Who is marriage for? Is it for you? For you partner? For your future family? What if you don’t want to raise children?
“Getting married” is, to me, a distinct issue from being in a long-term, committed relationship. When we talk about the actual act of “getting married” we are talking about a legal and financial agreement. However, I am aware that in the popular lexicon, “getting married” means making the final, absolute decision to remain with one partner f-o-r-e-v-e-r. No wonder Seth and pcrowling were freaked out before they had their respective weddings: committing (monogamously) to one person for the rest of your life is a freaky decision.
Being in a relationship, of any flavor, should be a balance between your needs and desires and personality and those of your partner. That being said, people are entitled to make certain sacrifices if that is how they feel they should ethically operate within a relationship (Seth, for example, found solace in thinking about getting married for his wife and future family). My big caveat is: as long as those who are sacrificing are intentional about their decisions and don’t blame their partners for the sacrifices they have made. (Don’t be a martyr!)
It just so happens that my latest DatingAdvice post went live today: Can You Have Marriage & Kids in an Open Relationship? Here is a snippet; be sure to go read it!:
“How does marriage fit with an open relationship? What about having kids? Do I want those things?
Legal marriage is, to me, just that: a legal document dictating a financial agreement with a partner.
Therefore, getting legally married is a financial arrangement and agreement and can overlap with any relationship structure, given it is between two people (and in many states still, two straight people).
Legal marriage is not allowed between more than two people in any states.
This part is less important in my relationship.
While we both see the practical benefits of getting legally married (and so we probably will soon), it is less important than being clear on our other relationship agreements and maintaining transparency, trust, communication and commitment to one another.
We know many people who are married and have open relationships, and their reasons for getting married ranged from the practical, financial and legal benefits, to the practicalities of raising children together, to the symbol of being in a long-term and loving relationship.”