What Does Marriage Give You That Domestic Partnership Does Not?

Carrie Lowrance

Crosswalk Contributor
Published May 15, 2024
What Does Marriage Give You That Domestic Partnership Does Not?

It’s a scary and confusing time for Christian couples. The bottom line is, God gave us marriage and all the benefits of it for a reason. It’s protecting us emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. People wonder why they are so confused with love, when our society has twisted love and intimacy into a casual, cheap thing. Our society has turned something wonderful, like marriage, into something horrible and stifling. 

Marriage versus domestic partnership can be a hot topic. Some people are okay with it, while others are not. With cohabitation becoming the norm and fewer people getting married, it’s no wonder this can be a confusing topic for most people. However, most people may not know that there are many things that marriage gives you that a domestic partnership doesn’t.

Comprehensive Legal Recognition

When people get married, both legal and federal governments recognize it.

Tax Benefits

Couples who are married can file their taxes jointly, thus potentially reducing their tax liability.

Spousal Benefits

When you get married, you automatically qualify for spouse benefits, including spousal Social Security, Medicare, public assistance, veteran’s military, and disability benefits.

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Medical Decision Making

By being recognized as a legal union, spouses can make health decisions regarding each other and visit each other in healthcare settings.

Inheritance Rights

Each spouse may inherit property from each other when one spouse dies.

Immigration Sponsorship

One spouse can sponsor or petition for immigration on their spouse’s behalf.

Divorce Protection

If you and your spouse should divorce, there are laws in place that govern how divorce works compared to the messiness of a breakup in a domestic partnership.

Higher Life Expectancy

Married people enjoy a longer life expectancy on average, possibly because they have a healthier lifestyle and are more content with their lives.

Better Sleep

Studies show that being in a lasting relationship and having a partner’s presence close by helps improve sleep quality. This could be because of better health, more normalized routines, and better financial security.

Increased Sense of Companionship and Happiness

We can feel connected and happy without being married, like when dating. However, married couples share the highest form of intimacy and companionship a person can share with someone.

happy couple cooking together in kitchen

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Improved Health and Lifestyle

There is a silent contract in marriages of understanding and compromise. This means compromising on certain habits that can affect your partner, like not smoking, so they aren’t inhaling your smoke or quitting fast food so as not to tempt your partner on their diet. It’s about focusing on the positive, like eating more home-cooked meals, exercising together, and doing other things to improve your health and lifestyle. Married people also have lower rates of drug and alcohol abuse.

Less Stress and Depression

Marriage is associated with a lower rate of symptoms of stress and depression. This is because married couples have more emotional support and readily available advice from friends, family, and professionals. Couples also share responsibilities in marriage, which can lead to emotional fulfillment and take away the stress compared to someone who lives alone.

An Ideal Environment to Raise Children In

Marriage gives couples the stability and confidence to raise children together. Children are most influenced by their parents, and those who come from married households have better social skills, academic performance, and overall development compared to those from divorced or unmarried-parent households. As a former daycare teacher, I can attest to how desperately children need to be in a household with a healthy marriage. I have seen so many angry, broken, and broken-hearted kids from divorced and single-parent households. Kids need stability in every area of their lives, especially at home.

Positive Lifestyle Changes

Over time, married people take on each other’s habits and mannerisms. One of you could be a spender, the other a saver, or one of you could lead a less active lifestyle while the other is very active. These opposite scenarios can lead to positive changes down the line.

Physical Security

Knowing that you have someone with whom to share life and responsibilities gives an extra layer of physical security.

More Social Capital

Both parties in a marriage benefit from social capital, meaning more access to social and cultural resources, better integration into communities, and improved social interactions.

Prestige and Pride

When couples get married, they have a sense of pride that reflects society’s perception of them and how society treats them. This also includes tangible benefits like club memberships, invitations to social events, etc.

No Gift Tax

Certain monetary gifts are subject to the gift tax. However, married people are exempt from tax regardless of the amount, as long as both are citizens of the country.

No Estate Tax

Individuals deal with estate tax after they pass away. If the money or assets left to someone in a will exceed a certain amount, estate tax comes into play. However, with married couplesone can leave as much money as they want to their spouse.

Happy couple husband and wife planning

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Joint Accounts

Opening a joint account with a spouse is a great way for both parties to stay on top of things financially. Both parties being able to see what’s in the account and having monthly finance meetings helps stop conflicts in their tracks and is a great way to build trust and loyalty with your spouse.

Combined Credit Score

Married couples can be eligible for more lucrative loans based on their combined credit score. This is especially helpful for those who have very low credit scores.

Advantages in Mortgages

When both people in a marriage work, pay their bills on time, and have a decent credit score, they have access to better mortgage deals than if they were to apply for a mortgage individually. Mortgage lenders prefer married couples because they are more apt to pay their entire mortgage.

Social Security Payouts

When a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse receives entitlement to survivor benefits. This is common in blue-collar jobs and the military. Besides death, a spouse can avail social security payouts in other circumstances, such as if one spouse becomes disabled (especially if it’s job-related) or cannot work because of serious health issues.

Health Insurance

Married couples typically get a plan to cover the whole family. In the meantime, one can list their spouse as a dependent.

Low Rent and Cost of Living

This is a given, but being married drastically cuts expenses compared to each of you living on your own.

Emergency Room Benefits

If your partner is involved in a serious accident or critical medical emergency, you will not be allowed to ride in the ambulance or be present in the emergency room or ICU. If you are a spouse, then you would have these privileges.

Right to Sue Someone on the Deceased’s Behalf

If your spouse is involved in a willful wrongdoing, you can sue the person or entity for wrongful death. Scenarios like this usually happen in blue-collar jobs or jobs that require intense physical involvement and risks.

Last Rites and Funeral Arrangements

Unless stated in their spouse’s will and testament, the spouse has complete authority to plan funeral arrangements. This includes whether to cremate or bury, and, in certain cases, spouses can sign off on things like organ and retina donation.

Family Leave

Married couples have the benefit of being eligible for different leave, including parental leave, caretaker leave of a sick spouse, and bereavement leave for the passing of a family member.

couple moving in, living together before marriage

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Approval in the Eyes of God

This is the most important benefit of all, being approved in the eyes of God. He instituted marriage as the only way to cohabitate as a couple for specific reasons and to help protect his children.

Having a Prenup

Agreeing to a prenup and formalizing it later is a great way for couples to guarantee a fair and judicial division of assets if they get divorced.

A Solid Foundation

You and your partner got married because you love each other and have built your relationship on the most solid foundation you can have: God. There is something there that binds you together compared to domestic relationships, which have less foundation and security.

A Solid Support System

Married couples have a more stable support system, including parents, brothers and sisters, and in-laws to help during difficult and stressful situations.

Being a Christian couple in this day and age can be very difficult, with all the conflicting opinions on what is right and wrong out there. It’s very easy to get pressured by friends to go the simple route and do what everyone else is doing. Even our churches don’t always preach what is right, sometimes bending the truth as they see fit. It’s a scary and confusing time for Christian couples. The bottom line is, God gave us marriage and all the benefits of it for a reason. It’s protecting us emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.

People wonder why they are so confused with love, when our society has twisted love and intimacy into a casual, cheap thing. Our society has turned something wonderful, like marriage, into something horrible and stifling. Marriage has so many benefits over domestic partnerships that it’s worth it for people to take a second look, read their Bibles, and see marriage as God intended it to be.

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