I'm in a long term relationship with my girlfriend, we have a house together, and I help raise her two teenage girls. I was married before (Unitarian) but got divorced and I am just not interested in a church wedding or a church concept of marriage. The government concept of marriage is not appealing either.
We are committed to each other, until death as the saying goes. I have seen so many good relationships get wrecked by marriage though, that frankly, I'm gun shy. She is an atheist, too (although has some superstitions she keeps up with) and she has an ex as well.
We live a good healthy, happy life together. We love each other deeply, her kids are part of my family in my heart and in reality as well.
I guess I would like to get some of your thoughts on marriage, or what being a married atheist means.
Sometimes it feels like the only reason I am thinking about this stuff is that I am tired of being in my 40's with a life mate I call a girlfriend. And life insurance, wills and all the other issues that many gay couples have to deal with.
P.S. I am gun shy about marriage, not her. She is awesome and will be with me as long as we live, with or without marriage.
Yes, when there are children or children are planned, it's prudent just plain responsible to get married. Bear in mind that, barring some problem with the character of one of the parents, the one making the most money will likely end up paying child support (in addition, potentially, to alimony) and the one with the most available time to be with the kids will likely end up with custody.
In my case the child situation is complex, and won't be helped or solved with a marriage. Nor would it be hurt, but there are feelings to consider all around.
I have been married once divorced once, and that my friends was more then enough for me.
Marriage has some secular purposes too...it's not just religious. I'm not sure about your jurisdiction but in the UK you used to get tax breaks between couples...not sure they apply anymore.
Here's some other reasons to have a secular marriage: show commitment to one-another, your extended family and society. To have a nice day together with family and friends. To maintain the wedding event and paraphernalia industry ...
...well OK - can't think of much else...sorry ;-)
If you are committed to one-another, then that's what counts. A piece of paper won't make you stay together any longer except by fear of breaking your contract, which is no real reason to stay together...the only real reason is other people's opinions.