Commitment Without Marriage: Is it possible?

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When I looked up synonyms for commitment I found words such as (promise, pledge, loyalty, obligation, dedication, and assurance) but no mention of the word marriage. And yet many people consider couples that are together without marriage, to be in “uncommitted relationships”.

Recently I saw the movie Think Like A Man in which one of the couples had been together in a (monogamous) relationship for nine years and living together for most of those years. However the woman in the relationship was upset because her man had not “committed” (in her eyes). He had not asked her to get married.

We live in an era where the divorce rate hovers around 50%, infidelity is close to being the norm, and countless other marriages are devoid of intimacy often converting spouses into something resembling roommates or siblings. One would think that being in a lasting loving monogamous relationship is the result of two people being committed to one another. What does commitment really mean?

Do you believe there can be commitment without marriage?

Not long ago I posed the aforementioned question. I got a small variety of answers. On the one hand some people answered yes to the possibility of couples being committed to each other without being married. However there were those who felt they needed something in (writing) that would say to the world they belong to each other.

Psychological Promotion

This need to have the world view our relationship as being on the highest rung of the relationship ladder has little to do with what is actually taking place with the couple. Oftentimes people say marriage is taking things to “the next level” as though someone in love with you will love you more because your title has been changed from girlfriend to wife or from boyfriend to husband. For these people marriage is not so much about them as a couple but more about how the world sees them. It’s a psychological promotion. The wedding ceremony, the marriage license, and the exchange of rings offer no “guarantees”. If they did there would be no such thing as divorce. Close to 50% of those “forever” commitments made on paper are worth no more than those in non-married relationships that fail. (or are they?)

Legal Protection

One of the respondents to my question regarding commitment without marriage stated she thought it was possible but it did not offer legal protection. Very interesting!

Marriage is not about love, monogamy, length of time together, or promises of forever, also known as “commitment”. It’s about legal protection? Ironically the woman who answered using the words "legal protection" is on her third marriage.

Essentially marriage is a (prenuptial agreement) sanctioned by the state or country one resides in. In the event there is a death or a divorce you are entitled to get “something” whether it be homes, cars, spousal support/alimony, life insurance, social security, pension and so forth.

As one woman said: “He can’t just walk away after taking up ten years of your life!

By Any Means Necessary

Those of us who view marriage as commitment merely based upon its legal financial benefits have lost sight that all relationships or marriages are “at will”. Each person is entitled to have their own “deal breakers” whether it be cheating, abuse, or reckless irresponsibility which constantly jeopardizes their financial stability. The notion of keeping someone with you due to the difficulties they would encounter having to go through legal channels is seen by many people as a “trap”. Needless to say a trap that fails 50% of the time can’t be considered too effective.

Love and affection are things which are given freely. I have never understood why anyone would be insistent on marrying someone who did not want to marry him or her! Every marriage will have its share of challenges but at the very least a marriage should start off with (both) people wanting to get married!

Paper vs Actions

Anyone who has been in an exclusive long-term relationship expects their mate to be loving and faithful. Being married does not prove a couple is committed to one another. It’s the staying together through ups and downs that illustrates commitment. Whether a couple is like Kurt Russell & Goldie Hawn who have been living together for 30 years or a couple that exchanged wedding vows this past weekend, a commitment is written in the hearts and minds of the people making it. Only time can determine how committed one is. Whatever one may call a relationship without marriage which has lasted for years, the one thing they cannot say is the couple hasn’t demonstrated commitment.

Do you believe there can be commitment without marriage?

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Comments 101 comments

Sanjida Alam profile image

Sanjida Alam 4 years ago from Bangladesh

Wonder why there is no comment here! I loved your hub. Recently I myself am in a huge dilemma. I know my man would be just as committed if we were married, or not. My question is, if a person is committed and caring, why wouldn't he want to marry? In my society, the approval is needed badly! Until married, we cannot even stay together anywhere. SO, WHY NOT? I just don't get it :-(

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago Author

Sanjida Alam, The reasons why a man does not want to marry will vary by the individual, his age, and culture. Some men actually do not see any "upside" to getting married. Others don't start considering it until they are well into their 30s. If a woman in her 20s has her heart set on getting married she is probably better off dating men who are in their mid 30s and who have never been married before. Timing is always a major consideration when it comes to marriage along with the possibility that someone may not see us as being "the one". You always have the option to move on in order to find someone who wants what you want. Best of luck!

wisdom25 profile image

wisdom25 4 years ago from San Tan Valley

This is an awesome article. You made some valuable points and I commend you for writing this. Excellent job! Much Love and Respect

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago Author

wisdom25, Thanks for stopping by and posting your wonderful comment. In 4-6 weeks my book; My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany) will become available. In it I share similar ideas to the ones I post in my hubs. Thanks again for stopping by!

michememe profile image

michememe 4 years ago

I have been married once, and honestly I am not looking to marry again. I never was the girl or woman who saw marraige as something I had to do. My thought is this, I don't need a paper or a man's last name to know that he love or is committed to me. What I need is for him to be this with or without a piece of paper. I can be a committed woman without changing my last name. When I'm in, I'm in. I often remind people, that people were married under the eyes of a Higher Power, before signing papers. So why is signing papers important now, isn't this union being recognized more by man, than God? If a person is for the union of marriage great!!!! I'm elated for them; if you are like me and just want your long life partner even better. I really enjoyed this HUB. :) As always you NEVER disappont by putting the light bulb above ones head.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago Author

michememe, Thanks so much for your kind words. I honestly believe the most important thing is for a couple to want the same thing. Whether it is marriage, living together, or whatever. People who naturally agree tend to be happier than those who don't! Who knew?! :-)

Nick Barricella profile image

Nick Barricella 4 years ago from New York

This article makes a lot of sense, and the information provided is very interesting. 50% divorce rate?! Wow! Wonderful Hub, have a nice day =:)

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago Author

Nick, Thanks for stopping by to read and post your comment on my hub. You have a nice day also! :-)

Farmer Rachel profile image

Farmer Rachel 4 years ago from Minnesota

I really enjoyed reading this hub, and I'm glad there are people out there who don't view marriage as the only form of committed relationship. I've been in a very healthy monogomous relationship for years, and I don't believe in marriage, so we have no intention of getting married. I'm in my 20s, and none of my girlfriends (who are all rushing to the alter at breakneck speed) can understand where I'm coming from. Very strange society we live in, IMHO.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago Author

Farmer Rachel, Thanks for your comment. Commitment is an action/behavior demonstrated over time and has nothing to do with marital status. Infidelity has been on the rise in marriage for decades! Couples that live together have the same expectation of one another as married couples. As I stated a man is not going to love a woman more because her title has been changed from girlfriend to wife. :-)

Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Marriage has become just a contract to some, buy for the minority of us in the 50% who are married and actually love each other it is a religious commitment to God and spouse. It is not about love only but family and the raising of children and bringing communities together. This new generation of people who are my age are the promoters of marriage as just a relationship with a paper contract. Before there was paper contracts there was marriage.

I like you hub though and followed you here because you answered on of my questions. I like you angle though I may have different views on some of the sharper edges. Voted up

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 years ago Author

Rodric29, Thanks for posting your comment. I believe life is a personal journey. Each person gets to decide which lifestyle (they) want to live. Like you I am also married. However if someone does not want to get married I do not assume they are (less committed) to their significant other than I am to my wife. What makes a marriage or relationship work is having both people sharing the same values and wanting the same things for the couple.

Historically marriage has gone through many revisions in numerous cultures. As a polygynous society, the Israelites did not have any laws which imposed marital fidelity on men. Adulterous married women and adulterous betrothed women, however, were subject to the death penalty by the biblical laws against adultery, as were their male accomplices. During the times of slavery black marriages weren't "legally recognized" and of course "jumping the broom" did not require any paper contracts.

DDE profile image

DDE 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

commitment without marriage is much simpler for many couples, if they love each other it can be an idea. You have informed your readers very well on this Hub thanks

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

DDE, Thanks for stopping by and posting your comment. I think sometimes people get so use to thinking that the definition of (marriage) is "commitment" even though divorce rates are higher than ever especially in the U.S.; One's marital status does not stop them from cheating either.

A commitment is more than taking a vow or making a promise. It's a dedication on the part of both individuals to demostrate honesty, integrity, and respect towards their relationship. Without these things a ring and a ceremony are just that, a ring and a ceremony. In fact one does not need a legal document to act accordingly.

As one reader stated marriage was not so much about "commitment" it's about having access to legal rights and financial benefits. Also known as "security". :-)

wonderful1 profile image

wonderful1 3 years ago from Southern California

Is there commitment without marriage-- for the time being, I haven't even encountered a third date in over a year, let alone a committed relationship. I've come to terms with the possibility that I might just be single for life from now on.

Oh, and if I were to be in a commitment: I don't see myself going down the "legal" path of marriage again. Once burned, twice shy. I miss companionship, but not the sting of divorce (and legal fees).

lovedoctor926 3 years ago

Useful information and interesting.

Nine years together and no commitment? I would not allow a man to string me along that long. After a year, I would give him an ultimatum. If he loves me, he will propose and if he doesn't, then we can go our own separate ways. The dating world has changed a lot. Most men these days want the benefits without any commitment. A man will fall in love with a woman who makes him feel good when he's in her company. A man can have sex with tons of women without falling in love with any one of them. When a man falls in love, he will go out of his way and think nothing of it. It's true that the rate of cheating has risen during the past several years. The divorce rate is at an all time high, but this doesn't mean that you can't have a man desire you and only you. It's all in the mindset and what we send out subconsciously. In order to get a man to want you and only you, you must exert that confidence and change all that negative self-talk that all of us women are guilty of many times. We must start by recognizing and acknowledging our worth. You have to start thinking that you are awesome and having the confidence deep down inside that you are more than enough for this one man forever.

wonderful1 profile image

wonderful1 3 years ago from Southern California

Well said, lovedoctor!

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

Wonderful1, I'm willing to bet you will not go the rest of your life without having a companion. My guess is things will unfold for you in a way that you can't imagine. (Remember I told you this when it happens!) :-)

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

lovedoctor, I think you miss the point of this hub unless you strictly define marriage as being the only way of being committed. (A person living with someone has the same expectations of their mate as someone they are married to). Commitment is all about how a couple conducts themselves. Kim Kardashian and Chris Humpries were "married" albeit for 37 days. My point is just because someone says, "I do" does not mean they are committed. Most men are not afraid of marriage. They're afraid of divorce. According to statistics 66% or 2/3rds of all divorces are initiated by women.

Personally I've never been a fan of ultimatums. Why would anyone want to marry someone who did not want to marry them? Having said that if being legally married is a (must have) for you then it would make no sense to invest years of your life with someone who does not want what you want. If a guy tells a woman he doesn't want to get married he is NOT stringing her along. If on the other hand he keeps promising "one day" we'll do it that is another story. All relationships are "at will". Each of us gets to choose our own lovers and spouse. Anyone that stays in a relationship for 9 years unfulfilled has no one to blame but them self. It's not their mate's fault and no one used anyone. The choice to stay or go is always yours to make. :-)

LauraD093 profile image

LauraD093 3 years ago from Pittsburgh PA

I lived with my husband for 6 years prior to us getting married-We were no less committed then as we are now. Our expectations were all that the word is defined as. The only real difference was that after marriage we were merging "things" i.e. bank accounts-properties etc and "things" do not bring about a healthy relationship commitment to making it work regardless of the ups and downs does.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

LauraD093, I appreciate you reading my hub and posting a comment. Like you I also lived with my wife prior to marriage. We also had the same expectations of one another prior to saying "I do". In fact all couples in "serious" relationships expect honesty, trust, monogamy, mutual love and respect. You don't wait until marriage to give or get these things.

The more I research this topic it becomes apparent that a lot of people don't consider a relationship to be "committed" unless they have a (legal) means of extracting money or property in the event a relationship fails. I recently heard one woman put down another woman for being in a 10 year relationship that ended: "All that time you spent with him and you have (nothing) to show for it!" No man would say that to another man. Men and women will never truly be equal as long as someone feels "used" in a (consensual) relationship. Both people invested their time and emotion.

gmwilliams profile image

gmwilliams 3 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

Commitment is not based upon a piece of paper but it what is within couples' hearts. So many married people cheat on each other that it is so pathetic. They viewed marriage as a security measure and live that sort of life. They are not passionate about each other and it shows. In fact, they are living in utter desperation.

On the other hand, there are very committed couples who are not married legally. However, they are married spiritually to each other. They respect and support each other spiritually, emotionally, and psychogically and that is the most important thing-love and respect for each other.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

gmwilliams, I very much agree with you. Commitment has more to do with how a couple conducts themselves. Being married doesn't mean someone will stick with you for the rest of your life. Clearly a divorce rate of nearly 50% proves that! Marriage also does not mean a person will not cheat.

Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries were married for 37 days! No one can convince me that their (marriage) is more "committed" than a couple who has lived together for 5 years in a loving monogamous relationship. As the one woman stated what a lot of people mean by "commitment" has nothing to do with love or staying together. It's about having a (legal recourse) to extract financial benefits if things (don't) work out.

VivaLaVina 3 years ago

I finally found an article that makes me feel I'm not alone! I've always thought that marriage is a commitment. But as things changed, people changed, society changed, lifestyles changed, and cultures changed; marriage has become nothing but a piece of paper (just like you're going to school for a piece of certificate as an insurance for a life career), and wedding and celebration are just a way to get approval from everyone that you've made it into the next stage of life. I've always wondered if it would be possible for me to get married but without signing any legal documents. To me, true marriage is spiritual. God is the true legal document.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

VivaLaVina, Thanks for reading my hub and taking the time to post a comment. I love your statement: "true marriage is spiritual. God is the true legal document."

It’s the staying together through ups and downs that illustrates commitment.

People really should stop saying couples in long-term relationships are uncommitted. They have the (same expectations) of one another as couples who choose to get the piece of paper. If what they want is a legal means to gain (financial benefits) should the relationship fail they should say so instead of hiding their intentions behind the word “commitment”. It’s very misleading. A commitment is in the way a couple (actually) conducts their life together. No document will guarantee behavior!

Kathryn Stratford profile image

Kathryn Stratford 3 years ago from Manchester, Connecticut

I completely believe you can be in a committed relationship without being married. I believe marriage is an important choice between each couple, and shouldn't be taken lightly. But like you said, if one of the couple doesn't want to get married, it is a bad idea to do so.

I know some people (usually women) like the wedding ceremony, and have been waiting to feel like a princess all of their lives.

I know I want to get married and have 1-2 kids. Having the same last name as both your man and your kids is something that appeals to me, although it certainly would not be the main factor.

Good article, and thought-provoking.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

Kathryn Stratford, Thanks so much for your comment.

There is nothing wrong with getting married and feeling like a princess. :-) Hopefully one day people will realize commitment has very little to do with (marital status). As much infidelity and divorce there is you would think we'd know this by now. We illustrate our commitment by how we (conduct or behave) in our relationship not because there is a title (husband/wife).

Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

Interesting thought that marriage is a prenuptial agreement by default. As the favored answer in you poll indicates - commitment is shown by how to parties conduct themselves in a relationship. I know too many people who made it legal but had no commitment.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

Glenn Stok , Thanks for stopping by and posting your comment. I suppose there will always be people who continue to believe that anything short of marriage is not a "commitment".

Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

My wife and I started out with absolutely nothing of our own. We built our lives together and cannot tell who contributed what to the marriage. We look back and everything is intertwinded.

We did things the traditional way. I did not even kiss her on the lips until after we were married. Every day was a adventure mixed with some shaky spots that are worth the learning experience. I love my wife more today than I did at marriage because she helped make me into something better than I was and I did the same for her, we are doing it still for each other. It is getting harder and harder to do it though. We see divource all around. We even considered it a few times when things seemed bleak. I am so glad that we were wise enough to think about how we really feel about each other. I love my wife. I lave marriage.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

Rodric29, Congratulations on having a solid and loving marriage!

mike102771 profile image

mike102771 3 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

Maybe marriage it’s self is an outdated concept? Infidelity has become more like how people look at white collar crime, they will do it if they can get away with it. I agree with you that you can have commitment without marriage, but I also think that you can’t have a real marriage without commitment. I knew a couple that lived together for years without marriage, but when he died she got nothing (the house and all the belonging went to his kids from an earlier marriage). Now she is left living on a small social security check and the good graces of his kids (who aren’t that nice).

I also knew a couple in an open marriage but that’s another story.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

mike102771, Thanks for your comment.

I truly believe only (time) can determine how committed one is. It really does come down to how the couple conducts their relationship. I've known married people that behaved like they were single.

As for the lady that ended up with nothing, I've heard similar stories before. This indicates that what many people mean by commitment is financial benefits in the event of death, divorce, or breakup. However no one will say to you, "Let's get married so that I will get some money in case things go bad between us." LOL!

The man that passed away could have set up a trust or made other arrangements for his lady to get what he wanted her to have. However like most of us he probably spent little time planning for his death instructions. One of the "benefits" to marriage is a lot of things are (automatically) given to the spouse. Nonetheless if someone is with you up until the day they die you can't ask for anymore "commitment" than that.

mike102771 profile image

mike102771 3 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

Despite his age he never saw it coming. According to her they talked about setting something up and changing his will (even the kids admitted he wanted it changed) but he died before anything was done (you would think when you are in your 80s you may want to plan for the grave). Maybe it's just I live in an old fashion neighborhood, but most people thought they where married.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

mike102771. Wow! That is a kind of wild. You would think anyone in their 80s for sure would be thinking about their mortality. I also would think his kids having known his wishes would have honored them.

mike102771 profile image

mike102771 3 years ago from Lakemore, Ohio

Some people think they are going to live forever. As for the kids (in their 60's) they saw dollar signs in their eyes after the old man kicked the bucket. I would imagine that if people where buying (land and homes) at this time she would be out. Although, I hope I'm wrong.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

I guess you never know how people are going to behave after you moved on.

AmandaJon profile image

AmandaJon 3 years ago

Commitment is a very tricky subject. I think everyone has his own description of this notion. But in general it means to be devoted to someone with your heart and your mind.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

AmandaJon , I agree with you. Most people would not even dream of marrying someone whom they felt was not (already devoted) to them with their heart and mind. Not many people would knowingly choose to marry someone who was constantly cheating on them or breaking up and making up with them over and over again. (Never feeling secure)

Essentially a couple is committed to each other (before) they get married! We get married because we believe we have found someone who will be with us through thick and thin and not simply because they stated so on the day we cut the cake. If we did not believe they were (already committed to us) we would not marry them! One man's opinion! :-)

Ladybuled 3 years ago

Awesome hub! 4 thumbs up! ;)

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 3 years ago Author

Ladybuled, Thanks for the wonderful comment and the 4 thumbs up! :-)

Tashaonthetown profile image

Tashaonthetown 2 years ago from South Africa

Of course there can be commitment without marriage but I think for a woman, it feels more secure if there is a wedding and a happily ever after. I dont see marriage as a legal document but a promise to be loved and to love forever!

Marriage is something that completes a relationship and it can be beautiful and magical. It is part of a long standing tradition throughout history to be wed, to have children and to carry on a name.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Tashaonthetown, I think you made my point that marriage primarily provides a false "psychological sense of security". In the U.S. where there is a divorce rate hovering around 50% it's not safe to automatically assume just because there is a wedding a couple will live together "happily ever after".

Marriage is a legal document at least in the U.S. one has to purchase a license to get married and file a certificate with their county clerk's office. If they decide to split they have file for a divorce and go through the court system to get a divorce decree. One could easily "promise to be loved and to love forever!" without having to involve the legal system.

I'm not against marriage and I completely get that having a wedding is a romantic tradition. Nevertheless getting married does not mean a couple is committed or will remain committed to one another anymore than a couple who cohabitates. With a 50% divorce rate it's hard to dispute this. However the real advantage to marriage is if it fails one has (legal rights) to gain financially. That's where the "security" comes in for a lot of folks.

The reality is it's the (people) in the relationship/marriage that determine if they're "committed" and not the wedding ceremony.

Thanks for your comment!

RealestMotherDear profile image

RealestMotherDear 2 years ago from Louisiana

love this! It is possible. My man backs me and we are on each other's life insurance policies and we have a kid. Im going to be married but I'm not scared.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

RealestMotherDear, Congratulations!

As you know there are a lot of "married folks" who are not as committed as you and your man are. I often tell people: "The goal should always be to marry someone who (already is) "committed" to us."

And yet most people believe the "marriage license" is the commitment!

Thanks for you comment.

RealestMotherDear profile image

RealestMotherDear 2 years ago from Louisiana

Agreed! So many women think a marriage is the fairy dust that will make their men faithful, committed, cooperative, etc. They even spread that lie amongst each other, claiming he technically doesn't have to be decent because he isn't married anyway. Since when do you have to be a husband to express reciprocity? I'm ranting now, lemme calm down.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Very true!

I've known guys who thought they could cheat all the way up through the night before their wedding and then become loyal and faithful until death after saying "I do". No one can change their character overnight! LOL!

RealestMotherDear profile image

RealestMotherDear 2 years ago from Louisiana

Right! Love your hubs btw

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Thanks RealestMotherDear !

tazzytamar profile image

tazzytamar 2 years ago from chichester

I think you wrote this brilliantly and all the points you made are spot on. I think gender has a part to play, too as the two sexes stereotypically have very different views on whether or not they should get married. I think that being married doesn't make you any more or less committed in the long run, but I think it does say that (at least at the time of getting married), the two individuals intend to spend the rest of their lives together.

Elaine Flowers profile image

Elaine Flowers 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Voted interesting and shared!

I always enjoy your perspective and again, you did not disappoint.

I think I am of that rare breed of women who would be more inclined to be committed if there is no formal or legal binding contract. Picture the movie "Run Away Bride." I'm not talking about me cheating, just the finality of marriage seems so suffocating and the fear of a man controlling me makes me shy away. So, to answer your question; yes, I believe there can be commitment without marriage.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

tazzytamar, Thanks very much for stopping by and posting your comment. Early childhood (gender indoctrination) does have a lot to do with how men and women approach relationships and marriage.

It takes awhile for most men to evolve to the point of wanting what many women do. :)

Elaine, Thanks for the vote up and the share!

A lot of people who say they want "commitment" really mean they want "relationship insurance" in the event things fall apart. :)

tazzytamar profile image

tazzytamar 2 years ago from chichester

Definitely! I'd be interested to know what portion of women actually want to get married for genuine reasons as opposed to "just feeling like it is the thing to do".

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

tazzytamar , That would make for an interesting survey!

Elaine Flowers profile image

Elaine Flowers 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Not that women knowingly lie about it but if they knew and told the truth, it would certainly be an interesting survey.

What women really want, taking the liberty to speak for all women, is love and romance for forever and they mistakenly equate it with marriage. Of course there are exceptions so I'm speaking in general terms.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Elaine, I think you speak for a lot of women. :)

However it can't be denied that there are some women who see marriage as their "lottery ticket" or as a way of having their financial needs taken care of.

Several years ago I was in a Circuit City and two female cashiers were talking. One said: "Girl, I need to hurry up and find myself a man to pay my bills!" They both laughed as the other cashier replied; "I heard that!"

Elaine Flowers profile image

Elaine Flowers 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Yup! Before I knew better, I had those same thoughts and conversations (usually at the first of the month when there was nothing going on but the rent). I wrote a book about women and their desires for marriage with the wrong intentions. Title: I Wouldn't Mind Having a Husband, I Just Don't Want to Be Somebody's Wife. Those same words I used to say frequently after my divorce and the bills were coming due - lol

Thank God for growth!

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Well hello fellow author! Love the title of your book!

Mine is "My Cat Won't Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany)

Yes! Thank God for growth & wisdom! :)

lisln profile image

lisln 2 years ago from Denver Colorado

You have some good insight as far as relationships go. I do feel that there has to be a good reason to want to get married, I am also finding that many people won't get married. It is a tough call this day and age. Very few actually succeed in finding a life partner in marriage or in a long term relationship.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

lisln, Thanks for stopping by and posting your comment!

I've reached the understanding that marriage is not for everyone and there are people who can be very happy without it. I believe the real key to having a successful relationship or marriage is to (know yourself) inside and out BEFORE you enter into relationships with others. You have to know what you want and need in a mate in order to make the (right choice) for yourself.

Never separate your mind from your heart when making relationship decisions. The purpose of the mind is to protect the heart.

There are only two ways to experience joy and peace of mind in relationships: We either get what we want or we learn to be happy with what we have. The choice is up to us! :)

Express10 profile image

Express10 2 years ago from East Coast

This is a very interesting subject. Marriage is not for everyone and many people have no idea who they are and what they can offer let alone what they want and need from another person when they marry. I've seen good marriages and good committed relationships without a marriage certificate. Your advice about the mind and heart is very good to remember, so many of us do things from the heart that harm us. I really enjoyed this hub!

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Express10 Thanks!

Life really is a personal journey. I'm always telling people; "Marriage does not mean someone will commit to you." The goal is to marry someone who already has committed to you!

The commitment should come BEFORE there is a marriage. :)

Chauncey St Clair profile image

Chauncey St Clair 2 years ago from New York City

I do think its possible to remain committed in a relationship for years, if not decades. LGBT couples prior to be denied the legal right to marry we committed to one another minus the gifts and benefits of marriage.

I do think marriage and commitment are two separate ideas. being committed in a relationship is between you and that other person. Being married is a legal agreement and something that elevates ones social status. One can feed into the other, but they are not always hand in hand.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Chauncey St Clair, Thanks for your comment!

I'm always reminding people that the "commitment" comes (before) the marriage. No one wants to marry someone hasn't demonstrated they are in a committed relationship.

Lots of people use the word "commitment" when what they really want is the "security" of knowing they are (legally entitled) to certain benefits in the event a relationship/marriage fails! It's not about the vows or staying together.

MelissaCJohnson 2 years ago

This is very informative! I believe it depends on the person. I remember when I was working at an office building. My husband finally proposed after a few years and I was telling people about it- I had someone come up and say something along the lines of "Now you'll really be committed to each other- because before that ring goes on your finger there is nothing stopping him from straying."

That was an interesting comment because, well, I'd never thought of it like that before. To be perfectly honest we were mainly getting married because he was joining the military- you get better benefits if you're married, and you can see each other more often. My view was and always has been that if you really love the other person then there is no reason to sign a document beyond benefits received- and my husband thought the same.

The second I met my husband I was in the relationship 100%, and I never strayed or even thought about straying because I simply loved him... and I knew it. I don't believe in love at first sight, but after meeting him I knew there was a real possibility of us being together for the 'long term'.

Anyways, when I asked her about it she said that if there is nothing binding you together then there is no accountability, that he can walk away at any time... but I happen to disagree. Paper, no paper, big wedding, small- or no wedding... staying committed, faithful, and 'in' the relationship has nothing to do with being married... it has everything to do with your character; what kind of person you really are.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

MelissaCJohnson, Thanks for taking the time to post a comment on my hub. I completely agree with you that "the relationship has nothing to do with being married... it has everything to do with your character."

Lots of married people cheat and our divorce rates hover around 50%!

There is nothing "magical" about a wedding ring. Generally speaking the "commitment"/exclusivity should take place BEFORE the wedding! :)

Not many people would knowingly marry someone who they knew were having sex with other people while swearing they're in an "exclusive" relationship with them. Commitment is not a light switch one turns on or off. It's something that gradually evolves as two people get to know one another and discover things they value in one another.

Eventually they both decide they don't want anyone else.

MelissaCJohnson 2 years ago

Absolutely! I don't know a single person that would stay in a "long term" relationship where they aren't exclusive for a good while before getting married (if they even do, that is). I mean, what would be the point of getting married? Or staying in a relationship with them? Granted there are plenty of 'open' relationships out there, but if the "end all be all" is that you need to have a ring on your finger to feel exclusive then chances are your relationship isn't healthy- or you have spent the better part of your "time with them" telling yourself that you will only settle down by that point. If the 'latter' option is your way of thinking then you may not be ready to settle down or fully commit in the first place. This goes for both males and females.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Very true! A commitment is written on the heart long before it ever appears on a marriage license. Thanks again for your comment Melissa.

Amber Cookie 13 profile image

Amber Cookie 13 2 years ago from Northeast

You spoke about a woman who stated that marriage was necessary for legal protection... doesn't this also make marriage a legal weapon? I just read a traditional wedding vow online... it alarmingly reads like a giant lifelong contract wrapped in flowered paper and tied with floppy satin bow. E-yak! I think it's the person's emotional commitment that makes a relationship, not a contract.

Great post... mind provoking.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Amber Cookie 13, Thanks for stopping by and posting a comment to my hub. I think a lot of people actually view a marriage license as some type of form of "security". As one woman put it: "He can't just up and walk away."

However what she really meant is he can't leave her without paying a "price" of some kind. Even with that in the U.S. divorce rates hover around 50% and infidelity is on the rise for both genders!

Therefore it's hard to argue that having a ring and marriage license are any more of a guarantee of commitment then being in a relationship without them. Thanks again for your comment.

Rae-LeighDawn profile image

Rae-LeighDawn 2 years ago

Getting older plays a big part in one's feelings about this too I think. Not so much "marriage" but having a partner that will be there when your older. Mind you if you are surrounded by a lot of loving people and family you might not feel that ticking clock as much

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 years ago Author

Rae-LeighDawn, I agree with you that the older one becomes the less of an issue it is for them to have a certain relationship/marital status.

Maybe by then they've come to realize that life is not a fairytale or possibly they've already been married and divorced. "Been there, done that."

Therefore they've come to the realization that real commitment is demonstrated by one's (behavior/attitude) towards the one they love and not by a wedding ring and marriage license.

Thanks for your comment!

lisln profile image

lisln 24 months ago from Denver Colorado

I am in a committed relationship for about 6 years now. I was divorced twice. and being with this man who has never cheated on me has showed me more without that paper then the two marriages with that paper. So yes you can be committed without having to get married. But being a Christian woman I don't feel right living together but I love our relationship the way it is we are very committed.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 24 months ago Author

lisln, Thanks so much for your comment.

I believe "commitment" comes before marriage. As for not feeling (right) about living together keep in mind there are far worse sins. If living together is your only major sin consider forgiving yourself. None of us is without sin.

Ecclesiastes 7:20 (KJV)

"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."

Deborah Demander profile image

Deborah Demander 21 months ago from First Wyoming, then THE WORLD

I appreciate your insight. I believe in commitment, but I am over the whole "marriage" game.

When you want to be with someone, be with them. Commit yourself wholly. And when you (or when they) are no longer having fun or feeling fulfilled, what is the point?

Voted up on this great article.


dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 21 months ago Author

Deborah, Thanks for the vote up!

I agree if two people are unhappy and no longer want the same things there's very little point to staying together unless you love "drama" or misery.

Marriage was never meant to be a prison or a form of punishment.

Over time people are either "growing together' or "growing apart". Communication is the GPS for relationships to let you know which it is.

Akriti Mattu profile image

Akriti Mattu 19 months ago from Shimla, India

This is an interesting take on the subject.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 19 months ago Author

Thanks for your comment Akriti.

I truly believe commitment comes before the ring. :)

Rodric29 profile image

Rodric29 19 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

We can see the committment can happen without a marriage covenant. Also, marriage legally does not have the same sacred meaning to the rising generation and the older generation has forgotten the purpose of marriage.

Marriage is not just about love or having a fun time, or getting bored with a spouse. It was considered a covenant between a man, woman and God. Now it is just a civil rights issued negotiable contract.

Covenants inolves keeping vows regardless of the spouse's behavior, since the covenant is not a contract.

Vows are sacred and not to be removed save for adultery or abuse. Even in adultery or abuse is issues can be resolve the marriage covenant vows are worth honoring.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 19 months ago Author

Rodric29 your statement:

"Covenants involves keeping vows regardless of the spouse's behavior."

Very few people would want their mother, sister, or daughter to stay married to a man who was beating them, cheating on them which by the way may put them at risk of contracting STDs or AIDs.

You also said: "Even in adultery or abuse is issues can be resolve the marriage." The only resolution is for the abuser or cheater to stop doing those things or for the betrayed person to file divorce and find someone who will love and honor them.

Human beings make mistakes!

Essentially the reason divorce exists is because not everyone is going to choose the right mate for themselves. Lots of people marry the "wrong person" or they get married for the "wrong reasons".

Each of us gets to (choose) our own friends, lovers, and spouse.

If you discover you and your spouse no longer want to the same things or one of you wants to have sex with other people, or someone becomes an alcoholic or drug addict it's unrealistic to expect people to choose to be miserable and stay in an unfulfilling marriage.

The goal is to find someone who shares your same values, wants the same things for the marriage that you do, naturally agrees with you on how to obtain those things, and last but not least have a mutual depth of love and desire for each other.

Marriage was never meant to be a trap. Nor should someone feel that just because they're married they can now take their partner for granted and stop doing all things that won their heart in the first place.

When we change our circumstances change.

Generally speaking people marry those whom they love. However that does not mean we should not also love ourselves.

Each of us is entitled to have our own "deal breakers" and boundaries.

"Never love anyone who treats you like you're ordinary."

- Oscar Wilde

MsDora profile image

MsDora 18 months ago from The Caribbean

You do have a wise handle on this issue. My article on which you commented did not have the word "marriage" in it either; yet readers interpreted commitment to mean marriage, so we know how we think. Glad I didn't read your article earlier, I might have been tempted to copy. Good work!

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 18 months ago Author

MsDora, Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to post a comment!

I really enjoyed your article on the subject of commitment.

Even in 2015 I often hear people proclaim it's not a "committed relationship" until a wedding takes place.

I keep telling them it's how people (conduct themselves) that determines whether or not they are committed! Commitment is behavior not paper!

Lots of folks are (married) and cheat on one another left and right!

Thanks again for you comment.

exposed2create profile image

exposed2create 17 months ago from Coconut Creek, FL

I believe that it's possible to be in a committed relationship without getting married. When you love someone there is no barrier to difficult to get over and no goal to far too reach. People should get married because they believe it to be a symbol of ever lasting love, through thick and thin, good and bad, in sickness and in health until the end of time. If that is not the reason why you're getting married then don't.

At the end of the day commitment comes from within not from a piece a paper. If you want to be in a committed relationship you will and if you don't then you won't.

florypaula profile image

florypaula 17 months ago

I think it depends a lot on the person and what does one need to feel like things are "official". I am in a relationship with my boyfriend for almost 11 years, we are not married with papers but we don't feel like we wouldn't be. We live together and do every single thing that married people do, and we feel like married, we just didn't sign that paper yet. At some point we will do it, but mainly just to have one last name and for our future children to have one last name, not two. Just because we don't have that paper doesn't make us feel like we are less than a married couple. But I know there are people who don't see you as a real family unless you make it official. I'm fine with that because I think it is important how I see my relationship and not how others see it.

Have a nice day.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 17 months ago Author

exposed2create, Thanks for stopping by to read my hub and post a comment. I agree with you a real commitment has nothing to do marriage license.

florypaula, You have a point a lot of this is not about whether one (is) committed but rather how they (feel). For many people getting married is a psychological promotion. As I stated it doesn't mean the couple loves each other more!

There lots of married people who aren't committed!

A commitment is written in the hearts and minds of the people making it. A commitment is based upon (how you conduct yourselves) as a couple.

exposed2create profile image

exposed2create 17 months ago from Coconut Creek, FL

Agreed! Very interesting stuff dashingscorpio. I will definitely continue to read more of your hubs. Thanks for sharing!

Jade89 profile image

Jade89 16 months ago from Johannesburg - South Africa

Awesome and really worth thinking about. I've thought about the same thing on numerous occasions and since my unfortunate marriage, I've reconsidered getting married again in the future. I've realized that there are couples out there that are more "committed" to each other, happier and more loyal while dating for years or cohabiting than many married couples. Getting married doesn't mean your partner will change or that he / she will be loyal to you. The vows and piece of paper might mean everything to you but what it means to your partner may be a different story.

On a different thought, people who stay together and remain in a relationship for years without being tied together legally are doing it out of love not because they signed a piece of paper and now it's more of a mission to get out of the relationship. If you can stay with someone when you're not legally obliged to and it's easy to just pack up and leave and go on with your life, that's a sure sign of true love in my opinion.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 16 months ago Author

"If you can stay with someone when you're not legally obliged to and it's easy to just pack up and leave and go on with your life, that's a sure sign of true love in my opinion." - Excellent point!

Thanks for your comment Jade89.

sujaya venkatesh profile image

sujaya venkatesh 10 months ago

marriage is an institution

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 10 months ago Author

A (legal) institution!

savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 months ago

The reason some men do not want to marry is because they can leave without losing money. That’s basically the only reason why they choose to cohabitate. It is also important to note that the emotional costs of ending co-habitation vs. marriage are the same.

Also, if one cohabitating partner dies, the remaining partner has no legal right to inherit the estate/property, unless it is so stated in a will, which most people do not even have unless they are far up in years.

In addition, a cohabitant may not be given the right to make any decisions regarding an ill or dying partner. They will have to defer to the family.

This was a very “readable” article, but I don’t buy the “I am committed to you even if I don’t marry you” argument. Every single man I have talked to about this matter has admitted that they just don’t want to lose any money if things go south. That, in my opinion, does not sound like commitment to me. As for Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, we all know that neither of them has to worry about finances or how they will take care of the children if one partner dies.

In a marriage, we commit everything, not just our bodies. That is what love is.

That being said, if people want to cohabitate, I say, Go At It. But don’t fool yourself into thinking the break-up will be easier if it turns out that the relationship ends.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 months ago Author


Thanks for stopping by to read my hub and taking the time to post a comment. Much of what you stated are fact about true meaning behind the word commitment.

It not just about being in a loving monogamous relationship and building a future together. It's about getting financial benefits in the event things go south! As you noted:

"Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, we all know that neither of them has to worry about finances or how they will take care of the children if one partner dies." And yet it's not unheard of for two rich people to marry.

That gives us hope that (money) and living standards doesn't have to be the reason why people decide to make their relationship "legal".

As you noted to each his/her own whether they choose to cohabitate or get married. What matters most is if they are on the same page.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 months ago Author

Some people also believe commitment means they get to gradually STOP doing all of the things that caused you to fall in love with them and you won't leave them! In no other scenario do people have this expectation.

If you stop showing up for work you get fired, stop paying your car note the car is repossessed, stop paying your mortgage your house if foreclosed...etc

However they believe if you stop nurturing your relationship/marriage the union should remain in tact no matter what. It's an unrealistic expectation.

A commitment is only good for as long as both people are in agreement.

savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 months ago

Dashing....That's true about being in agreement. The sad thing is that many women say they agree, but in their hearts they really don't agree (to cohabitating) In my book, if we don't marry for love, then there is no point in getting married or even cohabitating. Best to remain single in those instances. It's not like it's all that difficult to get uncommitted sex. That's not for me, but for some it seems to fit the bill...

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 months ago Author

I actually think most people simply stumble into living together without having made any long term plans.

One person says: "Why are we paying for two apartments, two sets of utility bills, and so on when we're always here? Lets get a place together!

Another scenario might be they're in a very romantic/passionate relationship dread those long (sad) Sunday afternoon good-byes.

"Just think if we lived together we could wake up in each other's arms every morning and fall asleep in each other's arms every night."

Having said that I do agree with you that many people do view cohabitating as a "step towards marriage" whether they discuss it openly or not.

According to one article I read recently 53% of weddings that take place today are between couples who have cohabitated.

Some people say they could never marry someone they've never lived with.

On the other hand I suspect a lot of people have been convinced not get married to someone after moving in with them. :)

savvydating profile image

savvydating 2 months ago

Generally speaking, it helps to be engaged before or right after cohabitating. If the intent to marry is strong, the couple has a decent chance of making the marriage work. If, on the other hand, the couple is doing a test drive, then the relationship will likely fizzle out. We have to be careful about comparing a relationship to a car. Cars have no feelings and no dealership would allow you to test drive them for years and then return them. Lol.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 2 months ago Author

Great point!

If the couple intends to get married they might as well get engaged prior to moving in together. It also might help them to save up money for the wedding and honeymoon.

However most cohabitants only think short-term.

I've had a couple of cars in the past I wish I could have returned! LOL!

modernalchemyst profile image

modernalchemyst 4 weeks ago from New England

Great article! My take on it essentially boils down to the quote above: “He can’t just walk away after taking up ten years of your life!”

Can there be commitment without marriage? Of course! But in a society where marriage is still a (relatively) central component of social structure with a number of benefits and protections, I think it says a lot to make that legal commitment. It's not a popular opinion, but I think too many marriage-minded women shoot themselves in the foot by giving a man all he can get in marriage without any commitment. In a completely modern relationship where both parties are focused on career and she can take or leave the husband and provider role, that's all well and good. For women who want a more traditional relationship with marriage, kids and the whole nine yards, this can be a serious time waster.

That said, the intention is a huge factor. Like you mentioned, cohabiting as a step towards a long-term relationship yields very different results from a relationship "test drive."

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 weeks ago Author

Modernalchemyst, Thanks for stopping by to read and post a comment to my hub. You pretty much hit the nail on the head regarding what commitment really means to a lot of women "benefits and protections".

And yet very few if any women would state that as their reason to their man. I believe it's one of those "gender differences".

When a man hears the word "commitment" he's thinking in terms of being in a loving monogamous relationship and not "benefits and protections". The reality is many of those only come into play if the marriage fails or someone dies. Neither sounds appealing to men.

Therefore we as a society tend to beat around the bush by inferring commitment is about permanence rather than benefits and protections.

The same holds true when men decide to ask a woman out on a date. Generally speaking it's because they're (physically/sexually) attracted to them. And yet no guy in his right mind would tell a woman he asked her out with the hope of (eventually) having sex with her.

She (innocently) tells herself he just wanted "someone" to go out with.

All the while both sides know if he thought she were "butt ugly" he wouldn't be investing his time taking her out and spending his hard earned money.

It's not a fluke he didn't ask the 300lb crater skinned cross eyed girl out!

Games people play....

savvydating profile image

savvydating 4 weeks ago

You two should be ashamed of yourselves. Get a clue! The truth is that you want to have your cake and eat it too. How dare you suggest that marriage is only about the woman getting money. Do you not realize that women work inside and outside the home? Do you not realize that couples pool their money together to build a life for themselves and their children? I am fed up with your chauvinistic attitude, and it's not the first time I've seen it. It's disgusting and I don't appreciate it. Dashing, you are always the first to talk about "ugly" women...among other denigrating things. And yet you "advise" women. Not cool. Grow up. And stop your whining about not getting enough sex. It's not interesting.

dashingscorpio profile image

dashingscorpio 4 weeks ago Author

Savvydating, I am happily married! My wife is an executive.

I'm not sure why you think you "know me" based upon my advice.

If you really read my article you would understand that it's about explaining what commitment really means to SOME women! (Not all).

The discussion is about the different perception and meanings for the word commitment and how people don't explain what they mean by it.

The woman who said: "It means he can't up and leave after 10 years leaving her with nothing to show" isn't the only one who feels that way.

I'm not sure why you think I'm chauvinistic. I always strive to be up front and honest with women and treat them as my equal.

When I say the initial impetus for a man to ask a woman out is because he is {physically attracted to her} that's the truth! (Not chauvinism).

Naturally "beauty is in the eye of the beholder". (That's also true!)

By and large men do not pursue dates with women they find unattractive.

Please don't kill the messenger because you don't like the message.

Lastly I have never discussed my sex life with anyone.

Is it possible you have me confused with another hubber?

It's one thing to disagree with another writer or coach but to personally attack them .... "Not cool". We're all entitled to have our own opinion.

A lot of women understand what I'm talking about. You're not one of them.

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