Marriage is by all rights, a contract between two individuals. There are legal grounds to be gained by being married. Marriage in itself is considered a joy because it usually means that someone has fallen in love. This isn’t always the case. The benefits of marriage present themselves so strongly to some men or women that the alternative seems ridiculous. After all, how else can you get a tax break, enjoy health and dental and vision, and be received better by society as a whole by legally living with someone. In this day and age, living together is so common that people have nearly forgotten that sometimes getting married makes more sense, from a practical standpoint.
I am not a very pragmatic person. In fact, I am an idealist and a romantic. But some of the laws in the United States are simply so slanted toward negative results for unmarried women that simply running to the court house with your best friend can solve many problems. There are in fact several states that restrict physicians from assisting an unmarried woman in her quest for fertility help. This means the sale of sperm, the implantation of embryos, and even fertility treatments can not be administered to a woman living in one of these states if she is not legally married. Some would ask why a woman would want to get pregnant if she’s not married. It’s about choice. It’s about the state governing the body of a woman, not whether or not you agree with planned single parenthood.
Of course, there are other aspects of marriage that are equally or more beneficial that has little to do with getting pregnant. In some cases, marriage can mean the answer for expensive medical treatment or chronic medications that can cost upwards of a thousand dollars per month. This again, is a pragmatic view, and some will vehemently argue that marriage is sacred and that love should be the only reason for getting married. However, let’s be realistic. A man or a woman with a willing participant can save the taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidized medical care simply by getting hitched.
Marriage forms a bond, a union, so to speak that some people have trouble functioning without. There is a sense of stability in marriage that you can’t have any other way. There is the known understanding that you are in this deal fifty-fifty. All property is community property. I knew a gay man who once married his lover’s sister because he was dying. The deal was, in order to protect his rather engorged estate from children who had disowned him, the marriage would permit a legal bond between the three family members. The sister received everything by legal default and a will. From there, she was able to dispense the appropriate funds, which turned out to be 75% of the estate to her brother once the estate was settled. Not everyone would agree with this method or feel that this is even an appropriate use of the marriage vows. However, when you’re looking at the benefits of marriage people have to realize that not all marriages are based on the obvious factor. If there were legal ways for all people to be sure their loved ones could be taken care of, marriages as such wouldn’t have to happen.
Almost all previously signed documentation can be voided is there is a marriage after the signing of the documents. That means wills, trusts, and the like can all be disrupted by a sudden marriage. This is often done on purpose as a method of thwarting already existing laws or it can be done by accident, not realizing that the second marriage just wiped out the children’s’ inheritance by default. Families are interesting living breathing organisms. It is amazing what one person in one family can do to another. The scale of kindness can be heart breaking while the scale of cruelty can be heart wrenching.
Among the benefits of marriage are the most obvious. Financial aspects always look better from a joint perspective than a single one. Unless, of course, one spouse works all the time while the other spouse spends all the time. The tax benefits alone are almost unfair. The combined incomes of two people can completely set the scale of income into a whole new tax bracket, and make life a lot more comfortable for both parties. Marriage is a statement, regardless of the motivation. It clearly defines one’s role in the relationship. It says that there is commitment there, whether for money, love, or necessity. It tells the world that there are two people in the unit, and the unit needs to be respected as one. We still live in a society that acknowledges married couples as more “legitimate” than unwed couples living together. The list of benefits are long enough that for most people, if the opportunity presents itself, it should be seriously considered as an improvement in life. And for many, this option has proven to be a literal life saver.