Is marriage just a piece of paper?

Miranda - posted on 06/01/2011 ( 92 moms have responded )

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I am a married women and I heard this on the radio the other day and it really was interesting hearing all the people calling in giving their opinions on this topic. What do you think? Is marriage just a piece of paper or is it much more than that?

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Sharon - posted on 06/01/2011

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No it is not just a piece of paper.

A legal marriage shows the legal system your intent to make this person your family. You care so much, you are taking this huge step and accepting them and all their flaws (legal and pain in the ass) and they are doing the same for you.

This is your new next of kin. You trust them with your life. Which is why, if something happens, they turn the decisions over to your spouse and not your mom & dad. Your mom & dad could simply be an accident of birth, but your spouse was CHOSEN by you for this huge responsibility.

Thats just a small legal part of it.

Then there is my belief that a legal marriage shows the world your devotion to each other. Sure living together shows you care too, it could show that you're just to lazy to go the extra step.

Marriage isn't a problem solver. You can't get married and turn an asshole into a devoted father. To many women have that idea in their head and some guys.

Jane - posted on 07/13/2011

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Actually, marriage is in fact a legal matter. Originally it served as a formal transfer of ownership from father to husband of the daughter who, being female, was not considered able to exist without a man to care for her. It also transferred ownership of the dowry and sometimes the inheritance rights.

Today it changes how the law views the two people who marry, uniting them into one person, This allows you to be on your spouse's insurance and all the other perks of marriage. If one spouse is younger than 18, it also transfers guardianship of that person to the spouse who is over 18.

Religious marriage is a whole different kettle of fish, and varies depending on to which religion and church the participants belong.

How you think you found the one you marry is up to you. Many Christians believe it is all done by God. Other groups of people use computer matching. Yet others believe the parents know their children best and so should choose the future spouse. And others just figure it is up to chance, coincidence, life, or whatever form of fate they follow.

Stifler's - posted on 06/26/2011

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I think the fact that people like to imitate marriage with their various and different ways of being "married" and then claim that it's nothing says it all.

Jennifer - posted on 06/26/2011

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Marriage is not "Just" a piece of paper. It is a contract that provides some protection for the married couple. It is a lot harder to walk away from a marriage than to walk away from a dating relationship. My best friend is gay and she had a commitment ceremony because they wouldn't allow her to get married. her "wife" after about 7 years decided she didn't' love her anymore and gave her 30 days to get out of the house and find a new place for her and her son to live. Before this time, her "wife" had told her to stay at home and raise her son. So, my best friend had not built a career and did not have a lot of experience and suddenly she was out the door and had to try to find a way to take care of herself and her son. If she had been married, she would have gotten some financial compensation for the woman having broken their contract. It would have also taken more than 30 days to complete and it would have given her more time to find a new place to live.

[deleted account]

Try telling the judge who orders you to pay alimony that it's just a piece of paper.



Or if you're gay and want to have next-of-kin rights at the hospital when your partner of 20 years is dying.



It's a piece of paper in the same way the Constitution is just a piece of paper.

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Tanya - posted on 08/18/2011

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The MARRIAGE is important, but IMO, you can have everything that a marriage has without having a ceremony and a marriage license. To me, the only difference between a totally committed relationship and a marriage IS the piece of paper. You can make a commitment to someone without it, therefore, I don't really think it's that important.


Where I live, you are considered to be common-law married if you live together in a relationship for more than 12 months, or if you live together and have a child. You have all the same rights as a legally married couple, and the same responsibilities, too, including spousal support if you separate! I work in health care, and here, there is NO difference between a "spouse" and a "partner" or "common-law spouse". Oh, except for that "piece of paper". :)

Cara - posted on 07/14/2011

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I think society has made it so that for most it is "just a piece of paper". I know for me personally it is much more than a paper. When i took my vows I meant them. I meant that i am in this for the long run. Good and bad, rich or poor, hard times and great times....etc. I think it is really just what you feel it is. For far to many tho it is nothing more than a piece of paper that can be easily crumbled up or torn apart.

[deleted account]

Only if you believe in God, Callie. What about those of us who don't?

You said, "marriage should be no government matter", and you only believe "it's a vow and promise you make to God" so does that mean that people who don't believe in God don't deserve marriage? I'm confused.

Callie - posted on 07/13/2011

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I've heard that from a lot of people to, and honestly its the worst thing i've ever heard about marriage. Marriage should not be a legal matter, or be left up to the government, it should be left up to God. Its a vow and a promise you make to God, your beloved other one and yourself. Marriage show be no government matter.

Amber - posted on 06/28/2011

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Women also fought for the right to vote, but not all women exercise that right. It's about having the option if you choose to do it.

I want to get married eventually, but I'm not in a hurry for it. If you told me I *couldn't* get married, I'd be out there fighting for it though. It's about having the option if I decide that I want it.

I don't think marriage is a bad thing. I just don't think that you have to be married to be in a serious, committed relationship, nor do I believe that being married means that your relationship is stronger, better, or more committed than mine.

Jenny - posted on 06/28/2011

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"i don't kinow how to say this without sounding like an ass, and i don't mean to. but if marriage was just a piece of paper there wouldn't be so many gay couples wanting it. there IS something different about being married to me. "

"To you" being the important part there. If you were not allowed to marry the one you love would you feel it is important enough to fight for the right to have? Same with gay people. Some want marriage, some do not. The option should remain open for everyone who wishes to participate.

Rosie - posted on 06/28/2011

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i think it's kinda insulting to say gay people only want to be married so they can be equal. that's like saying women only want the same pay as men just so we can be equal, not because we want the money. i obviously agree that having equality is a no brainer about gay marriage, but why would people want something if it's not important or nothing? it doesn't make sense to me. *shovel shovel :P

Amber - posted on 06/27/2011

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My son carries his father's name...so that's outdated in this day and age. Especially when so many people get paternity tests and *surprise* the baby isn't the husbands. Technology has made this irrelevant because you can prove who the real father.

Life insurance does not require marriage. Shared property in the event of death does not require marriage. You don't even have to be married to file taxes together; we already do :) We also have these other legal documents that are called *wills*. This means that our family members do NOT take ownership of anything. Our possessions go to each other or our son, as stipulated by the document. All Chad's military benefits are set to go to our son, so he's covered too.

There are also documents called power of attorney or living wills. This means that we CHOSE who gets to make the calls in the hospital, they are effectively our next of kin. Others can have living wills which means that they wrote our their own decisions and NO other person can make decisions in the hospital for them.

Health insurance is an issue in some countries, but not in others. Many countries have government health care, so you aren't required to get married to qualify for it.

So, thanks for your worries about the *risks* of not being married. I think we've got it covered.

Bobbie - posted on 06/27/2011

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Amber,

but...since you are not married if something happened to one of you, God forbid, the other would have no right to make decisions. In the case of hospitalization it would be the parents of your spouse that would hold all legal rights to life and death choices. Legally it would be the family who would receive ownership of all vehicles and things that were in that persons name. In addition any children from that union wouldn't receive any death benefits for the loss of the parent if it were the father. Signing a piece of paper to cover your children, and yourselves legally would be a choice as well, wouldn't it? Without it you are the ones at risk of not having the same rights it affords to those that do.

Bobbie - posted on 06/27/2011

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Just read the replies about Gay marriage and wanted to add more to my answer.
When it comes to marriage of gay couples there is a lot more at stake for them. That one piece of paper gives them the ability to obtain and carry both health and life insurance coverage, as well as dental when offered through their employer. As a spouse they have legal rights to shared property in the event of death.
congratulations to all brothers and sisters in this world who can legally now receive those things which so many balk at as just a piece of paper.

Bobbie - posted on 06/27/2011

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Marriage in my opinion is comprised of three different goals. Faith / Tradition and Legality. As a union of two people in faith they are committing to each other to live as their beliefs dictate. The traditions, such as the wearing of special clothing, the marriage ceremony, the exchanging of vowels and the wearing of rings are the traditions regardless of one's faith as a way to bond two people. And finally the legal paper part came about as a way to document for the government the legitimate births of children to a woman and a man of that marriage. To not be married historically was to deny your children the legal right to their fathers name. The piece of paper still has the same main purpose, it is a license to legitimize the birth of children

Amber - posted on 06/27/2011

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I can assure you that I'm not getting offended just for the sake of being offended. I don't really like the feeling; so I wouldn't feel it unless I actually did.



We don't have common law marriages. So I'm not married in any way. Every piece of paper we have tying us together was a choice.



I think that many of the married women don't understand the unmarried women's stance on this. For me (and I think many others are saying the same thing) our relationship itself holds the same significance to us that your marriage holds to you. We believe in the strength of our love and commitment. You view your marriage as your love and commitment. So we basically all believe the same things in a different way.



Your marriage is your tie to your significant others, our relationship is that same tie to our significant others. Same concept, different title.



I also think that gays fighting for marriage is more of an equality thing than a marriage is important/special/different thing. They want to be recognized as equals, but that doesn't mean they think their current relationships aren't committed enough.



If I got married tomorrow, my relationship wouldn't have any tangible changes. I wouldn't be a different person. I wouldn't all of the sudden wake up and do things completely different. That's why marriage isn't the goal for me; a strong, healthy relationship based on love, trust and commitment to each other is the goal.

[deleted account]

*passes Dyan a shovel*

That might make it easier ;)

Hahaha! I'm so just joking. What you're saying goes both ways. FOR ME, marriage is just a piece of paper, but I also respect those who feel marriage is important.

Oh, and.....maybe so many gay couples wouldn't feel the need to get married if they were allowed?? Hmmmm.

Rosie - posted on 06/27/2011

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i don't kinow how to say this without sounding like an ass, and i don't mean to. but if marriage was just a piece of paper there wouldn't be so many gay couples wanting it. there IS something different about being married to me.

many of you unmarried women here, i believe have wonderful relationships with your significant other/partner. and i don't know how to say that i feel marriage is different without saying your relationship is less than mine. i honestly don't feel that way. it's hard to explain. i feel that way about MY marriage, but i'm not so close minded to think that everyone feels the same way about marriage as i do. did i make sense, or did i just dig a big hole? :P

Jenn - posted on 06/27/2011

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My grandmother was in a 26 yr relationship with the love of her life and she referred to him as exactly that.

Jenny - posted on 06/27/2011

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Gay marriage is legal in Canada so those couples would use husband, wife, partner or whatever term they choose just as straight people do.

Vicki - posted on 06/27/2011

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It is a symbolic representation of your relationship, so it means what you want it to. We've been together for 13 years, happily living in sin, so for it would just be a piece of paper.

We have plenty of other pieces of paper that tie us. The deeds to our house, our son's birth certificate, mortgage, visa statement and so on.

Kylie - posted on 06/27/2011

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Well it doesn't apply to only gay people where i live. That could be the cultural difference.

Kylie - posted on 06/27/2011

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Of course there is another way to define/word it Sherri. How about in a serious relationship, de facto's, life partners, mate, significant other, better half, etc etc

Jenny - posted on 06/27/2011

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We call it a relationship and call each other partners. We are not really focused on labels and are committed to each other for the long haul. We intend to be lifers just like any married couple. We just didn't sign a paper, that's all.

So, yes, there is another option, I'm living it.

Nichole - posted on 06/27/2011

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I feel that marriage is just that, a piece of paper that makes it legal for you and your partner to make life a little easier for legal issues. (custody, property, etc.) Don't get me wrong I'm happily married, but we were living together for 8 years prior to getting married because he wanted to make sure that if anything were to happen to me, he would be able to continue to raise my children with out a battle with the law.

[deleted account]

I was with my ex for 5 years before we got married then didn't even make 2 years married.... Now whats that saying?

Charlie - posted on 06/27/2011

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I have no problem with marriage , we will get married eventually mostly as a celebration of our longevity BUT I do think the assumptions in this thread are a little off ; a long term relationship has just as much depth and complexity as a marriage , it isnt easy to walk away from the person you love especially with children , some of you may not mean to be doing it but there certainly is a large degree of tearing down others relationship statuses and invalidating their worth based on a marriage certificate.

Jenn - posted on 06/27/2011

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Marriage is obviously more than a piece of paper but that piece of paper is VERY important...just look at the battle gays have fought for years for the equal right to that paper and the joyous celebration as more states legalize that paper for them. That paper is a contract...it always has been and it is required by our government in order for couples to be "entitled" to partner rights and privileges. Humans have partnered long before the word 'marriage' even existed...even before the dawn of religion. Marriage to my husband and I is unity, friendship, devotion and as long as we both shall live :) We got the piece of paper to make our lives easier and simpler. Having lived together for 3 years before marriage, our wedding day was just a celebration of what already was and is...us!

Stifler's - posted on 06/27/2011

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I think people are being deliberately offended here. You're still in a marriage like relationship. A common law " marriage" therefore you're married. So um, how is marriage just a piece of paper.

Constance - posted on 06/27/2011

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I find the statements offensive as well. I had been with my husband for almost 9 yrs and pregnant with our 3rd. We share custody of my niece and nephews. The ONLY reason why we got married offically was for medical insurance. If I didn't have to have it we would still be together dedicated to each other. I have seen a lot more "unmarried" couples survive for years but "married" couples file for divorce on average at 18 monthes. So for most people even if they don't think it is just a piece of paper because they quick to file for divorce.

Jenny - posted on 06/27/2011

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For sure, I've invested almost 12 years which is more than 1/3 of my life into my relationship. Surely that means something significant.



Humans partnered up before marraige was ever invented so really it's them copying us. So there lol.

[deleted account]

Yes, I found that a bit offensive too, Jenny. We're partners without a piece of paper that says we're married. I still want to know how I'm imitating marriage. There isn't something that magically happens or changes once a couple gets married, so what exactly am I imitating?

Jenny - posted on 06/27/2011

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It's not boyfriend and girlfreind if you are not married though, that is the belittling part. We are partners in life, we are joined, we are a family unit. We are not dating (although we do go on dates still).

Amber - posted on 06/27/2011

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Emma, I'd also like you to explain exactly how we are imitating marriage?

I find it incredibly insulting that everybody just assumes that it's SO much harder to walk away from a marriage. As if we wouldn't have to go through any court proceedings either.
My neighbors started divorce proceedings in January, they were divorced by March. That's difficult? Really? They never even went to court. They just agreed on a division of assets and signed the papers; neither of them set foot in a court room at any time. Their next of kin status was immediately changed, as well as power of attorney, life insurance policies, etc.

Because I am NOT married, if I choose to leave, I have to physically change ALL of those things. The courts won't just magically do it for me. Which means that I personally have to do more than a married couple if we were to ever choose to separate. Yep, so much easier for us non-marrieds to leave each other.

[deleted account]

"I think the fact that people like to imitate marriage with their various and different ways of being "married" and then claim that it's nothing says it all."

Emma, can you please explain what you meant?

You think I'm imitating marriage? That's almost laughable. I'm in a relationship. I don't worry about or give a shit about what anyone else does. I do get and respect people who feel that marriage is important, so please don't knock the fact that I don't. I'm not religious, and like Jenny said, I don't need the GOVERNMENT to sanction it and make it official. It's all kinds of official, and the law DOES recognize it, so I'm good.

Charlie - posted on 06/27/2011

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I get the emotional and spiritual importance in marriage that some people have but how real can love be if you *need* to be legally binded to stay ?

I just dont get staying with someone being entirely dependent on marriage.

With divorce rates being 50/50 it seems even with legalities it really doesnt make much of a difference especially since you have all the same rights as a "married by common law" couple.

I found this interesting "It is a lot harder to walk away from a marriage than to walk away from a dating relationship."

See that isnt even a comparison , The comparison would be with couples in unmarried long term relationships ...These relationships have just as much depth and commitment to them as a married couple does, to assume that they could just walk out with ease shows little understanding.

Jenny - posted on 06/27/2011

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"to me my marriage and the sanctity of that marriage is extremely important and I never would have stayed with my man if we weren't married."



With this statement it seems the marriage is taking precedence over the actual relationship and other person. If he wasn't a fan of marriage would you have really left? Was the status of "marriage" more important than the relationship with your partner?



I dunno, I've been with my partner for almost 12 years now and we have children together. I know he loves me and I know I love him. We're not religious and I don't need the government to sanction our relationship. We may make it official in the future but want to make sure we're in it for the long haul first ;)

[deleted account]

No Sherri, I actually do not think marriage is just a piece of paper; I can see that for others it is so much more than that. For ME it would just be another piece of paper to add to all the others (birth certificates, house deed, car registrations, insurance policies, utilities etc etc) that already afford me the same rights and legal ties as a marriage certificate does. What I take issue with is that while I can and do concede that marriage means a lot more than a piece of paper to many people, others often tend to belittle my relationship simply because of my unmarried status. Your statement "I feel that not being married in your mind you still have the option to walk away at any given moment" offends because it seems that my relationship is so much less valid in terms of personal and legal commitment than a married couple. I am no more or less committed to my relationship than a married couple, it is no easier or harder for me to "walk away" than if I was married. I am simply trying to show you that it is not as easy as you seem to think for an unmarried couple to call it quits.

Constance - posted on 06/26/2011

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@Sherri, Marriage can bring you closer together, but in this day and age a lot of us has only seen a relationship crumble soon after they make that commitment. For me personally that is all I have seen. My husband and Ionly married because of his health insurace. We didn't have to have the paper to be commited. We have stuck trough things that would break p most couples. This was before and after our wedding.

[deleted account]

"Try telling the judge who orders you to pay alimony that it's just a piece of paper."

"Or if you're gay and want to have next-of-kin rights at the hospital when your partner of 20 years is dying."

People living common-law have the same legal rights, and there are legal documents that can be drawn up in the second case, to ensure that everyone's wishes are met.

[deleted account]

No, sorry Sherri I'm not buying that. Marriage is not what stops you from walking out the door today or tomorrow. It is a legal barrier to finalising the relationship, sure. In my case all the things I have listed (joint deed on the house, parental rights, shared assets) also provide a legal barrier to finalising my relationship. Unless I wanted to forgo all those things. If I was prepared to leave my children, house, car, possessions, finances, investments etc etc then sure I could just "walk away". If I felt entitled to claiming "my share" of those things I would also have to go through legal proceedings just as a married couple would.

[deleted account]

Living 'common-law' is recognized by the government, and affords those couples most/if not all the same rights as a married couple, so I'm not sure how it's easier to walk away.

Does anyone know the legal differences b/w common-law and marriage?

Amanda - posted on 06/26/2011

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for me it is definatly more then a piece of paper...the paper is the proof we got married but we make it work but then i guess it is just what u make of it right?

[deleted account]

Jennifer in Australia it is that easy. Although you must be seperated for 12 months before the actual divorce can go through.

[deleted account]

this is a hard question for me to answer. I dont believe its just a piece of paper and thats why my childrens father and I are not legally married. We both come from single parent homes and do not want our kids to go through a divorce. We have been together eight years. We have a six yr old four yr old and five month old. We love and like each other, live together and I suppose carry on like any "normal" married couple. Going before God and making vows is a huge thing to both of us. He proposed to me this year in february :). We are both on an amazing journey to love our selves but to also to put someone elses feelings and happiness first. We both believe this is something that takes a life time, but when we truly can love each and like each other unconditionally then we will make those vows. But being engaged has been a huge step in that journey and ifbit takes another eightbyears thats fine with me :)

[deleted account]

I seriously don't understand the belief that just by not being married it makes it easier to just walk away from the relationship. Maybe that is the case in a casual relationship or one where the couple lead very separate lives or have no children. But, I am committed to my relationship, we have been together for 17 years, lived together for 16 years. I am no less committed to my relationship than someone who has gotten married, I have no more or less of an option to walk away at any given moment. The few times I have thought about walking away from my relationship I have always been held back by a number of things, not least of all the commitment I have made in my head and my heart to share my life with my partner and to be with him through good times and hard times. Plus the belief I have that as long as we are mutually respectful of each other and able to work things out and be happy more often than not, our children deserve to have us together sharing our time equally and caring for every member of the family we have created. We have two young kids together, own a house together, share possessions, investments and property, have many mutual friends, shared history, shared future plans and aspirations. A separation for us would be just as complicated and traumatic as for a married couple.



You know; I get that for married people (and those that aspire towards marriage) their marriage is so much more than a piece of paper, I believe that any relationship is so much more than a piece of paper or more than any legal document/definition that defines it. I just don't get why some people think that an unmarried relationship is so much less just because it lacks that "piece of paper".

[deleted account]

Sherri, i felt the same as you i was in it for the long haul and i wouldn't be walking away it's a shame my ex didn't see it the same way and just up and left. It is really just a piece of paper to a lot of people and in my own recent experience thats all it was for my relationship. I don't even know why he asked or why we got married considering we didn't make it 2 married years.

Stifler's - posted on 06/26/2011

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Yeah it's totally the gays who have ruined the sanctity of marriage... when we have straight people thinking it's just apiece of paper.

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