Why marry?

Sep 6, 2016
Civil celebrant handfasting couple at wedding

Why marry? It’s pretty easy to live with someone you love without getting wed. Marriage is all a lot of bother and expense and (depending on your viewpoint) mumbo-jumbo.

Here’s one comeback: tax and inheritance advantages of marriage. They are not to be sneezed at. However, if that’s your only motivation for marriage, then I’m not going there.


There is one great reason for living together. Because you have no legal ties, there is less pressure on you both. You can make your own rules and freely agree how to deal with finances and accommodation. Indeed, the option to marry later will always exist.


If the relationship does break down, you can both walk away – maybe, easily; though not always.

It can get messy if children are involved.


Marriage really should be a commitment. That makes it hard. By definition, committing to another person means you are promising to share what is yours (as well as what is theirs).

It means making concessions, respecting and listening to each other.

It means making your relationship a fortress – you absolutely have to ensure that you are better together than apart. You have to present a united front to all life’s challenges.

To do this, you need to understand each other and accept to differ at times, but calmly and even lovingly.

Building that ‘fortress’ should apply to couples who are cohabiting too. But without the force of the law behind them, there may be fewer incentives to achieve this.


Having a legal binding to your relationship makes it feel harder to break out. That can be a bad thing, as some couples stay together in a toxic relationship and inadvertently damage their children.

What’s good about it is that it may encourage couples to work at their relationship. It’s all too easy to give up when sometimes all that’s needed is patience and a readiness to talk and work through the difficulties.

The Wedding

At a marriage (whether it be a regular full religious wedding, a standard register office ceremony or a bespoke civil ceremony), the couple normally are committing themselves publicly. They may repeat standard words or recite specially composed ones. Either way, they are aware of the significance of what they are promising. The fact that they are declaring this in front of (at least) their closest family and friends makes it especially significant. It gets the marriage off to a flying start.

A personal viewpoint

My wife and I lived together for a couple of years before marrying. Had that not been a success, we would not have proceeded. Going through with the ceremony underlined the fact that we were determined to make our relationship work.

We have had our moments, of course, but have worked through them (so far!). We’re looking ahead to our next anniversary, which will be our 18th. Maybe, had we stayed unmarried, but cohabiting, we’d have reached this position too. I can’t say.

All I know is that, apart from adoring our wedding day, we have no regrets about going down the marriage route. It may be old-fashioned, but that doesn’t invalidate it. We certainly recommend it to others.

Yes, it takes hard work, but the rewards are priceless.


Cover picture source: http://leerushby.com