Benefits of Marriage

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Benefits of Marriage

Postby quintopia » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:29 am UTC

What are the benefits of marriage, after the ceremony, that are impossible to achieve without marriage, i.e. with long-term committed relationships? I think that since marriage doesn't have quite as many mandatory aspects associated with it, and divorce is so prevalent, it has lost much of its power. It's still useful for establishing legitimate heirs to titles, etc. but that stuff just doesn't apply to most people. Are there legal and economic benefits that I'm not seeing?

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Hawknc » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:33 am UTC

There's definite legal and tax benefits, but they vary depending on your state and country. If that's your reason for getting into it, though, then you're likely to become one of those divorce statistics pretty quickly.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby 3.14159265... » Mon Nov 19, 2007 3:38 am UTC

Don't common law marriages get the same legal benefits?
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Nov 19, 2007 5:23 am UTC

No.
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby quintopia » Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:31 pm UTC

Can you be any more specific? What sorts of benefits are you referring to?

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby EvanED » Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:54 pm UTC

Hmm, searching for "tax benefits marriage" gives as the first link a page with the following financial benefits:

  • Workplace health and pension benefits coverage. While some companies offer health coverage to domestic partners, this benefit is typically taxable as income. When spouses are covered, the benefit is tax-free.
  • Social Security retirement and survivor benefits. A husband or wife is entitled to one-half of the spouses Social Security benefits and to additional benefits in the event of death.
  • Lower insurance rates. Married people usually get a discount on auto insurance and may pay less for other types of insurance.
  • Automatic inheritance rights. Die without a will, and your spouse gets your stuff. In many states, the surviving spouse has a legal right to at least one-third to one-half of your estate.
  • Preferential estate tax treatment. The $1 million estate tax limitation doesnt apply to married people: you can leave an unlimited amount to a spouse without owing one penny of estate tax. In certain states, this benefit is multiplied by special capital-gains tax treatment for homes and other assets held by married couples as community property.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Hawknc » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:10 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:Don't common law marriages get the same legal benefits?

I'm assuming this is similar to de facto relationships, which are not legally recognised as marriages and don't get all the same benefits as marriages in Australia (though state legislation gives many of these rights to de facto couples in the absence of any federal legislation on the issue).

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Belial » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:27 pm UTC

Just the ones I've run into:

-Workplace health and life insurance also covers your spouse if you have one, but won't cover your live-in girlfriend.

-A married couple can qualify for the income requirements of an apartment rental as a single unit. That is, if the apartment requires each tenant to make 1200 a month in order to rent there, a married couple counts as a single "tenant" and combines their income, whereas a live-in couple has to qualify separately.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby AKADriver » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:55 pm UTC

Don't discount that the social benefits, as messy as they may be, are very real. This goes for any situation where you're dealing with an entrenched social convention. There's no particular reason to wear clothing in the summertime, either, but you get the idea.

Before the concept of religious freedom existed, legality and morality were nearly indistinguishable. Thus exists the concept of legal marriage for commoners; the legal document "makes right" the social and religious relationship. On this note, some libertarians have called for an end to legal marriage entirely for precisely the reason that law and morality are, in their view, now completely separate realms.

If your personal beliefs don't call for the conventions of Western marriage in a committed relationship - the rings and the ceremony and so on - it may still be worth getting the license for social reasons alone.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 19, 2007 2:59 pm UTC

Where I live (Ontario, Canada) there aren't any tax or insurance benefits, but my wife and I are now considered the closest next of kin, for things like deciding on healthcare when the other person cannot communicate, and whatnot.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Indon » Mon Nov 19, 2007 6:14 pm UTC

3.14159265... wrote:Don't common law marriages get the same legal benefits?


This is dependent on the state. In some states, common law marriages are the same. In others, they have a lesser status. In still others, there is no concept of common-law marriage at all.
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Umlaut » Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:20 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
3.14159265... wrote:Don't common law marriages get the same legal benefits?


This is dependent on the state. In some states, common law marriages are the same. In others, they have a lesser status. In still others, there is no concept of common-law marriage at all.

Also, what constitutes a common law marriage varies widely all over the world.
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby cathrl » Mon Nov 19, 2007 7:53 pm UTC

There's no common-law marriage in the UK at all. Some very long term partners have had an extremely unpleasant shock when one of them has died intestate, it comes up on the news every so often.

As far as other benefits go, I guess it's mostly the public, legally binding expression of commitment. I know divorce is common and accepted these days...but still, when you agree to marry someone, you are in effect saying to them "as far as I'm concerned, this relationship is forever." Personally there's no way I'd have had kids with anyone who wasn't prepared to say that.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby sunkistbabe1 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:42 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:What are the benefits of marriage, after the ceremony, that are impossible to achieve without marriage, i.e. with long-term committed relationships? I think that since marriage doesn't have quite as many mandatory aspects associated with it, and divorce is so prevalent, it has lost much of its power. It's still useful for establishing legitimate heirs to titles, etc. but that stuff just doesn't apply to most people. Are there legal and economic benefits that I'm not seeing?


I'm married, and I have to say.... there are no differences besides my name change. I can honestly not see any benefits that one can only get out of marriage. We have a joint account now... but I'm sure you can do that without getting married.

As far as I know, common law relationships are considered the same as marriage, where I am in Canada anyway. On tax forms I can say my partner is common law. He could get 1/2 my stuff if we separated and were not married.

We did not need the ring to commit ourselves to each other, and were perfectly happy continuing our relationship without marriage. But... it's still the 'norm' when you're in a long term committed relationship, and I think our families were very happy to see us married, so we figured why not. I got to wear a nice dress, we ate lots of food, drank lots of wine, had 80 friends and family around for a party... it was fun. :)

Marriage is basically telling your government you just committed... If you're not prepared to actually do that to the person you are marrying, then you might end up a statistic.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 19, 2007 8:59 pm UTC

sunkistbabe1 wrote:He could get 1/2 my stuff if we separated and were not married.


Actually, that's not true, or at least isn't true in Ontario. I'm pretty sure it's not true in most if not all of the other provinces as well.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby sunkistbabe1 » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:08 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
sunkistbabe1 wrote:He could get 1/2 my stuff if we separated and were not married.


Actually, that's not true, or at least isn't true in Ontario. I'm pretty sure it's not true in most if not all of the other provinces as well.


Might not be, I never really looked that hard into it. But when you are common law, it's suppose to be the same as if you were married, and separated. You can go to court over who gets what...
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby iop » Mon Nov 19, 2007 9:28 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:What are the benefits of marriage, after the ceremony, that are impossible to achieve without marriage, i.e. with long-term committed relationships?

In my case, confirming my commitment in front of about 200 people did turn the relationship into something closer, but YMMV.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby gtg947h » Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:03 am UTC

IMO, governments shouldn't be recognizing "marriage" as such. There should be "domestic partnerships" which any two mentally-competent adults could enter, and would solely provide the tax and other economic/inheritance benefits. Whether you call it a marriage, or have a ceremony, would be between you and your family/friends/church/etc.

I just got married a few weeks ago... the only reason we did it was for the legal stuff, and as a way to announce to everyone else what we already knew. We would have done a partnership as above, were one offered. But this is Georgia...

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby 3.14159265... » Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:17 am UTC

Thats actually wierd.

I once heard from an economist that the legal rights of common law marriges were almost exactly the same as those of other marriges.

This is in Canada. I have no idea how any of it works though, and have too big of a project to look into anything else. I will later though.
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Barbie » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:24 am UTC

The thing that appeals to me about marriage is that everything is done explicitly. It's a -contract- that you have to sign. In British Columbia, Canada, if live with a partner for more than two years, you are considered common law and have pretty much the same legal considerations as a married couple. No conversation, no agreement, no clarification, you just pass that arbitrary point in time.

As someone mentioned before, you don't -need- marriage specifically to gain the benefits of explicit agreement and unambiguous communication about the terms of the relationship, but you can't be much clearer than an official contract.
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby sunkistbabe1 » Tue Nov 20, 2007 5:37 am UTC

Barbie wrote:As someone mentioned before, you don't -need- marriage specifically to gain the benefits of explicit agreement and unambiguous communication about the terms of the relationship, but you can't be much clearer than an official contract.


Excellent point. The same thing I was thinking, but more eloquently put. ;)

I guess a marriage license is a way of saying to everyone "This is the person I love and want to be with forever". Without that, some might still doubt your commitment, that you stay together for 'convenience' more than commitment and loyalty, and love. There are also still some hangups out there about having children out of wedlock etc. But oh well.

I like the sounds of the domestic partnership. A lot of the fight against gay marriage is because it defies the traditional definition of marriage. The traditional definition is something done by a church, and the proceedings are dictated by the church's traditions and beliefs. 'Marriage' should stay between you, your significant other, and your church. If you want to gain any tax benefits from being together, a partnership license should be appointed by the government. Makes tons of sense to me...
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby zenten » Tue Nov 20, 2007 1:42 pm UTC

sunkistbabe1 wrote:
zenten wrote:
sunkistbabe1 wrote:He could get 1/2 my stuff if we separated and were not married.


Actually, that's not true, or at least isn't true in Ontario. I'm pretty sure it's not true in most if not all of the other provinces as well.


Might not be, I never really looked that hard into it. But when you are common law, it's suppose to be the same as if you were married, and separated. You can go to court over who gets what...


Well, you can, but if you can prove that it was your stuff before the relationship started, it's yours in common law. If you're married, it's split half and half, baring a prenup. Again, talking about Ontario here. I looked into this (or rather, my now wife did most of the looking) before we got married last month, as we wanted to make sure that it was actually worth all the hassle.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby krunzi » Tue Nov 20, 2007 11:13 pm UTC

This may be a bit more of a side-effect compared to what has already been mentioned.

Studies done on 'family economics', where you try and set up economic models and theories for family matters, show that married couples in general have a higher probability of moving to rural areas where housing etc. is more affordable than in the urban areas. So in that way there may also be an economic benefit in getting married (though it is a bit of a 'shady' subject with lots of unknown factors) :P

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby sunkistbabe1 » Wed Nov 21, 2007 12:40 am UTC

krunzi wrote:This may be a bit more of a side-effect compared to what has already been mentioned.

Studies done on 'family economics', where you try and set up economic models and theories for family matters, show that married couples in general have a higher probability of moving to rural areas where housing etc. is more affordable than in the urban areas. So in that way there may also be an economic benefit in getting married (though it is a bit of a 'shady' subject with lots of unknown factors) :P


Is this because a lot of married couples have children? Because I can't see how having a wedding would suddenly make me want to move to a different area, unless I was planning on having children and was looking for a better area for raising them.

Or maybe this is simply a preconception that if a couple remains unmarried, then they are not really that committed to each other, and may not have children, and stay together only for convenience, so are more likely to stay in the city to work.

It could very well be true that a high percentage Married couples move to rural areas, simply because they decided to get married before having children, and now want a more affordable house in smaller town. It's a bit of a misleading conclusion though. Because anyone can move to a rural area to find cheaper housing, and cash in on the economic benefit.
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Belial » Wed Nov 21, 2007 3:14 pm UTC

It could very well be true that a high percentage Married couples move to rural areas, simply because they decided to get married before having children, and now want a more affordable house in smaller town. It's a bit of a misleading conclusion though. Because anyone can move to a rural area to find cheaper housing, and cash in on the economic benefit.


And if you're not married and not planning to have kids, you don't even have to care how good the school district is!
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby d33p » Wed Nov 21, 2007 3:20 pm UTC

It also strikes me that there might be a psychological component to signing your name on the dotted line: it makes backing out just a little bit harder. Sure, a lot of folks are willing to go through the hassle - and some just bail, and don't sweat the paperwork.
I'd hypothesize that if we looked, we'd find a longer timeframe of consideration before declaring the relationship insolvent in a legally-bound marriage versus partnership or common-law, if only to avoid the cost and frustration of divorce proceedings.
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Slacker Virtuoso » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:35 pm UTC

iop wrote:In my case, confirming my commitment in front of about 200 people did turn the relationship into something closer, but YMMV.


Agreed. Declaring your feelings and vows in front of your family and friends is much harder than you would think, and is much grander than just two people. I really felt that I wasn't just bringing two people together, but our whole family and communities. Even the process of planning the wedding (and taking some mandatory wedding preparation classes) teaches quite a bit about yourself and your spouse.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Hawknc » Wed Nov 21, 2007 5:47 pm UTC

Slacker Virtuoso wrote:Even the process of planning the wedding (and taking some mandatory wedding preparation classes) teaches quite a bit about yourself and your spouse.

I'm not generally a big "QFT" person, but that most definitely deserves a QFT. Not that we took any wedding preparation classes, but we had a year to work the kinks out and the day went pretty smoothly. A whole host of things that you've just never thought to ask about your spouse come up in the organisation of a wedding.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby sunkistbabe1 » Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:35 pm UTC

Hawknc wrote:
Slacker Virtuoso wrote:Even the process of planning the wedding (and taking some mandatory wedding preparation classes) teaches quite a bit about yourself and your spouse.

I'm not generally a big "QFT" person, but that most definitely deserves a QFT. Not that we took any wedding preparation classes, but we had a year to work the kinks out and the day went pretty smoothly. A whole host of things that you've just never thought to ask about your spouse come up in the organisation of a wedding.


planning our wedding was one of the easier things I have done... as long as you do not buy any magazines telling you what you 'have to do' at a wedding. I did ours in 4 months and it was pretty simple. Of course, I'm not one of those who start crying and throwing hissy fits if their bouquet is 2 shades off from the one they chose... etc... ;)

Food... check
Guests... check
guy to marry us... check
booze...check
Toss some decorations together from the dollar store... check
Dress... check

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Hawknc » Wed Nov 21, 2007 6:38 pm UTC

Well yeah, one of the important things you discover when planning a wedding is whether or not you're about to marry a bridezilla. ;)

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby zenten » Wed Nov 21, 2007 7:02 pm UTC

Slacker Virtuoso wrote:
iop wrote:In my case, confirming my commitment in front of about 200 people did turn the relationship into something closer, but YMMV.


Agreed. Declaring your feelings and vows in front of your family and friends is much harder than you would think, and is much grander than just two people. I really felt that I wasn't just bringing two people together, but our whole family and communities. Even the process of planning the wedding (and taking some mandatory wedding preparation classes) teaches quite a bit about yourself and your spouse.


Plus having just spent around $10,000 on a wedding (that's including everything though, including the honeymoon) I don't want to see it go to waste any time soon ;)

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby quintopia » Wed Nov 21, 2007 10:42 pm UTC

I don't see how a ceremony can be construed as a benefit. Someone has to pay for it, and someone has to put everything together and organize it. There are cheaper ways to declare your feelings in front your families. . . .

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby Slacker Virtuoso » Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:51 am UTC

quintopia wrote:I don't see how a ceremony can be construed as a benefit. Someone has to pay for it, and someone has to put everything together and organize it. There are cheaper ways to declare your feelings in front your families. . . .


True. The big thing to remember is that for a lot of families, the ceremony isn't just about the bride and groom, it's about the families as well. It's a very important symbol of a child leaving the family and starting a new family. For many families, the tradition is very important.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby iop » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:14 am UTC

Slacker Virtuoso wrote:
quintopia wrote:I don't see how a ceremony can be construed as a benefit. Someone has to pay for it, and someone has to put everything together and organize it. There are cheaper ways to declare your feelings in front your families. . . .


True. The big thing to remember is that for a lot of families, the ceremony isn't just about the bride and groom, it's about the families as well. It's a very important symbol of a child leaving the family and starting a new family. For many families, the tradition is very important.


Very true. The ceremony to some extent, but certainly the party afterwards is for the guests. And you don't need to spend nearly as much money as the US wedding organizers want to make you believe.

Many of these big events - wedding, funeral, coming-of-age - have been with humans for a very long time. Because they fulfill an important function. Otherwise, they would have died away like many other traditions over time.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby zenten » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:48 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:I don't see how a ceremony can be construed as a benefit. Someone has to pay for it, and someone has to put everything together and organize it. There are cheaper ways to declare your feelings in front your families. . . .


It was a very fun party that got together people important to us who would normally never meet.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby quintopia » Mon Nov 26, 2007 7:53 am UTC

Oh, yes, the party. That's what I'm talking about! That's the "much better way"! Skip the ceremony and go straight for the party.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 26, 2007 2:33 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:Oh, yes, the party. That's what I'm talking about! That's the "much better way"! Skip the ceremony and go straight for the party.


*shrugs*

For me at least the ceremony was only a few hundred dollars, and lasted like 20 minutes. The full party was the work and the cost, tacking on the ceremony at the beginning is no big deal.

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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby litework » Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:56 pm UTC

d33p wrote:It also strikes me that there might be a psychological component to signing your name on the dotted line: it makes backing out just a little bit harder.


Talk about psychological :?

My ex-husband and I were together for six years and very happy. As soon as we got married, for some reason things went to crap... now getting married for tax benefits and such sounds all good and jolly to me, just be careful in which country you choose to get married.

I was married in Brazil, and besides the 0 benefits accrued from the 'regime' we were married in, according to Brazilian law, divorce is only possible TWO YEARS after the couple is physically separated. And you have to PROVE it.

See, that's the problem with religious countries - Brazil is a Catholic country and all this crap is interweaved into the law. They do this because (in case you are unaware) Catholics are a teeny-tiny bit anti-divorce and they believe the couple should be given ample time for reconciliation.

Shiiiiiiiiiiiiit now i am stuck with an "ex" but "not-yet-ex" who has a girflriend.

I guess this should not be in the "BENEFITS of marriage" thread; is there a rant one? :lol:
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby segmentation fault » Fri Jan 04, 2008 5:00 pm UTC

quintopia wrote:I don't see how a ceremony can be construed as a benefit. Someone has to pay for it, and someone has to put everything together and organize it. There are cheaper ways to declare your feelings in front your families. . . .


Well, the ceremony and the reception are 2 different things :)
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Re: Benefits of Marriage

Postby KevorkianKat » Fri Jan 04, 2008 8:52 pm UTC

If you are actively looking for benefits of marriage for reasons directly related to convincing you or your spouse getting married, don't fucking do it. Seriously, just give up the idea of getting married altogether, because if you need a benefit other than the commitment that marriage (in most countries) gives each of you to each other, just fuck it all now, while you aren't legally bound to another person, and don't get in that boat. Taking the marriage plunge is only for people who are mature enough to grasp the whole ball of wax for responsibility of another human being, regardless of the consequences that may come with it. Before you even ask what kind of benefits you get (tax, economic or other than social) you should already be married.

DO NOT GET MARRIED FOR TAX BREAKS.

I've know a number of people to get married for varied reasons, and the only ones that are even remotely stable and have lasted are the ones who:

A) Got married after dating each other for eight years
B) Got married after spilling each others guts to each other for a year on the internet (which is IMHO, more open that face to face), living with each other for a year and have a lot of the same values (not always how to apply them, but the same basic reasonings)
C) Got married after a year of dating stemming from a 1 night stand

Ok, that last one sucks, but for the most part, it's been divorce after divorce with "young love" marriages, "you're hot" marriages, and yes "LET'S GET MORE MONEY FOR GETTING MARRIED MARRIAGES" of which I have seen THREE. One ended in quite a bitter spat between the two (who still had to work together), another ended in a suicide and the last one ended in just plain old hurt feelings because one person felt "used" because they loved the other person while the feelings weren't quite mutual (or seemingly so).

By the way, the exact ratio of divorces/stable marriages for is: 3 good ones/7 failed ones

But I live in the US, so maybe I just have a different (but secular) point of view of marriage (and especially a higher rate of divorces). I'm also married (I'm the internet guy) and we had a $50 ceremony, to include the license ($35) and the rings ($15). We've been happily married five years now :)


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