That wonderful institution where you commit yourself, for better or for worse, to another person for the rest of your life (well, in about 50% of the cases). I’m not against marriage…not at all. But I was also never the little girl who dreamt of her wedding day. I wasn’t some sort of feminist super-child. I played house, and with Barbies, I guess I just never considered a wedding worthy of my imagination time. Some things never change 😉
For those of you who have been around the blog for awhile, you’ll likely be familiar with at least some of my story, but I’m going to recap for the newbies. I’m 32 and have been dating the same guy since I was nineteen. That’s twelve years in case you don’t want to do the math. Twelve years of non-wedded bliss (mostly bliss, nobody’s that perfect). We own a house together, along with two dogs and two cats. Almost all of the big purchases I’ve made in my life we’ve done together. When you move out of your parents and in with your boyfriend, you don’t exactly bring a lot of stuff with you. That history and the joint life we’ve created means we’re officially common-law in the eyes of the law, and there’s no easy way out emotionally or financially.
Have we talked about marriage?
Absolutely, and we’re on the same page. It will most likely happen one day, but at this point, we’re happy with the way things are. I don’t need to have a marriage certificate to make things feel more real.
It is important to me that we are married before we have kids. I don’t like the idea of not having the same last name as my children. Did you know that it’s recommended to get a letter of permission from your husband to travel with your own children if they have a different last name from you? Maybe it’s for selfish or lazy reasons, but I don’t want to have to deal with that. The whole having kids thing isn’t a given though. I’m still undecided on that and the older I get, the more I lean towards staying child-free. Without that motivation, I’m a-ok with staying unmarried.
So, until there’s a trigger, why change anything?
Why I’m Ok Delaying Marriage Indefinitely
Honestly, my biggest problem with not being married is that it’s bizarre calling your partner of twelve years your boyfriend. He’s more than that, and it feels so high school. But what’s the alternative? My common-law partner, my spouse, my significant other? Not great options. Depending on the situation I alternate between a few, but it always feels awkward. I have a friend who always refers to him as my husband because it’s easier.
You know what though? If that’s my biggest concern, then I don’t think getting married is the solution.
Why Not Just Do It?
When there’s a decision to be made, I make it, fast. I’m not the kind of person who can handle having a big choice hanging over my head. For example, we bought our first house within a week, and it ended up being the first house we looked at. And bought my car on the same day I decided to start looking. I weigh my options and don’t consider my decisions rash; I just don’t delay them a second longer than necessary. Unless it comes to choosing somewhere to eat for dinner, the bf (see, awkward) will attest to the fact that I’m hopeless at picking a restaurant. Big decisions are kind of my jam, small decisions, not so much.
You’re probably wondering why I’m procrastinating about the whole wedding thing. Well, I don’t see it that way. I did decide and it’s a no to the wedding. I’m allowed to change my mind in the future, but for now, it’s not a choice that’s hanging over my head.
At this point, it feels like the main reason I would be getting married would be to make other people happy. No snide comments like ‘still no ring?’ or ‘he still hasn’t popped the question?’ or ‘set the big date yet?’ Mind your damn business people!
Weddings are Hella Expensive!
Getting married is not that easy. It costs a ridiculous amount of money! Even a small, low-key wedding will cost thousands of dollars. I see it all the time. Those Pinterest posts that brag about how someone got married for only $2,000 (here, and here). That’s still TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS! It’s not anywhere near the over $30,000 average price tag for a wedding in Canada, but it’s not nothing. And I’m not exactly the person who is going to go as cheap as possible for my wedding; I have kind of splurgy tastes.
Plus, the best way to keep wedding costs down is to DIY as much as possible. I’m not that crafty and don’t have the necessary time (or patience) to pull that off.
You know how sometimes you grow out of things? One day you are playing with Barbies and the next you’re learning to put on makeup. Or you start out thinking Smirnoff Ice is delicious but then figure out that beer is more your jam. Or you think you want a big lavish wedding but realize a small backyard ceremony is more your style.
That last one is me (ok, they’re all me). If I got married ten years ago, I would have been in my early twenties, and it would have been more about hosting an epic party than about what I said in my vows. I’ve grown-up and matured, and even though I’ve done that with the same person by my side, I’ve changed. Back then I would have spent way close to that $30,000 average on a wedding, and gone into debt to do it. Now I would spend maybe a quarter of that and save up the money before I took one step down the aisle. Waiting until you know who you are and have a handle on your life makes you more prepared for the challenges that come with being one-half of a relationship.
Divorce is Scary
A staggering 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce. I’m not assuming I’m immune to a break-up just because I’m not officially married, but that stat freaks me the heck out.
It’s also expensive. For an uncontested divorce (aka best case scenario), the average cost is $1,353. If things don’t go quite so smoothly, then that average cost jumps up to $12,875. I don’t know about you, but I have much better things to do with my money than pay lawyer fees.
Now I know that being considered common-law means there is no way of having a clean break, but it is still often easier than if you are legally married. This will depend on where you live, but your spouse may not have a right to property you brought into the relationship in a common-law situation but can if you are married.
Being Un-Married is Kind of My Thing
Honestly, I feel like being the girl that hasn’t married has become part of my personality. I have tackled those ‘when are you getting married’ questions for almost a decade, and I don’t even hate it anymore. I’m almost proud of the fact that it makes me different (just like how I’ve never watched Game of Thrones or Back to the Future.)
If I get married, I’ll be another one of those married 30-somethings, instead of being an un-married 30-something who’s dated the same guy forever. We might be a growing group, but we’re still a rarity. Weird? Probably, but I’ve never claimed to be normal 😉
Some people will, and have, argued that marriage is the next logical step for us. But I don’t see it that way. The timing doesn’t feel logical or right to me. The cost feels prohibitive, I’m not sure if children are in my future, and I don’t see us getting anymore committed because we have rings on our fingers. Plus, I’ve never really been one to listen to other people anyway.