Commitment without the marriage

January 22 2008 | arielmstallings

I don't need a white dress to feel pretty, and I have no desire to pretend I'm virginal. I don't need to have Jeff propose to me as if he's chosen me. I don't need a ring as a daily reminder to myself or others that I am loved. And I don't need Jeff to say publicly that he loves me, because he says it privately, not just in words but in daily actions.

This Newsweek article reminded me so much of my friends Ben & Joriel — a couple who could have gotten married but chose not to for reasons of their own. I have several couple-friends like this, and I have a profound respect for their decisions not to get married.

  1. The only problem I have with the article is the nastiness of the comments. Here this person is explaining why they feel the way they do. Exactly how does that make it an attack against someone else's decision TO get married? Like what she does is going to affect them or make their marriage any less valid. Oiy… the nerve of some people. (grumble grumble)

  2. I totally agree. While I support couples who chose not to marry or follow any of the standard traditions involved in marraige, why the cynical attitude? What a sad way to look at proposals.

  3. Fair play she has her own opinions, but;

    "Undeterred, we've begun planning for a day long event near the ocean that would allow time for us to enjoy the company of friends and family without wasting time on obligatory cake cutting and flower tosses…"

    Obligatory? Come on!
    Sounds like she's having her own 'offbeat wedding' without the official paper or the 'husband and wife' bit. I wish them as good a party as the rest of us :o)

  4. I don't understand why people are mad at her for having her own opinion. I want my white dress, I wanted my proposal, I wanted my ring and I want that piece of paper. Gerhard was not to keen on the idea of marriage at first, but it was something I wanted and the idea grew on him (he and the lady in the article have the same beliefs). Just because she doesn't want to get married has sqwakadoo with me getting married. People are so weirdly offended sometimes to me. It is not like she is going around ripping up marriage certificates of other couples. Geez….

  5. I also know couple like this, and I say more power to them. I actually knew it was right for us to get married, when I knew in my bones that I would be happy just being with my guy without getting married. Knowing that we weren't doing it just to have the party and the dress was what made it feel right to me.

    Given, we are offbeat enough that we will be skipping a lot of the traditional wedding things cited in her editorial since we don't like them either ;).

  6. Some thing about The way she says she doesn't need all those things implies that those who have chosen the marriage route are needy and insecure. It would have been better phrased another way, rather than implying that marriage traditions are vain. It's great to do your own thing, but it is just my opinion that it is no different to criticize a traditional bride's wishes than it is for a traditional bride to criticize someone else's choice.

  7. I don't know. I'm really tired of being knocked for wanting more "traditional" things. Feminism exists so that everyone can have or do what they want. And sometimes I get tired of the reactionary attitude that if you want anything traditional then you are somehow needy, pathetic, brainwashed ect… I am a feminist, non-virgin, crafty, artist, sexy, domestic goddess, into embroidery and S & M, and I'll be damned if I'll be made to feel inferior because my dress is white, and my linesns are pressed. I know she was trying to make a point, but why do some people have to belittle others to make their point? Can't both, a myriad other, points of view exist simultaneously? It's not like time travel, both Michael J. Foxes can exist in the same dimention you know.

  8. I think she was reacting to the very traditional part of society and the original reasons for it. Does anyone really think that brides who wear white nowadays are virgins? The most important thing for everyone as an individual is to embrace what traditions mean to YOU and your partner. You can explain to people why you do them…or not. As long as you do them with intention and meaning for you, that's really all that matters. And ShiloM…you go girlfriend…embrace all that you are!

  9. It's hard to state your own opinion on something without making it sound like you're attacking anyone who holds a differing opinion. It doesn't help that some people are always looking for something to be offended about.

    I don't think she's belittling people who have gone another way any more than I am belittling someone by explaining why I'm not changing my name, or why I'm vegan.

    It's an opinion, not an attack.

  10. I too am a feminist non virginal bride to be and our intentions of getting married are not some random desperate attempt for attention. I mean I didn't get proposed to, we talked about marriage and decided it was something we wanted to do together. WE are planning our wedding. WE are planning our lives together. Have you ever heard of a coming of age ceremony? Well this sort of along the same lines for us. We are seeing our wedding as the ceremony that unites us for life. As I thought most did, not as some horrible daughter give away.

    I think she is throwing all people, especially women in to this neat little package she can label as needy and codependent. Most likely because she is herself very insecure. These comments she has made make me very defensive because its as if she is putting women down all over the place based on this false assumption that we are getting married to become zombie housewives. Sorry honey this ain't 1950. This is an event that we will cherish even if we was gettin' hitched in Las Vegas by Elvis it would be something memorable that we will share with the rest of our families. I suppose thats the wrong opinion to have too. "Whats wrong with her, she has a good relationship with her family, how lame" So what if we want to stand on top of the mountain and shout how much we love each other? Excuse me for not wanting to keep my love a secret kept in again a neat little box.

  11. Like many "offbeats" I have always bucked tradition, and marriage is one of the biggest. When you rebel you have to push hard, which sometimes leads to dogmatic thinking (and snipey comments, like some of the author's). One can end up just as inflexible as any conservative traditionalist.

    My fiance and I have been together for 20 years. When he was in the military, every year he would have to have a conversation with his superiors about why he made out his will and benefits to someone he was not related to.

    Coming up on our 20th anniversary, we wanted to have a big party to celebrate. In talking about the party we eventually realized we wanted to get married. It doesn't lessen or demean any of our unmarried years together. For me, I had never been able to project a future in my head, but now that I'm older (39) and we've spent more of our lives together than apart, I've been able to envision a future and I want it with him. Our relationship has just grown in a new way.

    This is how he put it to our family: "There was no sudden revelation that led to this. I always felt it was inevitable. I think we both wanted to know something about life, longevity, commitment, and the like before we really gave a formal wedding much thought. We're not necessarily ones for tradition or formality and with all things have to find meaning in what we do…who we are…before we embrace a concept."

    To me it's just about thinking for yourself, and doing what's right for you, whenever it's right for you. (which is why I dig OBB!)

  12. There is nothing wrong with having your own style of weddings! and there is no such thing as a wrong wedding, everyone is different and allowed to express their own unique way of becoming a union of love ( marriage). I can not wait to have my halloween themed wedding myself which most of the family memembers arent too keen or happy with the idea of a halloween wedding but who cares it is our wedding we want to do it our style. My fiance actually told his mom who did protest against the halloween wedding that if she didnt like the idea she dont have to come!
    So just do what you feel is right for you and your mate! besides its a celebration of love no matter anyone one calls it.

  13. please, is there a site I can go to for the Marriage licence , we want to have a paper to frame of our day, we will full it in ourself, thanks so much

    • Are you looking for a certificate that you can use as a keepsake? In Oregon USA you can get one from the county records office if you are getting legally married. We are planning a wedding without legal trappings for financial/legal reasons. I will do a search for marriage certificate not from county records office.

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