I was reading an issue of Glamor Magazine and I came across the strangest article. The title: “Are You a Nearlywed?” I must admit, I have never heard of the term. As I read on, I could see why.
Apparently, “nearlyweds” are people that have been living together for years, but are not married and have no plans to be. They share in bill paying, rent and often times, have a joint bank account. Some even have children together. Think Brad Pitt and Angelina Jole, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn.
So, why are these people refusing to tie the knot? Commitment issues was one reason listed. I have never understood why someone would not want to have one person in the universe that they know will love and care for them no matter what. Why is this thought scary? Picture this: You have just had a horrible day at work. You are upset and frustrated. What you really want is to be able to vent and have someone tell you that things will be okay. Wouldn’t it be great to know that you have a loving spouse at home who is prepared to do just that? Personally, I have never seen the point of fearing being with one person (and I have had my own heart broken several times in searching for “the one”).
One aspect about this type of “relationship” that bothers me is that the people involved may be getting tax breaks. Married people typically file jointly. Therefore, the combined income is looked at and then taxed. However, these people are not married and joined by law, so, they get taxed based upon their individual incomes. Sneaky!
Another aspect that concerns me is when children are involved. Back when I was younger, it was literally unheard of for children to be born out of wedlock. Some of my friends came as a “surprise” to their parents, but, their parents were married. I realize that times have changed, but I was always super proud of the fact that my parents actually sat down after they got married and PLANNED to have me. I was not an accident or result of a “hook up.” I know that my parents did not get married simply because I was born because they already were.
Please understand that I am not saying that two people have to be married to be good parents. But, personally, I would have died inside if my parents had not been married when they had me. How will these people explain their relationship to their children? “We love each other but not enough to get married?” Then this warped idea will get passed on to future generations. That is a thought that troubles me.
No relationship is perfect. Marriage is not perfect. I had no delusions that my husband was going to become flawless that day that we got married. I knew that their would be struggles. I knew that we would have bumpy patches. But, what the marriage means to me is that neither one of us are going anywhere, no matter how bad things get. We committed ourselves to one another and to this life long relationship. I fear that by granting people that are living together for years the title of “nearlyweds” demeans the true purpose of marriage: commitment.
Those that simply live together have a way “out,” so to speak. They have not promised to love each other “till death do us part.” So, what happens if they have a huge fight? Will they try to work it out or just walk away? What if something “better” comes along? This is not to say that married people do not do the same thing, but the article did mention that studies have shown that people who are married try harder to make the relationship work.
Finally, what are these people basing their relationship on? I was greatly disturbed to read in the article that most had started out as “friends with benefits.” Translation? “Sex buddies.” Wow! What a great thing to base your relationship on. So, what happens when that super bad day at work creeps up on you? Will you feel like having sex then? Sex does not solve a problem, it merely masks it. The article went on to share some personal stories. One woman said that she was in a “nearlywed” relationship, but she left the guy because he did not want to commit and get married…ever! Should this have come as a surprise?
Why do we, as a nation, create more escapes and shortcuts for future generations? I don’t believe that everyone should follow a set pattern. However, I also do not see anything wrong with the traditional way of doing things, such as dating, falling in love, then getting married. I say change the “nearly” to “newly” and go enjoy the honeymoon!