Why and when marriage?

[COLOR=purple]This post’s Swedish word/phrase: “Äktenskap. Bröllop. Familj.”= “Marriage. Wedding. Family.”

A couple of days ago, I met a friend of mine and we spent quite some time talking about different events in our lives that occured after we had decided we were ready for them. It was about the first kiss. About the first boyfriend. The first vacation without parents around. About what to study and where. About when to move out from our parents’ and get our own places. And so on…

Important events that need some decisions, some thinking through, and in some cases a lot of courage.

Now I’m curious to see what your thoughts and experiences are on marriage. When did you decide to get married/not get married? What made you decide so (culture, religion, special feeling, certain event, legal issues, exprectations from others, :shrug:)? How old were you and your partner? Was it a decision that grew on you or did you wake up one morning knowing that you wanted to get married? Did you propose or did your partner? Would you consider a “no” to a proposal the same as breaking up? What is, for you, the biggest difference between living with someone as married and as “just” girlfriend/boyfriend? Did you feel different after you got married - and if so - how? Did you change your last name to his/hers - why/why not?

[COLOR=dimgray](I understand that this topic can bring up many different cultural and religious believes on marriage/family life. My intent is not to start a heated debate on these issues and I hope that everyone chosing to post will keep their posts respectful and non-judgemental. I’m just curious to see what made people decide to get married… )[/COLOR]

I felt no difference marring my husband. We’d lived together for a couple of years before we were married, but as soon as I met him I KNEW he was the only one for me, I was lucky he felt the same. My wedding was terrible, I don’t look on it fondly and have never looked at the wedding photo’s since we had them. (My mother and Step mother in the same room, I should have known there would be trouble)

Apart from having my hubby’s last name, I was Jones now I’m Bull, (I get a lot of jokes about my last name now!) and having a few more legal rights, nothing really changed, I love him more now than I did when we met, and loved him lots then!

Marriage isn’t for everyone and I understand that, but it isn’t as scary as some people fear. I am glad we got married, I do enjoy being introduced as Mike’s wife, but I think if we hadn’t got married we’d be in the same place now.

Well I feel a bit shy replying to this for some reason! :oops:

I have never been married. I lived with my ex boyfriend and I live with my boyfriend now. I think in many ways it’s a culture thing. Here, in my province (could be different in the rest of Canada), getting married or not is a very personal decision. We have a word in French for “life partner” that we apply to either a married or non-married person. People still get married, but it’s seen as a personal choice, not a society’s requirement of some sort (there is still some pressure sometimes from family or the partner though). Oh and here, married women don’t change their name to their husband’s. It’s possible to do it, but nobody does.

So well, for me, it’s not important to get married. I see it as a waste of money and time really. Of course, I totally understand people who do it, I’m not against the idea! But for me commitment isn’t in a party, a dress, a piece of paper and a ceremony. It’s something you decide in your head and your heart. This being said, it doesn’t mean I won’t decide to get married. If we decided to work outside Canada, we would probably do it. Or who knows, maybe the idea will grow on me. If my boyfriend was proposing? Well you know, I might ask him why he wants to get married, but I would say yes.:aww: And if I proposed and he said no? Maybe I would be disappointed… but no it wouldn’t mean a breakup for me.

I saw a huge difference when I started living with my boyfriend. Going out revolves more around doing activities together. Living together means doing chores, paying bills, making decisions which for some couples can be difficult. There are the days when you’re tired or grumpy, when the family is annoying, when work is insane and the chores don’t get done. But for us, we really enjoy living together and we have a lot of projects for the future!:cheering:

I’m interested to see other responses to this thread. I’ve often wondered about this myself.

When I was a child/teen it was my dream to get married and have children. I wanted my career to be as a wife and mother. It was all I dreamed about. When I prepared for a back up career I chose Early Childhood Education as I thought it would give me an even better foundation for raising a family.

The plan was marriage at 19, first child at 22, second at 24 and third at 26. No outside daycare. If we needed extra money I would do home daycare. Once they were all in school I would return to college and complete my degree in Early Childhood Education. Then I would teach Elementary School. I had it all planned out.

At 32 I am still single. Have been engaged 3 times in my life, at 18, 20 and 24. The first guy was very abusive, but in the end all 3 were unfaithful, hence no marriage.

I think part of the reason I am still not married is that I do not take commitment lightly. I believe in traditional roles and there aren’t many traditional guys out there. I think I was born 100 years too late.

My mom is disabled-physically not mentally, and I am her sole caregiver. Any guy who ends up with me ends up with her too for the duration of her life. Not many guys willing to take that on either.

Perhaps its the fact that I am a big girl, perhaps its that I am just closed off to the idea because I work 2 jobs and have mom to worry about, maybe I am overly old fashioned, perhaps its all of that-but I swear, every man who has hit on me in the last couple years is either married or desperate for a green card. Neither of those situations is the basis for a viable relationship IMO.

Sometimes I fantasize about things being different, but the inertia of daily life kicks in and theres just no time to think about such things.

First of all–everyone is different. What’s right for some isn’t right for others. I think that here on KH we do a pretty good job of respecting that! :hug:

Having said that, getting married was important to me. I met my husband in college. We were just really good friends at first, and then it turned in to something more. I’m glad that we had that connection as friends first…that way we got to know each other in a no pressure situation.

We felt marriage was right for us. We knew that we wanted to be together, and while that was enough, we also wanted to share it with our family and friends. The wedding day was important not just for the two of us, but because it is probably the one time in our lives that everybody we really care about was all together in one place at one time. That was an amazing opportunity.

But again, like I said, everyone is different. I have good friends from college who live together and who are basically “married”. I know, and everyone knows that they love each other very much, and for them, marriage isn’t what they want. And we respect that.

What bothers me is when people look down on others for their choices–whether that is getting married, not getting married, being single, dyeing your hair green :teehee:, etc. And like I said before, that doesn’t really go on here. :heart:

Okay…hope that wasn’t too cheesy! :oops: Interesting topic, Anna! :hug:

ETA: My husband and I were both 25 when we got married, and I did change my last name. However, I also legally changed my middle name to my maiden name. (As I had no sentimental attachment to my original middle name–Anne. :teehee:) That way, it’s still officially a part of who I am.


DH and I met through my late cousin in July of 1990 (I was 28, he 33). In August we had a little commitment ceremony. After 3 kids and 7 years we found out that if something happened to him, the government wouldn’t recognize me as his surviving spouse (common-law did not count since I was not officially using his last name), so we got married. Even though we are coming up on our 17th anniversary, according to the SSA it will really only be our 10th.

once we moved in together, we both just kinda knew we’d get married someday.
we decided because we both could see no reason not to (:rofl: is that a good reason?). his 8 yr old son moved in with us in November 2001 and we also wanted to be more “legit” as a couple, I guess, to give him an example of commitment and better stability.
we were both 30 when we got married.
I guess it grew on both of us.
nobody proposed. we just decided together one day to get me a ring.
I probably would consider a “no” as a breakup.
for me in our day-to-day lives, there really is no difference between cohabitating and being married.
I don’t think we feel different since getting married.
I changed my last name to his for several reasons: 1) I was married before and the last name I had was my ex-husband’s and 2) I like the anonimity of having a more neutral last name.

i replied then wanted to edit then tried to copy my original post but now I lost it, but today’s been like that from the second I woke up :rollseyes:, so anyway :zombie:

we knew each other since 1983 (age 12), were really good friends in school. we got together later on in our late 20s. we decided to get married when we moved in together. we got married in 2002.
idk what made us decide. it just seemed right.
we were both 31 when we got married.
I think we both just kinda knew we’d be married one day.
nobody proposed. we just decided one day to get me a ring.
I think I would consider a “no” the same as breaking up, and I’m pretty sure he would do the same.
I didn’t, and still don’t feel different after we got married, at least not in the day-to-day. it does feel good to be committed to a great guy and have his last name.
yes, I changed my last name for a bunch of reasons - among them, 1) my previous last name was my ex-husband’s, so I wanted to be rid of that, and 2) I like the neutrality of my new last name.

Well, when i was 16 and in love with a friend of mine, i was dreaming of his last name:roflhard::roflhard::roflhard:. Now he’s laughing at my DH’s last name:roflhard:
Seriously now… I always wanted to get married, but growing up makes you think and i realized that the wedding is not the most important thing in the world… When i met DH i was 23 and he was 25. He was just a friend of my neighbour. We drank tea at her place and the evening ended up as conversation between him and me :teehee:About cars… As he told me later, he was madly in love since :heart:But i didn’t care - i dated this obnoxious guy and couldn’t see a foot ahead. After a month he was passing by to visit my neighbour and i knew she wasn’t there. So i invited him to a cup of tea. After conversation that lasted that whole day, we figured out each other’s views on most important subjects and the next day he moved in with me. We definitely talked about getting married and after 2 months went to get the ring. BUT, there are a few reasons for us getting married:

  1. we wanted the whole family together for once (it gave us a headache eventually:rofling:)
    2.we’re are not considering ourselves religious Jews and marriage is one of a few ceremonies that connect us to our religious heritage.
    3.we wanted for one day in our life to feel like in fairy tale!

So, we planned the wedding for 1.5 years, carefully and slowly and eventually had a 130-guests (considered really small in Israel) lovely thing that was perfect for us.We had lots of fun and enjoyed every moment of it! And we have gorgeous pictures! We thought it’s worth the money to feel the king and the queen for a day, because later we would never do it! We altered the ceremony just a bit, so i could give him the ring (women rights are problematic religious issue).

And i kept my last name. When it came to the real thing, i realized my surname is a part of who i am, where i belong. It tells me i’m grand-grand-niece of Marc Chagall and it tells my family heritage,where we’re from, that many of my family were murdered by Nazis in The Holocaust. Also i believe that the origins of the tradition of changing your name are about man power, because in the past the wife was becoming her husband property in a way. I wanted to remain the way i am. DH didn’t understand why i wouldn’t at first and then i asked him if he would change to my last name. He said no, because that’s a part of him. I said “there you go”. So we left it as it is and now DH is a big fan of not changing one’s last name :cheering::cheering::cheering:
Actually nothing changed after the wedding, except for annoying people looking at my tummy saying “So, how about a baby?” :hair:I like to scare them by saying “Oh, these little things that scream, eat, sleep and poop?” Don’t like nosy people…

Sorry it was long, but i wanted to make myself clear!


I guess the kids will take DH’s last name, because of the tradition…It would be a misery for them to have a double name, especially ones like ours:teehee: But when we say “The…family” we use both of our names.

When did you decide to get married/not get married? [COLOR=red]When I was sure that I had met the right person. [/COLOR]What made you decide so (culture, religion, special feeling, certain event, legal issues, exprectations from others, :shrug:)? [COLOR=#ff0000]Special feeling. [/COLOR]How old were you and your partner? [COLOR=red]I was 25 on the day of our wedding, he was 30. [/COLOR]Was it a decision that grew on you or did you wake up one morning knowing that you wanted to get married? [COLOR=red]We realized very early in our relationship that what we felt for each other was different then how we felt for previous boyfriends/girlfriends. I guess it was a decision that grew on us though seeing as how we dated for two years before the proposal. [/COLOR]Did you propose or did your partner? [COLOR=red]He proposed. [/COLOR]Would you consider a “no” to a proposal the same as breaking up? [COLOR=red]No, not necessarily. I suppose it would depend on the couple, but sometimes timing is not necessarily right even though the relationship is. [/COLOR]What is, for you, the biggest difference between living with someone as married and as “just” girlfriend/boyfriend? [COLOR=red]Well we lived together for 10 months before the wedding. I’d have to say that the biggest difference is the actual commitment taken. I feel much closer just because of the commitment we made to each other and to God in front of others. [/COLOR]Did you feel different after you got married - and if so - how? [COLOR=red]Different in what way? I had already known that he was the person I wanted to be with the rest of my life whether we were married or not so there wasn’t a big emotional change. We also lived together and had combined bank accounts before the wedding so nothing changed on that end. I suppose I felt more secure knowing that we were married. I enjoyed calling him my husband rather then my boyfriend. I feel like others looked at us more seriously then then they had before. [/COLOR]Did you change your last name to his/hers - why/why not?[COLOR=red] I changed my last name to his. I’ve always felt like I wanted to take my husbands last name when I married. I’ve always wanted to be Mrs. His Last Name. It didn’t hurt that I really liked his last name and I never really liked my last name. I tease him and tell him that now that I’ve got the last name I like I don’t need him. :rofl:[/COLOR]

I’ve been married for almost 7 years now. We had dated for 3 years when we decided to get married. He asked me, but it was just a formality. I was there when we bought the ring… We were fresh out of university.

Why did we get married? Because we love each other and religious reasons. I actually never considered never getting married as an option. Probably because marriage is the “normal” thing to do.

I changed my name to his. My maiden name is Polish and his is simple. :shrug:

I think that I would consider a “no” to a marriage proposal the same as a breakup. If it’s something that one person really wants, the other person would probably only say no if they didn’t want to be with the other… The only acceptable “no” would be “not yet.”

I once read a study that said that the percentage of people who get divorced after living together first is a lot higher that people who don’t live together before they are married. now I don’t necessarily agree with that, but I can see the reasoning behind it. If the commitment isn’t there when you move in together, I think that it’s never really there. You always have the mentality that it’s temporary. If you’re seriously committed before you move in together, then i think you have a larger chance of staying together.

interesting topic :slight_smile:

i broke off an engagement once, and it broke up the relationship. we were together for five years; if i didn’t “know” it was “right” by then, i figured it never would be. and it was a HORRIBLE break up because i was already “over it,” which was completely insensitive and hurtful for the guy. that said, i knew if i ever did get married, i would have to be DAMN SURE it was right!

i’m happily married now – a 3-month courtship before we were engaged. no proposal; just a mutual decision. we had similar values, which was very very important to me, and we “lived” the same lifestyle (early to bed, early to rise; vegetarian; agnostic; strong family ties; no desire for kids; independence).

we WANT our marriage to be healthy, so we work at it. and it’s not always easy. (in fact, sometimes it incredibly tough!) but we’re committed to the commitment, and i think that’s key.

When I was really small I think I wanted to get married so as to have the beautiful wedding gown. But in my teens and early 20’s I never wanted to get married. Never. I wanted to be like Kinsey Milhone-for those of you that don’t know she is a fictitious character in a mystery series written by Sue Grafton. She is single (well twice divorced in her fictional history but never in the actual story) tough and independent.

This is very difficult to explain being as I have been married for almost 15 years now, I have 2 kids, work part time and knit of all things. I’m quite content and we have a nice home. How married does all that sound? But there is still a peice of me that wants to be single, tough and independent. I think it is that I have no difficulty being in love, having a life partner and a shared life commitment. But I do not ever, ever want to be dependent on my husband in all things (though I do rely on him for many things now, but it has to do with the partnership of the relationship). I did not get married to be taken care of or to be rescued. (My mom did to some extent) I want to always beable to fend for myself if I have to. I do not want to loose my autonomy. I still want to be independent.

So to that end I really wanted to keep my maiden name when we married. My husband made no objection but then later he suggested we both hyphenate. So we are both hyphenated as are our children. Feels like a merger at times and we end up spelling out last names a lot. When dealing with complexities with the kids, or remodeling a house or other major decisions we use a very effective partnership approach. We do some things together but at the same time we are not joined at the hip. We each have interests and activities independent of each other. We both support our family both contribute to the care of the house.

Also I hate being called “Mrs” I think it works very poorly with a hyphenated last name. Although I know many women love being “Mrs. So-and-so” I have never wanted to be a Mrs. so I don’t want to be called that. To me “Mrs” implies that I belong to someone but my husband does not own me; I much prefer “Ms”.

I felt ready to get married because I found a great guy, I was self supporting and in control of my life and so was he. I was 24 and he was 26. At the time I felt like the relationship was ready for that big step. If we hadn’t married I’m not sure where we would be. I will say it is a pretty strong family expectation on both sides. Though if we had just lived together forever it would probably be tolerated. I also feel that being married requires me to resolve issues and if we weren’t married I might not work as hard at it. I have made a solemn commitment. If I hadn’t done so I don’t know if I’d work on the relationship as hard. But since I have never been involved with someone for 15 years in an unmarried state I guess I can’t exactly say how I’d manage the relationship, maybe it would be the same as now. Hard to say.

Interesting thread.

I knew I was going to marry Rowland on our first date. We worked together, and he come over after work and we chatted. Then we went out to dinner and chatted and chatted. We finished eating by 8pm. When we left it was after 10 and we nearly missed the last bus. He moved in by the 3rd or 2nd date… (both were at my place watching movies) I still get a kick telling people we only ever went on one real date. haha.

I am a huge hermit and a clinger. I always used to feel so much anxiety in my relationships. Being with him was literally like breathing… Natural, no thought. I have never felt the kind of love he gives me, and that I give him.

We are together 90% of the day, since we work together too, and haven’t been apart more than a couple hours. He is the only person I can just BE with.

I can even scream and shout and be a misreble good for nothing bitch and he will take it in stride and let me get it out and will willingly accept my appology.

When he proposed on our one year anniversary, (same spot as our first kiss) it was a no brainer. I wouldn’t be able to find a better match for me anywhere. (He is even a cat person. Had one of his own and wants more!)

We are getting married in October, and it is going to be very small (20 guests) and very us (We are going to East Side Mario’s for dinner, the scene of our first date)

Getting married was just part of our style. We feel very traditionally in some aspects, tho we aren’t religious at all. We joke alot about how he was “born married”. He is the rare breed of male who always dreamt of happily ever after with a wife.


No proposal, we got married 8 months after we met. It was a mutual decision for us, and we ended up eloping. He’s in the Navy and it was going to make more sense for us to get married for the benefits. We’ve been married a year and a half and I wouldn’t have it any other way. We’re having a real ceremony next year when everyone can find out. It’s nice having a little secret!

I just saw this topic, Anna! I think it’s so interesting to read everyone’s responses. :hug:

For me, I don’t think I could’ve handled not being married to Justin once I found him. When I was very young, I had a tumultuous engagement that ended badly, and I had severe issues with commitment and relationships for a long while after.

When I found Justin (or re-found him–we went to high school together), I had given up on having a normal relationship, and was ready to pursue life as a single person. Our instant kinship and chemistry hit me like a ton of bricks–just like that! Once I knew I wanted to be with him, I was pretty much just terrified every minute of the day. Luckily, it only took us a couple of weeks to decide we were going to stay together, and marriage was down the road somewhere.

That said, then we went insane and decided to get married in 7 weeks. :rofl:

Anyway, to answer your questions, I was 24 and Justin was 23. The marriage discussion just sort of fell into place when we started drawing up plans for a house, but he did officially propose to me.

:think: No to a proposal wouldn’t at all have meant things were over for me…I guess it would have depended on how the “no” were qualified.

I did change my name to Justin’s, but it was a hard decision for me. I was happy to honor the tradition of it, but my last name and my family had always been something I was proud of. I still feel the need to identify myself to people who might have known me as a member of my family by my maiden name. :shrug: I must say, though, it’s nice not to have to spell my last name anymore. :teehee:

I’ve been married for almost 33 yrs. When we met I was 20 and he was about 26 and we married about 15 mos later. No one proposed really, I think I said something to the effect of “maybe we should just get married”, but I couldn’t swear to who brought it up first. We’ve been through it all from excellent to awful and back again…more good than bad for sure. :slight_smile: When I got married the majority of women took their husbands name so it never even crossed my mind.