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My sister asked me to research marriage and women's rights. She has been living with her husband for ten years. Currently, he is employed and she is not. They are concerned about issues such as health care (Indiana law is going to force people to show marriage license.) I am trying to weigh the pros and cons of marriage. What suggestions do you have to approach this? What would your advice be? Thank you, Karen

Thanks for your note. I'm afraid that the only advise I can offer is speculative--since I don't all of the factors or the people involved in the equation. I do think that marriage is a very personal thing--and very individualistic. Unfortunately, although this is true, it is also a legal thing. As social security, health-care, salaries, etc.. prove, we do still live in a society that places tons of value on marriage and in many instances wrongly assumes that marriage is a scenario where men are the wage earners and women the homemakers. That aside, I think that marriage is a much better alternative today than it was 30 years ago (even 20 years ago), because today it is based more on want than need and more on desire than expectation. Also, in many ways thanks to feminism the barrier has moved. Whereas decades ago, marriage itself was the barrier and often the line between women's independence and dependence -- now we can be independent in our marriages. Unfortunately, I think the barrier has moved to children--which is still mostly "women's work."

Anyway with all that said, I think this is a decision that only your sister can answer for herself. What does marriage mean to her? What does this man mean to her? Can these two work and grow together? Also, what do you think? Sometimes those once removed from the situation are the better judges.

Sorry I couldn't be of more help. Good luck to your sister - Amy

P.S. I'm sure she has looked into the domestic partnership alternative? Many states have this and how much this includes depends on the city/state.


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