All Articles Tagged "marriage"

Should Couples Buy A Home Before Marriage?

June 23rd, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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This is an honest question every couple needs to ask before signing on the dotted line.

Many years ago, I worked as a regional design consultant for clients building custom homes. This career opened my eyes to the realities of home-ownership, and all the decisions that come with it. One thing that shocked me were how many unmarried couples wanted to put their name on a mortgage before saying ‘I do.’ Obviously everyone has the right to do what they want in their relationship and with their own money.

Given the process of purchasing a home — let alone building one — takes time I remember more unmarried couples trying to back out of the deal. I’ll never forget one couple who were together for over a decade and excited to purchase a home. Rather than focus on a wedding they knew would eventually happen, the pair wanted to build the perfect home close to their jobs (both worked in D.C.). Seeing as custom homes take some time to erect, their happiness evolved into hate and disgust. By the time the house was just about complete, my company received word from their builder they were trying to get out of their contract. Lord only know if they were able to and how much money they lost in the process.

Perhaps this is the reason why I decided not to purchase a home with someone who wasn’t my husband. Then again, the divorce rate is so high, the mister and I might end up ‘consciously uncoupling’ anyway.

The truth of the matter is home ownership is available to anyone who can afford both the down payment and monthly note. Unmarried millennial couples in particular are more likely to buy a home together before walking down the aisle. Some industry professionals believe many do so before their nuptials to make sure they’re ready for the next step in life. Others want to capitalize on current prices while they’re still affordable.

As you would expect with such a hefty purchase, the idea of marriage is put on the back burner. Kudos to you if you’re able to drop money on a home and turn around and finance a wedding. There might need to be something that needs to give.

Even though my husband and I lived together prior to getting married, we didn’t want to make any significant joint investments until we got hitched. Heaven forbid something happened where we didn’t work out, we wanted as little legal tape to deal with as possible. Owning a home together isn’t as simple as breaking a lease and shouldn’t be entered into lightly.

Experts are pretty quick to point out that non-married couples do not have the same protection as a husband and a wife. For starters, there’s little to no estate-planning protection. “By default, our laws are suited for married couples acquiring assets,” Luigi Rosablanca, a real estate lawyer tells The New York Times.

Those interested in purchasing property together and aren’t married are strongly encouraged to speak with a lawyer before doing so. You should get as much professional advice as possible — like how to define the title to the property (e.g. tenants in common, joint tenants), and how to file property and co-habitation agreements should things turn sour. Kudos to you if you’re able to get everything in your name as the person who holds the title is typically the one with all the cards.

Would you purchase a home with someone who wasn’t your spouse?

“It’s You, Not Me”: The Best & Worst Ways To Break Up

June 17th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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No matter how hard you try, sometimes things just don’t work out. As much as it can hurt, break ups are a part of life that aren’t always a reality that’s easy to swallow. After all, you invested time, love and energy into making it work.

Let’s just hope you don’t catch a case in the process of uncoupling.

Here’s a look at some good and bad ways to break up. Remember, it’s always best to take the high road.

“When Are You Getting Married?” It’s Wedding Season, And I Feel Left Out

June 16th, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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As I get older and celebrate one birthday after another, I always get asked, “So, do you feel older?” I usually don’t–until my aunts and cousins bombard me with questions about marriage and motherhood. “When are you getting married?” “Don’t you think it’s about time for you to have kids?” I always justify my current single status by saying I’m not even dating and would at least need to be in a committed relationship before we start talking engagements and children. During these conversations, I don’t find myself second-guessing where I’m at in life. But as wedding season rolls around each spring and summer, I log on to Facebook or Instagram, and there’s always a new “She Said Yes!” post coming from acquaintances. That is when I find myself fighting off the jealousy that’s brewing within me.

As of late, I’ve noticed that I get asked at least twice a day why “a woman like me” is single. What does that even mean? But the truth is, I have internalized the idea that I don’t have the time or energy to put in a real effort when it comes to building with someone. Let’s be honest, it’s a load of bull, and I really feel it when I have no one to share my successes with. Or when friends ask me to double date, and I’m left to look at the invisible man standing next to me during outings.

I think about the never-ending claim that men make about women being too independent to date. Sometimes I wonder, could it be true? While I am independent, I don’t necessarily give off the vibe that I don’t need someone can’t take care of me and that a man is incapable of doing so. Even if I did, it wouldn’t be true. Will Smith said it best in Hitch:

“Basic principles – no woman wakes up saying ‘God, I hope I don’t get swept off my feet today!’ Now, she might say ‘This is a really bad time for me,’ or something like ‘I just need some space,’ or my personal favorite, ‘I’m really into my career right now.’ You believe that? Neither does she. You know why? Cause she’s lying to you, that’s why. You understand me? Lying! It’s not a bad time for her. She doesn’t need any space. And she may be into her career, but what she’s really saying is ‘Uh, get away from me now,’ or possibly ‘Try harder, stupid,’ but which one is it? Sixty percent of all human communication is nonverbal body language; Thirty percent is your tone, so that means ninety percent of what you’re saying ain’t coming out of your mouth. Of course she’s going to lie to you! She’s a nice person! She doesn’t want to hurt your feelings! What else is she going to say? She doesn’t even know you… yet. Luckily, the fact is that just like the rest of us, even a beautiful woman doesn’t know what she wants until she sees it, and that’s where I come in.”

Yes, I had to quote the entire monologue.

While it isn’t wise to date just because you’re lonely, I find myself yearning for a companion, someone to share my life with. With a handful of friends, relatives, male acquaintances and sorority sisters getting engaged and married, it’s becoming harder for me to ignore my ticking biological clock. I don’t feel older, but I do feel myself going through the beginning stages of a quarter-life crisis. It’s wedding season, and I feel left out. As the last friend in my circle to still be single, I find that the conversation is shifting between us all. While they’re gushing over wedding plans, bridal showers, where they wish to live with their partner after they’re married, and how many children they want, I chime in, but I know I’m further off course than they are. Some days I sit and daydream about this guy who’s supposedly going to find me so that I can one day talk mindlessly about some of the same things.

But I could be in the way of that guy finding me. Coming from a committed relationship of six years and being single for two, I must admit that fear is holding me back. I lost myself during those six years and having worked these past two years to find her again, I’m fearful that committing would mean giving up all I’ve worked for. I’m partly to blame for my own loneliness. I’ve assumed that I need to focus on me and my career, and I need to be established before I can worry about being with someone else. But as I sit at my laptop RSVP’ing for weddings and receptions with no plus-one, I can’t help but wonder, when will time reveal who’s going to sweep me off my feet? And more importantly, will I let them?

Celebrity Husbands Who Took The Last Name Of Their Wives

June 12th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: WENN

When Zoe Saldana announced that her husband had taken her last name, eyebrows raised all over Hollywood. But Marco Perego Saldana isn’t alone. These Hollywood husbands took the names of their wives as well.

It Was A “Huge Mistake!”: The Shortest Celebrity Marriages Ever

June 11th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Brittney Griner isn’t the only celebrity who has said that their marriage was a “huge mistake.” These stars realized they made the wrong decision almost immediately after they went down the aisle.

From just a few hours to just a few days, these are the shortest celebrity marriages on record.

14 Signs You’re Bored With Your Relationship

June 10th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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If you had to gauge your relationship happiness, how would you rate it? One can only hope your answer is a positive one, and not merely a “meh” response. All couples experience highs and lows throughout the course of being together. While this is normal, you should pay attention to relationship warning signs that might indicate you’ve had enough.

Should A Man Take on A Woman’s Surname After Marriage?

June 10th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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There is an interesting debate happening in my social media network about the old act of name swapping after a couple has tied the knot.

It started when news began to circulate that after Zoe Saldana had married hot ass Italian artist (seriously that is one delicious-looking pancetta) Marco Perego two years ago, he opted to take her surname. As reported by the Huffington Post, Saldana told InStyle she was nervous about his decision:

“I tried to talk him out of it. I told him, ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world’,” the star told InStyle. “But Marco looks up at me and says [she puts on a cute Italian accent], ‘Ah, Zoe, I don’t give a shit.’”

Imagine if more men didn’t give a shit (and were as hot as Perego). How peaceful and overpopulated with beautiful babies would this world be?

But seriously, this news has sent shockwaves through some in my social media network. They feel that part of Perego is either chucking away his masculinity or setting the young starlet up for some crazy alimony scheme. Either way, their personal decision (and really, it’s no one else’s business) does raise a wonderful question: Why in a culture that has grown more progressive, with women taking more control over their personal lives and careers, are we still engaging in the archaic practice of taking on his surname and not the other way around?

Although many people believe that the act of taking on a man’s name is biblical, the custom is actually rooted in Eurocentric values about ownership (i.e. women as property to be transferred from her family to her husband) and is not universally practiced. For instance, in Italy, it is very common for couples to each maintain their surnames, although the children take on the father’s name.

And although most Americans believe that women should take on their husband’s name, some couples are opting to forgo the practice. Instead, they’re going for more gender-neutral relationship identities including hyphenated names, name blending or even keeping their own names. And as writer Jill Filipovic once wrote in a piece for The Guardian UK:

That is fundamentally why I oppose changing your name (and why I look forward to the wider legalization of same-sex marriage, which in addition to just being good and right, will challenge the idea that there are naturally different roles for men and women within the marital unit). Identities matter, and the words we put on things are part of how we make them real. There’s a power in naming that feminists and social justice activists have long highlighted. Putting a word to the most obvious social dynamics is the first step toward ending inequality. Words like “sexism” and “racism” make clear that different treatment based on sex or race is something other than the natural state of things; the invention of the term “Ms” shed light on the fact that men simply existed in the world while women were identified based on their marital status.

And as writer William Macaskill said about his decision to take on his partner’s last name in an article for The Atlantic entitled, “Men Should Consider Changing Their Last Name When They Get Married“:

We’ve made progress on these issues (though some remarkably late). But the tradition of taking the man’s name remains and, given its background, it seems to me it’s simply bad taste to carry on with it, in the same way that it would be bad taste to put on a minstrel show, no matter how pure the intentions.

You might say that we need some rule, and that taking the man’s name is as good as any other. But is this true? Why not go with whichever name sounds better? Or which name is associated with the coolest people? (MacAskill clearly beats my birth surname “Crouch” on both counts, having a better ring and being the name of both Giant MacAskill—a forebear of my fiancée’s who has a claim to be the world’s strongest ever man—and Danny MacAskill, a trial-biking legend who, also being descended from Giant MacAskill, must be a very distant cousin.) Or any other choice made by both parties.

It’s an interesting question in which I believe there isn’t a right answer for. Although I will say that whether or not a woman takes her husband’s name should only be a matter of personal comfort as opposed to what society believes should happen. Personally, I have not decided what I will do with my last name when I get married. Childhood trauma in which I was teased relentlessly about the last name “Ball” makes me think that taking on my future husband’s surname wouldn’t be a bad idea. Plus, I have no real connection to my last name as it belongs to my grandfather whom I only met once in life. However, for branding purposes, I have built a pretty decent reputation around my surname and getting rid of that might have an effect on me professionally.

Serious Question: Would You Marry You?

June 10th, 2015 - By Nneka Samuel
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The title of R&B Divas: LA star Chanté Moore’s upcoming book poses a serious question: Will I Marry Me?  In it, the thrice married singer shares the lessons she has learned in her relationships, all in an effort to help women avoid similar missteps when it comes to a love of self and partner.

While I have yet to read its pages, the book has already struck a chord with me.  The second I heard the alluring title, a little voice in my head answered the question it poses with a resounding “No!”  Being marriage-minded and being the thinker that I am, I wanted to explore the reasons why that response seemed to come so naturally, rather than one that was positive, reflecting the catch I know myself to be.  I realized that knowing your worth doesn’t necessarily mean you’re ready to walk down the aisle.  So was that “no” a genuine response alluding to issues I need to work on, or an admission of fear?  And is it the fear of being eternally single, fear of rejection, or something else entirely?

When I think about some of the core qualities that I want in a partner – someone who is passionate about the life he’s living and one day hopes to live, loving, intelligent, and a man who does what he means and means what he says – I know that I embody many of those characteristics.  That, to me, is a good sign.  This future partner of mine doesn’t have to meet an arbitrary height requirement or make a certain amount of money that I don’t even come close to making.  There’s nothing trivial, unrealistic or impossible on my “list.”  He doesn’t have to be perfect – Lord knows I’m not. He just needs to be perfect for me.  And if I can bring to the table the same traits and characteristics that I seek in the kind of a man I’d want to marry (and can accept my imperfections), then I think I’m on the right path.  (It’s finding him that’s the hard part, but that’s a story for another day.)

I also have a beautiful example of what love – healthy, supportive, and honest – looks like thanks to my parents, who have been married for nearly 40 years.  They’re the kind of couple that still walk hand in hand, and that make “happily ever after” look relatively easy. Although I’m sure they’ll be quick to admit it’s anything but.  The biggest thing I’ve learned from them and other successfully married couples in my life is that marriage is a bending, malleable entity.  Marriage is far deeper and much more complex than the simple sayings we’ve all been fed: “Never go to bed angry”; “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” etc. If these were the keys to a happy, lasting union, I’m pretty sure the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high.

But back to the notion of malleability – not to the point where you compromise your morals, lose your identity or give so much to someone else that you have nothing left for yourself.  I’m talking about being flexible and adaptable.  Just like any relationship, marriage is chock-full of challenges you don’t anticipate.  This is where I think I struggle on the whole question of whether or not I’d marry myself.  Because I’m single, I can afford to be rigid.  I can’t predict what any particular day will bring, but I know my plans from day to day (and I especially know how I feel when I have to change those plans.)  I don’t have to consider anyone else’s thoughts, opinions or needs.  I don’t have to consult with anyone other than myself when I want to go out or just do my thing.  Simply put, I enjoy my independence, but I worry that I’ve been in this individual mindset for so long that I won’t know how to make room for someone else.  And if I can’t make room for someone else, then how am I going to maintain a relationship, let alone one bonded by marriage?  Who would say “yes” to that?

Now if that’s not fear, I don’t know what is.  Here I am single as the day is long, and I’m pondering these (and many other) questions.  Perhaps I’m a victim of my own over thinking, or I am placing too much importance on a simple one-word response that my brain generated upon hearing the question: “Will I marry me?”  But I guess the point of Chanté Moore’s book is to make you ask yourself the hard questions. Better to do that now and before you end up marrying the wrong person, marrying for the wrong reasons, or a host of other problems you want to avoid or identify before saying “I do.”  I’m looking forward to the read and hope I’ll learn a little something.

Fight Fair: Common ‘Low Blows’ That Damage Relationships

June 8th, 2015 - By Tanvier Peart
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Corbis

A good relationship takes time to cultivate. There are certain ingredients required to make it work — and even then it’s never guaranteed.  One major no-no you should try to avoid is “low blows” that cross the line. Here are a few to mentally note.

Read Way to Tell You’re in a Good Relationship

Zoe Saldana’s Husband Took Her Last Name: “I Tried To Talk Him Out Of It”

June 8th, 2015 - By Victoria Uwumarogie
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Image Source: WENN

Image Source: WENN

In a new interview for the July issue of InStyle, Zoe Saldana revealed that her husband, Marco Perego, decided to take her last name when they wed last year. You can officially call him Marco Saldana.

According to the actress, it was something he wanted to do on his own. And while it’s a very sweet gesture, initially, she was not excited about him doing so. In fact, she was a little worried that it wouldn’t be a good look for the established Italian artist.

“I tried to talk him out of it, ” she admitted. “[I told him], ‘If you use my name, you’re going to be emasculated by your community of artists, by your Latin community of men, by the world.’ But Marco looks up at me and says: ‘Ah Zoe, I don’t give a s**t.”

According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll conducted last fall with 1,000 men and women, 57 percent of people think women should take whatever name they please and not be held down by tradition. But the second most popular preference (31 percent) was for women to take their husband’s last name. In that study, and in others, men who took their wife’s name had interesting reasons, from their own birth name being too common or complicated, to having an affinity for their father-in-law, and even losing to their wife in a best of three game of rock/papers/scissors.

It’s still pretty uncommon, but more and more men are doing it. They’re also speaking out against the often pricey and lengthy legal process required in some states to take on the names of their wives (yet it’s easy for a woman to take their husband’s name).

I’m  part of the group who is okay with taking the last name of a husband (my parents would probably side-eye me if I didn’t), but at the same time, I’m planning to retain my maiden name when it comes to my career. But how would I feel if my future husband asked to take my last name as we prepared to take that next big step? While I wouldn’t fight him if he seemed serious or passionate about it, I wouldn’t think it necessary. Maybe we could both hyphenate our names in some way?

At the end of the day, everything isn’t for everybody, but that doesn’t make it wrong. Who knows? This could be the new big thing! In the meantime, if it works for Zoe and Marco (aka, Mr. Saldana), that’s what matters most.

But what do you think? If your man said he wanted to take your last name, would you be down for him to do it?