Tuesday, June 29, 2010

the ring on my finger

the ring on my finger

My partner and I have been together for over thirteen years. We met in India, travelled around a bit and when in the same city together have been inseparable. (and when we’re in different cities our phone bills our out of this world) We never really ‘moved in together’ because from the day we met we were sharing our life – including find a place to sleep for the night or live.

Our tenth anniversary together was the month after we’d had our first child. To celebrate Dave gave me a ring. I adore it. Unexplainably it makes me feel all warm and fuzzy when I see it on my finger. I suppose it is a physical reminder of his love for me, just as is the tattoo on his arm that bares my name.

There have been times in our relationship when we have discussed getting married but we never had. I can’t really tell you why we haven’t. There is no one reason that we’ve discussed that has put us off. The thought of spending the day with our families in that pressure-cooker environment has always been a huge turn off, just as the expense of hosting a wedding has been. Of course we could have always snuck down to the registry office to get hitched, but we’ve just never been inclined. I love him. He loves me. We’re spending our lives together – and intend to for as long as we’re both breathing. Frankly I don’t really think about us not being married – because aside from the formal paper work we already are.

This weekend past was the sewing guild monthly meeting. It is an eclectic bunch of women, most of whom are a fair bit older than me. This Saturday I wasn’t in the zone for sewing, so I traced up a few patterns but spent most of the gathering watching others and chatting. It was lovely to get to know them more. An older member who is a great-grandmother asked me if she could question me without posing offence. She asked why I wasn’t married and then asked “but what about the children?” In the discussion that followed it became clear that she was concerned about my children’s illegitimacy. I’ve gotta say that I’d never really even thought about it. I’m not against being married, so if it becomes an important issue for my children I’ll happily wed Dave.

Julia Gillard is our first female Prime Minister. Perhaps she is our first Prime Minister to have red hair too? I suspect that she is probably our first unmarried Prime Minister, and perhaps even our first childless Prime Minister.

So I ask you… why are you married or unmarried? Is it important to you… or did it just kind of happen? Did or will becoming a parent affect your attitude? A penny for your thoughts…

16 comments:

  1. Being married means I have made promises in front of all my loved ones, I have publicly declared a united front. Its a valuable reminder to me especially in tough times. And I also just wanted to make it easy for myself legally and with paperwork! Its very individual though, and I don't think it makes a jot of difference to the way children are raised.

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  2. We spoke about getting married last night. We aren't obviously, but it doesn't matter, though I would like to and its partly because I was once, a lifetime ago (married) and will find it hard to explain to my kids why I married someone else once but not their Dad. We have decided though that if we do we are dodging the extended fam, and going away for a nice holiday instead ;)

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  3. We are not married and probably never will. We know we are committed to each other and it's obvious to our families etc as well. For us we don't need a piece of paper to tell us what we already know.

    It's funny how other people feel about it. I had a girlfriend that for 7 years kept asking when we were getting married, funnily enough she stopped asking when hers fell apart.

    We have been together for 10 1/2 years and going strong :)

    It is very individual though and a lot of people don't understand it I guess, especially the older generation, because that's what was done back in the day, you met a man, fell in love and got married. These days more often that not it's done in reverse LOL

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  4. we aren't married either, have been together for 11 1/2 years and don't really intend on getting married. it's not important to us & doesn't mean things will be better or different if we were.
    we love each other & our two children and that is all we need.
    getting married to please someone else isn't what we are about.

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  5. For a different perspective....Both Craig and I have been married before. We have grown up children and are not faced with the usual reasons. We will probably never get married because Craig is so disillusioned. Funnily enough he is the one man I could imagine myself marrying. It doesn't really matter though. I feel very committed and intertwined and the financials are just another part. Recently friends in a similar relationship situation eloped and it had me wondering why I must admit. I didn't consider them any less married before. I call Craig my husband anyway, because he is in every sense. I still feel obliged to be married for children though (if we were having a family) and I can't really explain that rationally except to say "just because". I think it is far better for two people to put their energies into love and give and take and compromise and life than to be bogged down by a label. Maybe NOT being married makes one work HARDER at a relationship because it does feel easier to walk away from (psychologically).

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  6. Glen and I got married in the botanical gardens under the bamboo forest with baby Caleb and a friend and a photographer and then spent the night in a nice hotel in the city with Caleb in tow, eating room service. We got a little moment to tell each other how much we loved each other and what we wanted for each other. I have a funny thing that my favourite things are always my grandparents / parents wedding photos so I was adament that we had to get a pro to get some beautiful memories for my kids. It is both our second marriage and it was something I wanted when we had Caleb, not that it matters at all either way, no right or wrong, just whatever works for you and yours DEF works. I don't wear a 'engagement / wedding ring' just a pearl ring that Glen thought was me.
    I wanna see the boys tat!

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  7. What a beautiful post Sally.
    I think for us, marriage and commitment was important because we both came from divorced parents, and we both felt really strongly about creating our own family together, and getting married was a firm and committed way for us to start our journey together. We were married only 8 months after we met, and we had more than a few critics and sceptics. We have 3 kids and we are coming up to our 12th anniversary, so I think everyone else now realises what we knew for certain all along - we made the right decision :)

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  8. Golly you're a unique woman ;) The father of my girls and I didn't marry for 5 years and only did so to keep the inlaws and outlaws happy ... plus the legitimacy of kids was controversial in the 70s.
    But that's all bah hum bug in this day and age. There's no stigma attached like there was which is demonstrated by the question coming to you from an older woman.
    Julia's opened the door wide on the question of of marriage and shown how it's a personal choice ... after all it's only a piece of paper.
    Togetherness has nothing to do with what society deems acceptable anymore. It's all about how you feel about each other, your committment, the love you exude and whether your Little Darlings grow up in a loving and respectful home!
    You're wise enough to know that You and Your Darlings are the only ones that matter despite the opinions of others! XO.

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  9. I’m unmarried – for almost the exact same reasons as you. We just ARE together forever, have been for 17 years next month. Yes we were almost childhood sweethearts, just still teenagers when we hooked up. We have talked in the past about marrying; we said we would before we had kids, because the grandparents would be happier with that. But now Little Guy is here and we aren’t married and they don’t seem to mind.
    I am reminded once again, by this post, of how much we have in common and I am sure the thought of the “Mother of the Bride” issues are as big a turn off to you as they are to me!!

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  10. We're like you guys. We've talked about it, I wear a ring (well two actually) and everyone assumes we are married. We have nothing against marriage, just the cost of the whole thing and we don't feel we *need* that piece of paper. If we get married we do it to have a party with all our friends and family. Weddings tend to make people happy and is an excuse for people to come and visit you ;) It would be a really informal and not fancy wedding at all :D

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  11. Hmmm - we got engaged after 6 weeks, and then got married 4 years later. We both wanted to get married before we had kids, probably because that is what our parents did. So when we decided that having kids was on the agenda we gave our mums the wedding planning :) We didn't want a huge formal affair, so it was basically a big party with all our friends and family where we could all enjoy ourselves and make a commitment to each other.
    Other than that, it is not something we thought long and hard about - we wanted to, so we did!

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  12. I can imagine how surprised you were by this ladies comments... Married or not just dosn't seem to be an issue anymore.

    I never thought I would get married..then 7 years into our relationship we decided to get married out of the blue. I don't even remember why? We had a very 'us' simple outdoors ceremony and reception in a historic hall by a river. It was lovely - But it still cost us a fortune, I don't wear the ring, and I didn't change my name. Was it worth it? I'm not certain, but I think so? My daughter loves calling her dad my 'husband' and deep down I think I like being his wife.

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  13. we are not married. we have been together for almost 2 years and it feels like we are... we are committed to each other, our house is full of love....some people ask me the same...


    if you come to a conclusion please let me know :)
    kisses

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  14. Oh dear. I'm about to do that sticking-out-like-a-sore-thumb thing. Justin and I are married and it was a big big deal for us. We met 11 years ago and married over 7 years ago. We're both committed followers of Jesus and view the marriage covenant as something highly important. Getting married DID change the nature of our relationship, because prior to it we were not living together (etc...ahem!!) Clearly this is not the case for most people who don't hold our beliefs. If you're already living together and so forth, the act of getting married doesn't change the status of the relationship. I totally, totally do not expect people who are happily cohabiting to go get a piece of paper for the sake of appearances or for keeping family or prudish friends happy. That would really be meaningless.

    Another aspect of the actual 'getting married' bit that we value is the public declaration before a community of people (not just family, but as importantly, friends and church family). The reason for this is that undertaking a long-term monogamous relationship is hard work and taking vows before others (and God) is mostly about acknowledging that. In doing that publically, we were in effect asking people to be involved in our marriage, in helping us to keep it strong, in asking hard questions if we're struggling, and so forth. I guess we both believe that without spiritual and communal support, it could be hard to maintain (this seems to be the biblical view too). We've made a covenant, it might be tough-going sometimes, but we expect help with it. We're not relying on our own fickle affections, or feelings of love, to see us through.

    Marriage is certainly not something magic that will help a flailing relationship. Plenty of strong, unmarried couples will stand the test of time - plenty who undertake marriage will sadly fail. In both cases, I think longevity of relationship will depend on what the commitment is based on in the first place, and how far people are willing to go to keep working on commitment as life and all its surprises keep happening!

    I would far prefer people to be true to their own beliefs and NOT get married than to try to fit into a worldview that is not theirs.

    So, my unmarried friend, I hold your relationship in high esteem and it wouldn't occur to me to frown upon it.

    PS we have the same ring!!

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  15. I got married at 20, and 6 years on I am very happy to say we are still very much in love and happy with the decision we made. I had many many people try and talk me out of getting married. Either people thought I was too young, I should finish uni first, I should live with him first, I should play the field a bit more, I should do this or that...at the end of the day no one knows your relationship like you do, and no one has the right to judge what you should or shouldn't do (in my opinion) Getting married was right for me and I love it.

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  16. We arent married, have been together 16 years, have one bub and currently trying for a second. To me the concept of marriage seems unnecessary, even superfluous to our relationship. He is just my bloke, we, as a couple, just 'are' no jewellry or paper, or public declaractions required.
    His parents are childhood sweethearts, married at 16 and still together at 60, my parents were hippies and didnt marry, they were together 8 years.
    I know i didnt feel any issue being illigitimate in fact I used to love that I got to say 'I'm a bastard' to adults and when they were shocked and told me not to say that or to swear i used to say 'no really i am, my parents never married' but i was a kid with a twisted sense of humour!
    I think like everything else in life its what works for you, I have friends who LOVE being married, to whom it is a big statement and a really important part of their relationship. More power to them. I dont think their relationships are any more secure or committed than mine, nor do i see any difference in our kids.
    And if anyone ever calls my baby a bastard, I'll teach him the proper response :)
    Emma

    qotfu72 at yahoo dot com dot aa

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