Marriage may seem pretty straight-forward, but many women are embracing several alternatives to traditional marriage. The traditional couple getting married and settling down isn't right for everyone. After all, if you're happy together, that's all that truly matters. If regular marriage isn't right for you, you might want to consider one of these alternatives to traditional marriage.
1. Living Together
By far, one of the most popular alternatives to traditional marriage is to simply live together. I see marriage as being a commitment two people make to each other. Choosing to live together and commit to each other is really no different. Many previously married individuals opt for this alternative because marriage didn't work for them in the past. Others just enjoy skipping the hoopla of a big ceremony.
2. Long Distance Relationship
I know this is a deal breaker for many, but some couples have no problem embracing a long distance relationship. The key to success is trust. Whether you're married or not, living apart and not being able to see each other for weeks or months at a time is hard. Military couples do it all the time. Others are finding it works great for them as well, especially when jobs are located hundreds of miles apart.
3. The Bread Winner Wife
In today's society, it's not all about the man bringing home the bacon and the wife staying home with the kids. In fact, many marriages now reverse those roles. Stay at home dads are more common than ever. To me, a couple should work out the roles they play for the best of the marriage, kids and themselves. It's always kind of sweet to see a guy cooking dinner and changing dirty diapers.
4. Just Friends
Many people say their spouse is their best friend. Some women have decided to fully embrace that and marry for friendship instead of romantic love. While love-making may or may not be a priority, these couples are often extremely happy. They each are free to go off with other friends and when they come home, it's to someone they truly enjoy being around. Basically, it's a roommate that you trust completely.
5. Multiple Marriages
While traditional vows say “til death do you part,” many women have discovered couples often grow apart. The person you're compatible with now may very well change several years later. Instead of forcing themselves to spend their lives in a miserable situation, they divorce and remarry later. Multiple marriages are nothing unusual and they help people stay happy throughout their lives.
6. Gay Marriage
While it's still highly controversial, gay marriage really isn't any different than traditional marriage. Still, for women who don't have a supportive family, it may be hard to consider marrying another woman, no matter how much they love each other. The fact is, marriage means being with the one you love. Gay or straight, it doesn't matter.
7. Marriage of Convenience
Marriage isn't always about love. In fact, it's often about convenience. From health benefits to a better living situation, some women marry to make life easier on themselves and the person they marry. For instance, a guy may get married because he needs a stable babysitter for his daughter. The couple are close friends, but they're not in love.
8. Open Marriage
I guess this is one of the hardest for me to understand. After all, why get married at all if both of you want to be with other people? Still, this alternative works for some couples. The key is communication and letting the other know who you're with. For these couples, it's not cheating because they're honest with each other and don't form romantic attachments to anyone else they're with. I suppose you'd call this a marriage with side benefits.
9. Polygamous Marriage
Sometimes it's hard to find just one person. Polygamous marriages aren't nearly as taboo as they used to be. Usually women in these marriages start out traditionally. The couple then decides to marry another man or woman or both. It's kind of a play on open marriage, except with a commitment.
As you can see, marriage isn't quite as black and white as we've been led to believe. If tradition is right for you, do what makes you and your partner happy. You have plenty of options to choose from. Have you ever embraced any non-traditional marriage alternatives?