Friday, February 22, 2013

Marriage Variations

I have a subscription to More magazine--yep, the 40+ rag for woman who've "outgrown" Cosmo & Glamour (I still read them even if it isn't targeted for my demographic) & I recently came across a very good article about the "9 Ways to be Married" by Doren Allen.  I often get questioned by well-meaning folk about when Xing Fu & I will get married or if we are getting married.  Let me set the record straight--we're not.  Ever.   And yes, sometimes a little niggle of doubt creeps in--since we aren't married, what does that mean in the long run? It is still considered the ultimate commitment. And even to this day, after statistics show that the institution of marriage is lessening, people overwhelmingly feel that marriage is still the way to go to demonstrate your undying love.  Even if you buy a house together, write wills that lay out specifically that you are together & deserve all of those rights of marriage, etc., etc., there are still difficulties with NOT being married.  So I was gratified to see that More had this article highlighting 9 different "marriages" & that our choice was number 2: Living Together, No License. Here are the statistics from the article: The US Census Bureau says that 15.3 million heterosexual Americans co-habitate.  47% are 35+ & 13% are over 55.  And really, after both of us failed at being married the first time, mebbe, just mebbe, it is better without it.  It's not like the expectations are any different--we are just as committed to each other as if we were married so why do we need a piece of paper to prove it? The naysayers like to indicate that it is easier to call it quits & walk away instead of working at our partnership.  Yes, on the surface it might appear that way, but we own property together, along with a host of other things that make it very difficult for either one of us to "just walk away." And frankly, I work hard at this & resent anyone who tells me that our relationship doesn't matter as much or mean as much because we aren't married.  The rest of the article has many other forms of "marriages" including gay marriages, open marriages, & modern traditionals.  Read it--it is very interesting.

My second part of this post has to do with a Your Tango article entitled "5 Marriage Mistakes That Lead to Divorce".  They all made a lot of sense.  I was especially taken with the 5th one:

Major changes in priorities – major changes in priorities can cause an end in a marriage. People grow and change; sometimes they grow together in the same direction and other times they grow apart. There are other people who never change and are the same person fifty years into the marriage. What can be problematic and end relationships is when one or both partners change their priorities in ways that are unacceptable to their spouse. Some people mentioned a major change in religious beliefs and practices could strain the relationship, some people talked about putting jobs or children before the marriage and yet others complained of drastic changes in friendships or relationships with in-laws. Again, I think it comes down to trust and consistency.

When I reflect on my failed marriage, I think this one was it.  Neither of us cheated--the number one reason (and one that I would end a relationship on--reference to the Bull).  We really did grow apart & by the time we figured that out, it couldn't be fixed.  This time, I think Xing Fu & I realize that communication is the key--check in, make sure we're moving forward & if we're not, deal with it immediately & make our relationship the priority.  So, we may not be happily married but in my mind we are happily married.

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