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For a long time, I didn’t think it was. Up until very recently, I didn’t even believe in marriage. I just didn’t get it. And for a lot of reasons.
Who Needs a Piece of Paper?
For most of my life, I thought marriage took the romance out of love—the idea that a piece of paper was going to make any union stronger was laughable. Marriage was merely a legal document. What place did the government have in my relationship anyway? A signed lease was the only piece of paper I was interested in when it came to my partnership.
I’ve never been the type to fantasize about the day I say, “I do.” Sure, weddings are fun. Weddings are poignant. But weddings are also a waste of money. At the end of the great night that was my sister’s wedding, I’ll never forget how hard she cried. After a year of planning, the day finally came and poof—it was over. She felt as if all she had time to do was say hello to everyone. And then they were gone. That didn’t sound like something I wanted to drop 5 figures on.
Speaking of money, marriage would also cost me a lot of it come tax time . My partner and I are one of the rare cases where the marriage tax penalty applies. Combining our incomes would put us in a much higher tax bracket—especially for me. So financially, marriage didn’t add up.
Call me an idealist, but another reason why I was against marriage most of my life was because of the extreme hypocrisy of it. A man and a woman could get married, cheat on each other, divorce, and marry again. But same sex couples across the country who have been in loving, committed relationships for decades can’t even visit one another in the hospital, nor have a conjugal visit if one happens to break the law. I didn’t want to buy into that. And I also didn’t want to buy into a social construct that I’ve heard some people say was originated so that men could keep their wives as possessions and inherit her family’s wealth.
The Turning Point
I got a call a couple of months ago from one of my closest friends from high school, inviting me to his wedding. Just after graduation (11 years ago) he started dating an amazing girl—and they’ve been together ever since. They moved across the country, bought a house, adopted 2 dogs, and traveled the world together. By far they are one of the most solid couples I know, and they’ve said time and time again that they don’t believe in marriage. But now, here I was getting invited to their upcoming ceremony. And it made me wonder: Perhaps there is some merit to this social construct after all. Have I been wrong all this time?
This phone call wasn’t the only thing that’s beginning to change my mind about marriage. Simultaneously, I have also started secretly pining for a ring around my finger from my own partner.
When we first started dating, my boyfriend knew I didn’t believe in marriage. Three years later the two of us are 100% convinced we’ll be together ‘til death do us part. And I currently find myself wanting to call him my husband. I suppose once you meet someone you actually want to be with for the rest of your life, you get the whole marriage concept. At least I am starting to.
When You Start Growing Up
I think it’s also the grown up nature of our relationship that’s swaying my stance on legal unions. We did recently buy a house together. And I also recently realized that, contrary to what I thought for a large part of my life, I actually want to have kids one day (not anytime soon—we’ll be DINKS for many more years.
So I started thinking about what would happen if one of us were in an accident. Would we even be allowed into the hospital room? What if one of us dies and we don’t have a will? What happens when don’t live in California anymore and we can no longer qualify for each other’s insurance as domestic partners?
All of these thoughts make me feel very much like the adult that I am. And they also make me long to be married, which goes against what I once thought was part of my core value system. Is anyone else in the same boat? I need some advice from other DINKS here. What are your thoughts on marriage? Is it a timeless institution, or an antiquated idea? I’m all ears.
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