Marriage vs. Living Together

Before 1964, a couple would never even think of living together without first becoming married. As of this writing, the opposite has happened, more and more couples are choosing to have trial marriages by living together for a period of time before tying the knot-if ever.

The reasons for this change of heart are both sadly financial and social. Many young couples balk at the traditions of their elders, and simply won’t be told what the right approach for their choice of lifestyle is. More common, however, is that the financial part of being married does not seem at first glance to lend itself to choosing marriage as a wise alternative to living together.

If your boyfriend or girlfriend has an enormous amount of debt, marrying them invite collection agencies to go after your money as well. If you are married, both incomes are taken into account when applying for grants, loans, and most state sponsored help, such as food stamps or energy assistance. Because of these shortcomings, it is much easier to not marry, rather than to not get the help your family might need because of your combined income.

One change in this state attitude is the possibility of providing more money to couples with a baby if they get married or are at least using their combined incomes to support the children. Once upon a time the parent with custody could go on welfare and the go through an intrusive and demeaning series of questions in order to get the other parent to pay child support. Some states found it much easier to simply increase the amount given to the couple if they stayed together.

Other couples choose living together rather than traditional marriage because of the cost of divorce. The paperwork involved and the time spent trying to financially break up-which is, in fact, what divorce boils down to-isn’t worth the effort.

Other couples do not feel the need to legally get married, preferring instead the ancient pagan tradition of standing before friends and their god to pledge to each other their love and devotion. In pagan marriages, this is called hand fasting, and is intended for a year and a day. If everything works out, they “re-up” their commitments. If it doesn’t, they each leave the relationship with whatever material possessions they came into it with, no harm, and no foul. This tradition of announcing couple ship has been around much longer than traditional, legal, marriages where once you tie the knot, half of everything you own-including your debts-belong to the other person.

The truth is that there are more couples world wide that have stayed together as married for years with the paperwork legally binding them to one another than there are “civil” marriages. The arguments both for and against are strong. Some people fell that God can see that they are married, why do they have to get a piece of (expensive) paper? Other’s feel that not making the legal commitment of union makes it too easy to leave the relationship, and not make a sincere attempt at working on the marriage, giving up too soon. I say God has made marriage a sacred act, and if you are married, everything will work out as it should