'Marriage is the right thing to do'
SPANISH TOWN, St Catherine:
Common law relationships where couples live together without making the ultimate commitment of getting married is a practice that a many people have indulged in for hundreds of years.
Countless couples who are involved in this kind of relationship go as far as establishing distinct family structures in which children are born and raised until they reach adulthood.
Economic constraints and making sure the other party is committed are the prevailing views expressed by most persons who promote this type of union as the main reasons for the frequency of such relationships
Julian Hyatt, businesswoman of Fairview, St Catherine, told Family & Religion that apart from the economic reasons that give rise to couples living together for years without getting married, most women want to be sure that the man is the right person.
"I have never been married, my first common law relationship went on for 16 years before my boyfriend went overseas and married some other woman and had children," said Hyatt, insisting that he wasn't the right person. "I have to be sure that he is the right person before I make that ultimate commitment. Marriage is a lifelong commitment and it is important to know if the person will spend the rest of his life with you," said Hyatt.
The businesswoman who is in her second common law relationship said, she has made the decision not to have children in this situation where love and companionship are the two factors keeping her in the present common law union.
"Some women remain in common law relationships because they get caught up with having children for their partner, but for me, it's about companionship and the fact that I love my partner," she revealed.
"Many people have asked, 'Why don't you get married since you live with your man so long', but the truth is, after four years, we still don't know each other well enough," Hyatt added, while acknowledging that it takes time to determine if the person is responsible or not.
"Furthermore, some men are afraid of commitment so even if the woman suggests marriage, they will find every reason to stall," said Hyatt.
While not explicitly suggesting that in her situation economics plays an important part in her decision not to tie the knot, Hyatt was quick to point out that many couples simple cannot cover the expenses associated with getting married and this contributes to the decision of many common law spouses not to get married.
"A lot of common law couples simply cannot find the money to offset the cost associated with weddings, some women even shack up with a man so that he can help pay the bill," Hyatt said.
With no immediate plans to get married to her present partner whom she said she loves dearly, Hyatt told Family and Religion that she believes firmly that marriage is the right thing to do.
"I just think we should know each other better because sometimes the troubles start after the fact," she stated.