OK so put all the romantic mumbo jumbo aside. Marriage is a legal partnership. It gives you rights to property, finances, and to make decisions in the case of emergencies. You can have all of the romance and love with out marriage, but if you own property together, have children together, need to be on the other person's insurance, need to get into a hospital when they are sick, then marriage gives you the legal ability to do these things. Just remember it also gives your spouse the same rights and the same ownership over your property and finances unless you have a contract stating otherwise at the time of marriage (prenup)
2006, National Geographic magazine - in depth study into love and found some aspects of it akin to being in a state of mental illness. Marriage is a great institution for having kids and gets more certain and longer secure upbringing for children. If children aren't a goal then I'm not convinced of the need for "ink stains that have dried upon a line" [Glen Campbell - Gentle on My Mind] The problem is marriages thrive where there is a village and the village has disappeared. whereas say I grew up in the 60s with the same 13 children the whole (stable) time. The need to have a surviving parent because of short life expectancies has passed and many choose to be single parents. That said, our societies are much stronger at supporting single parents, one in four Aust children born to single mothers. The onus now on a single parent is to have a vibrant range of good and interesting adult friends to ensure male role models in particular include worthy ones.. its a crisis in modern times, some boys have never had a male role model at all. nearly 50% breakdown of marriages. Nat Geo http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0602/feature2/index.html
Besides all the legal aspects of marriage, marriage is SUPPOSE to be a huge commitment to each other that should last until the day one dies. It's a commitment that you will always be there for each other "for richer or for poorer; in sickness and in health as long as you both shall live". No matter what life brings you, the two should stick together and be faithful to each, have respect, trust, and love for each other. Marriage isn't taken as seriously as it should be these days. People just repeat the vows but they really dont take them to heart, apply them, and live by them, and thats when marriages fail. As a Christian, marriage is not only a promise to my spouse but also to God. Marriage is suppose to signify unity and 2 people becoming one and being a strong united front through life. I'm not going to lie, marriage is VERY hard work and has many challenges. You have to be selfless and put your spouse before you and everyone else and anything else (besides God). You have to be patient even though your spouse can do things that make you want to just hit him or her sometimes. If both people are putting 110% into the marriage and into each other and trusting, respecting, loving, and caring for one another, then marriage is a great thing. BUT realize going in that it won't always be great times and there WILL be arguments because no one is perfect so therefore no marriage is perfect. Just be able to admit when you're wrong and forgive when your spouse is wrong. Just as long as you have what I've mentioned and the good times outweigh the bad and you love someone so much that you could easily see yourself being with that person for the rest of your life and that person is your best friend that you cant live without then you should have a good marriage and that's one of the best things you can have.
Marriage was established by God. Thus we should look at his word the Bible for guidance. God created marriage as a prototype of the loving, forbearing and forgiving relationship we have with Him. However sinful people have completely perverted it so you get answers like the first two you received. Marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman who create a new family and are faithful physically and emotionally to one another. It is not easy but by dedicating yourself to your husband or wife and by being serious and seekng God's true guidance as you consider whom you will marry and asking for His help as you establish your marital relationship you can enjoy the benefits that a lifelong true marriage will bring. I know, as my husband and I have been married for 36 years now. Has it been easy? No. Is it worth the effort? Yes!