I was sitting in a restaurant a couple nights ago when I over heard a teen-aged daughter say to her father, “I’m never getting married anyway. What’s the point?” This is a subject about which I’m passionate so I perked up to hear his response. He said all the typical reasons like, you’ve got a partner for life and you’re never in it alone etc. Not bad but I thought he could have done better as there are LOADS of reasons to actually get married rather than live together with no plans of future marriage.
Then, this morning I go to read Dear Abby’s column (which I do every day) and see the following letter:
DEAR ABBY: The “pennies from heaven” letters in your column have been a blessing to me. “Patrick” and I were together eight years when he died unexpectedly after turning 31 last February. We considered ourselves married, and never thought we’d need a marriage license to formalize our love. When Patrick died, his family took his body. They emptied our apartment the next day and refuse to tell me where he is buried.
Three times in the last month I have found pennies dated 1977 — the year Patrick was born. One particularly shiny one appeared on the passenger seat of my car on my first day back at work. I’m sure it is his way of telling me not to worry, that he is close by. Thank you for printing those stories. They have been a source of great comfort to me. — MOURNING IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR MOURNING: Please accept my deepest sympathy for your loss. I’m gratified the “pennies” letters have brought you some solace, as they have many other readers, and I hope your experience will enlighten any couple who thinks a marriage license is “only a piece of paper.”
Now, THIS gives a very real example of just WHY you should actually get married rather than just live together. In the event of an injury, the hospital or other medical personnel will not provide medical information to anyone other than a family member. That’s why Sandra Bullock said she married Jesse James. She said he was injured during a race and when she arrived at the hospital, they wouldn’t tell her anything because she wasn’t family.
Not only that, in the event of their actual death, you can’t do anything with their finances. You can’t close a bank account, collect on an insurance policy that doesn’t specifically name a beneficiary, you aren’t entitled to anything from their estate (unless they have a will which most 31 years old don’t), you can’t collect their Social Security check if they had been entitled to it prior to their death, you can’t have any say so what-so-ever in the details of their burial or funeral unless the actual family is nice enough to allow it. I’ve heard of a lot of families not allowing it because if the deceased person didn’t care enough about them to marry them then they shouldn’t be making those final decisions.
Now, I know a lot of couples, and yeah probably most of them, live together for a while before they actually get married. I don’t personally agree with that either as you can never REALLY “try” marriage before you actually do it but this post isn’t really about that. I think most people are seriously considering marriage anyway when they make a plan to live together.
This post is really about those people who are ignorant enough to say “I don’t need a piece of paper to prove my love”. Well, in my opinion, that’s a bunch of crap. I think you’re making excuses, for whatever reason, for not actually “taking the plunge”. I can’t think of any REAL benefits of NOT getting married if you’re going to live together and even have children together. Besides the faith aspect of making a commitment before God, family and community, you get a break on your taxes and spouse discounts on loads of things.
I invite you to please leave your comments. I know I’m opinionated but I’m tired of hearing people talk about how wonderful it is to live with someone without the “bonds” or “constraints” of marriage and I think it’s a load of crap. My husband doesn’t hold me down or allow or disallow me to do anything. We’re partners. When I was in the hospital a few months ago, I wanted nothing more than to have my husband sit on the edge of my bed and hold my hand and not leave. My mom was there and that was comforting but I really wanted my husband. The same man who had talked to the doctors and the nurses and was doing everything in his power to make sure I got well and could come home to OUR house and be with him. This is the man who waited on me for close to a month and did anything he could, happily and patiently, to help me. Yes, I think the commitment we made to be HUSBAND and WIFE compels him to do those things and me for him. Marriage isn’t all fun and yes, of course, there are disagreements but you have a partner who will never leave you and for that, I’m a TOTAL marriage advocate.