I have no interest in getting married. I was married once in the past, unfortunately my ex-husband didn't take his vows as seriously as I did. I've been with my SO for over 10 years now. We own a home, a nice car and a truck, we have 2 beautiful and planned children. I feel happy and blessed, at no time do I ever wake up and feel like I'm "shacking up" or "playing" anything.
Marriage is a legal document. It promises legal benefits through the government, nothing more or less. It can't ensure happiness, health, wealth, love, kindness, communication, or commitment. It can't protect me from infidelity or abuse. It doesn't ensure that a couple will be good parents or even good people. That's all up to each of us as individuals and it can be done with or without a ring.
I don't associate respect with a legal document. We fight for equality, respect, woman's rights, gay rights, the right to choose and have personal freedom but a couple mutually choosing not to marry bothers people. It makes no sense to me. Why does a choice that my SO and I made together irritate others so badly? How does my happiness each day affect you?
It would be like me judging you for not having a prenuptial agreement. Like if I were to say that people who don't have one are "playing" marriage, have inferior husbands, and aren't being respected. Why would having that document automatically make you, your husband, or your relationship better? It doesn't.
I've been married 30 years. I don't believe in "shacking up," and I raised my kids the same. My 20yo son has given up on relationships for the time being because none of the "girls" are serious about it. So, it isn't just the "boys."
I'm the one in the relationship that doesn't want to get married. I feel I am married, and I don't need the state to validate my role in my home. So not sure what that says about my husband. He must be a boy because he's just shacking up with me, and that must make me a little girl. Oh well, it's been fun playing house for 13 years, maybe one day we will grow up and spend our life savings on a dramatic wedding just to say we did it.