If you're uncomfortable with marriage but got married anyway, what made you decide to go for it?

(59 Posts)
Lottapianos Mon 15-Apr-13 16:15:50

DP and I have been together 8 years, living together for nearly 5. Lots of ups and downs but have come through it all and I would say we have a very supportive, loving relationship. No DCs and that's most likely the way it will stay.

I've always been staunchly anti-marriage but in the last year or so, I've been feeling that I would like to make our relationship 'official', or take it to 'the next level' or something smile I'm not quite sure exactly what I'm looking for. I would not be a Mrs, I would not take his name, I would not wear an engagement ring (already wear a silver ring that he gave me as a gift) so nothing would really change outwardly but I find myself getting extremely excited about planning a wedding day (not a huge production at all, a quiet cheap-ish day but just a celebration of our relationship).

I support the Equal Love campaign who have launched a legal bid in the ECHR to extend civil partnerships to hetero couples, and if/when this judgement is passed (probably next year), I would absolutely jump at the chance to have a CP. So would DP, we have discussed this issue and he is up for either married, or CP, or stay as we are. So it's not the commitment issue at all, it's the 'married' part that bugs me.

I would love to hear other people's thoughts, whether you got married or decided not to, just to give me some extra food for thought smile
TIA

NotAnotherPackedLunch Wed 01-May-13 18:23:32

OP - Regarding the aspect of promising to be faithful and love your spouse until you die - I'm pretty sure my registry office job in Scotland didn't involve promising any of the above.
Both DH and I came away with the impression the only actual promise we had made was not to commit bigamy and to dissolve the current marriage before embarking on our next ones. grin

We married for the straight forward legal protection and no name changing or changes to our relationship happened.

I'm not sure if the Scottish Registry office wording is still the same as I got married a very long time ago, but it may be a good way to get legal protection without too many compromises. Historically Scotland has always had stronger legal rights for women, with property ownership not transferring to husband on marriage and being buried with your maiden name.

Ullena Wed 01-May-13 18:04:53

I was perfectly happy to take on my husband's family name: his unmarried paternal grandmother chose it for herself and her DCs! (Apparently it was the family name of her favourite "suitor": who was probably DH's grandfather.) She was a wonderfully terrifying old lady, who carried a brick in her handbag and prowled the streets searching out muggers, btw...

My previous family name belonged to my father. His mother kept it after her abusive husband abandoned her and their three DCs. Sad to say that my own father can be a rather unpleasant sort too. So no reason to want to keep the name on.

Admittedly I got married for the cake the security of having my husband as next of kin: several of my family think that as an epileptic I should be in an institution! DH has been the person who taught me to live independently smile

MsJupiterJones Wed 01-May-13 17:17:43

ps I bought DH an engagement ring too, can you not do that?

MsJupiterJones Wed 01-May-13 17:17:08

That's great for you qumquat, my name definitely felt like my father's. Everyone else in my family had a different name. I was delighted to get rid of mine.

I think men hang on to their surnames for exactly the reason that they are carrying on the 'family' (ie paternal line) name.

qumquat Wed 01-May-13 14:46:47

The attitude (mentioned up thread) that your name is just your father's name anyway, makes me MAD!!! So, my husband owns his own name (it's never described as HIS dad's name) but mine is just on loan from my dad? As it happens, I have major dad issues, but I have no intention of changing my name when I get married next year, because my name is MY name.

Thanks for starting this thread, I feel so itchy about wearing an engagement ring and the person I mentioned this to thought I was a freak, glad others would understand! I just feel like I'm wearing an ownership stamp. I might feel a bit different about wedding rings since we'll both have one, but to be honest I still don't like it. Nobody is lunging at me trying to have their wicked way with me so I don't need a sign to ward them off, and, frankly, if they were the lunging kind I doubt a ring would make a blind bit of difference.

I'm excited to be getting married because I'm looking forward to the party and I'm looking forward to starting a family in a legally secure way. My sister had no end of hassle tying up all the legal ends with her partner to be as protected as a married couple without being married. Popping down to the registry office seems much simpler and cheaper!

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 26-Apr-13 20:41:25

Well, I took DH's name, but I think the act of keeping your own name or taking your husband's goes beyond just the couple itself and is a political statement, like it or not.

It's not irrelevant to anyone other than the couple - taking your DH's names is confirming to patriarchal norms and it's something women do that men do not, so it is a feminist issue.

It's fine for women to expect not to be judged for it, but likewise, we can't expect people not to have an opinion on it. I fully recognise that my choice to take my DH's name is a disappointment to many feminists and am not going to be defensive about it.

TremoloGreen Fri 26-Apr-13 16:03:28

We owned a house together.
We were trying for a baby.
Marriage gave us the legal protection we both wanted.

I do still wish the laws of this country were not so, but I sucked it up and to be honest, it hasn't affected our lives in any great way. We had a quicky ceremony with a couple of witnesses while on holiday. It was a lovely fun day with friends with a wedding thrown in. We had a low-key party when we got back, but invited people to a 'housewarming' - they all knew we got married though and some people ascribed an extra meaning to that I suppose. I've given up explaining/justifying my choices becuase I've realised many people don't 'get it'.

So all in all, We got what we wanted out of it and are pretty happy with the situation. People being confused about what my name is (in 2013!!) does boil my piss though. Can't help it.

BelaLugosisShed Fri 26-Apr-13 13:09:33

I'm also of the 80's feminist generation, I've never been sceptical about marriage, I'm of the opinion that it's vitally important in protecting women in a financial sense, it also protects men/fathers, if they aren't married then they could lose their children should the mother die.
I've been married for 29 years and took DH's name - quite why I could be despised for that is beyond me.
I know my 23 year old DD wants to marry, I don't care if she keeps her name or takes her husbands or he takes hers, it's irrelevant to everyone except the couple themselves.
3 of DD's friends are getting married in the next year or so ( all intelligent women with careers) , I don't think marriage is going out of fashion, quite the reverse in the under 30 age group, my next door neighbours got married last year, they are both late 20's and wanted to marry before starting a family - she's due in August smile .

motherinferior Fri 26-Apr-13 10:28:06

I would quite like a wedding - I love a party - but the idea of being married makes me feel itchy and slightly unwell. DP on the other hand keeps going on about getting married.

I'm of the generation of 1980s feminists that has always been deeply sceptical about marriage, really.

DonDrapersAltrEgoBigglesDraper Fri 26-Apr-13 10:21:23

We (NZ) legalised gay marriage a week or two ago, so to my mind the more insidious traditional aspects of marriage are slowly being eroded. Which is only a good thing. The UK may not be ready for gay marriage just yet, but it will be eventually. No doubt about that.

Marriage has a lot of negative history, but you can happily make it work for you, and it has changed beyond recognition over the generations. And continues to do so.

I didn't initially take DH's surname, but did once I was pregnant. I umm'd an ah'd over it for ages and in the end decided to as I wanted us all to have the same name. Flimsy reason. I miss my name a lot and am not convinced I did the right thing, but whatever.

It doesn't bother me if people despise me for it; it's their effort to expend however the wish; it has zero impact on me. smile I do think that until more children take on their mother's name, keeping your own name (while any children default to the father's) is really only paying lip service. Although it is undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

Lottapianos Wed 24-Apr-13 14:53:10

I know what you're saying about re-defining marriage AutumnMadness but to be honest, I think some people like all the 'baggage'. I heard young women at work going all gushy about how someone they know has got engaged, and the bloke asked her dad's permission first - awwwww hmm And endless excitement about white dresses, engagement rings and name-changing. Not to mention hen nights (last night of 'freedom') <heaves>

So I think if some people would like a 'traditional' kind of marriage, go for it. However, it's not for everyone and this is where CPs come in. As it happens, I don't think that sexual relationships should be prioritised over other types of relationships - I think CPs should be available to any pairs/groups of people like long-term flatmates, siblings, long-term friends etc.

turkeyboots Wed 24-Apr-13 14:41:50

We did it as a public celebration of our commitment to each other. So a very simple reason.

Had civil ceremony and big party. Didn't do anything too white weddingy. Except for buying myself a bouquet the day before, as felt odd to not have them. Was a great day and fondly remembered by family.

AutumnMadness Wed 24-Apr-13 12:26:35

Lattapianos, thanks for the explanation of the differences between marriage and civil partnership. I always wondered. But I think, that instead of campaigning for heterosexual civil partnerships, I would campaign for redefined marriage for everyone, gay/straight/whatever. If you want to get married in church - then you've got to promise whatever church wants to you believe (fidelity, life-long commitment, etc.). But if you get married in a civil ceremony at the registrar's, then you should be able to promise whatever you want, including omitting stuff about fidelity and "till death". After all, marriage has been redefined throughout human history. Why cant' we redefine it a bit more? As for labels - 'husband' and 'wife' can sound a bit 'oppressy', but they are just words and their meaning depends on how we understand them. They don't need to be about oppression. "Partner" does always sound like a law firm or a dental practice to me, but it's just my personal perspective.

daftdame Fri 19-Apr-13 13:14:29

Didn't want to split up. Didn't want to be with anyone else. The only thing that put me off was organizing the 'do'. Then as your lives become more and more intertwined you realize if anything happened you are not next of kin in the the law's eyes. You would have to fight to prove that you should be considered as such - possibly in a stressful situation. Add kids and property to the mix and marriage seems more and more the best idea. We got married!

Lottapianos Fri 19-Apr-13 12:55:55

Bunbaker, they are almost the same legally. However, with a CP there is no 'consummation' of the relationship, no presumption of fidelity, no 'husband' or 'wife' (just partners) and it's not assumed to be a life-long union (although of course it could be!). There is also no history of rings, white dresses, flowers, brides being 'given away' etc although you are free to include all or none of these as you wish. In a marriage ceremony there are certain vows that have to be spoken - in a CP ceremony you can say as much or as little as you want, you only have to confirm that you are both there of your own free will.

It's a way of becoming each other's legal partner (next of kin, beneficiary etc) but the actual terms of the relationship are down to the couple themselves to define.

Bunbaker Thu 18-Apr-13 20:39:09

What exactly is the difference between marriage and a civil partnership?

iclaudius Thu 18-Apr-13 20:25:23

Stephanie - that attitude really grates on me!
Lotta - thanks for that! I did once follow the equal love campAign but seemed to lose it somewhere .... I am in the process of drawing up very expensive wills which annoys the hell out of me tbh

It really hit home when dp became quite seriously ill recently and whilst he was lying on the hospital gurney At 2 am I was asked if I was his wife. I am not but he has no contact with his family for over ten years now and we have seven children ' I said 'yes'

Lottapianos Thu 18-Apr-13 12:57:51

iclaudius, I have started a few threads in the past about hetero CPs on here and there are quite a few people who would love to have one. There are also a load of people who think it's a waste of time, but I think they just don't grasp the details of why marriage disturbs some people.

Have a look here

As I said upthread, there is a legal challenge going through the European Court of Human Rights to have the twin ban on gay marriage and hetero CPs overturned. It has been submitted on behalf of the Equal Love campaign by a highly respected law professor from UCL (whose name escapes me) who is confident of victory. So the campaign really does have legs. I also read somewhere that some MPs will be tabling a motion to have CPs extended to hetero couples as part of the Gay Marriage Bill currently being discussed.

I have no idea why they would not want to extend CPs to all. This government bang on and on about commitment and 'doing the right thing' - surely even more people would become legally committed to each other this way? And it would cost hardly anything to introduce.

StephaniePowers Thu 18-Apr-13 12:00:15

iclaudius various groups have campaigned for heterosexual civil partnerships and been rebuffed: it's just not a high priority and someone always says 'but you have it, you can get married in a register office, stop wasting our time'.

iclaudius Thu 18-Apr-13 11:56:30

Please please lotta start a MN campaign for heterosexual civil partnership s . Dp and me have been together maybe 23-4 years loads of kids and desperate to civil partnership ....

So unfair

dublinrose37 Thu 18-Apr-13 11:28:58

I could take or leave marriage. We did it to cover ourselves re inheritance tax, if one of us died the other would have to pay approx 33% of the value of our house to the tax man and there is no way we would have that money so it would mean selling the house. I wasn't going to put myself or him through that when getting married would secure our home.

Next of kin was also an issue, when I was pregnant with our first baby DH had an accident and I'll never forget the way I was treated by staff just because I was his girlfriend and not his wife. I might as well have been a stranger. That is not something I want to repeat.

We had a very small wedding, we don't wear rings, I kept my name so I don't feel married. I don't feel any different to how I did as his partner but I like the feeling of security re the home. It helps me sleep easier at night.

Jan49 Wed 17-Apr-13 23:42:57

I got married, over 20 years ago, divorced about 15 years later. We were cohabiting and happy with that but felt pressure on both sides of the family to marry. To me, getting married also felt like the next step towards having a child as I didn't really see having a child outside marriage as an option I'd want. I saw the wedding as a nice day out and an occasion which would keep the families happy and I didn't expect it to make any difference to our relationship and it didn't make any difference. I didn't take much notice of the legal difference it makes regarding what happens if you split up but I believed we would never split up so I really didn't feel it applied.

The other thing that bothered me was that older generations in our families treated our relationship as less significant until we got married. So a couple who had been together for a year and were married would be seen as a serious couple whereas a couple who had been together for years but weren't married were seen more like a new bf and gf. Such as over who to spend Christmas with.

I didn't change my surname and we didn't wear rings.

The only time being married really mattered was, sadly, when we split up. I remained in the family home with our son for a long time but that might not have happened if we'd been unmarried. I don't think I'd have coped with having to move at that stage so I'm grateful for the protection it gave me. But if I could go back and give myself some advice, I'd say don't marry him or have a child with him.

I never wanted to get married, however as a sahm to young kids I realised marriage was good protection for both of us really. Plus it sent a signal to us, to dcs and dsc that we really were family...
I still bizarrely identify more with the unmarrieds - call dh 'my partner' I'm still ms maiden name. I'm deluded.

HullMum Wed 17-Apr-13 19:59:36

I'd have totally kept my name if it had been either of those Stephanie grin it'd be hilarious

StephaniePowers Wed 17-Apr-13 18:49:45

I think 'despise' is too strong a word, but though I try to remain neutral, I do secretly think it's a bit crap. Unless a woman is getting rid of a surname like Fister or Twatt.
I wouldn't ever say that though. (Except here.) It is everyone's free choice and it is a tradition of sorts.

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