagement appeared to decrease likelihood of cheating, interestingly - I have seen it posited across several sources that it is the intention of commitment that mainly correlates with difference in behavior. I definitely see your point about why partners in a marriage might be more inclined to cheat, though the ramifications of cheating are at least in theory also a more substantial deterrent (curiously, some sources don't even really seem to acknowledge behavior as cheating until partners are married).

Here were some other interesting data bits I wandered across... cheating during marriage appears to be higher after the first year of married life, after a first child, and at years 5-7, the point at which affairs are also most likely to last the longest. I did also find the curious statistic that about 50-60% of men who cheat report being satisfied with their marriage, and about 30-40% of women.

Of course, all these statistics rely on people actually reporting cheating, so it's hard to get a real idea of what's actually going on!
OWTF.....

So basically the cultural significance of marriage can affect people's decisions and act as a deterrent.... It's like superstition's more pragmatic cousin.... tradition.

I guess I was projecting because tradition doesn't really hold significance to me. I figured if people have an easier way out, it makes more sense to move on than cheat.

The human mind, ladies and gentlemen.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yes...

As I thought about it, I concluded that reason is that it is - at least in the US - the highest available status of partnership, and that there are a number of circumstances attached to that, whether inherently or artificially, that designate it as most permanent and most serious of all available options. Of course that does not mean that any one single marriage has a better chance of surviving when pitted against any one single non-marriage relationship, but on the whole it does pan out that marriages (about 50% eventually fail) do have a better chance of surviving than relationships (about 70% fail within the first year alone).
Most couples who marry have been in a relationship for a while, so it's safe to assume they survived the difficult first year.
 

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I don't know if I want marriage and kids some day but I do know that if I ever have kids, I wouldn't have them without being married first. My parents have been married since before I was born and are still good together. Most of the marriages in my family are still intact. I don't have any examples from my life of unmarried couples who are still together even as long as ten years. Maybe if I see long term relationships that last, my opinion will change but that isn't what I see happening.

It doesn't seem like there's much point if there aren't any children involved. That doesn't mean that in the case of an unplanned pregnancy the couple should get married. It's more complicated than that and there's no use crying over spilled milk. I just think if children are a part of a plan, I'd owe them a plan and commitment. With children involved I expect it to be financially complicated if you separate. A married couple pools their resources. When you separate, it's not just halving the money, the pooled resources go a lot further and can accomplish a lot more. Separating, all parties involved are financially poorer for it. Not to mention the loss of pool in non-financial resources. I remember how much my parents tag teamed and it doesn't seem like parents who live separately are able to tag team their morning routines.

I can't speak for what other people should do. For me the idea of taking responsibility for another persons life is scary and I'd want to give them every advantage, even if it's small, that I can. Making separation easier doesn't sound like an advantage in a situation where kids are depending on their parents. Of course, for those who have seen a lot of divorces, it probably doesn't sound like it makes any difference. I can only come from the perspective of someone who hasn't seen divorce close up. I hear it's extremely common and media makes it sound really common. It's just not common in my experience.
 

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It's like superstition's more pragmatic cousin.... tradition.
Ha, I love it. How accurate. Makes me think of all the old Biblical rules that we come to find out had dietary/sanitary applications back before antibiotics were a thing.

Humans are so funny. The older I get the more I discover how tricking oneself into things is really useful.

Most couples who marry have been in a relationship for a while, so it's safe to assume they survived the difficult first year.
Indeed! A 2017 study of 4000 UK couples showed that the average couple was in a relationship for about 5 years before marriage - dating approximately 1.5 years, living together approximately 2 years, and engaged approximately 1.5 years. I was surprised to learn that it was that long.
 

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I believe that legal marriage is significantly more important than cohabitation, and has many social and emotional benefits that are not often taken into account due to cohabitation becoming more and more common and marriage increasingly seen less desirable. As a married woman, when you get married, the relationship feels a permanence that, no matter how serious you are about someone, you just don't feel unless you're married. As silly as this sounds, when you're married, you feel married.

And like AngelFish said, there's a cognitive shift when you get married. Decisions, things, stuff, money become "ours" and less "mine". You become a more unified team. Making decisions considering your life as a whole, and your spouse, as opposed just what you want, is more likely to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I believe that legal marriage is significantly more important than cohabitation, and has many social and emotional benefits that are not often taken into account due to cohabitation becoming more and more common and marriage increasingly seen less desirable. As a married woman, when you get married, the relationship feels a permanence that, no matter how serious you are about someone, you just don't feel unless you're married. As silly as this sounds, when you're married, you feel married.

And like AngelFish said, there's a cognitive shift when you get married. Decisions, things, stuff, money become "ours" and less "mine". You become a more unified team. Making decisions considering your life as a whole, and your spouse, as opposed just what you want, is more likely to happen.
As humans, we love rituals. They really have a psychological effect, even for atheists. I always find Roman Catholic wedding ceremonies moving, I felt this way even when I identified as aromantic and bashed the idea of "exclusive relationships".
 

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I was married and divorced twice.

In both marriages, I honestly believed that I would be with that partner for the rest of my life. So why *not* get married? Marriage was a quick way to legally merge our lives and instantly achieve a whole bunch of legal rights concerning each other, our property, etc. Without marriage, it would take a whole lot of legal paperwork to achieve the same legal status.

On the other hand, after two divorces I regret the optimism that I had in the past. Now I can't imagine ever getting married again. I tend to see relationships as pretty much temporary; after a decade or so of being in each other's face all the time, people get tired of each other and resentful and start taking out their problems on each other.

As such, I think that people have to be real suckers to entangle themselves legally in a marriage; it can take years to untangle those legalties in the court system. Frankly the odds of staying together for life aren't all that good. And even the ones who do remain together aren't necessarily happy with their marriage; a lot of them only stay together because they're too broke or lazy or dependent on their partner to make the big split, but not because of any particular fondness for each other.

All in all, I'm pretty sour on the whole marriage business. A lifetime of marital bliss is an impossible ideal for most. And the legal tangles that result from marriage lead to many ruined lives in the divorce courts and family law courts. Divorce and custody battles can be a nightmare. A vindictive ex-partner can generate years of legal challenges, resulting in hundreds of thousands of dollars just in legal fees and court costs alone. And that's even before you split up the marital property 50-50, and then even after that start talking about paying alimony, child support, penalties, etc.

Until the authorities can streamline divorce court procedures and make them more uniform and predictable, I would honestly counsel most adults to think twice before putting themselves in a legal position to possibly end up there. The divorce courts are like a shoot-out in the old west. Divorce becomes a question of how much you want to use the divorce process to torment each other and ruin each other's lives.

Getting married and hoping you don't eventually end up in the divorce courts is like taking up cigarette smoking and hoping you don't get eventually get lung cancer or emphysema. Sure, you might be one of the lucky ones. But it's a crapshoot at best.
 
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