Have you ever noticed, when at communal events, seated with people you don’t know and have little in common with, other than what brought you together to the event in the first place, can provide great opportunities for reflection?

While at such an event recently, I overheard something I was increasingly troubled by, the more I considered it.

“Did you hear? [So-and-so] is pregnant again.  Same guy.  Hasn’t married him yet.  I just don’t get it.  You buy a house and have two kids together, why aren’t you getting married?”

In some senses, I agree with this statement.  There are very real and significant advantages to getting married, and to say otherwise is incredibly naive and short-sighted.  However, me not understanding why someone wouldn’t partake in marriage for any reason at all, is my problem, not the couple’s.  And, while I can’t say for certain as I don’t really know the person who made this remark all that well, I don’t think that her “I just don’t get it” was about the finer intricacies of why legal marriage can be beneficial both legally and socially.  More likely, the comment was something out of another era.

It ain’t 1950 anymore, folks.  Nontraditional families are still valid families.  In many states, if this was a gay couple they don’t have an option to get married (up until recently, New York was one of them) – are they less of a family without the piece of paper?

Yes, now, I see, it almost looks like I’m arguing against marriage instead of for it, but really, it’s not a mutually exclusive thing.  As Meg has said in response to people who don’t believe in marriage, “Um, it’s not fairies. You don’t have to DO it, but it does exist.”  I think the same can be said for non-traditional families – they DO exist, and it’s not WRONG for any good reason that anyone can quantify.  Does the family have love?  Do they have mutual respect?  Do they support one another and share similar goals and values?  Because that’s the nuts and bolts of it all.  If you have that, you’ll have a successful marriage, should you choose that path.  But, even without the marriage, you’ll have a successful family.