That is a good philosophical explanation. For the rest of us, it might be for immigration status, employer health coverage, etc.! Depending where you live, there can be a big difference in legal rights.
I don't know about finality, but it one big difference is that you form a legal relationship. For the duration of the marriage you have some say about your financial arrangements, assuming both people agree. However, in the event of a divorce, the law decides who gets how much, not so much the parties involved. I think of it more as "burning half you own".
ExactingL - all those things have to factor in, marriage isn't for the faint hearted!Shelley - ouch! Hadn't thought of it that way, but yes, of course.
This is a biggie! I'll be the first to admit to my kids how I grew up a hopeless romantic but that was because I had positive role models. Aside from the legalities, I think as important is if both parties agree it is what they truly want either way. However this could be the hardest part if one of them is only agreeing because they hope they will be happy with the choice! Perhaps I would take the view of less of the burning ships and more of why would you want to go back that way in any case? Even if you end up separating, you will have learnt and grown. Onwards and upwards!?
SilkP - onwards and upwards is a wonderful attitude! Yes, the legal issues are obvious regarding marriage vs living together; I was just trying to explain that psychologically living together isn't an accurate representative of marriage. I know it seems like marriage, but, to me at least, it isn't.
You are so right - for me it's completely different psychologically and emotionally and I could not have chosen cohabitation (even though I was in my early 30's). But I don't want to impress my kids with my personal views too heavily one way or the other and try to give a balanced opinion.
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