Originally Posted by Mysterio
Marriage is a lot more of a stabalizing factor than people think. I have yet to see the Common law couple plan surprise B-days and really act very loving towards each other.
Eh, I haven't observed this among the couples I know, and for myself.
My husband (yes, now husband!) and I have been together for over 15 years. We moved in together and cohabited funds after 6 months, engaged after 3 years..... and never really got around to getting married. We do not have kids, didn't really want a wedding, just put it off.
Until last year we were in Vegas one weekend and said LETS DO IT! And did.
The surprise birthday thing popped out at me, because about 3 years ago he put on the most amazing surprise party for me. Got all of my friends together, from near and far, including friends from college that I had not seen in years. Got my favorite sushi chef to make us a custom spread. I was in awe.
My best friend has been with her husband for 17 years - they didn't get married till after 10 years (and did the same as I, ran away and eloped).
But we both DID get married - so I guess that says something.
In the end, I think parents should be married. If you can't commit your life with someone, don't breed with them - a kid is a way bigger commitment than a marriage. Married and no kids? You can divorce and go your separate ways.
Kid? That other parent is going to be a part of your life for at least 18 years.
Also, while common law is "legal" its recognized by only 10 states. And there are often requirements - like declaring you intend to marry. For medical directives, insurance, taxes, and other legal reasons it makes sense to be legally married.