11 Ways Marriage Changes Your Life Legally and Financially

March 29, 2014  |  


When I read Opal Stacie’s article Why After Six Years and Two Kids, I’m Not Worried About Marriage, I was reminded my long held belief that marriage is what you make it. As I’ve watched friends rush into marriage in their early twenties just to have a title or to ease any guilt that may have had about “living in sin”, I realized that when you’re in a relationship for all the wrong reasons, it’s just not going to work whether it’s for love, the law or the Lord.  Marriage really requires loving and staying faithful to someone when they’re at their worst and really foreseeing the rest of your life with them no matter what happens.

When my fiancé proposed to me last summer, it just felt right.  He was the first man I could realistically see myself growing old with.  I met that man during one of the lowest periods of his life, and still loved him anyway so I had complete faith that we could take on anything together.  To me marriage means that from that day forward, you don’t have to go at life alone. Method Man and Mary J. define what marriage means to me when they said, “Won’t let you hit the ground, if I’m falling myself,” in their rendition of All I Need.

Now I’m not the most traditional person in the world.  I will have been living with my fiancé for three years by the time we get married this fall.  I think there are plenty of long-term relationships that put most marriages to shame, so I understood where Stacie was coming from when she said that she and her partner have the commitment that most marriages do “without the fancy title”.  But let’s be real that “fancy title” and “piece of paper” changes things, at least legally.  And there are certain things wives are entitled to that long-term girlfriends aren’t. I figure if you are going to build a home with a man, and start a family, WHY NOT get married? Love isn’t always enough when building a life with someone.  In the unfortunate circumstance your spouse passes away, Social Security is not going to give two squats about your level of commitment.  All they care about is what matters in the eyes of the law.

Don’t get it twisted, there’s a reason why same-sex couples are fighting for marriage equality.  Marriage guarantees some legal protection and benefits, that being a glorified girlfriend doesn’t. Most importantly when it comes to children.  Here’s 11 ways how:

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  • Chanda

    This is why Tina Turner finally married her husband. She wanted him to have rights being that she’s older and should something happen to her. I totally agree with this post though.

  • Allyce

    Should read: Why cook dinner, have sex, have children, and pay bills with someone who can not fully invest in your relationship?

    • Tru

      Once again I hear people stating what women shouldn’t do with men who don’t won’t to get married. There is a common theme here which is to only focus on what women need and want. The assumption from women is that men should just be satisfied with a women who is attractive, cooks, cleans, has his kids, and gives him sex.

      I rarely hear women talking about addressing the emotional needs of men. We should just be satisfied with these old school duties that most men can easily do themselves these days. Personally, I can cook, clean and take care of myself without the help of a women. In addition to this attractive women come a dime a dozen just like handsome men. What is hard to find is a person who truly understands and supports you. Why do you think the divorce rate is constantly hoovering around 50%. Everybody is not getting married for the wrong reasons.

      Intelligent men are able to decipher that most women only want men for what the man can do for them, while most men want a women for who she is. And when you bring this up you get baseless attacks like the ones above. Women who feel that the grass is greener on the other side should marry outside of their race. Because its also a statistical fact that interracial couples have a much higher divorce rate than couples who married within their race.

      My problem is not such much with women, but more so with unfair and bias family courts who exploit men when a divorce happens. Fact of the matter is a lot of men stay in marriages where they are unhappy, because of the devastation they will face on a personal, emotional, and financial level. They whole its “cheaper to keep her” notion. No one in 2014 should be chained to someone they are unhappy with.

      In conclusion lets start to focus more on the emotional needs of not only women, but men and children as opposed to just looking forward to the benefits a women can receive from marriage.

      • blackbetty

        Im a woman, why should I place equal focus on what benefits a man. You clearly focus on men and their needs and what’s best for them. But you want me, a woman to place equal attention on a man’s needs? How wise?

        • Cornell Ginger

          The moment went clear across your head.

      • kiki j

        I get what your saying. But I think the debate is about women who stay with men in a “play house” situation for YEARS because they don’t want to marry. So my question to you would be, if a man isn’t happy in his relationship for reasons you named above, why is he drawing the relationship out sending her mixed messages? Why can’t he be man enough to say, “I’m not happy in this relationship lets end it”? Because some men aren’t man enough and to selfish to do that, women have to put THEIR well being first.

      • Allyce

        Dear Tru, I’m not talking about women who have nothing to offer men other than their bodies. I’m talking about single women who are educated, have jobs or careers. They should not settle for less than what they want from a man just to live with him and be his bill-splitting, bed partner. There’s no value in that. My husband of 24 years (this year) knew better than to even ask me to live with him before marriage. Every young person should spend sometime alone – to invest in their careers and education. But playing house is not the answer. I never needed a man to take care of me. I came into the marriage with a degree and a $50,000 a year job. At the end of the day, you want a partnership with your mate – equally yoked as old folks say. Anything less is a waste of time.

        • Allyce

          A good stable marriage benefits the entire family. Shaky relationships don’t.

        • NOPE

          “. I’m talking about single women who are educated, have jobs or careers.”

          So what if a woman has all of that. Why is that the first thing a lot of women say in terms of a “good woman”. A lot of women still have itty personalities regardless of their level of education or career.

          • Allyce

            A man should want a woman who can provide financially for the family. That’s the same thing a woman wants from her man. There’s no shame in having a career, steady blue-collar job
            or being educated. That’s a goal all women should aspire to have. Why would you want someone with less?

  • Allyce

    Any woman just living with a man without marriage is a fool. He’s wasting your time. Live alone and get to know and appreciate you. Why cook dinner and pay bills with someone who can invest fully into a relationship with a vow before God? Next…

  • Tru

    With all due respect Toya Sharee this article is just another piece to demonstrate why its beneficial for women to get married, and for men (Not) to get married. And to be honest if your financially savvy there are several other great alternatives to the supposed benefits listed in this article. In the era of the empowered women aka the feminist movement why do I continue to see propaganda pieces shaming women who are not married, and telling them why they should be married. Common shaming phrases like “Playing House” are used on a regular basis.

    The fact of the matter is there are not enough men for every women to have a husband. This is not fiction this is nature. And this is before any outside factors such as high male incarceration rates, uneducated males, and more men stating their sexual preference is other men. This is especially true in the black community. Women can’t have it both ways. You can’t be strong and independent yet want the benefits of a serious relationship such as a marriage. A relationship by its very definition is about depending on someone else along with consistent compromise.

    Not to be conceited but handsome, educated and eligible bachelors like myself will never get married. Men are waking up in droves because there is no longer any benefit from marriage for most men. The only men who benefit are broke men. Primarily, because they are looking for someone to take care of them as well.There are three main reasons why most eligible bachelors are not getting married:

    1. The feminist movement has created women who no longer support their men, and are unwillingly to compromise to build a healthy union. It’s just easier to be by yourself.

    2. Some of the same financial benefits you mentioned earlier are some the exact same reasons men avoid marriage. The family courts are extremely unfair to men because in the event of divorce he usually loses the house, kids, and more than half of his wealth.

    3. Finally, but most telling while the divorce rate is always hoovering around 50% more than 75% of divorces are initiated by women. Who would be foolish enough to not pay attention to these glaring statistics.

    Instead of just focusing on the (benefits) of marriage women and men need to take a harder look at what it really takes to nurture and sustain a meaningful relationship, because without communication, compromise, and consistently marriage is just “another piece of paper”.

    Twitter: Tru_0000

    • Lenora

      Tru, I was in the midst of leaving a comment and then I read yours, and I have to say, you hit it on the nail. While I get what the author is trying to say, this article reads short-sided and a little condescending. There is a a lot more to consider when marrying someone than what the author lays out here. What I will say is marriage is the merging and protection of assets, but it is also communication, and hell of a lot of patience and nurturing, just to name a few. Marriage and kids is not for everyone. While we are selling women on marrying a man and having a fancy wedding day, we also need to tell them what it really takes to have a successful relationship in general in today’s time beyond the fantasy.


    • Stanley 001

      You went deep…

    • 9Boots

      Beta male propaganda 101. Only black men (and slightly Latino men) and poor men (which is primarily black men) are not getting married. This why BM have the lowest marriage rate in the U.S.A. Then you have the audacity to say that women are not supporting men. This coming from a man that is part of demographic that is failing on all levels to support the women and children of their so called community. This is why BW are fleeing BM and are moving on to non BM for marriage because it obvious Bm are anti marriage. It is pointless for BW to spin their wheels on males that are spiritually dead. I also encourage BW to not even have sex with you guys since your type plans on never marrying anyway.

      • FromUR2UB

        Men of other races may have relationships with black women, but they aren’t lining up to marry black women, if there are available women of their own races. White men, for example, will often be penalized by other whites for marrying non-white women – especially black women – and they know it. So, if they want to advance professionally and socially, they aren’t trying to show up with you on their arm. White women who are actually good-looking, intelligent and have something going for them, aren’t trying to snag black men regardless of his status. So, all of you anti-blackers need to get a real grip on reality. Sometimes, it seems that the goal is to keep black people apart so that no more will be born and we can annihilate ourselves.

        • moveon

          My husband, who is blond with blue eyes, married me, a dark-skinned black women. My husband’s brother is married to a bw. So far, all of my mother in laws grandchildren are brown hair, brown eyes. No more blond hair blue eyes. My husband’s cousin is married to a So African woman. My best friend, a bw, is married to a wm. My husband’s best friend is married to a bw. So you stick to dating bm who dont want to commit, but will plant their seed with no intent of sticking around. Good luck. Oh my Kenyan hair dresser is married to a wm, as well.

          • 9Boots

            Preach! There are plenty of non Bm that want to marry BW. The smart BW will proceed onward and upward.

          • FromUR2UB

            A dark-skinned woman married to a white guy? I’m shocked. How novel and unusual.

            Actually, I would be surprised to see any dark-skinned person with another dark-skinned person. Now, THAT’s rare!

            • moveon

              You said it! And it’s the truth- a rarity

        • 9Boots

          Let me make this clear. I’m not anti black. I’m anti black misogyny. If you think “blackness” is males refusing to marry, refusing to feed, clothe, and house their women and children, murdering BW at the highest rate of ALL women, highest level of domestic violence and rape/sexual assault, and leaving children in poverty at 40%, ….then you and all the others can keep your “blackness”. I and other BW that get it are proceeding onward.

          BTW, BW and WM have the longest lasting marriages outpacing the rare black on black marriages and outpacing white on white marriages. Also BW’s interracial marriage rates are increasing because many BW have finally seen the light and have decided to stop being held hostage by BM’s failures to lead, love, and protect. The only entity keeping black people apart is BM.

          • FromUR2UB

            It’s sad that those are the only kind of black men you’ve ever known. I don’t say that to diminish you, but there’s a big world out there, and you are ticked off at a whole lot of men you’ve never met.

            • 9Boots

              You are deflecting from reality. I notice how some BW deflect reality by stating “not all black men”, and “that’s just the BM you know”. The facts don’t lie. All the statistics and the outcomes are reflecting the majority of BM are not marrying, feeding, and protecting BW.

              • FromUR2UB

                I don’t think so. I had a father and have a brother and nephews. That’s how I KNOW that all black men are not rapists, killers, can’t commit and won’t take care of their own. My daughters are married to black men who are college graduates and employed. They don’t rape and murder either.

                Look, if a white man will make you truly happy, I hope you find one so that you can LET. IT. GO! But, here’s something I don’t think you’ve considered: if every time you hear or see the words ‘black man’ and you go off on a tangent about how they’re a bunch of no good rapists and killers, then a DECENT white man, or any other decent human being for that matter, will grow tired of that harangue and run away. It sounds NUTS, not perceptive, to say all of a group of people are a certain way.

                • 9Boots

                  Where in my statement did I say ALL BM? Two times you have made up things that I’ve never stated. It’s so sad that you overlook the abuse being committed against BW. I hope one day you will stick up for BW as much as you stick up for BM.

                  • FromUR2UB

                    “…many BW have finally seen the light and have decided to stop being held hostage by BM’s failures to lead, love, and protect. The only entity keeping black people apart is BM.”

                    ” Only black men (and slightly Latino men) and poor men (which is primarily black men) are not getting married.”

                    “…it obvious Bm are anti marriage. It is pointless for BW to spin their wheels on males that are spiritually dead. I also encourage BW to not even have sex with you guys since your type plans on never marrying anyway.”

                    No need to make anything up. Those are your statements from this thread, and you’ve omitted the words ‘some’ or ‘most’, which means ALL. You even have a problem with other women doing this:

                    “I notice how some BW deflect reality by stating “not all black men”, and “that’s just the BM you know”.

                    If you weren’t on a personal mission to generate a mass exodus of BW from BM, you would see how flawed your reasoning is.

                    • 9Boots

                      I’m going to agree to disagree and continue to point out the abuse of BW and encourage them to flee abusive BM while you continue not to care.

  • kiki j

    Many of the things on this list are different depending on the state of residence. Like the family community, public housing, home purchasing and a few others. In Ohio they recognize “life partners.” But nonetheless this list was pretty accurate. There are more perks to being married as well.