It’s NOT ‘just a piece of paper’

Gail Shaver has been working with couples–before and after marriage–for years.  She watched her own daughter get married this summer.  She is aware of the research that says that couples who co-habitate before getting married have increased rate of divorce.  She also knows that couples who are married have a greater likelihood of making it long term, than couples who live together with a looser commitment.  She’s become increasingly convinced that the bond of marriage creates a safety and stability in a couple that benefits the couple in ways that are often underestimated.  Marriage isn’t a “ball and chain”, but rather a safe haven and secure bond that strengthens the relationship and the people within it.  These are Gail’s thoughts:


We’ve been living together for ___ (fill in the blank) years.

What difference would it make if we got married?  (pssst…I want to get married)

What difference would it make if we got married?  (pssst…I don’t want to get married)

The above are questions that many couples ask, fight over, wrestle with, when trying to figure out what their future will look like.

Some people don’t find a difference living together after getting married when they were already living together before marriage.

However, most DO find a difference. Quite a BIG difference, in fact.

I know that when one partner already has their own house/apartment/condo and the other person moves in–that it always feels like you’re living in someone else’s house.  EVEN when you’ve been deliberate to do some things to help make it feel like it belongs to both people.

I’ve heard people says things like:

  • It can be little things like you don’t know where the garbage bags are kept
  • You don’t know where to find things in the cupboards
  • It doesn’t feel like the solidarity is there
  • It doesn’t feel like a ‘forever’ relationship
  • It could feel like he/she was committed but…not really
  • Each fight can feel like “what if this is IT?”…and then it’s over

If you’re maybe thinking of giving the idea of marriage some thought, read on…..

The Proposal, the Year (or more) of Planning, the Wedding, the Honeymoon, Married Life.  A whole lotta work (and often, expense).

Does the whole planning a wedding and making it a marriage make it different?  How?

Marriage is those two thousand indistinguishable conversations, chatted over two thousand indistuinguishable breakfasts, where intimacy turns like a slow wheel. Quote by Elizabeth Gilbert on a blog on living together or getting married.

It may look the same on the outside but it actually feels quite different. Here is what you may experience:

  • talk is no longer hypothetical, it is REAL, concrete
  • a feeling of “now I know he/she will never leave me”
  • being a wife or husband feels different
  • everyday routines feel different
  • there is a desire to contribute more to overall life together
  • there’s an umbrella, or bubble of “foreverness” for us
  • it’s a whole new chapter, a new beginning, a start to married life together
  • we feel more like a “team”

Sounds pretty nice, doesn’t it?  Wouldn’t it be comforting to have a sense of peace and calm about your relationship?  Knowing that you will work things out because you’re married?

It moves from, “Can we make this work?” to “How will we make this work?”

There can be great comfort in knowing you’ll be okay.

Sometimes life is too hard to be alone, and sometimes life is too good to be alone. Quote by Elizabeth Gilbert on blog about marriage vs living together

So if you’re living with your partner and wonder what it might feel like to be married, I hope reading this has perhaps helped you.  “It’s only a piece of paper” may not really be the case.

Perhaps being married can mean a whole lot more!

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