There was a teacher I admired at primary school when I was eight years old. A very glamourous woman, she was.
Rumours went around about her being divorced. This was whispered on the playground, along with incredulous stares, hushed voices and giggles. She was some kind of scarlet woman.
I thought she was absolutely marvellous all the same. She certainly didn't go around with a big sign saying 'Shame'.
I played wedding dress-up and watched cartoon princess movies and my folks were a fantastic role model of a good marriage.
Ten years later I was pregnant. I resisted marriage which disappointed the families. Social climate had not changed much and I can remember trying to gauge whether it was more shameful to be divorced, or pregnant - of the two forms of un-wedded-ness.
I went on to have three other children and remained unmarried. Thinking on it now - hindsight, age and all that jazz - the reasons are listed below with varying degrees of intensity.
A sense of losing self
The children took their Dad's surname, I liked mine. I had 'given' what was humanly possible.
I guess I never really believed a girl could be un-respectable if they weren't wed, had children or lived with a man.
Every now and then I think I would like to be married (at least once) for the experience. You can hyphen names, but there is a bit of old fashioned notion in me that says if you're going to marry - do it the whole hog.
A couple of weeks ago I happened across an English documentary which said marriage was brought in by the government and church for revenue on the premise of making people respectable. However, it was too costly to get married in a church for a lot of people and many got married in pubs by just-out-of-jail scoundrels who decided on a career change and proclaimed themselves Ministers.
Keep in mind - England's efforts to 'civilise' a growing population and the effects that had on the colonies. The history encompasses much more than what I'm talking about here - but you can research for yourself if it interests you.
This only served to delight me - further justifying my reasons.
I do think marriage is great for anyone who wants it, but my cynical self thinks you don't need a license in order to have relations with a special someone - permission to do what human instinct dictates anyway.