Things to Consider Before Getting Married

Marriage is a legally-binding agreement between two people to operate as a union. The old saying goes, “first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage.” So, what do you do if your baby comes first? Marriage can be a wonderful way to further establish a family, and it’s important to consider how life changes once you head down the aisle.

The Benefits of Marriage

A healthy marriage can result in your children having a healthy home life. Children tend to have better emotional and physical well-being when raised in a stable family environment where two parents are present. 

Some of the legal benefits of marriage include:

  • Filing jointly on your taxes and getting tax credits
  • Receiving government benefits (i.e., military benefits, public assistance)
  • Obtaining insurance coverage through a spouse’s employer
  • Filing for stepparent or joint adoption rights
And many more!

Forming an Opinion on Marriage

It’s important to ask yourself why you value marriage. Marriage is legally and financially binding to a partner beyond parenthood. Some people really like the idea of having a spouse, as well as the added security and structure that comes with marriage. If you would like to be married, it’s important to communicate this desire to your partner. Communication contributes to the foundation of a healthy relationship. If you two are on the same page, then you can begin to plan for a future. Pre-marital education and counseling can help prepare you for life together.

Alternatively, you or your partner may not want to be married. Neither person should feel obligation or pressure to get married – this has to be a mutual agreement. If you and your partner are not on the same page regarding marriage, the future of the relationship should be reconsidered. It is never okay to pressure or coerce a partner into marriage, even if you share children.

Parental or Guardian Consent

If you or your partner is under the age of consent, you likely will not be able to be married without an agreement from your guardians. This will vary by state.

Some people believe that getting married alleviates the stigma of being a young parent. Avoiding or preventing stigma is not a healthy reason to get married. There is value in waiting until you are at least 18 to get married, so don’t feel obligated to get married sooner. If you are feeling pressure from relatives, friends, or a family, reach out to a counselor or therapist for support.