Over the past few months, we've been researching marriage. We've been challenging one of the world's oldest social norms and getting deep under the skin of why people still do it, what they expect from it and most importantly, what makes a great marriage. (hint: it comes down to only 3 things)
We've asked many hard questions about marriage to better understand it's purpose, it's importance in our lives and it's relevance in a distractive technological era.
Over the next few weeks, we're going to share some of the things we've learned to try to help you get to grips with the 'I do's' and better understand if it matters, why society still places so much emphasis on it and whether or not you it's a good idea for you and your partner.
Part One: The socio-legal relationship
Think about it - around the world, marriage is the ONLY relationship you will ever have that is precisely governed by specific laws. Be they religious laws, national laws or cultural traditions, your marriage - the way you conduct it, your financial, societal and even sexual roles, and what each of your responsibilities are within that marriage - is specifically stipulated by law.
Early evidence of marriage in Roman, Greek and Hebrew cultures show that marriage afforded certain rights and benefits to married men and women, such as the right to own property. Today marriage also comes with a number of perks, such as tax deductions, inheritance benefits and more. In fact in some countries there are literally hundreds of legal benefits afforded to married couples, which aren't afforded to unmarried couples.
Isn't it strange that even the relationship you have with your parents is as regulated as your marriage will be?
But why does the law place so much emphasis on getting married?
Well there are multiple reasons that the law makes so much about getting married, but the short answer is - it's good for society.
You see married people make more money, so they're worth more in taxes. They're also healthier, both physically and emotionally, and as a result live longer than single individuals. Plus studies show that they bring up happier, more balanced children, who tend to be more successful than their broken homed counter parts. All good things for society.
In addition, making marriage a legal affair makes it harder for a marriage to break up - because the law values the well being of society.
Breaking up your marriage is not as simple as move out and take your things. You'll need to go to get counselling, and hire lawyers and go to court...and its all very tiring and expensive - and that gives married couples time to reflect on their decision and come to an alternative solution if they can.
So why is marriage important?
In spite of all these reasons and benefits, marriage has primarily always been about love and desire than any legal benefit. Nobody really gets married so they can save a few bucks on their tax returns. It's all done because two people care for each other and intrinsically understand the emotional benefits of committing to someone for the rest of their lives.
Love is the reason that marriage is so important. Far more so than legal, religious or societal benefits. Those are just a cool part of the deal really.
Why did you get married? Let us know in the comments below.