Okay, so I have been reading a ton of romance involving couples who explicitly do not want to get married. It’s not intentional, it’s just happening. Maybe it’s the amount of indie romance I’ve been reading? Anyway. It’s enough to be extremely noticeable.
Full disclosure: I am married, I am married because I wanted to get married, and I admittedly like for protagonists to simply not discuss marriage and leave it open-ended than to explicitly have no-marriage conversations. But all people are not me, and characters gonna character. I want to be happy for protagonists who have the HEA that works for them. And I want readers who are not me to be able to find books that speak to them.
That said…I have read one too many books that discuss marriage like a bunch of unnecessary or bothersome paperwork and hullabaloo. Like that’s all marriage is. So here we are.
“We don’t need a piece of paper to prove our love.”
Cool. You do need several pieces of paper to have almost all of the rights conferred by marriage. Every time a character is like, “I don’t want to get married” and then nothing else, I start to freak out about powers of attorney and benefits and other legal fun stuff (/sarcasm) that is automatically conferred by marriage. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN SOMETHING HAPPENS? Just tell me they’re thinking big picture, please.
“It’s a bunch of complicated paperwork.”
Cool. Not wrong. One would have to, say, look on the internets to see what the local requirements are and, like, go to the courthouse to pick up the license. Counterpoint, see above, not getting married is probably more complicated paperwork. Though I can’t deny that it’s definitely less complicated than divorce proceedings. Though again, just thinking out loud here, all those several papers that replaced the one marriage paper would also all have to be voided in lieu of divorce proceedings…
“I don’t want a big, expensive wedding.”
Cool. We do understand that courthouses and elopement exist, right? Like, it’s not free, but neither are attorney fees.
Marriage or no marriage, do what brings joy. But can we please not treat it like it’s nothing more than a social construct that has no implications or meaning other than the personal?