For the longest time in my relationship, we weren't married, we were partners and committed to one another. We got lots of dirty looks from couples that were married, and we just shook our heads.
Why? At one point there were two couples at a horse show who were all married, but everyone of them had multiple marriages under their belt.
The truly ironic thing was the length of our committed partnership equally the time of all of their marriages combined.
But of course we were the ones living in sin.
Roll into 2015, my parents and partner basically asked me at two different points if I was happy and if so why was I killing myself with booze and all that. At that point I would do 2-3 segments for flying each way each week for traveling. Sat in first class, and piled on the drinks, to the point even now I can probably still out last regular drinkers now.
So I started unpacking my shit, and one of the things I realized was that one my partner and my parents did not get a long, and if I croaked, she would be screwed. Secondly, her female run business can hemorrhage money on a level that would make folks jaws drop. It is part of her identity, her lifestyle, and when I looked at the tax implications even with my good "skills" in dealing with taxes (my original degree that I don't use is in accounting). The tax savings were just gobsmacking.
So when TCJA came about and neutralized some of my tax methods, I sat down and talked to her and said listen we have been together for 22 years, we love each other and our committed and if you desire to keep your lifestyle together and our relationship we need to get married. Do note I had already proposed to her and she said years before, but I let her decide when she wanted to set the date.
Now, we use the phrase partners because we have lived like this for all of our lives. Secondly, I do this out of respect for gay folks who may have issues, and for those awesome souls who are poly, since traditional folks don't respect them and their committment.
Long story done.
Marriage is a certification process to allow the legal handling of assets and death and transfer of children in a sane and suitable way. If one is religious it symbolizes a union between two people and God.
Personally I wish they would call marriages civil unions for secular settings and let the religious have marriages, it might provide some boundaries that would keep those of certain beliefs in check. That is a pure belief not a hard statement.
In old days of Irish lore, two people would elope together and meet with the priest for their union. To me this is romantic and how it should be. I realize how nice it is to have family and friends, but at the end of the day commitments and relationships should be about the people signing up together and no one else.
Partners as you define really are the new normal, since the marriage rates have dropped to the point of being a rarity. Should people live and love how they see fit? Definitely, but it needs to be done with respect, consent and love. So we all need to heal the gender divide and the sexism and equality issues, because given how it is now ....
Most marriages are doomed to fail now, unless you are uber rich, and there should be capacity for poly couples also, but to do so would require very specific guidelines, because if kids are involved the chain of custody ... oh boy ...
Your article rocks thank you for it, because I could keep going and going!