In Defense of Marriage

My mom, sister, and I recently went on a girl’s trip to Charleston, South Carolina for a long weekend. Over our three-day adventure, our routine became this: we’d get up, eat breakfast, and head out on foot to explore. We hit all the stores, the outdoor market, and the beautiful mansions along the water. I bought fun gifts for my family, myself, and even a few birthday gifts for friends. We had a wonderful time together.

Me and my sister, Kim. (I'm on the right)

My Sister, Kim, and Me in Charleston

Most afternoons we’d poop out around three and head back to the hotel to rest before venturing out for dinner. During those few vegging hours, we usually had the TV on my mom and sister’s favorite channel, HGTV. I have to admit I don’t watch much TV, however they were very well versed in the shows that aired.

During some sort of marathon of shows that involved couples looking for a new home in their price range, I noticed a trend I found very disturbing. Every couple—every one—was not married. Now, I’ll be the first to admit I’m a traditional and conservative person, but that doesn’t mean I’m naïve to the fact that many people live together. Heck, my husband and I (then boyfriend) practically lived together in college.

What I found so astounding was that these couples were willing to share finances, children, pets, furniture, and mortgages with one another, but not marriage. And it begs the question, why?

It seems to me if you’re going to tangle your lives so completely with someone that you’re buying a home together, then why not get married? If the person you’re going to sign mortgage papers with isn’t someone you want to sign a marriage license with, then what’s the point?

As a mother, I’d be very disappointed with my children if they told me they were buying a home with their boyfriend/girlfriend and yet they had no plans to marry. Am I being too old fashioned? I’m a romance writer and my stories end with couples getting married. For them, marriage is the golden pot at the end of the rainbow.

Maybe, in light of this trend, I should have my characters walk into a bank to sign mortgage papers instead of walking down the aisle.

Somehow that doesn’t sound as romantic…

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About Christy Hayes

A wife, a mother and a writer of romantic women's fiction. I love dogs, exercise and cable news.

Posted on June 3, 2013, in Blog Posts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. I’ve noticed that about those shows, also. Of course, I go with the conspiracy theory that these shows are staged, the “couple” isn’t actually buying a house. 🙂

  2. I think Tracy may be right. There’s not much reality in those shows.

  3. Well, Christy, you’ve touched on a subject with opinions that are probably all over the map. I lived with my current and only husband before we got married and though my parents didn’t like it, they liked HIM so they didn’t mind that much. I’m not in touch with whether people are living together more than they were in “my day” but statistically speaking I’m betting it hasn’t changed much. I wouldn’t inject this into a romance novel though I don’t write romance. I don’t think readers would find that a HEA 🙂
    For a long time before I got married I thought marriage was just a “piece of paper” but I changed my mind as I got older and married when I was 39 so it took me awhile to jump on the wagon, so to speak. My kids (19 and 14) don’t talk about marriage so I don’t think they’re the ones for me to look to on this subject. Interesting subject though….

    • Christy Hayes

      Society has changed drastically in the last half century, that’s for sure. Thanks for sharing your experience. I would hope your kids would look to you and your husband with questions about marriage. You said yourself your opinion changed. I’m sure they would appreciate your honesty.

  4. Janna Qualman

    I tend to believe that each couple’s choice depends upon individual circumstance, and the understanding that what’s right for some isn’t right for everyone. But I like this question you posed: “If the person you’re going to sign mortgage papers with isn’t someone you want to sign a marriage license with, then what’s the point?”

    • Janna Qualman

      And P.S. I’m glad you had a great trip! 🙂

    • Christy Hayes

      I don’t have any problem with people choosing not to marry, but why tangle yourselves up so intimately if you don’t want to spend the rest of your life with someone? I think it’s in the vein of don’t do business with friends or family.

      And thanks, we did have a very nice trip 🙂

  5. I think the divorce rate is around 50% right now, isn’t it, Christy? So for that reason alone, I’m going to play devil’s advocate, and I have to wonder, does it matter? Whether a couple has chosen to live together or get married, their chances of making it through the tough times may be on par. (I don’t know if that’s true, but I’m guessing it’s scarily similar.) I like to think that signing those mortgage papers and having children together bring them one step closer to happily ever after. 🙂

    Love the photo of you on vacation!

    • Christy Hayes

      It’s a valid argument, Sheila, but I think the institution is worth fighting for. I know I’m old fashioned, but that’s how I feel.

      Thanks for the photo love 🙂

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