A Long-Term Committed Relationship without Marriage? Yay or Nay?

Marriage has been highly esteemed in society as the end-goal to serious relationships and a safe and structured setting for raising children, aside from the traditional aspect of it as a means of wealth, status quo and social security.

But the trend with the millennial generation of couples is pursuing committed long-term relationships without marriage.

In South Africa, the Marriages and Divorces study for 2014 by Statistics South Africa showed that fewer people are getting married now compared to 10 years ago while divorce rates are on the rise. This follows global trends of couples choosing to remain together but unwed and spouses choosing to end marriages they no longer want to be in.

I never really thought much about marriage outside of the norms I was socialized into, which are that after graduating from university and making a success out of my career preferably after the age of 25, I would find a loving partner who I would date for at least 4 years before getting married and having kids.

Marriage has always been portrayed as the ultimate end to long-term relationships, and according to most religious beliefs, a space where one should explore their sexuality as it is a God-ordained, committed and safe environment to do so.

I never really questioned these norms in my early 20s because I was too busy with college, working insane hours trying to pay off my student loans while carving out a career for myself, club hopping on free weekends and just enjoying my newfound freedom. I’m asking questions now because I’m not too sure if marriage will provide the much-talked about relationship security and commitment.

According to research done by various psychologists, some people don’t want to get married because of experiences with divorce, either their own or their parents’ divorce, while some have elements of commitment-phobia. Others believe that true commitment to a partner is a choice and that marriage doesn’t necessarily safe-proof a relationship, but rather being with your partner through good and bad times, sharing a life and having a family with them is more important.

A lot of research has released results that often frown upon cohabitation, ie: couples living together without being married, saying these relationships are more prone to break up. However some experts say that couples living together break up due to a lack of communication about expectations of the relationship, or they get married out of obligation rather than love and end up getting divorced. Psychologists have also noted from unwed couples that what keeps them together is firstly their relationship and their commitment to it and love for each other, and secondly the family and life they’re building together.

For more on this topic, see this article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

What are your thoughts on choosing to remain unwed in a committed long-term relationship and marriage?

*image from Pexels.

*Dailypost WordPress.

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14 thoughts on “A Long-Term Committed Relationship without Marriage? Yay or Nay?

  1. I think its fine to stay unwed in a long term relationship if thats what you desire. I know a couple like that who won’t get married because of the religious aspect involved and also because they don’t plan to ever have children so they don’t think its necessary. I also believe that cohabitation should happen before marriage. The better you know someone and their habits the easier the decision of forever will be.

  2. We’ve come into an era where, especially for women, the freedom to even think about creating a life that is outside of the traditional view is becoming a norm. I think it all comes down to what you value in life, and the importance lies on being true to your own standards and beliefs.

  3. I think whatever works for each individual couple is up to them, But each partner needs to be smart about their finances if they were to break up or if one were to pass away. That’s where not being married can really hurt someone

  4. I think the idea of “marriage” is merely symbolic. Times have changed and our generation is less inclined to feel that the act of marriage is a necessity to a fulfilling relationship. I think it’s still important to communicate commitment to one another and those around you. But whether or not that’s with an actual marriage is personal choice to the couple.

  5. I firmly think that relationship now a days are getting more into break ups and don’t understand the real meaning behind them. In my thoughts, to make a relationship work, it is not important to get married but work for your connection. Once, you get that connection, marriage is a piece of cake!

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