The Fall of Religious Marriage? December 28, 2009

The Fall of Religious Marriage?

There’s an article in The Canberra Times (in Australia) about how there were fewer marriages this year — and it’s in part because of the connection to religion.

Civil celebrant Judy Aulich conducted 96, or more than 6 per cent, of Canberra marriages this year.

She said most couples she married had lived together beforehand and rarely included any religious component in their marriage ceremonies.

One couple is profiled in the piece and they don’t see any need to get married despite dating for three years:

Canberran Philippa Pryor and her partner Darren Fernandes have been together for three years and are uninterested in marriage.

”I have a particular attitude towards marriage: that it’s a very religious thing and I’m not religious, so it doesn’t matter to me. If I was to give a reason, it would be that … It just doesn’t seem very relevant,” he said.

Makes sense. There are some perks/rights to being married but it’s certainly not necessary to have a strong relationship.

So how is the church spinning this?

… the Anglican Bishop of Canberra and Goulburn, Stuart Robinson, said his church had performed significantly fewer baptisms, marriages and funerals over the past decade.

He said the decline of marriages showed people were electing to enjoy partnerships without any Church involvement or marriage celebration.

”People are not connected with communities which take marriage seriously,” he said.

Or maybe people are realizing you don’t need to follow church traditions to confirm your love.

It’s bad enough most churches say no to marrying gay couples. Why start your marriage within an institution that is based on spreading misinformation and/or bigotry, especially when there are secular/Humanist alternatives available?

Are any of you in a committed relationship with no plans to get married?

Did any of you get married in a non-religious ceremony?

(Thanks to Dani for the link!)

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  • My husband and I were married in the Unitarian church but with a secular service 36 years ago. We would have preferred NOT to marry at all but due to international ramifications, we couldn’t just live together in either of our countries.

    Friends (who gave the marriage 6 months at the most) are still asking us when we’re going to divorce. 🙂

  • Tony

    My wife and I were married by a Dr Zimmerman in a non-religious ceremony. He was this tiny wizened Jewish man with terribly dandruff. The funny thing was I identified as Catholic at the time, I just didn’t want all the messing about for a Catholic wedding.

    Six years later and I’m glad I didn’t have a Catholic ceremony as my views have changed substantially – my flirtation with atheism resulted in a “conversion” of sorts. Think of it as the Road BACK from Damascus.

  • ray

    I was married earlier this year in a UK register office and there was no religious element to it at all. In fact, there are 3 versions of the service to choose from: long and religious, shorter and religious or shorter and not at all religious. Option 3 suited us both.

    We lived together for around 12 years before deciding to marry. There is no requirement to marry in the UK at all – no tax breaks, no special privileges or anything. As it was our choice to marry, we had no issue with choosing to do without god(s) or religion.

  • BlueRidgeLady

    My partner and I have been together 5 years (we are man/woman couple) and have lived together almost as long. We don’t believe marriage would make our relationship one iota stronger or more “valid”, just that it is something for friends and family to share.
    Quite frankly we couldn’t afford it (if we’re going to have a party, we want a freaking party!) if we wanted to.

    I can see us getting married for tax or children purposes, but we don’t believe marriage itself should have any legal merit whatsoever and that everyone should be entitled to civil partnerships with tax benefits. We see it as a violation of separation of church/state, but we also do not believe that marriage shouldn’t be defined by religious folks!

    Our friends’ wedding was beautiful and didn’t mention god once. The ceremony itself was5 minutes. It was awesome!

  • CarolAnn :)

    I have an interesting marital history.

    My husband and I were married in a church wedding 20 years ago. We divorced after a couple of years, stayed apart for about a year, but we both made some changes and got back together.

    We decided to get remarried, so we got our license and went to a Justice of the Peace. It was fairly obvious that we had been married before – my husband’s last name is unusual – so once the JP determined we weren’t cousins or something he turned to my husband and said “You want to marry her?” My husband looked confused but said yes, he did want to marry me. The JP then turned to me and said, “You want to marry him?” When I answered in the affirmative the JP said, “Good. You’re married. The certified copy of the license will be mailed out soon. Good luck.”

    Doesn’t get more secular than that, and we have the most stable marriage of anyone we know.

  • y husband and I were married on the beach by a female non-denominational minister. The ceremony was beautiful and completely devoid of religion. A very happy day. Pic below 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think marriage has to necessarily be linked to religion these days. Especially since you religion doesn’t have to be involved at all. My wife and I were married 4 years ago at our reception hall by a Judge. The ceremony was 10 minutes long. It was just a fun way for us to say, “hey everyone we love, we have found the person in the world that makes us happy and would like to celebrate it with you!” Best night of our lives, and not a prayer was said 🙂

    The tax benefits are nice too…

  • Calvin

    My parents marriage ceremony was non-religious, and they’ve been happily married for 27 years, and still going.

  • TychaBrahe

    I remember hearing a gay man interviewed a number of years ago who said that gay marriage was beneficial to the institute of marriage.

    His argument was that “in olden days,” (the 1900’s) you fell in love, you realized that you wanted to live together forever, and so you got married. At that time, we did not accept gay committed relationships.

    However, once we accepted gay committed relationships (and most young people in the US/Europe/Canada/Australia do) then it was obvious that love->commitment->marriage didn’t happen for those people, and it sort of broke the line. If gays can live together in a committed relationship without marriage, why can’t hets?

    I’m not sure that there is a relationship (hah!) between the two, but it’s hard not to notice that acceptance of gay relationships has been going up for the last 30 years, while marriage has been going down. Of course, coincidence does not imply causality.

  • Heidi

    I had a hotel wedding, performed by a Justice of the Peace. This was in 1990. I highly recommend the lack of religion part. The marriage itself, not so much. lol.

  • We were married at my parents’ house by a Justice of the Peace. We were “unworthy” of a Mormon Temple marriage and the non-temple Mormon marriage ceremony pretty much just rubs it in your face that you’re not getting married in the temple. Also, at the time that we got married, even though we were still believers, we didn’t know any bishops that we liked. I’ve been glad many times since that we had a secular, civil marriage and the Church’s dirty fingers had no part in it.

  • Staceyjw

    Me and my “husband” been together for 7 years, and still aren’t married. We consider ourselves wife/husband, and have made a life time commitment to each other, but just don’t see any benefit to signing the official papers. For me, the only reason to get married is to get a ring, and I can do that anyway! (my fav eco friendly option: http://www.diamondnexuslabs.com/)

    BUT- As soon as we decided to have a baby,EVERYONE asked “when are you guys getting married”, but so far there is not enough benefit to bother. As a feminist, atheist and pragmatist, I would need overwhelming practical reasons to participate in a practice with such a horrible history of oppression and discrimination. Our parents are resigned to this, and have given up asking 🙂

  • Takma’rierah

    Haven’t gotten married yet, but I definitely plan on the whole non-traditionalist schebang if I do, including keeping my own name. Some of my family members will be so shocked! Maybe only one or two know that I’m an atheist, since it never comes up, and my dad’s side of the family is pretty catholic. My cousin had a non-traditional wedding but it was very religious; they took communion and changed the vows to say “till death or Jesus’ return,” which I thought was a bit odd but at least they didn’t have the rest of us go up for communion, like the family did at another function. Yeah, that was awkward.

  • Siobhan in Vermont

    The mushing together of marriage and religion has strong roots in history, but it remains a fact that marriage is not simply a religious occasion/ceremony. It brings with it an astounding array of civil/legal rights/responsibilities/benefits. The reasons for getting married do not need to have anything to do with making your relationship strong, or declaring your love before god. It might be solely about protecting your rights to property, child custody/welfare/health issues, personal health care, partner support/care, and a jillion other things that governments have tagged onto marriage over the course of human history.

    I am a big fan of removing every ounce of legal/civil responsibility/liability from the institution of marriage, and making it an entirely religious/faith-based celebration. Then making it so EVERYONE has to get a civil union to create the legal responsibilities/rights, and make it so anyone can entwine their legal standing with anyone else, and any number of anyone elses. If three (or more) people WANT to entangle their finances, health care, property, etc. in a civil union, let them. It’s got nothing to do with church!

  • unique.smile.within

    I don’t think I’d ever get married, because to me you only get married to ‘be right’ in ‘god’s eyes’. That was what was drilled into my head by my Catholic relatives. I never heard of the notion of ‘love’ in a marriage until I started reading up on stuff on the internet. My mother told me you get married and then you fall in love with each other if you’re lucky, and the ONLY reason to get married is to have children to teach to worship god. Period.

    So, yes, I won’t get married.

  • BEX

    We dated long distance for a year and a half…finally we got sick of having to spend hundreds of dollars to see eachother once every 3 months and started looking for immigration options.

    The U.S. fiance visa seemed like the easiest option. So we got married.

    It was a quick little city hall marriage. It took 5 minutes, I wore jeans, we had two friends with us to sign the papers, and that was it.

    I don’t think we would have even considered marriage if we hadn’t been from different countries. But we’re ecstatically happy and we’ve never had any pressure to do something more traditional.

    Oh, and I kept my own name.

  • Tyro

    My partner and I have been living together for 4.5 years and are trying for kids but have no plans and no interest in getting married. We’ll look at the tax & estate management aspects after we get pregnant and may get some municipal clerk to “marry” us if it makes sense.

    My view is that the marriage ceremony is too tied up with religious mumbo jumbo to resonate with me. It also sells the idea that we can manufacture significant milestones in our lives which is BS. Whether we’re “married” or not doesn’t change the love & commitment we share and the euphoria fades after a week, sort of like a $50,000 Tony Robbins seminar to pump you up but ultimately leave you unchanged.

  • Erp

    I’m strongly inclined to keep ‘marriage’ as the English term for the civil union since it is recognized in international law while other names are not.

  • Aaron

    My wife and I were married eleven years ago at a chapel in the famous city of South Lake Tahoe CA, where there is a wedding chapel every hundred yards or so. It was a non-religious ceremony, and we have been married longer than many of our more religious friends.

  • Peregrine

    My family is largely Catholic, my wife is Pagan, and of Jewish heritage.

    My wife and I were married on my parents’ front lawn in a civil ceremony by a county clerk (Justice of the Peace. Nice lady too. I still follow her on Twitter.) No mention of any god was made in the ceremony. No one threw a stink about it, either, which is as it should be.

  • Tiina

    In Finland, the evangelist church will not marry you unless one partner is a member of the said church and the other a member of any religious organization. I couldn’t get married in a church even if I wanted to (which I don’t)!

    I want to get married one day, in a completely non-religious ceremony. I know quite a few of my friends who are atheists, but members of the church just because they want to get married in a church. “Because it’s the traditional way.” I find it very hypocritical.

    I want all my friends to help me celebrate the fact that I have found someone I love and want to spend the rest of my life with. I want a great party, and religion has nothing to do with it!

  • benjdm

    Married via a Justice of the Peace in a restaurant. 9 years and still going strong.

  • Richard Wade

    My wife and I were married a very, very long time ago. We hired some kind of holy man whom we’d never met before, just to please the relatives. We paid him with food. It was at my parents’ house, but that’s just stone ruins now. We spoke a language that’s dead, and I don’t remember any of it myself. There was something about goats or sheep as a dowry, and we left for our honeymoon on foot.

    Ah, the memories.

    In the very unlikely chance that I would marry again, I’d definitely skip the holy man, and who needs goats or sheep?

  • Jim H

    My wife and I were married in a ceremony officiated by th Commissioner of Civil Marriage of Clark County, Nevada. Yes, Las Vegas.

    In a case of “finally getting it right,” it was my third marriage and her fourth; we are married 15 years and neither of us is going anywhere.

    As for affiliations, she is a member of an Episcopal church, mostly for the social parts, but her beliefs are decidedly not Xtian. For one thing, she believes that even I will end up in her heaven… I was not quite sure of my beliefs then, much more comfortable as an atheist now.

  • Clare V

    My husband and I got married a year ago by an officiant who wrote for us non-religious vows for our ceremony. There was only immediate family there, and no one fussed about the lack of any gods being mentioned. However, there were acquaintances who later asked why we weren’t married in a church, as though I wasn’t really married til I’d been prayed over.

  • sc0tt

    We found an officiant in the Yellow Pages – she was a grandmotherly type that was easy to like. She had a buffet list of ceremonial things to talk about and we just picked out the non-religious ones; she wore a minister type of robe but no emblems or symbols. Wedding was in a small community theater and when we kissed, glitter fell down through the colored lights. She didn’t stay for dinner.

  • Leilani

    My husband and I eloped to Vegas back in 2003. I was Mormon at the time and he was agnostic.

    I love him more everyday and I know that I would whether or not we were married.

    We have two children together, and life is peachy. But that’s not because of the piece of paper that legally binds us and our property, it’s because we are best friends, great travel companions and share the same sense of humor.

    People get all touchy when they think a marriage involves their god. Marriage is a business arrangement, it’s a legal term. With or without a marriage, I would love my man and stay in our relationship for as long as it works, which of course, I hope is for all my life.

  • My wife and I lived together from 2001 to 2008, when we got married. She wanted a nice wedding, so we went to Lake Tahoe and got married right off the beach.

    Our wedding ceremony had no mention of God or anything religious in it.

    This was a big contrast to my first marriage where I was married in the Mormon temple.

    How life changes over 20 years for some of us.

    I am much happier with how I treat relationships now.

  • We Are The 801

    My GF & I have no intention of ever getting “married.” We love one another, so why is “marriage” (in the sense of having a wedding ceremony, etc.) necessary?

    Love is determined by two individuals and their day to day relationship. It is not determined by a vow, a “contract.” To me “marriage” is just as alien to love as a pre-nup agreement.

    As far as legal issues are concerned, a civil union does just as fine as a “marriage.” This is one of the reasons why I wonder if gay marriage advocates are barking up the wrong tree. Let the churches keep their “marriage”– everyone else can simply ignore them, have their civil unions (gay & straight)– as long as they have legal rights, custody rights, etc. then what does it matter? We don’t need your steenkin’ “marriage.”

  • In October there was a press release from the New South Wales Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages on the trend in NSW, Australia which was picked up by the media and engendered a similar article on the figures for Victoria (those are the two most populous states in Australia).

    I collated the information given and produced a graph over time in this blog post:
    http://ecstathy.blogspot.com/2009/10/non-religious-weddings-boom-in.html

  • My partner and I have been together for 18 years this coming March and have never even thought about marriage. We have teenage children, a mortgage, joint bank accounts and a considerably more stable relationship that anyone else that we know. While our friends are getting divorced and going through their second marriages (third marriages in some cases) we are content to stay together as boyfriend and girlfriend or simply as man and woman.

    I see marriage as a religious institution. It may once have had secular origins or it may always have been religious but I do think that the legal aspects of marriage are an add on to the religious. I want no part in supporting or validating a religion, not when I don’t need to. I’m not sure what benefits there are in marriage in the US but in the UK they are few and more or less irrelevant.

    Marriage is irrelevant. I see no need to affirm my feelings before my family, friends and community when they are between me and my unwife. I gain nothing from marriage and lose nothing by not marrying. I have no incentive to marry and a reason not to support it.

  • Deena and I were married in a non-religious ceremony (some details here). My parents were married by a JP (a chiropractor, as it happens – but that’s another story).

  • Ceryle

    My husband and I got married in a hotel garden 10 years ago (they had 4 that day alone). The civil celebrant we used had a great pile of bits we could mix and match (only a few had any mention of god). We wrote our own vows and ring exchange, too.

    As an aside, my brother got married a year earlier than us, which was in a church, at her insistance. When I got married, it was one of the last times they saw each other (she ran off with her boss). He has been with his partner now for just over 4 years, with (almost) 2 kids, and no plans to marry.

  • My partner and I were married by a secular humanist in a ceremony with most of our family in attendance. We married mostly because his mother had some severe issues with us living together “in sin”. A Justice of the Peace ceremony wasn’t acceptable, so we lived together for a couple of years and made sure we were able to pay for most of the wedding ourselves.

    We were eventually going to get married, just not when I was 21 and he was 24. It didn’t change anything, beyond me being considered “part of the family”. I have a bit of a complex relationship with the idea of marriage (I dislike the notion that to “win” or be “successful” at marriage, one of the partners needs to end up in the grave), but it’s worked well for me so far.

  • Jen

    Marriage is not my bag at all, but I like weddings. I was in a wedding this year at the UU that was pretty much secular and took much less time than the Catholic wedding I also attended this year. They were both lovely weddings, of course, but the sooner the party, the better. Neither couple has divorced.

    And to maybe expand a bit on why I am against marriage as an institution- I don’t think the government should privilege certain relationships. Ideally, I would take the benefits that marriage provides- the end of life rights, the inheritance rights, the health care, the rest- and make it a matter of paperwork, to be bestowed on whomever the person wishes. Poly people, or people who want to split those rights among several people, can fill out extra forms. I am not saying we should make in only a religious institution, but we shouldn’t give people who decide to go with it more rights than single people.

  • Marriage is a completely unnecessary and time- and effort-wasting institution. Becoming married does not solve any problems you may have in your relationship, and a perfect love it does not create. The only reason I could ever see myself getting married for (being that I live in the USA, and that I’m not familiar with the laws surrounding marriage in the rest of the world) is that it has many advantages, all of which have nothing to do with the relationship itself.

    In other words: I’m perfectly happy being in a committed, long term relationship without having any plans to get married.

  • Amy M Cools

    My husband Bryan and I were married in a park in the Oakland hills, and the simple ceremony was performed by my best friend, who was deputized for the day by the Justice of the Peace (she filled out a form and we paid a small fee). We were married after living together for several years, and it was an affirmation of love for one another and our decision to share our life together as a family. I see marriage as a community-based institution in general, not specifically religious.
    It was was lovely, and we found it very moving and meaningful to make these vows to one another. The rest of the day was a joy, a huge barbeque and picnic where the people we love most in the world all showed up and played and ate together in one place. It was definitely one of my favorite experiences of all time.

  • Revyloution

    My wife and I were married in a non-religious ceremony at Alice Springs in Australia. We stole words from as diverse a group of writings as possible, from the Sioux marriage bonds to the Tempest from Shakespeare.

    The only real reason for the ceremony was the stupid immigration policies of the US. She’s Canadian, I’m a ‘Merikan. The easiest way to get her legalaly across the boarder was to get some justice of the peace to put her signature on an irrelevant piece of paper. We paid the piper 15 years ago, and still going strong. If we lived in the same country originally, we probably would have never bothered.

  • Dan Covill

    Hoverfrog says:
    “Marriage is irrelevant.”

    The religious aspect of “marriage” is irrelevant for us atheists, but the legal aspect is extremely relevant once you buy property or have a child. It seems clear we need to get rid of the ambiguity – I’d be willing to give the churches the ‘M’ word in exchange for making a civil (i.e., legal) commitment mandatory for having a child.

    From a societal point of view, the purpose of “marriage” is to establish who is responsible for the rearing and welfare of children – everything else is fluff.

  • Mike

    My wife and I were married this past summer in Massachusetts. We could have gone for NH, NY, VA or AZ, each of which also has family connections for us. But one of these is not like the others, though NH will have legal gay marriages in 2 days (hooray!), but didn’t when we set our wedding date. So MA won out easily as our choice for that reason before we ever got to thinking about logistics. I’m proud to say that we were married in a state where everyone in our wedding party would be free to marry their S/O if they wished to.

    In addition to that, we had a completely secular wedding, presided over by a JP (he is also ordained but specializes in inter-faith and non-faith weddings and commitment ceremonies; those socially liberal northerners, huh?). But we did include some traditions that might be considered religious, like the lighting of a candle and the drinking of wine, primary because we saw them as traditions of our families. We had fairly minimal resistance from our parents (FIL always imagined walking his daughter down a church aisle was the biggest objection we got) so we really couldn’t have been happier with how the whole thing went.

  • Dan Covill wrote

    The religious aspect of “marriage” is irrelevant for us atheists, but the legal aspect is extremely relevant once you buy property or have a child.

    As I mentioned I have a home (purchased under a joint mortgage) and children. There are literally no legal barriers in place that tell me that marriage makes this any easier. The banks never asked for a marriage certificate only proof of identity. In the UK there are no tax breaks for the married or tax incentives at all. I don’t know about the US but if there are benefits I imagine they aren’t going to be significant?

    Nobody asked to check my credentials when I was getting Hil pregnant. My name is on my childrens’ birth certificates and I accept full responsibility for them. Legally I could adopt them as well for a very small legal benefit but why bother? It is an irrelevance.

  • My partner and I are unmarried and intend to remain so indefinitely.

    There are (among other things) too many gendered and other cultural assumptions that come along with most people’s understanding of the institution, and we want no part of those.

  • cathy

    hoverfrog, the US is different. There are over a thousand federal rights you get for marriage, including property inheritance, pensions, immigration, and parental rights for step-children/nonbiological children. Here’s a simple run down from wickipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States

    Some of these rights are granted as a matter of course without legal marriage to heterosexual couples. For example, it is very common for a heterosexual to be allowed hospital visitations even without legal marriage. The issue of anti-gay discrimination in marriage laws is important here because not only are all American people with same sex partners denied those 1049 federal rights, we also are in a position where we are especially in need of some of these protections.

    It is possible to get some (but by no means all) of these rights via other legal contracts, but these are very expensive and are not granted the same degree of legal strength.

  • cathy

    On another note, as a socialist, I would argue that marriage is a capitalist institution that has been meshed with religion in the west. Certainly, the origin of marriage is not christianity, because we have records of similar institutions in culturals with no judeo-christian religions. Christianity has historically been very good at capitalism and marriage and the institution of the nuclear family has been a central part of western capitalism, so it is no surprise that the two are so firmly intertwined in modern culture.

  • Thanks Cathy, I hadn’t counted on all those rules for medical insurance rights. We have a National Health Service on this side of the pond and everybody (in theory) is entitled to equal treatment. I find it barbaric that your right to medical care would be restricted based on a largely religious ritual.

    Others, like military and civil service pension and access rights are still sticking points in the UK but I’m not employed in the military or civil service so what do I care about that? Also these rules are outdated and are being challenged from within by those who are interested in reforming them.

    For all intents and purposed Hil and I are married. The thing that is missing is the silly religious ritual and a piece of paper. The piece of paper doesn’t grant us anything that we want or that we don’t have already.

    When the health initiative in the US is in place how many of these rights will cease to be important? Do you think that Obama will be blamed for eroding marriage?

    Your second point is interesting. Women have historically been in a poor position when it comes to inheritance and marriage has protected them to a degree. With legal wills (we should all have those) do women and children need the social protection that marriage offers? With more or less equal working rights and wages do women need anything that marriage can offer?

    There is an argument for security that a man will stay with a woman he is married to and so offer a support system for her. I don’t think that women in the 21st century need men to provide this for them and I think it is a bit insulting to suggest that they do. Also divorce seems to be so easy that any protection or security offered by marriage is totally eroded by divorce.

  • Heidi

    I find it barbaric that your right to medical care would be restricted based on a largely religious ritual.

    That’s just the tip of our barbaric medical iceberg, really.

  • Tony

    Married 40 yrs ago in registry office in UK. My wife wanted a church (C of E)wedding (I was/still am atheist) which she had planned for a while. Marriage was then refused because she was pregnant. Needless to say have not neither of us have been inside a church since…

  • I’ll chime in here following hoverfrog and Heidi’s comments. I wouldn’t have gotten married except that I was pregnant, I had moved across state lines to be with the child’s father (my now husband), leaving my job in the process, and couldn’t get health insurance for my prenatal care any other way. We were married by the local mayor in a nice, short, secular ceremony.

    We’re coming up on four years now, I’m happy being married but I would have been just as happy not being married, too.

  • Brendargh

    My husband and I have been married for two years. We were together for two and a half years before that. We wedded at the county courthouse in a group wedding after deciding that we could certainly use that tax break. I wore a pretty off-white blouse and pair of snake-skin pleather pants. My husband wore jeans and a t-shirt. We’re still in love, and we still plan on staying that way.

  • smittypap

    My wife and I were married on a boat anchored off Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay. The service was conducted by the Captain with no mention of anything religious. It was attended by about a dozen family members and closest friends who enjoyed the meal and the cruise and (as far as I know) nobody really cared that the ceremony was secular even though a variety of faiths were represented.

  • Joyfulbaby

    Another Unitarian Universalist ceremony here, just two years ago. Interestingly, my uncle (who turned me on to this site) wrote later that not only was he glad we hadn’t mentioned a god, but that the bride and groom walked in at the same time, down two separate aisles. There was no talk of my father “giving me away” like I was chattel. I hadn’t thought of that before.

  • Coran

    I was one of those having a civil ceremony in Canberra, but that was over 11 years ago. We made up our own ceremony and had it performed by a civil celebrant in the beautiful gardens of a historic hotel.

    My wife and I always said that we didn’t need to get married and the way Australian law works we were already De Facto married anyway, so there was never any legal reason to do so.

    We got married for some of the same reasons, now that I think about it, that we celebrate Xmas – tradition, community and as an excuse to have a big party.

  • Matt

    My wedding was non-religious. First, it was a great party, everyone had a blast (even the religious family members), and second there are many legal benefits to being married in the US.

    For the relationship aspect, marriage hasn’t changed anything, we were together 5yrs prior, and it was kind of annoying as newlyweds to get continually asked “how’s married life now?” My wife was reaffirmed in the strength of our relationship, which maybe puts her mind at ease a bit, but otherwise, it’s about the same as it was 4 years prior to marriage.

  • James

    My fiancee and I have been engaged for more than a year, with no immediate plans to get married. We view marriage as unnecessary (we are secure enough in our relationship without it) and unfair (since the right is denied to so many couples). If we ever do get married, it will either be for the legal benefits, or for the sake of our future children, and it will certainly be a nonreligious ceremony.