Does marriage really matter?

I was talking with a friend the other day about getting married again. We are both divorced. We are both single moms. We have both dated and dated and dated some more. We are both searching. We are both hopeful. But the question we discussed the other day is: what is the destination from dating? Is it marriage? Is it something else? For her, the answer is clear, she wants to get married again someday; to the right person this time. For love, for commitment, to honor and to adore.

But for me, I'm not as sure. Because for me, right now, it's not about the commitment of marriage, it's about the commitment to another. To say to that person: today I choose you, and hopefully for tomorrow. Not because it will necessarily be easy, but because I want to be here with you.

The issue for me is that I was married before, and despite being married, commitments were not honored and vows were broken. There was a forgetfulness, on both sides, about the needs of the other; there was a misunderstanding that being married does not mean the cherishing another is over. And I think that's the key: to appreciate your time with the other person. To accept the person next to you. To understand that no one is perfect and yet, to love them because of and in spite of their flaws.

In my mind, the question is not to marry or not, but to be cherished or not. The question for me is, when I look across the table at the other person, am I grateful, am I happy? Do I understand that rocky times will happen and the road may be uncertain, but knowing all of that, do I choose that person as my partner along the way? If the answer is yes for me, and if I know the answer is yes for him, then saying "I do" isn't a requirement for me. Because in the past, it was feeling alone in a relationship that was the worst part; and being married didn't make that any better. So finding someone who revels in spending time with me when I feel the same about them, is the answer I have been looking for... and I'm not sure that necessarily includes a walk down an aisle.

After all, this is the life.


  1. Ask that of the woman who the hospital kept from seeing her dying partner of 15 years because they couldn't get legally married and the hospital chose to ignore the power of attorney documents they had. Ask that of the man displaced from his home because he can't pay the huge inheritance tax levied after his partner of 50 years dies who because they couldn't get married couldn't inherit without the estate tax exemption. So yes, marriage does matter.

  2. Allison, for legal reasons such as mentioned above, I think marriage is important. But I think commitment, respect and verbalizing appreciation are the building blocks of a good relationship. Laughing together was a deal sealer for me. Appreciation matters most.

  3. I completely agree with Michael and Linda about the legal reasons to get married. I fully believe anyone who wants to get married should have the ability to do so. My issue is about the emotional part of things. Do we rely on marriage and forget the caring? Do we forget the marriage and by doing so throw out commitment?

  4. SO, I'm at the library and I open the Best of St. Louis magazine and guess whose face is smiling at me. Yes, you are " A" listed, as I'm sure you know, as one of the best attorney's in town. Congratulations, Allison.


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