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To Marry or Not to Marry


Marriage. It’s an old fashioned concept. Girl meets boy. Boy buys ring. Girl wears white dress. And they live happily ever after. But in a world of 50% divorce rates and modern sensibility, is marriage even viable anymore? Especially for forward thinking DINK power couples, is it even necessary?

To Marry or Not to Marry
Wedding rings

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.

Financial Worries

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.

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COMMENTS:

I am not married yet (you know single, childless people have all the answers, lol). Years ago, I lived with a guy for about 3 years and I couldn't help but feel used.

Let's say, you worked as a secretary. You came to work everyday and did the same job as the other secretaries. The other workers at the company got a salary and benefits but you got no salary or benefits. Your "employer" keeps telling you, "Maybe we will hire you someday, but if you decide to stay, you have to come in from 9-5 and work hard like everybody else and even overtime if needed." How long would you continue this arrangement? That's right, you wouldn't! That's what you do when you live with someone. If he walks away there are no consequences. If he dies, you can't make funeral arrangements. His mother and father get his assets. You cook, clean and perform other "services" without so much as the benefit of a joint tax return.

I don't know you or your situation, so I can't speak to your experience, but if you take on traditional gender roles, the woman usually takes on the majority of the work (I'm sure the men will disagree). At least that's the way it was in my experience.

I am a very forward thinking, progressive DINK but love being married to the man I am now. And the reason is, once I realized I wanted to grow old with this man, the ceremony? the ritual? had much deeper meaning to me, aside from the legalities. If you are someone who cannot see this with the person you are currently with (the vision of you growing old together) don't get married, there may be some part of you that is either waiting for the 'other shoe to drop' , waiting for 'something better to come along' or has some fear you haven't discovered yet - none of which is a state of mind conducive to marriage IMO. In that case, stay in the relationship, it may still happen at some point. But if you meet someone who makes you see a a long future with him/her? Marriage can offer a level of deeper commitment and progression of your relationship. But don't do it if you your brain is even considering negative alternatives. What you think? Determines what you feel. And what you feel? can make things happen around you, positive or negative, whether you are aware of it or not.

Also, since he is a traditionalist, I compromised and legally added his last name onto mine. No hyphens though!

I am legally single but I call him my husband. We have rings. Actually, we have several sets of matching rings to satisfy our varied tastes. We are in the process of getting power of attorney and looking into forming an llc for our assets. I believe that if someone is really opposed to a paper/legal marriage, then there are ways of solving all of the problems you mentioned.

I had the same feeling about marriage; I never wanted to get married. My reasons though were because of what I saw my friends go through with their marriages and my own family’s relationships. My Grandparents are constantly irritated at each other, my Aunt and Uncle, and my Parents are all the same way. And friends who were so excited to be engaged and get their weddings set up are mostly divorced and some with children. These people who once were so in love with each other some how became just two people living in the same house who cant even make a sandwich together without it causing a massive fight. I honestly didn’t even want to be in a relationship at all. Then about 5 years ago all that changed from a simple dinner date, we have the same goals and outlook on life, traveling is the most important thing to us both and the thing that made it even better is he was another person who doesn’t want children. When we first met we both agreed to not make anything official and to stay just friends. Well that lasted about 6 months, and then one night, he caught me by complete surprise by asking me to be in a committed relationship with him. He was very aware of my reasoning for not wanting to be in a relationship and he had this whole speech trying to convince me it would be ok. So I agreed and it was the most amazing 2 years of my life. He was honestly my best friend, and the most important person in my life, we moved in together about a year and a half after our first date. I expected things to change, for us to become tired of looking at each other and I constantly prepared myself for that day we would no longer be in love. But as the months passed, things didn’t change they actually kept getting better, we bought a house together and a car, we went on vacations and hung out all the time. He would come home and tell me all about his day and I would tell him all about mine. We kind of mentioned marriage, how our wedding would be and where we would honeymoon to, but we never talked about it very seriously. I just figured it was something we had a conversation about and left it at that. Till one quite warm November day, the 17th to be exact (we live in Oklahoma, it doesn’t get cold till about January here) we went to dinner, and as we were drinking our wine, I see my family and his parents come around the corner, how odd I thought for all of us to be here at the same time, and turning back around in my chair, there was a diamond ring in the shaky hands of my boyfriend. I was completely beside myself while I nodded my head yes, (I cant really describe the look I had on my face.) I was excited and on the verge of an anxiety attack as he put the ring on my finger. The anxiety faded and I became more and more excited. We were married on June 6 2009, the wedding was small and cheap, only family and a few close friends were invited. My dress was $50 from a thrift store and our entire wedding probably cost us about $2,000. (Food being the most expensive part.) Our honeymoon was a week in Galveston Island, Texas. (That’s where we put the money J) It has been 2 years now, and I love my husband even more then the first day we met, we are nothing like my family or friends. I know it is still kind of early in the game, but I know we are different. He completely changed my way of thinking. He has never not included me in his plans. I was not thrown to the sidelines as just the annoying wife, or housemaid. He has kept his promise of always being my best friend and loving me to the fullest everyday. Marriage didn’t play any toll on our relationship, now we just plan on being childfree and traveling the world as husband and wife.

I married for the first time at 38 (I'm 40 now). And it wasn't that we needed to be married. We're DINKS for life--no plans of having children other than the furry variety. I kept my last name--so that was not part of the decision. He was just the first person in my 38 years that I wanted to be part of my family. He was the first person I dated where I didn't have to think, "What sacrifices would I need to make in order for this to last forever." I could just be me. So we married because we wanted to be married. It was a simple ceremony outside with close friends and family (no bridal party or groomsmen...no flowers, no fancy gown). It just seemed right to be married to him.

Oprah and Steadman seem to be doing just fine without tying the knot.

I feel the same way. For a long time I didn't see the point in getting married, it's expensive and everyone just gets divorced. Then... I met my "boyfriend" (which at age 32 sounds so juvenile) and we both agree that we plan on spending the rest of our lives together and there is an extreme certainty about this unlike the feelings I've had in past relationships. I don't want his money or a big wedding but I want a ring, that symbol that says "I'm taken. I have found my life partner". I want to refer to him as my husband and not just my boyfriend. I think that I also partly want to please my family, they are already well aware that I will not be having children but I know they still have hopes that I will marry some day. My boyfriend does not believe in marriage though. He is the most wonderful committed, understanding, trustworthy person I know. I would stay with him even if he never wanted to marry but I think to myself, do i want to get married just because I think the grass is greener on the other side if the fence? Would it really change anything? Would I be happier? I don't know how to approach the subject with him or if I should even bring it up at all. In a way I like knowing that I ultimately have my freedom because let's face it... People can change. I think you need to first decide how badly you want to be married and I need to take my own advice.

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