Divorce is such an ugly word. Appropriate, since divorce is an ugly thing. Even if a couple mutually agrees upon getting a divorce, one party has to serve the other party to "sue" for divorce. Just like a lawsuit.
So is marriage merely a legal contract? If so, why all the hoopla surrounding weddings? Why spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a ceremony and reception if what you're celebrating may only be temporary? My wedding is meaningful to me because it carries religious significance. I want my loved ones to bear witness to my declaration of love to D, and to hear me swear by my wedding vows. I take my wedding vows seriously. Afterall, D and I are committing to stay together "... till death do us part." Death. It doesn't get any more serious than that.
I had an a fascinating conversation with an enlightened friend of mine several years ago, Rebecca. Rebecca was living with her boyfriend, Todd, and had been doing so for the past ~5 years. According to the Canadian government, they were common law husband and wife but they were not married, nor did ever intend to get married.
I asked her why she didn't want to get married, and whether it was because she didn't believe in marriage. She said it was just not realistic for her (and I assume anybody else) to commit to marriage vows. "Remember when you were six years old?" she asked, "And you and your best friend promised each other that you would be best friends forever? Are you still best friends with this person? Do you even remember that person's name?" Good point. She loved Todd, and expected to be with him for the forseeable future, but that's it.
We had this conversation ten years ago. People change, stuff happens. I heard from a mutual friend that Rebecca is no longer with Todd and is seeing somebody else. No harm, no foul.
Marriage is supposed to be about unconditional love. It used to be about putting your heart and complete trust in somebody else's hands, taking the plunge, and doing whatever it takes to make things work. It's a huge gamble, the biggest bet you'll ever make. "Honey, I love you so much that I am willing to put money on it." How much? "HALF MY ASSETS. That's how much I love you." Unless you have a pre-nup in place... just in case things don't work out.