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Does Being Married Matter?

Does Being Married Matter?

Does being married matter? Many women have strong personal and/or religious reasons for choosing marriage, but others feel conflicted over whether marriage is the right path for them. The decision only gets more complicated when kids enter the picture. Hundreds of moms have shared their diverse perspectives in Circle of Moms conversations about marriage, and here we’re rounding up opinions on four key questions you might be asking yourself.

Does Marriage Change Relationships?

One of the main issues many women grapple with is whether being married changes your relationship. Circle of Moms members have mixed opinions. “I think being married makes you work harder,” says Sammy J., and Dyan B. agrees: “I honestly never thought marriage was going to make my relationship stronger, or different, and that it was just a piece of paper. But now...I've realized that there is something there that wasn't before marriage. I'm more resolved in US, and I will do anything to make sure my vows to him are upheld.”

Other moms feel the opposite is true. As Amy S. explains of her long-term boyfriend: “He's been married and divorced twice and in his experience, once you have the ring and piece of paper, people stop trying and putting any effort into the relationship. Recently, he told me that without the legal commitment, it makes him work harder.” 


And yet, other moms say nothing changes at all!

Is Being Married Better for the Kids?

In addition to pondering how marriage changes a relationship, many women wonder whether it's better to be married when you have kids.


Some Circle of Moms members do feel that marriage creates more stability. But others, like Sarah M., say that a long-term committed relationship is no different: “I think a couple that have lived together for years and years are just as good for the kids as a married couple.” An anonymous member agrees that serious committed relationships between parents aren't worse for the kids than having married parents: “I think you can teach all the same 'lessons' about love, dedication, trust, faithfulness, commitment, consideration, understanding, patience, about relationships in general."

Does Society View Married Couples Differently?

Social perceptions of married couples compared to non-married couples also play a role in the decision for many moms.

Moms like Amanda M. feel strongly that a child should have the same last name as both of his or her parents: “I don't want him to grow up and ask why Mommy doesn't have the same last name as him and his Daddy.”

And as Esther D. explains, the phrases “husband and wife” and “boyfriend and girlfriend” simply don’t carry the same connotation in many societies: “My (now) husband and I are both Dutch and in Holland it really isn't that unusual at all for people to be in long term committed relationships (with or without kids) and never get married….However, when we moved to the US, we…reached a point where we felt calling each other ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ didn't quite capture the seriousness of our relationship anymore and we found ourselves just calling each other ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ to other people on occasion because it was just easier that way.”

Are There Legal Reasons to Marry?

It's important to be aware of the legal repercussions of getting married (or not) for your particular country or state. Depending on where you live, legal considerations may be a reason to marry. “I do think there are significant legal benefits to marriage that are in the best interests of children,” says Circle of Moms member Jenifer, including “inheritance, custody, tax breaks, etc.”

But the legal implications of marriage aren't the same everywhere, notes Canadian mom Aurora T.: “Here in Canada, not being married has no effect on inheritance, custody or tax breaks.”

Image Source: S.Su via Flick/Creative Commons

Join The Conversation
RichardCornell RichardCornell 5 years
I being a male have not ever been marry. Nor will I ever get marry. For decades my mother would ask when I was getting marry. I would come back is that She (my mother) knew the backgrounds of some of the women that I dated and would She want them as daughter-in-law. Hell no She would say. My mother worked for a OB/GYN I would ask about women that I was dated if She had records on them. Some I found out about, so that I was put on alert. Not to do stupid things with them. Others since I wanted to stay single not to do stupid things with. If most females could read the mind of the guys they are having sex with they would decided to stay single or become lesbians. They will realize that men are in it for a status of having children, sex, and someone to play mommy to them. Mommy as in, wash clothes, cook food, do dishes. Most females would realize that they did not just marry him, but his family, his male friends, his car. That she is just another toy when he is tired of will toss away. The TV program "Married with Children" while funny rings true. In our society as in other cultures two people getting marry is needed. A child needs a father since to be born without a father name on a birth certificate is a real legal problem. Then there is the bank accounts, his parents inheritance, he might find that your family is not at his level they are trash, but your great in other ways. Females seems never get beyond the fact that he will not be a good clean loyal husband nor is capable of being a loving father for the next 50 years. If he has been divorce should you not find out from his ex why. She might tell you that his lifestyle change the second "I Do" was said. Better how long after the Honeymoon did you find that you got find out he is gay? If there is a child somewhere in this mess, being marry is a must. If not walk, run, fly away.
DeeGordon DeeGordon 6 years
dee as far as i am concerned Daria doesn't know what she is talking about comments like hers should be thrown in the garbage . She acts like she can't stand being in the usa so go live somewhere else and don't down people in our country
JudithPike JudithPike 6 years
Shouldn't the question be what is the child's relationship with each parent or step-parent?
MandiAllison MandiAllison 6 years
I have been married and divorced twice. I have a daughter from my first marriage. My experience with her is that it is not whether I am married or not that effects her, it is about how strong the relationship is. When living with someone before marriage, she was just fine and felt good about that because of the family cirlce that it brings. Marriage is a piece of paper that either helps or henders individuals depending on their beliefs or attitude towards a married union. I am Christian and do believe in marriage, but I do not think that marriage is the answer to raising a strong healthy family.
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