The big benefits of marriage are well documented:
- Financial advantages of lower expenses of two living in one place – instead of just one paying the mortgage and the household bills, you now have two people sharing the load
- The married status tax breaks – 2001 tax law made it a good thing to be married
- Health insurance coverage – family coverage can be cheaper than paying individual coverage for two, especially for a spouse with a pre-existing condition
- Someone to grow old with – having someone in your corner is a nice feeling, knowing you don’t have to face the burdens of life alone
- Retirement savings and Social Security advantages – IRA’s, health savings accounts, and 401k plans, with lower expenses it’s easier to save more. And the upside of Social Security payments for those who decide to “apply and suspend” benefit payouts
- Married men are healthier and live longer – it’s true, men who are married live longer than those who are divorced or single
Yes, having someone as a legal partner provides plenty of upside for both, but what about the small, immeasurable ways life is better as part of a union?
Here’s a sampling of items I would like to consider benefits just as important as those in the above list:
- Spooning with a real-life electric blanket, because it’s so nice to cuddle up to someone warm on a cold winter’s night – Husband #2 threw off the heat like a reliable furnace. It was nice to curl around him when I was cold.
- A personal research assistant who points out different items of interest as they read a book, magazine, or online article that you might never have stumbled across – I liked that we read different books and how he would share interesting tidbits from his readings
- A sounding board for when you find your own highly interesting passage from a book, magazine, or online article – likewise, I would share curious passages from my readings with him
- A cozy leg to tuck your toes under when sitting on the couch together – even when we sat at different ends of the couch, I could wiggle my toes under his thigh for a little bit of physical contact
- A built-in date to go to the movies and share a giant tub of popcorn with – movies were one of our shared interests and we always seemed to find some good ones. It was nice knowing that I had a date on the spur of the moment when the urge hit
- A truthful food critic for when trying a new recipe – hey, not every food experiment turns out tasty. Having an honest opinion provided much-needed feedback and sometimes a humorous story about how bad the meal really was
- A partner in crime – we once lied about our anniversary date to get a great window balcony view at a restaurant. Yes, we still joke about it (and the free surprise dessert provided by the restaurant). Our bad! We’re both going to hell…
- Someone to care for you – everyone gets sick, it’s just nice to have someone around to make us soup when we’re under the weather
- A travel buddy – I definitely miss having a great travel companion, and Husband #2 was just that. We each had activities that we thought would be fun to do and branched out from our own internal itinerary to do something the other partner wanted to do. Travel was a shared experience made better because we were both enjoying the same moment.
- Someone to share plates with at a restaurant – sometimes it’s hard to decide between two fantastic menu items. This is where being married is a boon. Husband #2 and I would somehow settle on the same two meals we wanted to try and our deal was that we would each eat half then switch plates
- Someone to expand your world – no matter how similar two people are, the way they look at the same experience can be vastly different. I liked having another person’s perspective, curiosity, or suggestions to build on my own thoughts and desires
- Someone to care about your day – this is a two-way street, it’s nice to have someone care about you and have someone to care for. It just gives life a bit more purpose when feeling connected
Maybe instead of joking about the downfalls of the ball and chain, we should celebrate the little warm moments that two people in a committed relationship share every day.