If you're uncomfortable with marriage but got married anyway, what made you decide to go for it?

(59 Posts)
Lottapianos Mon 15-Apr-13 16:15:50

DP and I have been together 8 years, living together for nearly 5. Lots of ups and downs but have come through it all and I would say we have a very supportive, loving relationship. No DCs and that's most likely the way it will stay.

I've always been staunchly anti-marriage but in the last year or so, I've been feeling that I would like to make our relationship 'official', or take it to 'the next level' or something smile I'm not quite sure exactly what I'm looking for. I would not be a Mrs, I would not take his name, I would not wear an engagement ring (already wear a silver ring that he gave me as a gift) so nothing would really change outwardly but I find myself getting extremely excited about planning a wedding day (not a huge production at all, a quiet cheap-ish day but just a celebration of our relationship).

I support the Equal Love campaign who have launched a legal bid in the ECHR to extend civil partnerships to hetero couples, and if/when this judgement is passed (probably next year), I would absolutely jump at the chance to have a CP. So would DP, we have discussed this issue and he is up for either married, or CP, or stay as we are. So it's not the commitment issue at all, it's the 'married' part that bugs me.

I would love to hear other people's thoughts, whether you got married or decided not to, just to give me some extra food for thought smile
TIA

HullMum Mon 15-Apr-13 19:09:13

one reason is I was sick of saying boyfriend. shallow but it seemed ridiculous after a couple of years and when referring to a 35 year old.

we wanted children and we would likely spend years moving to different countries (with different languages) and being married kind of made things safe wherever we went with out worrying too much about wills etc.

I'd always been anti marriage till I met dh and then tbh I think because I knew he believed in marriage it became important to me that he wanted to marry me.. iyswim.

if he had the same views I think we might not have married except maybe for sorting the legal stuff for kids.

I really am happy I did it now. it's weird even after being together for years it really does actually change things, in a good way. I was suprised by that.

I wish I hadn't changed my name now though or that we had chosen a family name together. I had a good reason for changing it but still feel I lost some if myself

Lottapianos Mon 15-Apr-13 20:41:23

Thanks for your post HullMum. I hear you on the 'boyfriend' thing, it sounds so casual - we've been together for 8 years and he hasn't been a 'boy' for a long time! I get around it by saying 'partner', which isn't ideal but I can't think of an alternative.

Can you say more about the positive change you feel it had on your relationship?

HullMum Mon 15-Apr-13 22:23:18

permanence maybe? hard to explain. I'd felt all alone in the world for a long time and suddenly someone who I loved had legally in front of our friends and his family swore to be there for me. it was nice and made what I already felt feel more "legitimate" in a way. Dh isnt very vocal about emotional things at all but he was a weepy wreck on our wedding day... its something I may have never seen otherwise. I knew I'd always have him no matter what and wouldn't always have to rely on myself. smile the truth is looking back dh would have always been there for me if I had needed him, so it was more mental then reality based changed I guess.

if you aren't planning on having children I think there is a possibility that people may never quite respect you and your dh as a family unit if you aren't married. That's there problem obviously, but it can still be hurtful and annoying.

AnyFucker Mon 15-Apr-13 22:29:35

I got married to simplify my life (legally and financially) and that of any future children

StickEmUpPunk Tue 16-Apr-13 15:19:45

I think marriage is a funny one.
I am married, I was 23, and DH was 26. He asked me after about a month of being together - I was like 'really!'
Then I thought it might be nice to have a party to declare he was the one and I thought then, yes let's get married.
I wonder if I would have done had I realised we had more options. We could have just thrown a party, I guess and really the whole wedding thing was to include family and freiends, and on my part to enjoy the prospect of being with DH forever with those people and have them enjpy the future with us.

I changed my name and was happy to do so, I have said here before my name was wierd (it is identifyable so I can't qualify it so you'll have to take my word for that one!) so I did so.

However, the institution of marriage is a bit strange really, are we meant to be with someone til death to you part?

Really all I have done is legally bound my vagina to DH (and him the other way round) so it's a good question really.

I didnt say obey either, IIRC it was something like all I have I give you, and he said the same thing.
I wear a wedding ring, an engagement ring and a ring my mother bought be called 'mummy ring' all on the same finger.

When we got engaged I bought him a present to the same value as my ring, I called it his engagement gift and I paid for the wedding.

StickEmUpPunk Tue 16-Apr-13 15:20:39

And for me also children do not come into it, although we did try for a while I was always really and continue to be childfree.
A decision we have equally come to.

notcitrus Tue 16-Apr-13 15:28:37

It was the only way to stop my parents being my nearest relatives - my mother has repeatedly said she would refuse to permit my organs to be used by others. While I felt strongly about it, MrNC who had been with me a decade by then said if I did die, offering my organs would make him feel a bit better.
So we decided to head down to the reg office. It would also make things easier if we had children, and looked like same-sex marriage was about to be allowed - we got the registrar to say "marriage is between two people" rather than a man and woman, but leaving that statement out isn't legal. The half-hour wording debate was 30x longer than the ceremony!

MaterFacit Tue 16-Apr-13 16:09:34

It was the quickest and easiest way to protect myself legally and financially.

It made a lot of the older generations of my family very very happy and brought everyone together in a joint celebration.

The public formalising and legitimising of an established relationship appealed to me.

GobShizz Tue 16-Apr-13 16:16:43

Just like you, LottaPianos, I wasn't particularly bothered about getting married but after about five years, I started thinking it would be a good idea. No real idea why, I just suddenly wanted to get married! Then we had a row about it when I brought it up, the row lasted three days (he had also changed his mind about getting married, sadly from wanting to not - and then told me not to take it personally), and was a really miserable time.

However, we've been married two months (to the day!) now, and it's been really lovely. Our wedding was huge amounts of fun, and it was all the better for knowing that we'd both really put a lot of thought into whether we actually wanted to do it, or whether we just thought we "should" do it.

My main reason was similar to that of notcitrus. I had been married once and didn't want to do it again. DP at the time wasn't bothered. This changed when I became seriously ill and had to undergo life-saving emergency surgery. My parents were out of the country at the time so DP filled in all the forms and acted as my next of kin.

I realised afterwards that although we were living together my parents were still my legal next of kin and we hold very different views on some important issues. I wanted to make absolutely sure that my parents would not have any say in medical matters. I would have much preferred a civil partnership though.

EllieQ Tue 16-Apr-13 16:34:25

DH and I got engaged at university, but didn't get married until over a decade later, mainly because I felt uncomfortable about marriage/ being a wife from a feminist POV.

I decided to get married for several reasons - I wanted to have children, and wanted the 'legal protection' or marriage (plus the next of kin rights, etc). I felt silly referring to DH as my boyfriend/ partner/ fiancée once we hit our thirties. It felt odd to have been engaged for so long and not married. Also, I knew that DH wanted to be married more than I did (it used to really annoy me when people assumed he was the one who didn't want to be married).

However, the main reason was that my dad died quite unexpectedly, and I really regretted not getting married while he was alive. My mum was then ill for several months after his death, and I wanted a happy family event, so that was part of it too.

I didn't change my name, and we had a small registry office wedding. It still feels strange when I think that we're married, and I'm a wife!

CognitiveOverload Tue 16-Apr-13 21:02:27

Only reason I will ever marry my partner would be legal protection.

Zappo Tue 16-Apr-13 21:12:50

I'm not married. I have DC so everyone assumes I'm married anyway and refers to DP as my "husband".

I don't actually like the word partner or husband so I tend to call him by his first name.

Lottapianos Wed 17-Apr-13 12:30:21

Thanks so much everyone for your very thoughtful comments and for sharing your experiences. If DP and I were having a baby, I think I would insist on getting married for the legal and financial protection. But I have to say that it would be with a heavy heart. In my experience, society still views 'wives' a certain way and I really don't want to be part of that. And I'm also really uncomfortable with promising to stay together 'til death do us part' - I really don't know how realistic that is! I think it's possible but if you do stay together forever, surely it should be because you both want to be in the relationship and you are still both happy together, not because you made a promise one day that that's what would happen.

I would absolutely love to have a civil partnership with DP so will keep my fingers crossed (and keep spreading the word!) that legislation will change in the next couple of years.

wordfactory Wed 17-Apr-13 12:35:36

I am a feminist and I am married.

DH and I are both lawyers...and it is our shared view that marraige offers much greater legal protections. I would encourage all women to marry for percisely this reason.

I also like very much that now we have DC, we are a legal unit and entity. I don't think it's strictly necessary in the grand scheme of things. And I don't see other unmarried families as lesser units or entities, but I just like it that we are.

AuntieStella Wed 17-Apr-13 12:37:23

Not being in UK at the time was a factor for me.

The legal/financial underpinnings are very important, especially once you start making decisions on big ticket items together (such as property or anything that changes your career trajectory).

StephaniePowers Wed 17-Apr-13 12:41:24

It's how things are set up to protect money and children in the easiest ways, from a legal point of view.
I also felt it was a personal commitment I wanted to make and so did DP.
Outwardly nothing has changed!

EuroShaggleton Wed 17-Apr-13 12:47:29

I was always quite anti-marriage and never envisaged myself doing it. I find the whole idea of the state having a role in who your life/sexual partner is completely bizarre. I finally did it at the age of 34. I have remained Ms {maidenname}. I didn't plan to wear my wedding/engagement rings but I have found myself doing it, to my surprise.

I wanted a show of commitment from my commitment-phobe partner and he proposed. I think I would have been equally happy with him saying "let's start trying for a baby" or "let's put my name on the mortgage" at the time, but now I am married, I quite like it. I feel more content and like the looking for a partner phase of my life is over so I can move on to the next thing. I think it makes things easier if you plan to have children as well.

I have a pang of regret occasionally. Usually when someone calls me "Mrs {husband's name} by mistake. I feel like I have become some mere appendage to him, not even worthy of my own name, at that point.

TeiTetua Wed 17-Apr-13 14:11:09

One person says "I find the whole idea of the state having a role in who your life/sexual partner is completely bizarre."

But 3 other people have talked about "legal protection". You really don't get one without the other--you register your contract with the government, and if there's trouble (in the relationship or from the outside) the government may give you some amount of support, or at least will enforce some predictable kind of resolution. ("May" because it's not likely to be a perfect process.) If nobody promised anything to anyone else, then when things go wrong, it's predictably going to be a mess.

Civil partnerships were created so same-sex couples could have the same protection/restriction that marriage provides--legally it's exactly the same. But it seems as if the word "marriage" has so many cultural expectations attached to it that some people really want to be "civil partners" instead, no matter what the law says.

StephaniePowers Wed 17-Apr-13 14:29:39

A civil partnership would be ideal for us.
I don't like the cultural baggage that marriage brings up. There's another thread atm about in laws who aggressively refuse to allow their DIL to call herself by her own name. Just one example of how marriage is public property.

Lottapianos Wed 17-Apr-13 15:26:49

'There's another thread atm about in laws who aggressively refuse to allow their DIL to call herself by her own name'

Yes I saw that thread StephaniePowers and was shocked at how agressive the in-laws were about it.

I know these are quite extreme examples, but look at all the flapping about how Sally Bercow is expected to behave because she is 'The Speaker's Wife', like she's part of his property or something. And the other example that left me shock was when David Beckham allegedly had an affair, poor old Victoria (who I just love) got all the blame because she didn't move to Madrid with him and boo hoo he probably got lonely and hey he's just a man, what did she expect?!

Whereas with a civil partnership, you get legal recognition of your relationship but get to define the terms of that relationship in any way that works for you and your partner. Much more 'civil' to my mind!

HullMum Wed 17-Apr-13 15:27:18

I don't think you can eliminate the cultural baggage of marriage for heterosexual couples. Marriage or civil partnership I would bet money you will still get Xmas cards to Mr and Mrs T. Hisname from some people. I'd quite like it if the government kept it's nose out of "Marriage" altogether and only performed civil partnership and people could also have a religious ceremony if they want to get married.

Xenia Wed 17-Apr-13 15:37:05

Do remember if you earn 10x what your husband does as I did divorce can be pretty expensive but splitting up is nothing like as bad....

As most mumsnetters end up with men who earn more than they do this is unlikely to apply to them or rather applies the other way round.

Bonsoir Wed 17-Apr-13 15:49:57

I love not being married. I equate marriage with loss of independent identity as it always involves some legal framework that has all sorts of cobwebs attached from bygone times when women were chattels of men. I greatly despise women who take their husband's surname (WTF?!) unless their own surname was so unspeakably vile that they preferred his (aesthetics are a legitimate argument).

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now