Would you believe that not all married couples you see are in crazy, “I-can’t-live-without-you” love? Some are—most are not.
The reasons for getting married are as varied as the couples themselves. If you asked anyone to describe love, you would get several different descriptions, and those same descriptions would change in definition over the years. People change and their ideas of real love change with them.
We all remember movies where good friends make a promise that if either of them is still single by their thirtieth birthday, they’ll reconnect and marry each other. Some of us may have even made that promise with one of our own friends.
Guess what? Some of those promises are being kept and being honored between people well past thirty. Many older couples today are entering into a marriage where love is only one of the components. Friendship and companionship are the first reasons. This ‘new’ state of marriage is called the Friendship Marriage.
Marrying for companionship conjures up the image of two doddering elderly people who marry to escape being lonely. In 2018, where people are active, have happy social lives, and good health is a prime personal consideration, this is a stereotype that is absolutely no longer true.
Companionship or friendship marriage is the joining together of two people who have, or have had, successful careers, financial independence, strong friendships, and a healthy sense of self-worth. They are already fulfilled in their lives, and marriage is the icing on the cake. They are usually looking for someone who has the same outlook on life, similar goals and ideas, financial security of their own, and exact expectations of what they, and their prospective spouse, will bring to the marriage table.
A friend they have known for years fits this description perfectly with the added benefit of pleasant familiarity. If asked, these couples say they respect and have a love for each other, rather than ‘being’ in love. They want a union that is strong and secure—one that complements rather than changes their lives.
In a friendship marriage, more than in other marriages, financial conditions are outlined before taking that trip down the aisle. Any money or property that you earned from your life before marriage should not automatically become part of the marital pool. They sign agreements similar to a pre-nup that includes financial responsibilities, where to live, and even where and how often to vacation. I know of one woman who had her need for two vacations a year put into a formal agreement. It was that important to her.
Each member is expected to contribute financially to the new marriage, but your worth as a single person is something you attained on your own. It is common-sense to protect your assets no matter how good your friendship is. Certain legal agreements, and codicils to established wills, may be necessary, especially if children are involved from a first union.
Creating a comfortable second act of your life with someone you respect, and admire is an aspect of love that we don’t think about as often as we should. Love is wonderful and combining that love with respect and friendship makes for a solid relationship.
© 2018 copyright Kristen Houghton all rights reserved
Kristen Houghton is the author of nine novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a children’s novella. The first four books in her best-selling series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation, is now available in a special boxset. She is also the author of the Horror Writers of America award-winning Quick-Read, Welcome to Hell.
She has covered politics, news, and lifestyle issues as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Her writing portfolio includes Criminal Element Magazine, a division of Macmillan Publishing, Hartford Woman, Today, senior fiction editor at Bella Magazine, interviews and reviews for HBO documentaries, OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and The Style Channel.