What's Your Opinion: Is Legal Marriage Important?

by GoddessRachel 26 Replies latest social family

  • GoddessRachel

    Hey Everyone,

    So I've been thinking about marriage a lot lately, with same-sex marriages being approved in some states, banned in others, and flip-flopped in still others (see: California).

    I recently read an article in my local newspaper about how marriage is a personal and religious union that has no business being in any of our laws, and that the laws should instead be for a legal domestic relationship, to establish and recognize legal families, and that marriage should be altogether separate from that. I really agreed with all that was said in the article.

    I want to get married. But why? Because my family taught me marriage is important. Because that's what society dictates. Because of other, complicated reasons I may not be fully aware of...

    So, I started thinking about what the word "marriage" means, and why it's important. And for a person who is not religious, like me, I am not sure why "marriage" is important. I think commitment is important, I think creating a family is important, especially when children are involved. Is saying you are each other's spouses enough? Is it a cop-out by one or both partners to simply say "we are married to each other, we are committed, you are my husband, I am your wife," and then do the paperwork later when and if necessary to protect your union legally?

    So I did a quick search on the site to see if there were any similar threads, and finding none, I pose the following questions to you:




    As a Jehovah's Witness I got disfellowshipped for sexual immorality. The rebel in me gladly lives with my partner of two years without marrying him. At this point he is waiting for me to decide if I am ready for marriage or not. I feel I am still growing up, and look forward to being a real adult. Though I'm getting closer to 30 all the time, being a JW until I was almost 25 didn't help me to grow up in a regular fashion. So now I am catching up, and doing alright, I think.

    But I do want to be a wife, though I can't logically tell you why exactly. So, what do you think? Is marriage important to you, and why is it important?



  • AllTimeJeff
    But I do want to be a wife, though I can't logically tell you why exactly. So, what do you think? Is marriage important to you, and why is it important?

    Rachel, I saw something while I was in Africa that taught me a life long lesson. I hope you will indulge me....

    I learned that even though Americans and the United States in general is very much looked up to and admired, the vast majority have little desire to visit or even be/act American beyond a small curiosity. I was raised to think (even as a JW) that everyone wanted to be an American, and that wasn't true...

    Why? They like their own culture, their homeland, and what they are used to. It amazed me to see just in the small time I was in one African country (Cameroon) the variety of ways and traditions that can be embraced as normal.

    So then, that is my point. You were raised in a culture where to get married and be a wife was what people did. We are very much a product of our conditioning and environment. So are you. There is nothing wrong with fulfilling that implanted desire that was given to you by family and your native land.

    Why marriage is important is not the question to be asked imo. It is better to know why it is important to you. I promise you, that is all that matters. You can embrace who you are, where you come from, and know that you are just as entitled to that as every other person on this planet, regardless of what those traditions may be from one person/group to the next...

    For me, marriage is what my culture does. It is also why I am a supporter of gay marriage, because all of us deserve to behave in a manner that our culture promotes.

  • GoddessRachel

    Thank you, AllTimeJeff, I appreciate your experience and definitely see the parallel to my wanting to be a wife.

    I also really like the wording you chose for why you support same-sex marriage: "because all of us deserve to behave in a manner that our culture promotes."

    Nicely put, Sir.


  • GoddessRachel

    Doh, I meant to stick this topic in the Dating & Relationships section. Beginner's stupidity, my apologies.

  • VoidEater

    Number 1: It's important to get semantics straight. Are you talking about religious marriage or civil marriage? Because the one word is used to describe two very different things - and in the hands of demogogues, gets abused in order to abuse.

    Religious marriage is whatever a religion says it is for: in the West, usually its a license for sex and ostensibly creates the epitome of a Happy Home for child raising. A) Note that often, when the 1 man/1 woman paradigm is demanded, an abusive parent is preferred over a missing one. B) Note that in general society in these religions there are few if any mandated marriages when pregnancy occurs outside of wedlock, and no one seems willing to ban divorce, even in the case of the presence of children where 1 man/1 woman is supposed to be mandatory. C) Note that 1 man/1 woman marriage is still offered to those who cannot conceive, and those who cannot engage in procreative activities.

    Civil marriage creates a legal relationship. It establishes property interests for both parties, and allows things like visiting your spouse in hospital. In certain contexts it allows insurance and tax incentives not offered to singles. When speaking about family being at the core of society, civil marriage gives a formal structure to how individuals might behave, gives protections and obligations, and assists individuals in working within a society whether in larger contexts (like affording a home) or smaller ones (spouses can often interact with vendors when they are not the primary name on an account). For many, getting through life is eased a great deal by having a partner, and formal recognition of that relationship helps.

    ATJ is certainly correct when he speaks to our socialization towards marriage as an ideal, and this probably is linked to a biologic desire for most to pair-bond.

    Personally, I have no interest in religious marriage. Perhaps due to my experiences, I have no desire for validation from an organized religion. I have validation from my friends and family, that's more recognition than I need.

    Civil marriage, however, offers protections and benefits that become ever more important as one matures. Inheritance, health insurance, hospital visitation, tax obligations - these are managed by a simple document called a Marriage License.

    WHY IS MARRIAGE IMPORTANT? - "marriage" has religious, social and legal meanings to an individual, depending on what you mean by marriage. If you're part of a religion that demands it for spousal relationships, or if your part of the "religion of society" that has inculcated most of its members to desire it, it is emotionally important to satisfy its requirements; if you want to protect your interests and rights, it's legally important.

    DO YOU THINK MARRIAGE IS IMPORTANT? IF SO, WHY? - pretty much answered, but at the end of the day I want my legal interests in property established and health decision-making in the hands of my spouse. All the rest, I personally seem to have been inoculated against - although I will admit having participated in a marriage ceremony was a powerful symbol.

    IF NOT, WHY NOT? - Religious and civil marriage should be separate. No religion should be required to marry two people, no religion should be required for two people to marry. There should be no religious discussion about civil marriage in the US, there is a separation of church and state (though that is often ignored). That doesn't really answer "if not, why not", but then it is meant to change the conversation.

  • beksbks

    Void!!!!! Hugs and kisses Mister!!!

  • flipper

    GODDESS RACHEL- Legal marriage is good for many reasons . One big reason my wife and I have talked about is that me being an ex-witness it gives my wife the legal right to insist on blood transfusions if a medical emergency happened - in case my witness relatives tried forcing the " no-blood transfusion " pressure on the doctors. If you are married your mate makes that decision if you can't physically. So that is a protection for sure. And it is a protection for property rights etc. So there are benefits, yes. Whether I'm married or not - I still treat my wife like she's my girlfriend ! It's all in attitude ! Peace out, Mr. Flipper

  • VoidEater

    @beks: I was not here. Heh. ;-)

  • Lillith26

    Just to re-define what marriage is for a moment... a life long commitment between two indivduals who wish to share the rest of their lives together in a loving environment (children optional). My husband and I had that for the first 8 years before we actually did the paperwork! all 3 of our kids were there with us in the court house on the day- no church envolved/or KH- life went straight back to normal afterwards, we really only just did the paperwork for legal reasons- we already had the marriage + kids+ dept already lol

    I think most of us seem to forget that a wedding is one act- the marriage is a life style choice, that can funtion with or without the paper work (but like Flipper said- that one peice of paper can potentially save your life!)

    If you want to get married- Go for it! Best Wishes and Enjoy Your Futures Together

  • watson

    ATJ and Void...

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