The consensus seems to be that people who live together in committed relationships with children are family. What's interesting, though, is that those surveyed agreed (by a majority) that two unmarried adults living together without children are NOT a family. So I suppose that piece of paper does still matter in some ways. Are You a Family if You Don't Have Kids?
Making Our Own Choices
I got married at the age of 20. If my husband and I were doing it all over in today's world, I don't think we would have rushed so much to get that piece of paper. We would likely have lived together first. And, in that situation, I would have considered him my life partner and closest family.
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I think that marriage used to be an easy way to define family, and that we now need to look for new ways to define it. Lots of people today live together for awhile, and then break up. Are they—or were they—family? Many people believe in making your own family, particularly young people living in new cities who create a family of friends that becomes their support system. If marriage is going to become obsolete, maybe we need a new way to make someone "family" (and new standards for what being "family" entitles you to).
I'm happy to be married, but I would love my husband equally whether the government thought we were a family or not.
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What do you think?