Journal Relationships

We’re Not Married But We’re Still In Love

We're Not Married But We're Still In Love
Written by Tineke Franssen

I love weddings (seriously, one of my childhood dreams was to become a wedding planner!) and you can find me weeping at any wedding because I think they are so beautiful. But I don’t think I would like my own wedding so much. Obviously, I wouldn’t know since I never got married but I just don’t have the urge to tie the knot. 

Since it’s not very high on my priority list, I am starting to be a bit done with the question of why I am not married or the implicit message that my relationship means any less just because we’re not married. Yes, I know the order is “First comes love, then comes marriage and then comes the baby in the baby carriage,” so maybe I skipped a step by going straight to the baby carriage. But instead of assuming we skipped a step or that the baby was not planned for or that we will get married later, would it also be possible to think that maybe we just don’t need or want to get married?

Again, I love weddings and I totally respect people that, because of religion or other reasons, believe you must get married before having kids but please also respect our choice to not be married and still have a grown-up relationship.

Because seriously, marriage is not the only way to have a good relationship so just stop implying that I love my boyfriend any less than you love your husband just because we didn’t have formal I do’s. Or that our relationship is any less serious than your marriage because we didn’t speak our vows out loud in front of friends and family. Or that we are less committed to each other just because we don’t have a paper stating that or have rings around our fingers. 

Why do we need formal proof of love anyway? If things are good, things are good and a piece of paper or a wedding is not going to change any of that. If I am happy in my relationship do you really think it’s going to change for better just by getting married? I don’t think a single thing will change (OK, maybe apart from that first happy honeymoon period). Besides, a piece of paper, vows or a ring on your finger are no guarantees either that someone will be with you for the rest of your life. None of us has guarantees, so being married or not is not going to change that fact.

We have a son together. Can it get any more serious than that? Speaking of committed, a husband you can divorce just like that but getting rid of the father of your kid is probably much more complicated.

Marriage in itself doesn’t mean anything. It’s the bond and the love between the couple that says something about the quality or intensity of their relationship. So please, just stop downgrading non married couples. Maybe they don’t want or don’t have the means to get married, in any case, their relationship might actually be at least as good as your marriage.

About the author

Tineke Franssen

Tineke Franssen is a working mom abroad that is trying to keep her sanity amongst cultural clashes both at work and at home (Spanish parents in law anyone?). When she is not in the office or working through piles of laundry, you can find her drinking wines with friends, watching Grey´s Anatomy, playing fieldhockey or writing on her blog


  • I’m not one to comment normally, but I can’t not say something here. I’m not here to judge your relationship, but what you say about marriage simply isn’t true.

    When you say “Marriage in itself doesn’t mean anything”, you are demeaning all marriage relationships, the way that you feel they have demeaned your relationship.

    Of course marriage means something. It’s the public commitment you’ve made to stay with that person; the vows you’ve made in front of witnesses, that say you’ll stand by them through thick and thin. And trust me, sometimes it feels like more thin than thick. But those public actions towards commitment, and the goal to keep that commitment cause your relationship to grow over time, to deepen it.

    Also important: it’s a legal bonding. See this article for an articulate response:

    I’m not going to go on and on, because you can see that I disagree with you. I just need to you know that “I am starting to be a bit done” with non-married people demeaning the act of marriage.