I have been involved in a common law marriage and I have a friend who is now in a common law marriage. A license from the state the parties reside in is not the most important requirement for a marriage, legalities notwithstanding. The first requirement is that the two people want to married to each other and want the world to know that they are married, piece of paper in hand or not.
For me personally, the vow before God is essential. That sanctifies the union and makes it holy. It acknowledges my personal belief that Love is God’s Greatest Gift.
Mimi and I eventually got the piece of paper and took the vows before God. But according to the State of Texas, we were married long before that. They have three conditions that have to be met.
Own property together
Cohabitate for six (6) months – that’s right, 6 months to find out if you can stand each other
Present yourself as a married couple
Of course, it is that willingness to present yourselves as a married couple where there is a lot of gray area. It gives off that “we’re still thinking about it” vibe. Traditional marriage, traditional roles, commitment….that’s a lot to think about. When you’re young, you ain’t thinking anyway. Duh. 50% divorce rate. But when you are older and allegedly wiser, planning for the last part of your life involves doing a little thinking, like it or not. It is better with a partner. A partner in adventure, a partner in the survival game, a warm body next to you on a cold night, someone to tolerate your OCD behavior, laugh at your jokes. These are the things that true intimacy is about.
I was considering my friend’s common law condition and what a good couple they are as they are truly a case of each of them is with the only person in the world who could stand to be with them….. and they know some of the secrets to marriage from prior crash and burns. See below.
A secret to avoiding relationship tension,
Apathetic and oblivious prevention.
Don’t pull out your hair,
Better, simply don’t care
And, as a rule, also don’t pay attention!
That marriage is working just fine.