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Marriage of Convenience Types

7 Marriages of Convenience

On Big Love last night, there was a marriage of convenience. (Warning: spoilers ahead!). You know the type. When the third wife of a polygamist, who isn't legally married to him, marries the about-to-be-deported fiancé of the polygamist's ex-fourth-wife because she's pregnant with the polygamist's child. Phew! Yes, there are so many marriages of convenience, yet what they so rarely are is convenient.

Besides proving a relationship that doesn't exist, you have to endure a legal relationship with someone you may hardly know. It can lead to all sorts of money problems — extortion in the worst case — and that's before the inevitable divorce. Not to mention marriage fraud is punishable by up to five years in jail. Lesson? Don't be sloppy!

But it's not yet wedding season, so I'm not here to tell you how to make a marriage go off without actually getting hitched. Let's look at all the reasons people say "I do" when their heart says "I can't."

  1. Immigration: Getting married so one party can stay in a country or gain residency is probably the most common marriage sham. Even I have flirted with the idea!
  2. Cover-up: The marriage could be a beard that's covering up homosexuality or a lie that's covering up, let's say, rampant sex with multiple women. Either way the most detrimental thing about this marriage is usually the only person who knows the "arrangement" is the one benefiting.
  3. Power: Back in the land-owning days, people married to meld fortunes and increase power. Today we still see it when two political, celebrity, or business powers join forces.

See the rest after the jump.

  1. Publicity: Whether it's to drum up buzz or distract the public from something less savory, the publicity marriage can spark the media or kill the press.
  2. Health insurance: This is less of a problem now that so many companies insure domestic partners, but marrying to have access to health insurance is as sensible a reason as any. At least, there's usually love involved!
  3. Military: On the barracks you have to live with roommates unless you are married, so why not just love the one you're with. Now!
  4. Protection: This isn't so common anymore, but marrying someone from a marginalized group is a way to protect them from aggressors. This was especially true in Nazi-occupied regions during World War II.

Have you seen any marriage shams make it down the aisle?

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