The Meaning Of Marriage: A History Of Partnerships And Unions From The Ancient World To The Present Day
Will An “Is My Husband A Narcissist” Quiz Online Help Me Figure Out If My Spouse Is Truly A Narcissist?
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Horn, LMFT, MA
What is marriage?
From the time that we are children, many of us think about marriage. Marriage is special. Marriage refers to the legal joining of two people. The common law used to be that marriage was between a man and a woman, and upon getting married and saying vows, you'd be announced husband and wife. Historically, same-sex couples were not able to get married. In 2015, the Supreme Court declared marriage legal in all states for same-sex couples. Prior to the decision made by the Supreme Court, same-sex marriage was only legal in some states, and before that, it was not legal at all. Same-sex couples pushed for this right for a long time, as did their allies.
Why do people get married?
People get married for a variety of reasons. Most of the time people meet and fall in love and marriage is the next step in their relationship. Romance is at the core of their decision to take their vows to each other. Other times people get married for legal purposes or benefits related to the common law. By law, marriage means that you can receive healthcare benefits that your partner holds and that you can file taxes jointly. However, people get married for reasons other than those related to the legal benefits affiliated with marriage. Marriage is special to a lot of people, and many have dreamed of their wedding ceremony for all of their lives. It can be a way to show that you're devoted to your partner. Most people consider marriage to be a sacred covenant.
Can you have a long-term relationship without getting married?
Yes, you can have a long-term relationship without getting married. Some people are together for all of their lives but are never legally joined through marriage. Marriage is not for everyone. For some, it's just not an important part of a relationship. People's opinions on marriage vary from person to person, as does their personal desire to get married. It's important to respect other people's choices as they pertain to marriage. Marriage is something that a lot of people choose to take on, but it doesn't make a romantic partnership or long-term relationship any less sacred or serious if a couple chooses not to get married. Similarly, it's important to respect the choices of a couple when it comes to their wedding. Some people choose to have large ceremonies, whereas others prefer small ones.
What should I do if my partner and I don't know if we want to get married?
It's okay to be uncertain about if you want to get married or not. Perhaps, both of you aren't sure about marriage, or perhaps one of you wants to get married, and the other prefers to have a long-term relationship without marriage. Marriage counseling and premarital counseling helps so many couples. Premarital counseling specifically can help you get prepared for marriage and work through any issues related to potentially getting married. There is nothing shameful about not knowing, and there is nothing shameful about wanting to talk through things with a mental health provider. It's important to work through any issues that you have as a couple prior to marriage so that they don't interfere once you are married.
If you are a same-sex couple and are interested in getting married but have concerns to work through, there are LGBTQ affirming therapists that work specifically with couples who are LGBTQ. Same-sex couples who are pursuing same-sex marriage may face unique issues. They may face disagreement from family members who are not accepting of their relationship. They may wonder how their employer or friends will treat them. No matter what the circumstances of your relationship are, it is essential to talk to someone who understands.
Get help in your marriage
If you are experiencing issues related to your marriage or romantic partnership, couples counseling can help. The counselors at ReGain.com are well versed in helping couples through any hardships that they are experiencing. You can also get individual counseling if you feel that an individual therapist would be more helpful for you as a person. Online counseling is an excellent way to get the help that you and your spouse need. You can see an online counselor from the privacy of your own home, and it's often cheaper than traditional therapy.