Posted in Family

Living in Sin


Love (Photo credits: PB Teen)

Shacking up.  Cohabitation.  Domestic Partnership.  Living over the brush.  It doesn’t matter what you call it.  Bubba and I live under the same roof outside of matrimony.

We enjoy much of the same music, films, and even have the same sick sense of humor.  We share everything from living space to groceries.  Bubba and I have every intention of doing this till-death-do-us-part thing.  Sounds like marriage.  So why not just get married?

  • Children need safe, peaceful, loving homes.  Bubba and I aren’t raising any children.  There is the dog, of course, and separation could make that very messy indeed.  However, no children will be harmed in the making, or unmaking, of this relationship.  I am glad my family was born into a home with a mother and father, but I’m not sure that marriage is what made that happen.  Children are born into all kinds of good and bad homes.  Marriage does not guarantee that.
  • I don’t believe in sin.  I know there is good in the world, and unfortunately, bad too.  The bad stuff hurts children, kills people, and makes the world a scary place.  The home in which we live is a good place.  We believe in love and peace, and all that hippie stuff.  No, we aren’t smokin’ anything.
  • I don’t need a license to tell me I’m committed.  Signing that contract is easy and cheap.  Getting out of it can be difficult and expensive.  That’s the point, isn’t it?  We want someone to think twice before they walk out that door — and make ’em pay when they do.  As if breaking a relationship and dividing up your stuff isn’t painful enough.  Yeah . . . no one thinks twice about that sort of thing.

I want to wake up every morning knowing we made the choice — today — to be together.  I have made no vow before anyone but him that I will be here tomorrow.  There is no paper saying that I must share everything with him and he with me.  We choose to do that daily.

Will a license or marriage ceremony ensure that my partner will always love me?  That he will remain faithful?  That he will allow me space to grow and change?  Of course not.  It all comes down to trust.  Do we trust each other enough to marry?  Indeed . . . do we trust each other enough not to?

If, for some reason, we fall out of love — and that can happen — I don’t want to keep him here by a signature on paper.  I want to be free for each of us to find someone who will love and adore and cherish us again.  I love him that much.  I love myself that much.  If a paper and public vow is the only thing holding him here, I say GO!  The only thing that hurts more than breakup and divorce are lies and regret.

While it is true we don’t have a wedding anniversary, I think we have something better.  Sometimes when we are going to a nice dinner, Bubba will say, “This is our anniversary, isn’t it?”  And then we will spend the evening in celebration.  It might be any month(s) of the year, but we celebrate.  At some point, I will usually estimate how many years and months we have been together.  Bubba typically responds, “Really?  Well, I’ll be go ta heck!”

“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality” / Toy Sto...
“Bert + Ernie for Marriage Equality”

As for those around me with different points of view, I support you wholeheartedly to keep them.  I will attend your wedding, raise a glass to the honored couple, and hand-wrap the gift.  As a matter of fact, some of my favorite people live in wedded bliss or will soon, and I am glad for them.  And some of those people only recently received the right to marry.  It’s shameful to believe this took so long in a nation that claims separation of church and state.

Whatever your intention, no one should enter into a relationship feeling like the other is the better half, or that they are not complete without the other.  Rather, offer a whole person to the other, that you will form a partnership together.  Merge your lives together as a strong force of two, and not a single bond of one.


Peace . . .


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Trying to make sense of it all and . . . for the most part . . . doing it.

13 thoughts on “Living in Sin

  1. That’s the perfect relationship!
    My girl and I were living together for about 7 years before we got hitched – by the time we got the paperwork, it really was just the paperwork. We were already married in every way that mattered.

    But…one of the advantages of marriage is that, if the time ever comes, there is no question from the state that the spouse is automatically next of kin.
    Without that, or having documents expressly stating it, any other family members, or doctors themselves, can overrule a common-law spouse.
    That was a big part of our decision to get married.
    Plus, any excuse for a party, you know? 😉

    1. Love the comment! Yes, that would be the only reason I can think of to sign the papers. Well, the party, of course . . . ! It occurs to me that with all the resplendence of the wedding, the signing of the license is the least celebrated part of the whole ritual, and oddly enough the most loving, caring piece of the whole picture.

  2. I’m with you 110%!! Marriage doesn’t make it better. When one of you has to have decisions made at the hospital, no one asks for your marriage certificate when you say you are the wife/husband. I was/wasn’t for quite awhile. I agree that when the relationship is dead, then death do us part. Don’t believe in sin either. Just being kind. Living with someone you’ve outgrown is not kind to anyone. I’d like my adult children to find kind and caring partners but will never and have never thought marriage was the answer. It seems archaic and patriarchal. Just my 2 cents worth after 40 years of it. Done.

    1. 40 years. That’s long enough to be worth more than 2 cents! Those people who truly love and care for me and my loved ones are family. No one needs a certificate to be in my family.

  3. I keep forgetting that “living in sin” is still a topic for some people. I mean, didn’t we get over that a loooooong time ago? I fought for this very situation back in the early 70s! I’ve had both…living together and marriage. I happen to be married this time (25 years), but the living together was great while it lasted (15 years). We have friends (3 couples–1 gay, 2 hetero) who have lived together for 40+ years. They’re all doing just fine, even with children. It’s also quite amazing to me, living in Italy the last 14 years, that in this Catholic country, home of the Pope, just how many couples are not married, but are living together and have children. No one bats an eyelash.

    1. So interesting about Italy. I would not have guessed that. We Americans like to think we are so advanced in every way, but we have a long way to go.

  4. Nicely written post, Jean. You make some wonderful points. It’s nice to see a couple choosing to have a life together built on honesty, respect, and really loving and liking each other (and humor! I think humor is an important part of making any relationship work).

  5. You have shared from your heart and that is truly what you believe and embrace. I refuse to judge you or the lifestyle you have chosen. I commend you for your honesty and your courage to step out there publicly and state it. I agree with most of what you have said, having experienced divorce and heartache more than once. I have also “lived in sin”. I am now married to my soul-mate of 16 years and we have 7 combined children and 15 combined grandchildren. We are born again believers – thus I only disagree with one point you made: I DO believe in sin. The bible speaks very clearly about it and tells us very clearly how to recognize it. That being said, I don’t fault you or like you any less because we disagree on that one point – that is the trouble with our world today! Too much conflict and differing of opinions and points of view.

    I think it was Shakespeare that said, “to thine own self be true” -and the bible says, we are to “seek out our own salvation with fear and trembling”.

    Good blog!

  6. I am so very honored by your comment. This post has brought out some deep thinkers, for which I am very grateful. I was hoping to have at least one conflicting response, and I couldn’t have hoped for a better one. Thank you for your mutual respect, and for speaking out on your opinions!

  7. I grew up with mixed messages about marriage. My mother was married 4 times (and divorced) before her death at age 42. She married a man whose religion insisted women were subservient, yet when she visited with a Catholic priest to ask him about a third marriage he told her she had his blessing although he couldn’t marry her. He didn’t think we were created to be alone and didn’t think we should be punished for not finding the right person the first, or second, try. My grandparents were married more than 60 years but weren’t happy. The people I saw who stayed married were miserable or the “piece of paper” allowed them to take their partner for granted and no longer worked to keep the relationship strong and healthy.

    On the other hand, those who lived together, in sin, were happier didn’t take each other for granted and seemed to be real partners in their relationship.

    These were the impressions I took with me into my adult life and decided very similar things as you did. I didn’t want a ring or piece of paper to be the only thing binding myself with another. I decided in my early 20s I wanted no part of marriage. If I or my significant other wanted to leave I wanted us to be free to walk away without the legal costs associated.

  8. Your mother died so young! If she had lived, I wonder if she would have racked up more husbands? LOL. I have to give it to her to keep trying, for sure! My mom had a pretty open mind when it came to things like that. I’m not so sure my dad did. When my sister took up living with her now husband (after a divorce and she was in her 50s) my mother took up calling him her sin-in-law. I have a sin-in-law now, and he is as much a part of the family as anyone.

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