Not every long-term couple wants to get married, and although commitment can be scary, it doesn’t mean those who have no desire to tie the knot aren’t capable of it. In reality, they just understand these important things about love:
1. COMMITMENT DOESN’T HAVE TO COME WITH A RING.
The number one reason people give for wanting to get married is because they want to show their commitment to each other. That’s great, but it doesn’t mean those who don’t aren’t committed. You don’t need a piece of jewelry to prove it.
2. A WEDDING DOESN’T ALWAYS FINANCIALLY MAKE SENSE.
Sure, you can just go to the court and sign papers, but usually your family and friends still want to make a big party out of the occasion. According to TIME, that party averages to $31,213 for American weddings, and the price keeps rising. Lots of couples would rather spend that money on something more worthwhile, and that’s fine.
3. GETTING MARRIED DOESN’T GUARANTEE A HAPPY ENDING.
Our culture tends to make it seem like a wedding is the be all, end all in your relationship, which is obviously not the case. For those who grew up seeing unhappy married couples that resent each other but stayed to keep up appearances, marriage can seem more like prison than bliss.
4. SOME OF US JUST THINK MARRIAGE IS OUTDATED.
Sure, it has a historical significance, but marriage doesn’t hold the same significance it once did. Women are able to make their own money these days, and have sex and kids out of wedlock without so much of the social stigma. The reasons to tie the knot are just dwindling more and more.
5. THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO REAP THE FINANCIAL BENEFITS.
There’s no denying that there are financial and tax-related benefits to getting married. That’s great, but you can get them through other channels, as well, like domestic partnership, common law marriage, or a civil union. What about protecting and sharing your assets if you split up? Well, people who aren’t married can come up with a contract on how they would split up their assets just like married couples can get prenups.
6. THE ONLY WAY TO NOT GET DIVORCED IS TO NOT GET MARRIED.
It’s sad but true. We can’t ignore just how common divorces are now. Sure, any relationship can end, but if you were never officially married, thankfully the split is less of a legal nightmare.
7. MARRIAGE DOESN’T MAKE YOUR RELATIONSHIP ANY MORE “REAL.”
Many people treat girlfriends less seriously than wives, and boyfriends less seriously than husbands. That doesn’t mean they’re right. If you two truly care about each other and are committed, then a piece of paper shouldn’t make much of a difference.
8. A RING DOESN’T MAKE IT THAT MUCH HARDER FOR SOMEONE TO LEAVE YOU.
This is a weird way of saying you want to trap someone who no longer wants to be with you. Why would you want to do that? Also, given the high divorce rate, this has proved to be untrue. Your partner will still leave you if they want to, and having exchanged vows isn’t going to stop it.
9. NOT ALL WOMEN WANT TO GET MARRIED.
If a heterosexual couple hasn’t gotten married after being together for a long time, others assume the woman is begging for it while the man is resisting. This is sexist and untrue. Not all women dream of their future wedding day. Not all men are anti-marriage, so don’t assume and pity a woman when she’s in a long-term relationship but not married.
10. THERE ARE OTHER ROMANTIC WAYS TO CELEBRATE YOUR LOVE.
There are a lot of people who really want a wedding day because it celebrates their relationship. Celebrating your love is great, but that can be done more than just one way. Long-term couples can throw a big party for anniversaries, or plan a trip away together like a honeymoon. You don’t have to spend a year’s salary on a single day.
11. IN THE END, ALL THAT MATTERS IS THAT YOU LOVE EACH OTHER AND ARE HAPPY.
Relationships come in different ways, but in the end, if you’re happy and in love, then it doesn’t need to conform to others. Some want to get married and that’s fine, but for those who don’t, they shouldn’t be made to feel like something is wrong with them. As long as you have each other, that’s what’s important.