How is being married different from not being married?
February 15, 2019 11:38 PM   Subscribe

I'm in a happy, committed relationship where marriage is on the table but not a huge priority for either of us. I'm wondering how marriage makes life different, in ways that I may not have thought of.

Obviously, this would vary based on the law of the land, and age, gender, having kids or not, so I'm deliberately leaving those things out of my question so it's not a referendum on my particular situation.

A couple of examples of types of things I'd be interested in hearing about:
  • How getting married affected your other relationships, with family, friends, or colleagues
  • How it affected how you and your partner made decisions
  • Weird bureaucratic things other than obvious ones like hospital visitation
Please don't consider that list comprehensive, I'm mostly interested in non-obvious/intuitive things that I wouldn't have thought that marriage would change.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (43 answers total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
In the US, you may end up paying more income tax if you make roughly equal incomes. This is called the "marriage penalty".
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 12:47 AM on February 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

Marriage conveys invisible social privileges, including a kind of stamp of approval and an invitation to The Married Ladies Club. (You also get this with kids, so you don't need to be married to get into The Moms Club.) The legal protections are difficult to exactly duplicate, and the lifetime and inheritance tax advantages cannot be duplicated in the three tax systems I've been a part of.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:29 AM on February 16, 2019 [34 favorites]

First, I would like to agree with everything DarlingBri said.
Second, a marriage certificate means all of the less common kinds of paperwork get dealt with that much more smoothly.
Finally, as the pair of you get older, from a legal perspective, being married makes end of life issues easier to navigate.
Maybe in the future this will change, but right now, this is the take from my family which is spread over 3 continents.
posted by Calvin and the Duplicators at 1:46 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

I just got married, after a chill 3 years of "I never want to get married, who cares" followed by a very lazy 3 year engagement of "so what does this even mean anyway?" I guess I can toss my initial feelings in after a whole *checks bare wrist* week of marriage.

It just Feels Different. Spouse and I have an awareness that we're like, more responsible for each other. Especially financially. He talks about my leftover student loans as a kind of hurdle we have to clear together now. We talk about saving up money and training for potential outdoor trips 2 years from now, instead of just literally winging everything. I am very looking forward to the sizeable tax break we'll get now that we can file jointly.

The years-long conversations about "maybe a dog soon, maybe a baby someday" with no commitment or plan has turned into serious "YES BOTH NOW GROW FAMILY MAKE NEST" strategizing. We crack jokes about how the immortal words of Beyoncé now apply (don't hurt yourself).

Things that have surprised me:

One of my coworkers now refers to my spouse as "the hubs" and I have never been more disgusted, who came up with that awful term???

Spouse has escalated his career timeline so he can start being home year-round sooner, instead of perpetually gone for 5-7 months at a time like it is now.

When I work out, I am aware that in addition to what it's doing for me, it's now also helping ensure that I stay healthy into old age for the sake of my partner.

My parents treat our relationship fundamentally differently, with more gravity and permanence.

His parents consider me their daughter now and asked me to call them Mom and Dad (weird but ok, just not my culture).

All of our parents bluntly told us they are now ready to be grandparents. My mother has been texting me pictures of my brother's roommate's kid who I have never met with a "how cute!!!!" and a bunch of heart emoji.

I now understand why some of the advice I'd given to married friends about their relationship, having never been married, was not received well.

The sex is hotter.
posted by Snacks at 1:46 AM on February 16, 2019 [38 favorites]

All of the above, plus:

A weird sense of calm.

Lots more very odd social capital privileges that I wasn't really expecting.

Even though I never thought I was a "marriage" person and didn't contemplate it till I was in my 30s, it provides a much more concrete feeling of forever rather than merely long term.

Many women are much nicer to me, which I find a little shitty.

Many men are much friendlier/freer. (Both of the above are primarily the fault of our society.)

I was 100% one of the folks who was chosen for part of a layoff because I was married and "taken care of".

I do enjoy being married and it does make the legal hoopla about a 1000% easier. I wouldn't have been able to live in the country I am now if I wasn't legally bound.
posted by stormygrey at 2:35 AM on February 16, 2019 [11 favorites]

My standing with my in-laws has increased. I’m still awesome, so there’s that. My family already loved my husband, so no change for him there. We’ve been together for five years so I am...annoyed? my recent increased worth, but this also means I all dibs on seats, first pass at food, etc. we’re now formally enmeshed in one another’s families, and our families are cross-family.
Basing professional decisions on OUR life together is now more appropriate, apparently, and something other people will encourage.
My husband now has health isnsurance, dentail, etc. through my job. This is a are changer for him on a personal level.
He calls me wifey. Before he called me fiancée. Before that, he called me girlfriend. I get confused when he uses my first name or any of my nicknames. (If I ever call him hubby, it’s a signal something’s gone horribly wrong. My coworkers have used this to describe him.)
posted by RainyJay at 2:51 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

If your partner is from another country, it's more possible to live together as in many jurisdictions marriage is a requirement for a 'partner' visa. Goes to the point DarlingBri made.

Also, if your partner still has living parents/siblings/siblings' children, you get a whole new family, for better or worse.
posted by plep at 2:55 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

For us, I think marriage has given us the freedom to be bolder in our personal goals. We are both adventurous, competitive, and ambitious, and we are also madly in love with each other. Before getting married, if she talked about med school, or wanting to live on a sailboat, or wanting to go back to the field, a little voice in my head would say "Is there room for me in that dream?" And the same for her when I spoke about a PhD, a tiny house, advocacy in Geneva - would she be welcome there? Now that we're married, she knows that my dreams of starting a new business always include her by my side, and I know that her vision of a year on a sailboat includes me sipping wine on the deck. There is a level of trust gained by the fact that we have already made our primary commitment to each other, and whatever other passions our hearts may pursue, we are each others' home.

As for how it affects colleagues, before we were married her mother became critically ill and died in the space of two weeks. I faced a lot of side-eye and questions when I left my work in the middle of a genuine crisis and jumped on the first plane to fly to the other side of the world to be with her, before it was even clear her mother would die. There is a difference, at least for people outside the relationship, between being by your girlfriend's side and being by your wife's side at a time like that.

Lastly, I don't know if queer identity is at all relevant to your situation, but getting married certainly put to rest any lingering "maybe it's a phase" talk from family for us.
posted by philotes at 3:23 AM on February 16, 2019 [20 favorites]

Above and beyond the legal privileges that marriage gives you, it also sometimes lets you Jedi-mind-trick people into giving you access to each other's stuff. "Oh, silly me, the account's in my wife's name, could you look under F____ L____?" — "Right, of course, ma'am, the balance is..."

Though for all I know you could get that particular benefit just by telling people you're married. It never occurred to me to try until I actually was, and then I was flabbergasted at how often it worked.

A lot of the social things people are mentioning above are specific to opposite-sex marriage. When I was straight-married before, yeah, people treated me as having Stepped into a Role in Life, and it affected my social standing and my friendships and the way both men and women related to me. Now that I'm gay-married, there aren't the same kind of Roles and Expectations that it puts on me in my relationships with other people — none of my friends are like "Oh, I can take her seriously as an adult now, she's a Married Woman" or "Whoa, I'd better back off, she's a Married Woman" — but it does get people to treat my relationship as existing at all who wouldn't have before.

Newlywed Sex really is hotter, though stuff regresses to the mean again.
posted by nebulawindphone at 4:36 AM on February 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

We dated for 6 years before getting engaged, but I was only invited to Christmas dinner at the cousins after the engagement.

So, lots of social recognition for the relationship from extended family, institutions, the world at large. It's why I felt marriage equality was so important, even if it didn't affect me personally.
posted by jb at 5:12 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

In some US jurisdictions, including federal court, one cannot be compelled to testify against one's spouse.
posted by teremala at 5:16 AM on February 16, 2019 [8 favorites]

Never been married, but I can answer from the other side. Being in a committed relationship with someone with kids and not being married makes everything a bit more complicated. (Admittedly some fraction of that may just be in my head.)

Being seriously partnered but not married and living together takes more explaining. There's no good term for kids that are not yours and aren't step-kids because you're not married, but you still think of them (and treat them) as family. Same with not-quite in-laws.

There's the obvious legal stuff - we're currently discussing drawing up living wills and all that stuff so that if one of us goes into the hospital we can make medical decisions, and other things like that.

We still operate more independently and things I assume (hope) married folks just take for granted sometimes need a discussion. Kid 1 and Kid 2 have opposing events in different places at the same time during her custodial time. Do I offer to do kid taxi duty? Is it expected? How do I introduce myself to the parents at the event?

Finances are also a thing. We do really well about splitting costs and she grabs the check when she feels like I've paid too many times in a row. We go on vacations together and she'll cover half of the AirBNB when we visit her moms, things like that. But it'd be nice if we just had a joint account that didn't require discussion & follow-up.

The short of it is at a certain point not being married feels more complicated than being married. We get along great, it's not like we're fighting about these things, they just require a little additional discussion and strategizing than they might if we were married and lived together.

But, we are not quite in a place to get married right now - for one thing, we have seven (!) cats between us as well as her two dogs, so cohabitation is going to have to wait until some kids go off to college and we have fewer four-legged friends in the houses. But other than possible tax benefits I don't really see any upside to remaining unmarried.
posted by jzb at 5:19 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

As plep mentioned above, if you and your partner are not the same nationality, being married makes it possible to get a spousal visa (specifics depend on the country, obviously) and thus live together with a lot less complication. Also applies, I think, if one half of the couple gets a job etc. abroad; it is easier to get approved to join them with the piece of paper.
The above aside, I don't think that much has changed for my husband and me since we married. We've developed a habit, though, of saying "I'm so glad I married you" for little dumb everyday things (I remembered to buy the milk in glass bottles, he went to bed before I did so it was nice and warm when I got there, etc. etc.); I think it's one way, not the only one, to further emotional intimacy and a sense of belonging to one another.
posted by huimangm at 5:38 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

I think the biggest differences are in how other people perceive the importance of the relationship. For example, it is much easier to tell your boss "I need to leave early to take care of something my wife" than "I need to leave early to do something for my girlfriend". People also are more likely to assume that your spouse needs to be included in invitations or activities or involved in discussions then a boyfriend / girlfriend.
posted by nalyd at 5:52 AM on February 16, 2019 [7 favorites]

Mostly you get to say: you know, I would marry you all over again.

On a more serious note: I have found that friends and family are much more willing to talk (at my request) about what it takes to make a marriage work (vs long term relationship). We’ve received a lot of great advice. And as a side benefit you get little (but deeper) glimpses into loved one’s relationships.
posted by CMcG at 5:56 AM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

Weird bureaucratic things other than obvious ones like hospital visitation

Adding a driver to your car rental is cheaper if they're your spouse.
posted by capricorn at 5:57 AM on February 16, 2019 [6 favorites]

I’ve been married almost 25 years. I can think of two points in my relationship when the actual process of formakizing vows (not just the wedding ceremony, but the thinking that went into the wedding ceremony) have kept me going. One was when I was on the verge of infidelity, and one point was when we were both in extraordinary grief and dealing with it in different ways. At both points I was emotionally exhausted - from my own feelings in the first case, and from life in the second. At both points I went back to the vows to consider what I had committed, publicly.

This isn’t to say vows make things great, just that for me they have been a bright line at moments of darkness.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:00 AM on February 16, 2019 [23 favorites]

Depending in your community and what kind of wedding you had, having been pubically vulnerable abour your relationship can bring you closer to some people, and they will respect your relationship now that they've seen the sappy stuff (admittedly I had a small wedding, full of old Quakers and emotional young queers, who appreciate emotionality).

No one looks at me askace for saying I don't have immdiate plans to work after graduating, as they did when I said my girlfriend was supporting me while I went back to school.

I have the unique benefit in that I'm 5' tall and look like I'm 20. People, even my family who well know my age, routinely treat me like a very young person but once I say I'm married it's like a switch is flipped and they realize I'm an adult woman. Or in the case of my professors, treat me more as a peer.
My older siblings finally treated me like an adult and my father felt like it was okay for him to go start his semi-retirement in another state because he knew I was settled and he didnt have to worry about me. So the escape from infantalization is wonderful!
posted by wellifyouinsist at 6:18 AM on February 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

We were together 5 years before we got married. I was not interested in getting married; I was enjoying messing with the social norm. We decided to get married on our 5th anniversary because we had already planned a trip to the town where we met, and getting married at that courthouse sounded fun. It's a town close to our families, so it also made it easier to invite them without a ton of prep/hoopla/engagement crap that I didn't want to deal with.

My "out-laws" are now my "in-laws." I'm no longer "his princess" and he's no longer "my bodyguard." (Not going to lie, I miss those last two.) We are allowed to share a room when we visit any family, not just some. One half of my (Catholic) family now knows about him.

Yesterday he called on my behalf to cancel appointments because I was sick. This was easy.

His parents drop hints on grandchildren. Mine don't, but they already have three from my siblings.

Taxes are easier. Me staying home is easier, from both logistical (I have access to benefits through him) and social (I'm a stay at home wife/homemaker, not a stay at home girlfriend) perspectives.
People seem more accepting of us, especially the "I worked while he was in school; now that he's graduated, so I'm done."

We got grief from my parents when we bought a car together before we were "legally attached." We got no such grief from anyone when we bought a house after marriage. He was able to get all the pre-approval mortgage documents put together without my help, even though my income/assets/etc were involved, because we were married. I did still have to sign everything, but I didn't have to deal with all the annoyances beforehand. We are assumed to be each other's beneficiary for everything without having to sign affidavits and whatnot.

We now have a single joint bank account, versus three beforehand - one separate for each of us, plus a joint one. It makes budgeting easier.

We no longer write an annual "cohabitation contract."
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:19 AM on February 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Oh, my sister is a very small person and looks very young. She didn't get carded for alcohol once she had a wedding ring because "either she's old enough to drink, or she really needs it." Seriously.
posted by Ms Vegetable at 6:23 AM on February 16, 2019 [10 favorites]

It definitely makes people treat you more like a grown up, in a way that was surprising to me.

And it definitely makes petty beurocratic tasks easier.

As someone who did not have a strong emotional drive to be married, though, and who didn't expect it to feel any different, I was surprised at how different it felt to me. I immediately felt more settled, in a lovely way, like something deep inside me had calmed. I felt like I had a home that I hadn't realized I was missing. Strange and, honestly, a little troubling because I have so many reservations about marriage as an institution, but it was a notable change that remains now, years later.
posted by EmilyFlew at 6:49 AM on February 16, 2019 [20 favorites]

We got married this past fall after 2.5 years of living together and over the process of doing our taxes have discovered that there are a lot of disadvantages to continuing to file separately now that we're married (higher payments on his income-based repayment student loans, not being able to fund IRAs if we make more than 10k, etc). In general, we've combined our finances a lot more than either of us expected to going in.

Seconding the being treated differently by some relatives (particularly older, practicing Catholic ones), things like getting the guestroom with the double bed now instead of the one with two twin beds. I was somewhat annoyed at the amount of fuss my step-grandma made as if I were just now becoming an adult; I'm in my mid-thirties for crying out loud!

Otherwise with society at large the impact has been minimal. We don't wear rings, neither of us changed our names, and I still go by Ms. at work (I'm a teacher).
posted by abeja bicicleta at 6:57 AM on February 16, 2019

I've been married 27 years and we were living together (in a house we had built) for a year before that. I've read through the replies above mine and they just don't resonate for me. It really didn't, and doesn't, seem any different to have a marriage certificate and to have made that "leap" vs. prior to that. Granted, I was 30 and he was 37 when we married, but we had already been treated by friends and family as a permanent couple, as far as I could tell, especially after we bought a house together. The legal stuff, yes, that's much easier being married, but we already has a joint bank account and such before we married, and I have never changed my name to his, which makes it slightly, rarely, a bit of pain in the bureaucratic world.

So I would say that whether getting married makes a difference really depends most on your internal sense of commitment to each other before you married; for us, marriage didn't move the needle on that because we already felt as committed before marriage as after. If you're quite young, marriage could change people's perspective on your relationship and give you "social capital," I guess, some of which is related to people's perceptions of marriage as a mature choice and a lead-in to child-rearing (even though plenty of people raise kids outside of marriage and plenty of married people don't have kids), so you may be seen as more adult. I didn't notice any change of people's perceptions of my partner and me or our relationship. It may well depend on your particular friends, co-workers, and families.
posted by mmw at 6:59 AM on February 16, 2019 [6 favorites]

I’m with mmw. We’d been together for 6 years, bought a house together and had two toddlers before we finally got married. I’d say my parents and in-laws felt better, but I didn’t really. Disclaimer: in Canada, so we were already common-law for tax and insurance purposes.

So an n = 2 sample, the wedding was fun, but it made very little difference to my life.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 7:20 AM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

Just throwing in another vote for "made very little difference to my life". It's up to you what meaning you take from a ceremony, you can't predict that based on how it's made other people feel.
posted by Secretariat at 8:29 AM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

To me, being married means we are legally bound. That seems simplistic, but I promise you it's not to me. After my own mother died I went from being pretty ambivalent to being married to thinking yes, I want someone who can speak for me when I can't speak for myself. My husband knows me better than anyone else in the world - not just my favorite kind of ice cream but how I want my mortal remains handled when I die. And he will have the right to see my wishes through. (People always think "oh my boyfriend's parents will definitely let me make the decisions" but you know what? Death sometimes brings out the worst in people.)

Also, we move through the world together, in good times and bad. Sure, I have abiding love for him, but it gives me great comfort to know that we have an alliance even when I can't stand the sight of him. I know he's not going anywhere and that gives me the freedom to be exactly as I am, without fear of losing him.
posted by lyssabee at 9:10 AM on February 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

In 100 years time, when we’re both dead, the records of my city will still show that he was mine and I was his.
posted by billiebee at 10:23 AM on February 16, 2019 [36 favorites]

My husband and I got married for the paperwork - he was having fairly major surgery, it made a lot of things easier, a lot less “do we need to write something up and have it notarized”. Which is not to say we’re not (often disgustingly) in love - it’s just that for us, marriage is a contract, and provides default functionality that we wanted. It would have positively sucked if one of us felt that way and the other saw it as a purely romantic gesture...but we talked about it a lot, and we knew where we stood.

Our relationship with each other really hasn’t changed. My mom loves that she can send “son-in-law” cards to my husband, and we’re a bit of a running joke at work because we’re one of a handful of married couples working at the same company, but that’s about it.

Honestly, the thing about marriage is that why is going to change for you depends entirely on what meaning marriage holds for you.
posted by okayokayigive at 10:38 AM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

I don’t think you can sensibly remove things like gender from this question. Marriage has a different connotation socially if you are a man, or a woman, and if you’re a same-gender or non-same-gender couple.

Being married does probably give you entrance to the Married Ladies Club. But when I got obviously looked down on for not being married (even though I’d probably been in a longer-term relationship than the person looking down her nose at me, it clearly didn’t count), I didn’t think “I should get married”. I thought “these people are not my scene.” I’m now married and I still have no time for that kind of nonsense. So it also matters to what degree the people around you are “traditional” or not. But i doubt my male spouse has ever encountered that kind of nonsense.

But some car rental places add your spouse to your rental for no extra charge, and that’s convenient.
posted by ewok_academy at 11:37 AM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

You can claim spouses social security after 10 years. If you plan on having kids and there's a significant income difference or a stay at home parent, this is a huge benefit if something happened. Sooner is better than later. That said, if you are disabled you can lose your benefits.
posted by decathexis at 12:20 PM on February 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

What everyone else has said about social capital.

And something that will be very specific to you and your spouse respectively: All those unconscious assumptions you don't know about. The hundreds of little things that characterized your parents' relationships that tell you what a "normal" marriage should look like.

Suddenly you'll realize that your partner stops what they're doing to greet you every time you come home. Or you'll realize that your partner never stops what they're doing to greet you every time you come home. Either way you'll wonder why you suddenly care about this and realize that you have much more comprehensive idea of married behavior than you thought you did.
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 1:35 PM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

I was always ambivalent about getting married. My husband and I lived together for a few years before getting married. Eventually we decided to do it because we plan on staying together anyway, so we might as well make it official and get whatever legal benefits come with it.

After getting married, our life is pretty much the same, but I do feel different just by being a wife in ways that are hard to explain. I feel more comfortable with myself. And I like being able to call my husband my husband, both to his face and to others in conversation.

I think it's made a big difference to our family members. They were happy when we finally got married. It hasn't changed my relationship with any of my old friends, whether they're single/in relationships/married.

Stuff like being able to share insurance policies is nice.
posted by wondermouse at 1:39 PM on February 16, 2019 [2 favorites]

The social capital thing is extremely real. A few examples:

Within my family - when you're married, you get to be in the family photos at weddings.

The visible reminders of being married (my wedding ring, the ketubah on our wall) means more to me than I realized.

As a woman, being happily married gives you a shortcut to a weird but real form of instant camaraderie if you ever meet another woman and find out she's engaged.
posted by mostly vowels at 3:01 PM on February 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Also: if you're with the right person, *being* married is worlds better than *getting* married
posted by mostly vowels at 3:06 PM on February 16, 2019 [4 favorites]

In my experience, around five years in, it has made no difference whatsoever. The only exceptions are signing up for US health insurance and having to spend an extra five minutes struggling to remain polite with US border agents who often are astonished that people might marry and keep different surnames.
posted by eotvos at 4:04 PM on February 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

We got married because of cultural expectations, and even so, it was surprising how much It really really mattered for our parents. Both sets just relaxed about a whole host of worries. I'm using the singular they because I think even though we're in a heterosexual marriage, the parental worries were actually not very gender-dependent . For example,
-- will my child have to fend for themself in that city that is (5-15 hours) a long flight away from me --> oh good, there's someone they can rely on and who will make them soup when they are sick
-- why does my child dress like that and what's with that hair --> non-issue, they are married and their appearance doesn't need to conform to standards of societal expectations

I also co-sign with philotes who mentioned that life decisions that might require a big move or a temporary separation are now entered into with the assumption that we are staying together, rather than triggering the question "are we going to stay together?"

I wish marriage wasn't such a big deal, I feel weird about how much it shapes social perceptions (now I'm a real truly all grown-up adult?). But I agreed because it did two (non legal and non logistical) things that would have been (much) harder with a non-marriage lifelong commitment -- chillax the parents and engrave expectations of future togetherness, no matter the obstacles.
posted by spamandkimchi at 5:03 PM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

If you get married your marriage will be between you and your partner and no other marriage will be like it. You and your partner decide what your marriage means to you.
posted by kirkaracha at 8:45 PM on February 16, 2019 [3 favorites]

We got married after seven years together, much of which was spent thinking “we don’t see any need to get married.” We haven’t noticed any practical/legal differences yet, although I’m sure there will be. I think the difference is that before marriage there was always an awareness that there was a further step that could be taken. We were living together, had bought an apartment together, weren’t planning on having kids, and everything was fine, we were content... but, however meaningless (in a way) marriage was on top of all this, it was the one step we hadn’t taken. Taking it felt good, like an extra acknowledgement that yes, on top of everything we both knew, we were committed to this. I guess it’s also a clear sign to the outside world about your commitment, not that it’s really their business.

It was also a good excuse for a lovely party.
posted by fabius at 4:09 AM on February 17, 2019

As someone who is not married, I wholeheartedly agree with the social capital comments. Even though I'm in my 30s and live in a different state than my parents, in the eyes of my extended family I'm still not an adult. The most recent example was when I wasn't invited to my cousin's wedding, and then it turned out that my aunt and uncle just assumed that I was "included" in the invitation they sent to my parents, like some sort of buy-2-get-1-free deal. This doesn't happen to people who are married, even if they are physically living with their parents.
posted by basalganglia at 4:43 AM on February 17, 2019

I was always kind of anti-marriage and didn't really understand why other people did it. Until I met my husband. For me, being married definitely changed a lot of things.
Firstly, it is a public way to declare: this person is my family. I know I could do that otherwise, but marriage formalises it in a way that I think makes a difference.
Secondly, it actually reduces conflict for me, because it feels like 'well, we're married, we're not going to divorce over this, so it isnt something to get upset over'. I let a lot of things go because they seem pointless to worry about in the face of a lifetime commitment.
Thirdly, I feel more secure, the future feels guaranteed, I feel stable. It is really hard to explain.
I love being married and I never, ever thought I would feel this way to this extent.
posted by thereader at 10:56 AM on February 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

Being married made a huge difference to how I felt about myself and the world. I wasn't expecting it to but it really did. I wasn't on my own any more and wouldn't be again and there is enormous comfort to be found in that. We're going through some health issues at the mine (his) and losing him would be like losing the feeling of the ground beneath me.
posted by Martha My Dear Prudence at 11:26 AM on February 17, 2019 [3 favorites]

You don't have to testify against your spouse.

Your spouse gets to make medical decisions and can override your parents or even exclude them. A hospital is unlikely to kick your spouse out, though obviously more likely if you are a same-sex couple since they technically can kick anyone out.

Your spouse inherits a certain percentage of your money when you die, regardless of what your will says. How much varies by state. This means you cannot disinherit your spouse, you need to get a divorce.

If a married person gives birth, the law presumes that person's spouse is the child's other parent.

There are some benefits under Social Security.

If you break up, the court system will help you sort out property, child custody, and other difficult things.
posted by bile and syntax at 3:39 PM on February 17, 2019 [4 favorites]

I joke sometimes that we got married for the dental insurance. Realistically the shared insurance is a big perk though.

It’s easier to get out of people trying to upsell you or do door to door sales because you can just say “Oh I’ll have to check with my spouse on that” and it’s socially acceptable.

My relationship with a couple of my single friends waned after I got married which was really sad for me because I didn’t feel like I had significantly changed as a person. I do still have a good number of single friends though and I have realized that the ones who I have stayed friends with were more serious about our friendship to begin with.
posted by donut_princess at 5:33 AM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

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