Open Thread: Why Do You Think Some People Choose Not To Marry?



My uncle and his girlfriend have been together since I’ve been born. Close to 35 years. They live together. Do everything together, but they’ve never discussed marriage. Sometimes I feel odd referring to her as my ‘aunt’, which signifies blood relation or marriage to me, but I can’t dispute the fact that she is definitely one in the sense of the term.

Then there’s my girlfriend.

She’s 40 years old and has been living with her boyfriend for 10 years. They have one child together. Even though her boyfriend is the one who wants to get married, she says it’s not important to her. Her motto has always been, with marriage, comes divorce. With divorce comes, “This n* isn’t getting half of my money”. Yes, she’s the breadwinner. Yes, she would probably be the one paying alimony.

Marriage isn’t for everyone. I get that. But when a couple sends the majority of their relationship co-habitating, what makes them not want to take that next step?

Is it because a piece of paper is just that? Or is it because they don’t want to legally be tied to someone?

Two different scenarios. Two different couples who’ve lived together for what seems like forever. And no marriage in sight for either. I guess if they’re happy, why fix it?

Clutchettes, why do you think some people choose not to get married?


77 Responses

  1. Yes, I'm That Leah

    March 7, 2015 10:26 am

    When you marry, you become a “nag” all of sudden.
    You get taken for granted.
    You get neglected.

    If you are dating, the person you are with won’t slip up, because you don’t live with them, and you can see someone else… just like that! They are more inclined to talk things out, listen and spend time with you.
    When you are married, there is no motivation for a man to put his best foot forward anymore. They think they own you. They don’t even try to make it work, because you’re not going anywhere. You live there, regardless of what they do.

    I will never marry again. I was never so lonely in all my life.

    • Love.tweet.joi

      March 9, 2015 12:36 pm

      I guess, I didn’t need to get married (just engaged) to observe their behavior changes. Maybe because we did live together. As soon as that ring went on, the mask came off.

  2. Darrell

    March 6, 2015 11:08 am

    People talk about marriage as it will solve the problems in the black community without realizing that most marriages on this society end in divorce. And combine black women’s lack of respect for black men and black men’s lack of respect for marriage then you have an even greater divorce rate. In addition marriage is expensive in the beginning, black folks speak as of once you marry your financial problems are removed. The financial benefits 9f marriage don’t kick in until you old and 2 feet from the grave. There is no 25 to 30 year old married couple who are just balling.

    Marriage can indeed be beneficial but the nigga shit black women and men bring into it makes it ineffective.

    • ALM247

      March 6, 2015 12:14 pm

      Mind set is the key
      to many things in life. You sound defeated before you have even
      started. Your comment has a lot of
      negative preconceived notions in it. I am guessing that you did not grow
      up around a lot of Black married couples who stayed together (and actually seem
      to like each other) twenty, thirty and forty years later. Well, I did
      grown up around a lot of Black married couples, both inside my family and at my
      home church. I guess that’s why my view of marriage is so positive.

      Not one person on here said that marriage will solve ALL problems in the Black
      community. We already know that the divorce rate is high, but most Black
      folks aren’t even getting married, so the divorce rate is a moot point.

      Darrell, you create
      your own story with regard to marriage. If you and your future wife are
      committed to staying together come hades or high water, then you WILL say

      I have had to watch as
      people had to made immediate decisions when they lost their spouse. It is a very, very touchy, emotional and
      difficult time. It makes it a tiny bit
      easier when you have access to information because you were legally wed. It makes it a tiny bit easier when you know
      that a life insurance policy was in place that will help with the burial and
      related expenses. A lot of people
      (specifically White people) have a lot of money left over from this, and this
      is how they build a foundation of wealth for their children. I have seen the alternative in the Black
      community, and it is not pretty: going to find the largest Black church in the
      area and begging the congregation to raise a collection so that you can bury
      your loved one.

      I have worked with
      benefits for years, and you do not have to be “old and 2 feet from the grave”
      for the benefits to kick in. I have had
      to submit death certificates to insurance companies on the behalf of grieving
      families, so I don’t know where you are getting your information from. There are also tons of other benefits that married
      couples enjoy that are not tied to death.

      There are “balling”
      Black retired couples. A lot of them are
      in Atlanta, Chicago and the D.C./Virginia area.
      Just because people aren’t out here screaming “I’m rich” and aren’t
      rolling in Escalades, that does not mean that that person is broke. You may want to look into the book “The Millionaire
      Next Door”.

      What’s this thing that you and Rastaman have about marriage being
      expensive? What’s expensive about
      applying for a license, obtaining a certificate and going to the courthouse or
      a small church in front of ten people?
      You don’t have to have a wedding with seventeen bridesmaids at the
      convention center in order to be legally married.

      Since you want to focus on the divorce rate, the divorce rate is high across
      ALL races. What do you account for the high divorce rate in non-Black

      also want to know why so many people are so adamant that marriage won’t change
      their financial status, when no one actually knows because no one is getting
      married any more?

      • Love.tweet.joi

        March 9, 2015 12:10 pm

        Black Couples married > 7 years = unicorn

        Maybe not a unicorn in your world, certainly a unicorn in mine. As a matter of fact, I’ve never MET a happy couple (black white mexican chinese mircronesian indonesian polynesian mongolian) happily married longer than 7 years. Never. I thought I knew one. Since the baby, not so much anymore. They have been married ten years. They were my unicorn. Oh wait, they are interracial. So, still no black couples.

        Cliff and Claire!! But turns out Cliff was spiking girls drinks and raping them so there’s that. 🙂 🙁

  3. binks

    March 5, 2015 3:27 am

    I agree with those who said there are many valid reasons why people choose not to tie the knot. But personally I would say one main reason could be a lot of people especially in my age bracket (I am in my late 20s) are late bloomers. I mean look at the job market, student loans debt, rent, cost of living, etc. A lot of young people are just getting into their professions, moving out of their parents house, finally getting their finances under control, or feel like they finally have control over their lives to fly solo that they might not necessarily want to share it by leaving one nest just to hop in another one. So it is really easy, especially as a woman, to look up and say “I am 30 something and not married with no prospects of a husband or I have someone but I don’t want to be married.” So I agree with those who say society is not really marriage driven today, sure it is still glamorized, idolizes and prized but no as it use to be.

  4. Rastaman

    March 4, 2015 2:15 pm

    I am pro-marriage but honestly other than the protections afforded minor children there are very few benefits to married people that people cohabitating cannot access through legal agreements. Even the marital tax benefits are limited depending on your income level. At a certain income level a penalty is imposed on the combined income of married people. Some have pointed to the better finances of married people but one of the things that underpins that stat is that most of the people who get married today tend to have higher incomes and better education than the general populace. Marriage is less an option for those on the bottom end of the educational and financial scale.
    We need to be honest to the fact that American society is not pro-marriage or pro-family. The institutional pillars do not work to support people in those endeavors. So when we go out here making moral judgments about those who choose not to marry we may want to take a step back at look at what challenges they may face when they contemplate marriage as an option. Marriage like college, like raising children is not for everyone and not everyone is equipped to do it. Trying to push people to do something they cannot afford to or manage is a recipe for disaster in my book.

    • ALM247

      March 4, 2015 5:35 pm

      Your comment is very interesting, especially the last sentence. What is expensive about marriage? Obtaining a license and ultimately a certificate and going to the court house or a church for a small wedding with ten people watching is not expensive. People can make a wedding expensive based on their choices, but a marriage ceremony does not have to be expensive. People make babies all day every day. Now, BABIES are expensive, but that does not seem to deter anyone.

      Why do you consider marriage expensive, but you don’t seem to consider having children expensive?

      It’s not about judgment. People can do what they want to do, but it’s interesting because people complain about their financial state, but they do things that actively work against their financial improvement, i.e. living together for years and years without getting the financial and economic benefits of marriage. I truly believe that this is one of the key reasons for the wealth gap between Black and White Americans.

      • Rastaman

        March 4, 2015 5:52 pm

        If you notice I made no reference to the expense of a wedding or the act of getting married. Marriage is way more than a ceremony and much more than a certificate. At no point did I dismiss the financial and economical benefits of marriage but I noted that these are not as is assumed available to all. Those benefits you mention are generally accrued by the better educated and financially well off. If you want to convince yourselves that Black Americans are more impoverished because of their lower marital rates then you are free to do that but I would say the reverse is probably more true. Plus the fact that Blacks have a higher unemployment rate than Whites have less access to finances and are more likely to be caught up in the criminal justice system or suffer debilitating health crisis in their lifetime. Decades of lending redlining, over policing and underemployment are probably the key reasons for ” the wealth gap between Black and White Americans.”
        But you are free to believe if only they were married they would overcomes institutionalized racism.
        When I speak of afford and manage marriage, I speak to not only the economics but the mental and emotional. Because those play a big part in having a marriage too and getting married is not the same as staying married.

        • ALM247

          March 4, 2015 7:14 pm

          “But you are free to believe if only they were married they would overcomes institutionalized racism”.

          You made that up. I never said one word about overcoming institutionalized racism.

          During the Civil Rights movement our parents and grandparents had all of the problems you list above plus they were barred access to education. The lack of access to education and business opportunities are the reasons they struggled financially. Even so, when I talk to people from that generation, they always tell me that they were poor, but they didn’t even know that they were poor because their was so much love in the household.

          Anyone can go to college now, whether they fund their degree with loans, grants, scholarships or a combination of the three. There are also tons of programs set up to help people start businesses. Our parents and grandparents had a higher marriage rate and our communities overall were stronger. As the younger generation, we are supposed to built on the past, not regress.

          We have access to graduate degrees and business building opportunities, no matter where we come from originally. When two people who are well educated and/or are business owners form a legal marriage, it makes a huge difference in financial stability of not just their marriage, but for future generations.

          Have you ever heard of the phrase “old money”? That comes from a couple getting married and passing that wealth on generation after generation. You don’t get to keep passing on tons of money if the government doesn’t recognize your relationship.

          I noticed that you ignored a good portion of my comment. You never answered the part about marriage being expensive, but you instead went on a tangent about racism. I see that you ignored the part about children, because everyone knows that it’s not cheap to deliver or raise children.

  5. BillipPhailey

    March 4, 2015 2:05 pm

    The reason they gave you is what it is. People who don’t want to marry should NEVER marry.

  6. FromTokyo

    March 4, 2015 1:01 pm

    Sometimes it’s just because they have never felt/don’t feel they have met their match and aren’t willing to settle on being married to someone who isn’t.

  7. Saramel

    March 4, 2015 7:09 am

    Well I am also from Europe ,Germany to be precise, and marriage is here also not important anymore.The most (Germans) just move in together and have children with each other which is fine for those who are financially stable.I am Eritrean and in our culture marriage is a very important factor because you are not really accepted as a couple in our community till you are married.I don’t know where Elsay is from but she should only refer to her county because I definitely didn`t experienced this type of behavior among other Africans in Germany.Me personally I think marriage is very important and was also a reason why I broke up with my fiance as he is from a jamaican background and he really didn`t understood the importance that marriage had for me.

    I believe that the whole marriage thing is getting more and more challenged as we live in a world where we have too many options and too many possibilities to do what we want, wherever we want and with so many divorces I can understand some people why they don´t want to try.But on the other hand when I see happy married couples I think it is worth the try.

  8. Saramel

    March 4, 2015 6:29 am

    Well I am also from Europe ,Germany to be precise, and marriage is here also not important anymore.The most (Germans) just move in together and have children with each other which is fine for those who are financially stable.I am Eritrean and in our culture marriage is a very important factor because you are not really accepted as a couple in our community till you are married.I don’t know where Elsay is from but she should only refer to her county because I definitely didn`t experienced this type of behavior among other Africans in Germany.Me personally I think marriage is very important and was also a reason why I broke up with my fiance as he is from a jamaican background and he really didn`t understood the importance that marriage had for me.
    I believe that the whole marriage thing is getting more and more challenged as we live in a world where we have too many options and too many possibilities to do what we want, wherever we want and with so many divorces I can understand some people why they don´t want to try.But on the other hand when I see happy married couples I think it is worth the try.

    • Mahogany

      March 5, 2015 3:13 pm

      I agree with your comment. I was born in France and currently live in America. While marriage doesn’t have great value in France, I know for a fact that it still does in the African community. Even for Africans who live in Europe.


    March 3, 2015 9:27 pm

    If you’re a woman and marriage is important to you you shouldn’t engage in shacking up. When you do it may take forever for him to put a ring on it. That’s if he does at all.


  10. gull2861

    March 3, 2015 8:53 pm

    My view. I think its just simply they are not as committed in their relationships. They want the freedom to be able to possibly pack their stuff and go if things no longer suits them. Which baffles me because they seem more willing to have kids with each other without marriage. Which is ironic because kids require more commitment for a longer period than most marriages. With a kid, you are bound to the other person for at least 18 years. With a marriage, you can get divorced after a short period and it can be as though the other person never existed.

      • gull2861

        March 5, 2015 5:29 am

        Only to those without logic. Some people will say anything and do anything to avoid being married. Nine times out of ten, there is a legit reason why and its usually because they are not as committed as one would think. They live together, but opt for an existence where they wont have to deal with the entanglements associated with a divorce, if things went south, hence they are not as committed.

        • gull2861

          March 5, 2015 6:29 am

          To add more clarity to my position. If someone has a deep rooted aversion against doing something, there usually is a significant reason as to why. Some will say marriage is only a piece of paper and doesnt mean much in terms of their love towards their partner. Many people in unions want security. those in marriage less unions, the partners will go to the ends of the earth to put their partners in wills, on insurance forms, on beneficiary forms, apartment contracts, deeds for houses, etc…all pieces of paper, but not on a marriage licenses….why?..because they fear the legal entanglements associated with a divorce…thus they are less committed…

          i would think an interesting law change that might curb this behavior is if it became a requirement that if you are not related to your beneficiary, outside of a divorce, in order to remove them from your list on a will, insurance form, medical form, have to have their consent and negotiate said removal. lets see what happens then. lol.

        • Tiffquip

          March 7, 2015 8:15 pm

          No still odd. The couples in the article (as depicted) illustrate more commitment than many legally married couples. 35 years together is nothing to sneeze at. The question to ask yourself is why did the states enact common law marriages at one time and why are they no longer recognized?

          • gull2861

            March 8, 2015 8:20 pm

            I understand your perspective a little better now. I agree 35 years together is amazing and maybe my point has less to do with them than with others, but i think it still applies.

            Commitment has less to do with actual time together and more to do with mindset, attitude, risk, and sacrifice one or both make towards the relationships even if they dont work out in the end. There is a saying about bacon and eggs breakfast. The saying is the pig is really committed to making the breakfast while the chicken is less committed because the pig sacrifices its life while the chicken gets to go on with its business and lay more eggs.

            Most people refuse to get “that piece of paper” because of the legal entanglements that go along with that “piece of paper”. The real question is why would the legal entanglements matter so much if you are really committed?

  11. Tanielle

    March 3, 2015 8:45 pm

    I look at myself in contrast to my married friends and they are rolling in money. 2 young professionals living on 2 high incomes is ridiculous compared to one. I do ok but my married friends are living the good life one one income and saving the other. Marriage is about wealth and familial protection. It’s worth it.

    • ALM247

      March 3, 2015 8:47 pm

      You and I often disagree on these articles, but we are on the same page on this topic. I can’t seem to convince people that this is one of the main reasons that the LGBT community values marriage so much. It’s about the country recognizing their union, and it’s also economic- tax breaks, receiving death benefits, 401k benefits, leave of absence benefits, etc.


        March 4, 2015 2:15 pm

        Exactly Sister. You showing commonsense and facts on this thread. We have to think chess not checkers.

        • ALM247

          March 4, 2015 5:38 pm

          People get really angry about this topic. They think anyone who has a differing opinion from their own is being “judgmental”.

          The thing is, these same people who are so angry at other people’s opinions are the same ones who will lay out in the floor crying when their partner dies and the realize they are getting next to nothing for years and years of acting as a spouse but not legally being the spouse.

          People are grown and should do what they feel is right, but sometimes doing what we feel will hurt us.


            March 4, 2015 5:47 pm

            Yes, not everything that feels right is right. We should have freedoms in our lives, but we can’t be selfish. One problem among some people is that they have so much concern for distractions instead of having concern for others. The selfish individualism has crippled many parts of society.

            I can stand dissenting points of view. Ironically, many people who disrespect others who hold different views can’t handle divergent points of views. We’re not saying that marriage can solve every problem in our communities. We are saying that people have the right to be in healthy, long lasting marriages, which can improve the economic stability of the black community.

            It is part of culture to build and we build to help us and our descendants.

      • TiffanyB

        March 4, 2015 9:59 pm

        People don’t like to hear it but “getting married” is a state-governed contract that is subject to laws. Think about: the state determines what is and is not lawful in a private, personal and intimate relationship between two citizens. Kinda crazy if you ask me.

        The people described in this article are obviously bonded with each other emotionally and most likely (for themselves) spiritually. They could choose to have a religious ceremony. They could choose to simply get a marriage license and not have a religious ceremony at all. BUT until they get a license from the state their marriage is not recognized so no tax breaks, no rights to property, hospital visitation, sharing a rental car (lol). But Not getting legally married is a smart decision for some couples. If you want to have a commitment ceremony go at it. Not everyone wants the state involved in their personal lives.

        • ALM247

          March 5, 2015 3:35 pm

          I already know what a marriage license is, so I’m not sure why you “explained” that in your comment. I am interested in what you mean by this statement.:

          “Think about it: the state determines what is and is not lawful in a private, personal and intimate relationship between two citizens”.

          Very interesting. Can you please reply with a list of several items that support your point on this?

          • Tiffquip

            March 7, 2015 8:53 pm

            Let’s take the general grounds for divorce in most U.S. states today:

            (1) Abandonment.
            (2) Maliciously turning the other out of doors.
            (3) By cruel or barbarous treatment
            (4) Offers such indignities to the person of the other as to render his or her condition intolerable and life burdensome.
            (5) Becomes an excessive user of alcohol or drugs.
            (6) Adultery.

            If a spouse makes a claim of any of these issues against his/her spouse then the courts then determine what occurred in the marriage based on facts. So let’s say a couple decided to have an open marriage and the husband thinks it would add spice to imagine his wife with a woman. The wife eventually engages in a lesbian relationship. The husband initially agreed but later becomes jealous when things don’t go his way and retaliates by accusing his wife of adultery and suing for alimony and custody of their kids. By the state’s marriage statues she committed adultery and it’s up to her and a very good lawyer to try to make a case to keep her kids even though privately she and her husband agreed on an open relationship. I know someone this happened to and she lost her child.

            Over the past 50 years, our legal system has tackled issues such as whether a woman withholding sex is legitimate grounds for a man to divorce her or whether a man should be allowed to physically discipline his wife. At one point the law didn’t even allow for the concept of marital rape. Even now, a marriage can be annulled if one spouse knew he or she was infertile but did not disclose this to his/her spouse. My point? Marriage is a legal contract subject to the laws of a state. The system we have today is just a patchwork system developed overtime. It’s original purpose was to facilitate the inheritance of property from one male to another and for the trade of women. Until recently in the US it’s been about the control of women. Even in the 1970s a woman could not open a bank account or credit card without her husband’s consent. A man could without his wife’s consent. Legal marriage is not about love or fairy tales. True committment is exemplified through actions such as staying together for 35 years (such as the couple in the article) because you have a loving bond. A lot of married couples stay together for the fear of the complications of divorce or the stigma. Basically, it’s easy to get caught up on social constructs. However the focus should be on natural human connections.

    • Tanielle

      March 3, 2015 8:54 pm

      Yuck!! The fact that you see having a loving partner in this light lets me more about you than anything else you could possibly say. Mysogonist.

      • ZORINO

        March 3, 2015 9:13 pm

        You mean MISOGYNIST, don’t you? I don’t hate women. My parents are married, I love my mother and my sisters. I grew up around aunts and a gazillion female cousins. Don’t be quick to call me misogynist when you don’t know me.

        «Why buy the cow when you can get milk for free?» is an idiomatic expression I find funny. Nothing serious. So, no I’m not a woman hater.

        • Tanielle

          March 3, 2015 9:16 pm

          What does the marriage of your parents have to do with you? Acting
          Like women are cattle? Yes, the way you see women appears that you see them interns of your PERSONAL interest which makes you gross.

          Men use their love of their sisters and mothers to signify their feelings about women all the time. Are you dating them?

          • ZORINO

            March 3, 2015 9:21 pm

            Yes my parents being married and me having grown up around women has everything to do with it. I don’t view women as cattle. I used an idiomatic expression. No need to engage in an e-argument.

  12. TheBurningBush

    March 3, 2015 6:39 pm

    all you got to do is look at the race of people with the highest percentage of households headed by a married couple, and look at the race of people with the lowest percentage of household headed by a married couple, put it all on the scale, do the math to determine the value of the institution of marriage in a civilized society. Be smart remove your emotions think logical and do the math.

  13. Darkness901

    March 3, 2015 6:27 pm

    I know it is fear for me. I am approaching that point in my relationship and I know she is about to ask me about marriage. She’s an awesome woman, but I am scared of the unknown.

    Hopefully I’ll change soon…

      • Darkness901

        March 4, 2015 8:35 pm

        Sorry about responding so late.

        I believe I am scared of failure. I want to be a good husband, but I have no idea what it takes. Sure…I can show up and do the generic actions that most people believe husbands should do. But, I believe there is more to a marriage than that.

        Sometimes I just want to dive in and go for it. However, when you are surrounded by so many negative examples of marriage you think to yourself, “Why Bother?”

        Like I said before…she is a good woman and deserves an awesome marriage. I just want to make sure I can provide the best version of Me that I can.

        This is off topic from me responding to you but I’m just going to say it because it crossed my mind.

        Some Men (Good Men), in my opinion, struggle with marriage not because they fear commitment or some of the cliché reason. Men fear marriage because they do not believe they have all the tools to provide a happy and fruitful marriage. A man that truly cares about his mate doesn’t want to being 90% to the marriage. He wants to bring 100% plus the kitchen sink as well. If he doesn’t feel like he is up to the point, he will hold off until he can. To some women, this sounds stupid as hell, but it is nothing more than a man saying, “I will only provide the best and nothing less!” Don’t get me wrong. I’m not making an excuse for men that are shacked up with a woman for 20 years and there hasn’t been a proposal yet. I’m speaking for those men that have held out for a few years (1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 years (5 is pushing it)).

        • Tanielle

          March 4, 2015 9:52 pm

          Thank you for responding. My ex had the same mentality. He wasn’t sure if he would be good at being married so he held off. I left. I get it but I don’t think anyone should wait around for a person with that state of mind. I’m a firm believer in the motto “feel the fear and do it anyway”. There is so much help out there to learn if you have the right partner. Pre-marital counseling, individual counseling, communications courses, etc. When you are afraid of failure the best course of action is to set yourself up for success with tools. I do know this view is common but the likelihood of a perfect marriage is 0%. There is no such thing as perfection. You will get it wrong at times for sure but that is how you grow together as partners. Thank you for being candid. Best of luck in your relationship.

          • Darkness901

            March 5, 2015 10:10 am

            I agree with per-marital counseling. I’ve always wanted to go see a counselor prior to marriage. I think it will help a lot.

            I know myself pretty well…I’ll probably wake up one morning, look and at her, and say, “Let’s put these checks together!”

            Lol. She hates it when I refer to marriage as putting two checks together. I just like getting on Her nerves.

        • Tiffquip

          March 4, 2015 10:11 pm

          You’re being a perfectionist. Life is short. Ask yourself these two questions: 1. What decision would you make if you were 81 years old? and 2. How would you feel if you read what you wrote to your 10 year old self?

          There is your answer. 🙂


    March 3, 2015 5:17 pm

    The reasons why some don’t get married are diverse. One major reason is fear. Some fear divorce, which in many instances can cause economic disputes, and other problems. Some people have a skeptical attitude about the importance of marriage. In other words, some view marriage as old fashioned or not necessary. Yet, when I look at many marriages, I see a great deal of love, commitment, and care. We don’t believe in authoritarianism. I don’t believe in forcing people to be married, but some people want to be married. Marriage can be a blessing for some. Also, marriage can be lovely, but it should be taken seriously. Marriage is not a game, but both partners should have great preparation before they get married (if they want to be married).

    At the end of the day, we want stronger relationships in general. That comes by discussion or real communication, learning, studying things, and treating people right. We have to not only discuss information. We have to be introspective and improve our strengths and eliminate our weaknesses. Loving our identity is important too. We can love others without loving our own beings. I do believe that one issue contributing some to not be married (which was more common back in the day) is about structural problems found in our economic system. The massive neoliberalism, the prison industrial complex, and the great recession have stripped a large portion of the wealth out of the black community. Many of us are one pay check away from poverty. We have to have economic justice if we are to be truly free as one people. I do encourage people to be married if they want to voluntarily. Also, we have to allow people to make voluntary decisions in how to establish their own relationships as well. Some people will get married and some will not. We have to accept that reality.

    • ALM247

      March 3, 2015 8:15 pm

      “Many of us are one pay check away from poverty”.

      Preach and say that!!! 🙂 Marriage may indeed not be for everyone, but marriage sure has improved the economic status of a lot of people in this country.


        March 3, 2015 8:17 pm

        I feel you on that point. 🙂 Marriage is definitely an institution that can can improve both spouses’ investments. One spouse can help another spouse during a raining day. Also, both spouses can teach each other on financial literacy in a higher level (or collaborate with each other on various financial plans or investment planning).

  15. elsay

    March 3, 2015 4:31 pm

    I’m from Europe and back home, most of the couple of my generations (I’m 37) are not married and do not want to get married. Getting married is not something that we ever talk about, with friends, parents, etc. My country in particular is very secular and not getting married is not frowned upon. In the African countries it’s also very common not to get married (even if some kind traditional transactions or celebrations including both families are usual if a child is born). The insistence on being married (and on all the ritualizations around marriage, including expensive engagement ring purchases) seem so important for Americans, but this is a cultural features that is not universal. People in many other nations manage to raise their children and to maintain commitments without getting married. I feel that there’s many way of living a good life, and people should be less judgmental about it.

      • Tanielle

        March 3, 2015 8:42 pm

        This person isn’t American. Why noy listen and learn instead of denying their lives experience?

          • Tanielle

            March 3, 2015 9:19 pm

            Um no. In many European counties marriage is on the decline. It’s a fact. Do you have ANY evidence to dispute this? You don’t even know which country this person is from?

          • eve-audrey

            March 4, 2015 3:56 am

            No one is misrepresenting anything stop having that stereotypical american behavior. You do know that an entire world exists outside your country right? I am from europe too and what elsay says is correct. In the american context particularly the AA context you’ll tie marriage to wealth. In Europe marriage is tied to wealth too except european kids born to unwed parents are less likely to be poor because many times the parents are middle class and they both invest in their kids’ education.

            Of course there are exceptions and this varies according to which country you are talking about ( and the particular case of immigrant families). Sweden is the perfect example of this many kids are born oow but Sweden has one of the highest standard of living in Europe. It is a matter of culture.

            • TheBurningBush

              March 4, 2015 7:21 am

              typical, you are talking about the minority as if it’s the norm, we live in the United States of America 50 different states with somewhat different laws, we must govern ourselves according to the law, customs, culture and social construct in which we live in here. Europe is on the down swing we don’t want to be a welfare state like most European country.

            • Myllee

              March 5, 2015 5:58 pm

              Europe represents several countries, not everything is like in Northern Europe. Single mothers, espcially Black ones ( since they have the highest rate of single parent, 5o% of Black kids in the UK live within a monoparental family). They are more touched by poverty and a lot of Single mothers ( regardless of the race) tend to be young and due to the lack of eduction and help from the father, they are most likely to live close to the poverty lie.

              • eve-audrey

                March 6, 2015 1:03 am

                Where did i say europe was reduced to only northern countries? I say the situation in europe concerning marriage is different. I said from what i observed people are not shocked by unwed mothers as long as they are raising their kids with the fathers. that is correct.

                I also said the situation varies from country to country and there is the particular situation of immigrant famillies. That is also correct.

                And the UK has high rates of teen pregnancy in general. My older sister lives in london and at the begining she would tell me how shocked she was to see so many teenagers with babies (or teenage girls who would hang out very late at night dressed inappropriately). I have visited her twice and i have seen this also. Of course this situation would be worse for black girls and black women.

                In France the situation is a bit different another poster said germany was different From france. You haven’t contradicted me.

  16. Coil del Rey

    March 3, 2015 3:06 pm

    I don’t know the answer, but I honestly think some people can’t stand the idea that the person they are with is their last romantic/domestic partner. They are conscientiously or un-conscientiously looking for the next best thing and they believe that a break-up will cost them less if they aren’t bound by a legal requirement.
    If people are genuinely content I can understand, but if one wants a commitment of marriage and the other does not, maybe its time to step out on their own.

  17. noirluv45

    March 3, 2015 3:01 pm

    I don’t think there is one simple answer. I think for some it’s the “piece of paper” theory, which, to me, marriage is much more than a piece of paper. Marriage, in my eyes is a (in a perfect world) a life-long commitment. If a woman is going to have children with a man, which is a MAJOR commitment, then why can’t they get married. They’re tied for life anyway. I also think some people want to have a way out if need be without all the legalities of a divorce. I always thought it was amazing how some people think that marriage equates divorce. I guess they don’t see too many examples of people who have stayed HAPPILY married for decades.

    I think if one is going to play house, they might as well get married. At least you’d get the benefits of marriage instead of fighting over who gets the pots and pans. I would never buy a house or expensive purchase without being married.

    At the end of a day, a person can make whatever decision they feel is right for them.

    • Michelle

      March 3, 2015 4:23 pm

      This is why I said (in another comment) that this thread could be interesting. I know some people love to mention the “70%…OOW” statistic, but no one won’t acknowledge this little tidbit.
      Or… They’ll mention the “70%… OOW” stat, but will say something along the lines of “marriage is just a piece of paper to me”

      • TheBurningBush

        March 3, 2015 6:21 pm

        “marriage is just a piece of paper to me” people who say that those are the people who try to cheapen and minimize the institution of marriage because they lack understand and do not have a commitment to society.

    • ALM247

      March 3, 2015 8:13 pm

      Yes, I agree with you that each person has to make the best decision for himself or herself.

      I truly believe that marriage is tied to wealth. We often discuss the lower percentage of wealth being passed from generation to generation in Black families vs. White families, but the truth is that marriage creates a lot of this wealth.

      A higher marriage rate means that there are two incomes and the opportunity to save a good portion of one of the spouse’s paychecks. Even more crucial is the recognition of the family with regard to benefits. A lot of middle and upper middle class wealth is built through health, medical and life insurance benefits. If a person is married, if the spouse dies they often are eligible for bereavement benefits that they would be ineligible for if they were just living together.

      Also, they do not allow people to cash in on most life insurance policies if you are just dating. Additionally, 401k balances automatically go to the spouse, unless the spouse waives his or her rights to the 401k funds in writing.

      I keep telling people this, but they don’t hear me, though. 🙂

      People are out here giving their all to another person (including bearing their children), and if that person dies, they have little to nothing to show for it. If you are acting as the wife, get the wife’s benefits!! If you are acting as the husband, get the husband’s benefits!!!

      The LGBT community is fighting for the right to get married, and people in the heterosexual community appear to be fighting for the right to not get married.

      • Mahogany

        March 5, 2015 2:57 pm

        You said everything I was thinking in your comment. People don’t understand that wealth is indeed passed down through marriage. Children are for life yet they think marriage is a bigger commitment.

      • Darrell

        March 6, 2015 11:01 am

        That’s only if the two people can make a Marriage work. Blacks don’t follow marriage rules. Therefore they don’t work

        • ALM247

          March 6, 2015 11:53 am

          Darrell, please go into specifics with your comment. You are inferring that Black people treat marriage differently (after they are married) than other races of people do. I doubt this.

          I can’t wait to hear this. This should be very interesting.


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