I was reading an article about older couples who choose to have a marriage ceremony, but forgo signing the papers. The gist of the article, in AARP’s newsletter, was that these older couples would lose too much of their financial assets if they legally join, so they fake a wedding to keep family happy and clueless. I had to smile at the idea that living in sin is so scandalous that they would rather live a marital lie, but that is just me.
When my husband and I married it was more important to him to have the legal and moral comforts of being joined as one. I loved him to pieces, still do, but had no issues with simply living together. In my case, I knew I was bringing little into the marital assets, and didn’t want him to feel he was getting caught financially. My husband wisely suggested we go to pre-marital counseling where our money differences were brought up and discussed. It helped me say, “YES!” when the ring arrived in a glass of champagne one night.
My mom also struggled with the question of marriage after she divorced my father. She moved in with a man who became her monogamous partner for over 20 years, but she couldn’t, she wouldn’t, marry him. Her Social Security benefits would have been negatively altered if she took him as her legal husband, so they bumbled along never really establishing who was to pay for what and when. I don’t think she ever regretted her decision, but there were many times we (her children) felt like she was being taken advantage of in the money-sharing role. As usual, relationships are crafted on individual preferences, and I’m not going to judge. Money versus love. What do you think?