Many couples feel that marriage is not necessary for happiness and long-term commitment. Fifteen women give us their ideas about what marriage means and why they don’t need it to be happy in their relationships.“Both of us have had bad marriages and divorces. When we got together, it wasn’t supposed to be a forever thing. Now I realize if I had married him to begin with, I wouldn’t be so against marriage, but we are happy the way things are and neither of us want that to change.” – Suzanne Alicie, Charlottesville, Va.
“We didn’t get married for a number of reasons: the timing was never right, we were never sure of each other, we were always more focused on just ourselves instead of each other, we weren’t sure if we were always right for the other. We were the complete opposites, we were like oil and water in the relationship, and we fought all the time, but we loved each other unconditionally.” – Diana Bean, Rogers, Ark.
“I just don’t see the point in getting a piece of paper to ‘complete’ our relationship. We have been together for 15 years and we feel married. We plan to be together forever, but I just don’t see why getting that on paper really matters.” – Shannon McNeal, Newark, N.J.
“To be perfectly honest, not being married but just being together allows me to feel free while still being in a loving and committed relationship. I have always had a fear of commitment and not being married allows me to not feel this fear, while still being with the man I love.” – Sarah Landewski, Lodi, Ohio
“I do not want to feel pressured to change my last name. I know this may sound petty and trivial, but in my family the wife must take her husband’s last name and I do not want this. By simply living together and not marrying I do not have to worry about this.” – Lisa Kelly. Clinton, Iowa
“I don’t want to be burdened with the ‘wife role,’ and by not marrying I feel it helps us retain the equality in our relationship. I fear that marriage could cause him to want me to be a stay-at-home mom, and that is the one thing I have never wanted to be. We do want kids someday, but we both agreed that I could continue to work and I fear marriage would change this.” – Cynthia Gardner, Marion, Ill.
“Marriage would put too much stress on us and our relationship. Things are fine the way they are, so why change this? I fear that things like paying for a wedding would add stress, and since I was just laid off from my job, we do not need anymore stress.” – Lindy Marx, Jodie, W. Va.
“My parents lived together for 17 years before they got married. During the 17 years they just lived together, things were great. I remember us always being so happy. Then, four years after getting married, things started to turn sour and a year later they divorced. I fear that marriage would do the same thing to my current relationship of 11 years.” – Erin Jackson, Phoenix, Ariz.
“I do not believe in God, but my boyfriend does. The way things are now, this is not a problem. But if we got married, I feel it would become an issue when it comes to things like marrying in a church, deciding what to teach our children, etc. If we remain unmarried, I do not see this becoming a major problem.” – Matilda French, Buffalo, N.Y.
“Every one of our friends who are married seem incredibly stressed and on edge since they married. I do not want this for Tony and me. We have been together for four years, and we do have the occasional spat, but we are happy and relatively stress-free, and I feel not getting married will keep things this way for us.” – Jessica Manner, Minneapolis, Minn.
“I just don’t see the point in paying money and having a wedding to prove how much we love each other. We have been together for seven years and have three amazing children together. We have four cats, a dog, an aquarium, a nice little house, are financially stable, and most of all we are incredibly happy with things just the way they are.” – Samantha Trunska, Seattle, Wash.
“Fear. Yes, fear. I am terrified that marriage will ruin what we already have. What I see everyday as a divorce attorney is marriage often leads to divorce. I do not want Aiden and I to become a statistic. I want us to remain happy and in love, just as we are now.” – Amelia Podlecki, Houston, Texas
“Simply put, I have been divorced once and he has been divorced once. Neither of us is in a hurry to marry, and since we are both in our mid-50s, why marry now? We have been happy for 12 years and marriage will not make us any happier.” – Eleanor Mischky, Jacksonville, Fla.
“This is a question I am asked often, specifically by my female friends and family members. To be perfectly honest, I do not have an exact answer. I just have a bad feeling that marriage isn’t something Keith and I should do. I can’t really explain it, but the feeling is there, and it gets stronger and stronger every time someone asks me why I do not want to get married. In the end, I will continue to go with my gut and just stay the way we are now.” – Amanda Whitt, San Diego, Calif.
“I really do not think about this unless Adam wants to talk about possibly getting married in the future. Two years ago we got engaged and even started making some wedding plans. During that time we fought and fought and fought over the smallest, most insignificant things. Once we called off the engagement and stopped making wedding plans, the petty fights stopped. Do flowers, an expensive dress and a fancy reception hall really indicate how much two people love each other? For some people the answer may be yes, but for Adam and I, mutual respect, honesty, loyalty, support and humor are how we express our love. It’s worked for a long time now, and I see it working forever.” – Meehgan Moon, Kansas City, Mo.