My uncle and his girlfriend have been together since I’ve been born. Close to 35 years. They live together. Do everything together, but they’ve never discussed marriage. Sometimes I feel odd referring to her as my ‘aunt’, which signifies blood relation or marriage to me, but I can’t dispute the fact that she is definitely one in the sense of the term.

Then there’s my girlfriend.

She’s 40 years old and has been living with her boyfriend for 10 years. They have one child together. Even though her boyfriend is the one who wants to get married, she says it’s not important to her. Her motto has always been, with marriage, comes divorce. With divorce comes, “This n* isn’t getting half of my money”. Yes, she’s the breadwinner. Yes, she would probably be the one paying alimony.

Marriage isn’t for everyone. I get that. But when a couple sends the majority of their relationship co-habitating, what makes them not want to take that next step?

Is it because a piece of paper is just that? Or is it because they don’t want to legally be tied to someone?

Two different scenarios. Two different couples who’ve lived together for what seems like forever. And no marriage in sight for either. I guess if they’re happy, why fix it?

Clutchettes, why do you think some people choose not to get married?

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  • BillipPhailey

    The reason they gave you is what it is. People who don’t want to marry should NEVER marry.

  • Rastaman

    I am pro-marriage but honestly other than the protections afforded minor children there are very few benefits to married people that people cohabitating cannot access through legal agreements. Even the marital tax benefits are limited depending on your income level. At a certain income level a penalty is imposed on the combined income of married people. Some have pointed to the better finances of married people but one of the things that underpins that stat is that most of the people who get married today tend to have higher incomes and better education than the general populace. Marriage is less an option for those on the bottom end of the educational and financial scale.
    We need to be honest to the fact that American society is not pro-marriage or pro-family. The institutional pillars do not work to support people in those endeavors. So when we go out here making moral judgments about those who choose not to marry we may want to take a step back at look at what challenges they may face when they contemplate marriage as an option. Marriage like college, like raising children is not for everyone and not everyone is equipped to do it. Trying to push people to do something they cannot afford to or manage is a recipe for disaster in my book.

    • ALM247

      Your comment is very interesting, especially the last sentence. What is expensive about marriage? Obtaining a license and ultimately a certificate and going to the court house or a church for a small wedding with ten people watching is not expensive. People can make a wedding expensive based on their choices, but a marriage ceremony does not have to be expensive. People make babies all day every day. Now, BABIES are expensive, but that does not seem to deter anyone.

      Why do you consider marriage expensive, but you don’t seem to consider having children expensive?

      It’s not about judgment. People can do what they want to do, but it’s interesting because people complain about their financial state, but they do things that actively work against their financial improvement, i.e. living together for years and years without getting the financial and economic benefits of marriage. I truly believe that this is one of the key reasons for the wealth gap between Black and White Americans.

    • Rastaman

      If you notice I made no reference to the expense of a wedding or the act of getting married. Marriage is way more than a ceremony and much more than a certificate. At no point did I dismiss the financial and economical benefits of marriage but I noted that these are not as is assumed available to all. Those benefits you mention are generally accrued by the better educated and financially well off. If you want to convince yourselves that Black Americans are more impoverished because of their lower marital rates then you are free to do that but I would say the reverse is probably more true. Plus the fact that Blacks have a higher unemployment rate than Whites have less access to finances and are more likely to be caught up in the criminal justice system or suffer debilitating health crisis in their lifetime. Decades of lending redlining, over policing and underemployment are probably the key reasons for ” the wealth gap between Black and White Americans.”
      But you are free to believe if only they were married they would overcomes institutionalized racism.
      When I speak of afford and manage marriage, I speak to not only the economics but the mental and emotional. Because those play a big part in having a marriage too and getting married is not the same as staying married.

    • ALM247

      “But you are free to believe if only they were married they would overcomes institutionalized racism”.

      You made that up. I never said one word about overcoming institutionalized racism.

      During the Civil Rights movement our parents and grandparents had all of the problems you list above plus they were barred access to education. The lack of access to education and business opportunities are the reasons they struggled financially. Even so, when I talk to people from that generation, they always tell me that they were poor, but they didn’t even know that they were poor because their was so much love in the household.

      Anyone can go to college now, whether they fund their degree with loans, grants, scholarships or a combination of the three. There are also tons of programs set up to help people start businesses. Our parents and grandparents had a higher marriage rate and our communities overall were stronger. As the younger generation, we are supposed to built on the past, not regress.

      We have access to graduate degrees and business building opportunities, no matter where we come from originally. When two people who are well educated and/or are business owners form a legal marriage, it makes a huge difference in financial stability of not just their marriage, but for future generations.

      Have you ever heard of the phrase “old money”? That comes from a couple getting married and passing that wealth on generation after generation. You don’t get to keep passing on tons of money if the government doesn’t recognize your relationship.

      I noticed that you ignored a good portion of my comment. You never answered the part about marriage being expensive, but you instead went on a tangent about racism. I see that you ignored the part about children, because everyone knows that it’s not cheap to deliver or raise children.

  • binks

    I agree with those who said there are many valid reasons why people choose not to tie the knot. But personally I would say one main reason could be a lot of people especially in my age bracket (I am in my late 20s) are late bloomers. I mean look at the job market, student loans debt, rent, cost of living, etc. A lot of young people are just getting into their professions, moving out of their parents house, finally getting their finances under control, or feel like they finally have control over their lives to fly solo that they might not necessarily want to share it by leaving one nest just to hop in another one. So it is really easy, especially as a woman, to look up and say “I am 30 something and not married with no prospects of a husband or I have someone but I don’t want to be married.” So I agree with those who say society is not really marriage driven today, sure it is still glamorized, idolizes and prized but no as it use to be.

  • Darrell

    People talk about marriage as it will solve the problems in the black community without realizing that most marriages on this society end in divorce. And combine black women’s lack of respect for black men and black men’s lack of respect for marriage then you have an even greater divorce rate. In addition marriage is expensive in the beginning, black folks speak as of once you marry your financial problems are removed. The financial benefits 9f marriage don’t kick in until you old and 2 feet from the grave. There is no 25 to 30 year old married couple who are just balling.

    Marriage can indeed be beneficial but the nigga shit black women and men bring into it makes it ineffective.

    • ALM247

      Mind set is the key
      to many things in life. You sound defeated before you have even
      started. Your comment has a lot of
      negative preconceived notions in it. I am guessing that you did not grow
      up around a lot of Black married couples who stayed together (and actually seem
      to like each other) twenty, thirty and forty years later. Well, I did
      grown up around a lot of Black married couples, both inside my family and at my
      home church. I guess that’s why my view of marriage is so positive.

      Not one person on here said that marriage will solve ALL problems in the Black
      community. We already know that the divorce rate is high, but most Black
      folks aren’t even getting married, so the divorce rate is a moot point.

      Darrell, you create
      your own story with regard to marriage. If you and your future wife are
      committed to staying together come hades or high water, then you WILL say

      I have had to watch as
      people had to made immediate decisions when they lost their spouse. It is a very, very touchy, emotional and
      difficult time. It makes it a tiny bit
      easier when you have access to information because you were legally wed. It makes it a tiny bit easier when you know
      that a life insurance policy was in place that will help with the burial and
      related expenses. A lot of people
      (specifically White people) have a lot of money left over from this, and this
      is how they build a foundation of wealth for their children. I have seen the alternative in the Black
      community, and it is not pretty: going to find the largest Black church in the
      area and begging the congregation to raise a collection so that you can bury
      your loved one.

      I have worked with
      benefits for years, and you do not have to be “old and 2 feet from the grave”
      for the benefits to kick in. I have had
      to submit death certificates to insurance companies on the behalf of grieving
      families, so I don’t know where you are getting your information from. There are also tons of other benefits that married
      couples enjoy that are not tied to death.

      There are “balling”
      Black retired couples. A lot of them are
      in Atlanta, Chicago and the D.C./Virginia area.
      Just because people aren’t out here screaming “I’m rich” and aren’t
      rolling in Escalades, that does not mean that that person is broke. You may want to look into the book “The Millionaire
      Next Door”.

      What’s this thing that you and Rastaman have about marriage being
      expensive? What’s expensive about
      applying for a license, obtaining a certificate and going to the courthouse or
      a small church in front of ten people?
      You don’t have to have a wedding with seventeen bridesmaids at the
      convention center in order to be legally married.

      Since you want to focus on the divorce rate, the divorce rate is high across
      ALL races. What do you account for the high divorce rate in non-Black

      also want to know why so many people are so adamant that marriage won’t change
      their financial status, when no one actually knows because no one is getting
      married any more?

    • Love.tweet.joi

      Black Couples married > 7 years = unicorn

      Maybe not a unicorn in your world, certainly a unicorn in mine. As a matter of fact, I’ve never MET a happy couple (black white mexican chinese mircronesian indonesian polynesian mongolian) happily married longer than 7 years. Never. I thought I knew one. Since the baby, not so much anymore. They have been married ten years. They were my unicorn. Oh wait, they are interracial. So, still no black couples.

      Cliff and Claire!! But turns out Cliff was spiking girls drinks and raping them so there’s that. :) :(

  • Yes, I’m That Leah

    When you marry, you become a “nag” all of sudden.
    You get taken for granted.
    You get neglected.

    If you are dating, the person you are with won’t slip up, because you don’t live with them, and you can see someone else… just like that! They are more inclined to talk things out, listen and spend time with you.
    When you are married, there is no motivation for a man to put his best foot forward anymore. They think they own you. They don’t even try to make it work, because you’re not going anywhere. You live there, regardless of what they do.

    I will never marry again. I was never so lonely in all my life.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      I guess, I didn’t need to get married (just engaged) to observe their behavior changes. Maybe because we did live together. As soon as that ring went on, the mask came off.

    • Yes, I’m That Leah

      Hey Love, If you really want to get married, take your time!! You’ve already seen things change for the worst just w/ an engagement. I’m not trying to be a downer, but , if you don’t plan on having children, there’s just no point to me in a legal marriage. Just me…

      I have recommend a “commitment ceremony” or “hand fasting” for a woman I know who wanted to celebrate their her relationship, but disagreed with her boyfriend about marriage. She was not willing to go back to feeling like a piece of property and ignored. They had a cake, she wore a nice dress… and rings and vows were exchanged. So far, it’s working out for them… just not with those pesky legal papers. I think when a man knows you can walk at anytime, they won’t take you for granted. GOOD LUCK in your derision!!!