What is Marriage? Marriage is the union of two people in the eyes of the law, God and society in general. In reality, the need for marriage in the eyes of God is probably the least likely of the 3 above as religion rarely contributes to the need for marriage in the developed world.
The general consensus for the reason for marriage is due to loving someone to the extent that you would wish to spend the rest of your life with him or her.
Take into account the two paragraphs above: the word “union” and the phrase “rest of your life” are the key elements to the principal of marriage.
Marriage suggests a union of mind, body and spirit. A mutual communion of two people willing to share their lives together. To share their lives to the extent they would mix their genes and produce children. To share every aspect of marriage, one must have a “union”.
With this union, should one have to give up their own individual identity? Of course not!
Should one be willing to relinquish control of all aspects of their lives to the other? Why would they?
Does this suggest that marriage doesn’t necessarily have to be a “union” in order to share two lives? No.
In order to grow together, learn and live together, a marriage must have common goals. They must understand that growing old together means growing up together, learning about each other in ways boyfriend and girlfriend wouldn’t have to consider.
If a person wanted to keep any aspect of his or her life separate from their partner then that would not be a union. It would be a mutual agreement to live together (and possibly have children).
Living together and being married are totally different.
The underlying difference is commitment. When you marry, you share everything. This is an extension of your commitment. When you live together but keep separate identities, accounts, activities or any actions which preclude your spouse, this is not the relationship of two people willing to share their lives for the rest of their lives.
Fundamentally, at the back of your mind, the separation is already there as a backup should you actually divorce. When you commit to a person, divorce shouldn’t even be considered, therefore you would need no such safety net.
Commitment is the difference. State of mind is the key. Security is the issue.