| | Re: What's the difference?
Marriage is different in a lot of ways. For one it's permanent, or should be.
Think of your grandparents, your parents and your siblings. They are part of you in a way that your friends will never be. Marriage forms that kind of relationship between two people who were such a relationship would never exist.
Itís also a legal and financial contract. You are both legally responsible for each other in many ways, especially financially. When you become legally, financially responsible for another person your interest in them becomes much more acute. What each of you earns belongs to the other. The debts you make belong to each other.
Hereís an analogy: There is a dress shop and a jewelry shop next door to each other. The owners are friends. But the financial wellbeing of each shop is up to the owner. Then one day they decide that they would both do better if they merged and become one shop, pooling together their resources. Now the actions of the jewelry shop owner will impact the wellbeing of the dress shop owner and vice versa. So they share in their joint profits and their joint loses/debts. But if one of them has something happen, like they get ill, the other can pitch in and carry the other until thing get better.
Or they might decide that one of them will handle the joint shop for a while and the other will take care of some new venture (like having children?).
Now the shop owners are so completely entwined in each otherís lives that they are one, united unit that, in the best of all worlds, works for the betterment of the union, each other and any other endeavor they work towards.
Marriage provides a lot of assurance to a woman when she has children that they will have a father to around who loves them and helps care for them. Itís a lot easier to raise children when there art who parents involved with each other on a daily basis.
Keep in mind that most people who end up in prison come from single parent homes which did not have a father around. Being a child into an family situation where there is no father is most predictable way to ensure your children will be drug users and criminals. Yes I know that not all children raised in single parent homes become criminals. But almost all criminals come from this sort of home.
A couple can live together and not marry. They can have a good life. But they would have to draw up a lot of contracts between each other about finances and child issues to get the same protection that marriage gives them. And few couples who do not marry have the commitment that marriage is.