Husbands vs Boyfriends: Yes, There Is Still a Difference!

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I recently had a discussion with a few good girlfriends of mine about the state of marriage today. The debate quickly became very passionate, like so many of our chat fests often do, when we realized we all had very different opinions about the definitions of “husband” and “boyfriend” in today’s society.

A single girlfriend of mine who has been living with her boyfriend for over 4 years said, “I don’t need a ring. He’s more my husband than my boyfriend any day. A ring won’t change that!” Interesting, I thought. I asked her why she felt the words “boyfriend” and “husband” were interchangeable, and she told me it was because the only difference between their long-term relationship and a marriage was that it wasn’t legally recognized. Before I could respond, another friend of ours interjected, “I agree with her. These days, who really needs a ring?” I immediately responded, “I did!”

Only two of the five other women at the table stood by me. One married, one not. The others joked that in their experience only married women felt there was a true difference between husbands and boyfriends, and it was likely because they were married. Um…okay, if you say so. One of them challenged me to explain how my marriage was different from her long-term relationship.These were my arguments….

(Disclaimer: These are the somewhat humorous, 100 percent honest, opinions of a happily married woman who has always felt that marriage was, and is, the ultimate destination on the journey to true love. You may not agree, and that’s okay too – feel free to state your case in the comment section below.)

Boyfriends love you. Husbands love you so much they knew they could never ever share, so they just had to make you their “wife” officially.

Boyfriends make promises. Husbands make them before God and everyone else you love enough to invite to your wedding.

When boyfriends have “had it up to here” they move out, take their space, or tell you they’re not sure things are working out between you. When husbands have “had it up to here” they take a walk or have a beer.

Boyfriends feel very little guilt gawking at the occasional hot chick passing by, or harmlessly flirting with a co-worker. Husbands think about it occasionally but know better than that to risk it. (Most days at least!)

Boyfriends understand that a woman’s just having “one of those days”. Husbands go to the store (alone!) to pickup your feminine products – and even remember your brand.

Boyfriends sometimes stay out too late with the guys. Husbands know they better beat the sun in the morning.

Boyfriends love you in “those sexy heels”. Husbands love you in anything.

Boyfriends seek important advice from their friends. Husbands seek advice from their wives.

Boyfriends remember your birthday. Husbands remember that time something you said changed their life.

Boyfriends sometimes bend the rules. Husbands want to work with you to set them.

I could go on, and on, and on! But I’ll stop here for now. To me, there is a very big difference between a boyfriend and a husband – many of which revolve around devotion, commitment, and understanding. I’ve always said that marriage is not for everyone, but for those who seek it, there is something very special to it.

I’ve seen a lot of women change their tune about marriage after they felt it was unattainable or because the guy they loved didn’t seem to want it too. It makes me sad. Now if you’ve never wanted to get married, no judgments here, to each it’s own, as I always say. If you’ve always wanted or been open to marriage, don’t sell yourself short by convincing yourself that the next best thing is the same thing. It’s not. And you deserve to have the bond you dream about – not the one that’s become convenient or “acceptable” today. Just think about it…

Married ladies, what would you add to this list? Single gals, do you disagree? Let’s talk about it.

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127 Responses to Husbands vs Boyfriends: Yes, There Is Still a Difference!

  1. Carmen says:

    This will hurt some feelings, but it is so true and so honest that everyone needs to hear it.

    • Trulyblessed says:

      I think it’s easy to say all of this when you’re married to the man of your dreams. Most if us aren’t as lucky. There are a lot of jerk husbands out there.

      • katherine says:

        That is a very good reason to not get married, i agree.
        But instead of trying to change the assholes who don’t want to get marrie, just leave him and find someone who shares your views and dreams. My husband and I got married at 22 and i absolutely don’t regret it for a second. It may just be the way WE feel, but we definitely have more of an unbreakable bond like we never had before. I hope everyone someday feels this way about their lover.

        xo Kat

  2. Trina says:

    I agree with you 100%. There is and always has been a difference. It's sad that some women are so afraid of being alone that they will accept the long-term live-in boyfriend who won't wholly commit. I for one wish to be blessed in matrimony one day and will not accept the long-term live-in boyfriend (again).

    • Janine M Rupp says:

      I have been married twice and am now single. I totally agree that there is a huge difference once married and that that piece of paper is a whole lot more than just paper! When a marriage is a good one, it is beautiful and no one should settle and marry just out of loneliness or settle on a common law husband just because they have given up on one day having a wonderful marriage mate. Good things do come to those that wait..Always respect yourself and love yourself enough to wait for the very best in life…beautifully written blog btw….

  3. In all honesty, I think it's a bit snobbish to think boyfriends don't feel or behave the same as husbands do or even imply they love their ladies less because there's no ring or legal union. What about gays and lesbians who cannot legally marry? Is their love less valid because there is no ring and a marriage certificate involved?

    I'm a wife but I don't need a ring or the piece of paper to know how my husband feels about me. I'm glad we are a legally married couple but he loved me and would stand by me even without marriage. I sometimes think married folks attempt to consider themselves as better than the long-term but not married couples.

    I know you meant well and this is meant to be a bit funny but it comes across more like, "Haha my man loves me MORE than yours does because he made me a wife." Just how I interpret it.
    My recent post Project 365 – Week 5 Round Up

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Hey Kim! Thanks for weighing in — you know I appreciate the comment love, always. I'm sorry you took it that way, but I stand by my jokes/truth here and I support all love — not just marriage, you know that. No rule applies to every one, so of course, i do think there are great boyfriends and shitty husbands out there — it's a given. But in my experience there are quite a few differences that some women choose to ignore for convenience and that's what I was trying to find a humorous way to address here. As for gays/lesbians, they should be able to marry legally and I think that those who do want to would like to do so perhaps can relate to some of what I'm saying here. Hope that helps some. Thanks for reading! Happy Thanksgiving!

    • anna says:

      no, gays and lesbians who can't get married don't love each other any less than married straight people. but why do they want gay marriage to be legalized so much then? isn't it because it does make a difference?.. i believe there is. if there is no difference, then why would you get married?

      My recent post LOVE IS…

      • Sun R says:

        Anna what you said makes perfect sense. Why care about being legally married is there is no difference at all or if its not important. Why are there protests and No H8 campaigns? There is a difference and people can dance around that issue all they want. Bottom line is that Marriage is a sacred bond. Woman these days will just accept anything from a man, just to say they have one. A man who truly loves you wants every one to know it and has no problems or excuses when it comes to getting married.

    • ShalamarRue79 says:

      I completely agree.. Marriage is just a legal aspect – the relationship between two people, that is where it's at.
      Just because he is a husband doesnt mean he loves you more or is a better man because you are married.
      Marriage in reality means so very little.

      I'm thankful I am not married.
      Not even my boyfriend now can ever convince me to marry – why would I want to try to change what we have now? Its wonderful as it is and serves us both.. marriage would only complicate things by putting a label that society wants on our lives.
      A legal label as if what we have isn't enough unless we're legally married.
      Who needs that?
      His respect, his honor and his love by how he makes his choices and what he does defines our relationship – not a marriage license.

      You said it so well, Miss. Kim

    • Guest says:

      Then what was the point in getting married if you belive havinf a boyfriend is no different than having a husband?

    • Andres says:

      is not snobbish i was 27 years with ex have 3 girls wish now are lady's when they turn 18 i felt like a fake father i was trying teach how be good wife like my and father.but how can a boyfriend teach his dauter how be good you can't i try all ready.when you ask a woman to marry and she it just a piece paper is not is a real family.when woman said yes the it start that's when the honor start and if don't give self fully good luck. you know woman want security man want honor with out it you will have children value their parner and that not a good team.honor is a code it means i will fight and die for my country and i belive just a paper is a shield the keep out selfishness infedalety shaloness and it also said this is my wife and i will love her teal the honor is not just for war is what keep your family together.after 27 year of waiting be real husband the lust die i gave warning but nothing it hapend.and guess what that when i found out that it was not that sex it was those 27 years of be in there for each other.and yes is very important piece of paper so when temptation come you could say im sorry i cant im merry i got a family.a boyfriend is not family a husband is.a boyfriend could be a dad but never a father.any body could be a dad or mom but only if your merry you could be a mother and father.i never wanted my kids be basters but you get merry that they is Andres and think getting merry is best thing for you and kids don't a fake to your kid show them what honor is so they could show there children.

    • Jackie says:

      I completely agree!! My boyfriend and I call eachother husband and wife. We are expecting a child together and we are so great with each other. We KNOW we are spending our lives together, we have it all planned out and talk about it all the time. He simply cannot propose right now because of financial things and he feels I deserve a ring. We cannot afford a wedding right now. However if we could, we would be married! I am not letting money take the place of real love and commitment. He is my husband. I am his wife and we are spending the rest of our lives together. I know we will be married someday because I have always wanted that and I finally found the best guy in the world. He is my best friend. and he says he is the luckiest guy in the world to have me as his wife. It is not fair that because we have to focus our money on our child coming soon, that we cannot consider ourselves married or people like this woman above claim that because he is a boyfriend he will leave after a fight vs husbands stay, he will stay out w the guys, etc etc etc. all that stuff that says boyfriends do is not what mine does. He literally follows under every single thing she wrote that HUSBANDS DO. I totally disagree with this because me and my guy are struggling financially a little and he wants more than anything to get me a ring and marry me but we have to wait, that that means that he is just a boyfriend and won’t treat me as good as when we finally have the money to get married? Nooo. So wrong. But I guess it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks I just wanted to write because I couldn’t consider this to be more wrong. My guy is living proof it is all wrong. Think about it this way , the day before you got married, he was not your husband yet. Are you saying he was ANY DIFFERENT OR BETTER TO YOU THE MINUTE YOU GUYS BECAME LEGAL?? No. What about all the time you spent building commitment and building a life together? I u derstand if you meant boyfriends of a week vs husbands but not when you have invested time together and grew together live together and in my case are having your first child together.

  4. Cassie Ladd says:

    Fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Sure – some boyfriends will more closely resemble husbands. But I specifically want to comment on the differences you identified in your first two points. The finality of marriage isn't about changing the relationship it's about fulfilling it. Marriage is actually the ultimate realization of a relationship that constantly grows and evolves with the couple. It's not about a label. That's what a lot of single (and married!) people don't understand.

  5. Lossidele says:

    Ditto this! It's when a woman thinks marriage won't happen or that he doesn't want it that she starts to settle for an "alternative contentment". There is a HUGE difference in being a man's wife and being a man's gf/"baby momma"/wifey (hate that term).

    • sonia says:

      i agrea ther is a big differance

    • Bianca del Rio says:

      Agree 110% on this. Women who refer to long-term boyfriends as "husbands" really want the commitment of marriage – as most women do – but they fear they won't ever get it. This fear and insecurity explains why these women get very upset when the topic is discussed. They don't want to hear that their relationship that they work so hard to maintain is not real or true. They console themselves by telling themselves that there is "no difference" between a long-term boyfriend and a husband. But there is – the husband got down on his knee, registered with state authorities – in other words, he got REAL. Wives get benefits from husbands' jobs, get their pensions, get acknowledgment from family and friends at a ceremony, whether small or large. Long-term relationships are a cop out, and these women know it. They want to be married, but they know their so called men might be scared off if they dare bring up the subject. It's fear and insecurity, plain and simple. Go ahead, you who are single and shacked up, get mad – the truth hurts, but it'll set you free from a lie.

      • Jackie says:

        That’s hilarious because my boyfriend talks about how bad he cannot wait to propose to me once we get our finances together a little more. He hates the fact that he can’t because it will look bad without a ring. However he has asked me and I have said yes. We consider eachother married because we are. We are expecting a child and will get married after that. We have a moving commited relationship and he literally follows under the category of husband is every one of these topics kdiscussed. I could not be more happy that I found this man and he loves me more than anything. He is completely devoted to me and our future together.

  6. Taiisha says:

    Boyfriends introduce you to his best friend. A husband's WIFE is his best friend!

  7. Lauren says:

    I agree with your position but not some of your arguments! The first two were dynamic but as a woman shacking up, without a ring on it, my boyfriend covers almost everything after the second second argument, down to the feminine supplies! Great post sis!

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Ha, thanks for commenting Lauren! I agree that there are some truly great boyfriends, and some truly crappy husbands out there that are total exceptions — glad you found one! :-)

    • nylse says:

      well why not marry him and promote him from a boyfriend to a husband? a husband is a keeper, a boyfriend maybe not so much.
      husband is in it for the long haul – till death do us part; I've never heard a boyfriend say that.
      i think the real difference between a boyfriend and a husband is the level of commitment.
      My recent post Refreshing Rain

      • Lauren says:

        Dear Nylse,

        I laughed at your reply, you are cooky! Look at your language" promote him", we are in a partnership, he is not my minion. You are clearly single or prayerfully not involved with that mentality!!!!! Maybe you have never heard a boyfriend say til death do us part, but I'm pretty sure you've heard plenty of wives and husband say, "I want a divorce, we're separated, or the divorce has been finalized!" As much as I love my boyfriend, adore him as a father to our daughter, and thank GOD for him being my only friend when things get rough; I'm not sure if I even want to be married to him or anyone for that matter. As far as a certain level of commitment, who the hell made you the moral radar police? Thanks for the laugh suga!

      • Jackie says:

        I’m going to answer your question. The reason why me and my man have not got married yet is only because of ONE THINNG. MONEY. that’s it! We will be once our finances are a little better as we are expecting our first child.

  8. myloverswife says:

    I think that women who say that they don’t need a ring to make their relationship real are lying to themselves. Marriage is the ultimate symbol of commitment. If you’re not interested in being married why bother with long term relationships?
    My recent post Where is my passion?

  9. DeeOne says:

    In my opinion,boyfriends should never act like husbands,they should never have the same privileges as a husband.Why would anyone even equate A boyfriend to a husband?oh,I know,morality is just for spiros.ppl dat say they re okay without the ring are lying,if he loves u,he should ensure dat u're exclusively his

  10. Tiffany In Houston says:

    I'm going to be honest, I didn't date to just have a "boyfriend". if you want to look at from a purely financial standpoint, mos of the time a boyfriend cannot cover you on his insurance (unless there is some sort of domestic partnetship clause), you are not entitled to his retirement, and you cannot file taxes together. Marriage is not only a spiritual contract, it is a legal/business one and there are benefits to such.

    Marriage ISN'T for every one. But let's not get it twisted, it's a lot easier to get out of a relationship than it is a marriage.
    My recent post Odds and Ends: The Thursday Edition

  11. I love this post! I have a few friends that need to read this. Something about boyfriends to me just seems so… temporary. I don't get it, but I guess it's not for me to get.
    My recent post The Marriage Check Up

  12. @im_a_KEY_pa says:

    I could not agree with you more!! Husbands (in the best and truest sense of the word) know God and know that marriage is a sacred union that cohabitation could never touch. I know women who are settling and have convinced themselves otherwise. I was on my way to being one when stuck in a long-term, dead-end relationship, but I knew it wasn't the same thing and wanted (and deserved) more.
    Dating for years on end may "work" for some, but to me, marriage is a covenant, not just two people in love and staying together for an indefinite period of time. It symbolizes the ultimate level of exclusivity and commitment. If you don't get it, you don't get it. And, yes, my hubby knows my brand.:)

    • jorof says:

      Girls and their boyfriends are just mating just like animals of opposite sexes pairing, especially for reproduction. Married couple makes true God given marital love! Family flaws are there just as they are in every social institution and in fact they are everywhere!

  13. Miesha M. says:

    I've watched many people stand before God and pledge their love til death do them part, and guess what? They ended up in divorce court! Divorce wouldn't be at the level it is IF most men believed that their wife was the end all be all. I am a single woman, never been married and I do believe in marriage. I just know that there are men that are committed to a long haul (my honey being one) without having signed a marriage license. Just because he married you, that is NOT a guarantee that he will be with you, faithful to you forever. That's what HE said but again with the staggering divore rates…somebody is lying 0_O!! To me that is far worse than being in a long term boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Again I believe in marriage and some day I will get married but a good man is a good man, if you have one appreciate him and respect him in whichever way best suited for you!
    My recent post The Honey Do *smiles*

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    • Sue says:

      A ring on your finger is not going to stop you from having to support a family while you husband is home on line dating women and watching excessive amounts of porn and spending family money on himself. It will not stop the fact that he never helps with house hold chores or children. It is not going to stop what they do, or they want to do and we all say yeah sure its ok to take a wife for granted. Men do not oogle other women when they are with their wives and children Rings do not make men husbands.

  14. Being married, I can see both sides of the argument. I lived with my husband before we got married, 5 months before we got engaged. However, we knew it was going to marriage, period. I agree, there are some men out there who get married and don't change. A serious marriage has changes in views and mindset. It's so much easier to just break up when you're in a long term relationship. Divorce is such a long, drawn out process, when you're mad it really makes you think twice about leaving. A lot of people asked me "how's married life" once we got married, and at first I thought it was no different. But honestly, we have a deeper connection, we're more in tune and in sync. There's things that I simply won't tolerate as a wife that may not have been brought up as a girlfriend. For those who believe in marriage, stick to your guns and don't let anyone change your mind. For those who are fine with long term relationships, just be sure you're on the same page.
    My recent post College Dropout No More

  15. John says:

    This could hurt a feelings yet this all are true and correct. The difference with both side. Honestly you must undergo having a boyfriend so that you may able to know the background of your boyfriend first even though you may encounter lots of problems.
    My recent post how to get a girl to like you

    • Amer says:

      I’ve had more than one ex-boyfriend come back and want to try again, but it always dendpes on specifics, and not generalities. One thing I would advise is, if he initiated the split, you DO NOT want to continue to bug him. It can be difficult, but try to stay out of his domain (e.g. don’t attend his football practice, especially if you have no legitimate reason for being there), don’t pass him notes or send him cards, don’t leave messages on his MySpace, don’t bombard his email, don’t call him And DO NOT EVER call him and hang up when he answers! (He’ll likely know it’s you, and it absolutely doesn’t help pave the way to any kind of reconciliation!) Don’t try to date his best friend, and if you get a new boyfriend (no matter how serious it may or may not be with the new one), don’t parade around in front of your ex with your new beau. It’s not fair to either guy, to say the least.Sometimes an ex will want to try again, especially if you leave him alone after he breaks up with you. No guy likes to have a girl who is completely dependent on *him* for her happiness. (In fact, they kinda hate it ) Live your own life after a split, make the best of things, learn to depend only on yourself for your own happiness, and become as confident and self-reliant as you possibly can. Guys DO like that! Trust me!

  16. Johnna says:

    You know I just became 4-30 hot!!! Yes there is a significant difference between a boyfriend and a husband… and it is called responsibility! Husbands have a responsibility of heading a household..whether they chose to or not…well that's a different story. A boyfriend while he may take care of you… there is no real responsibilty or liability. If he decides that this is not what he wants he can leave and he has every right to. A husband…ummm not so easy.. . Any grown woman who respects and values God and herself should want a man who will make this committment. I agree that marriage is not for everyone..sure..people have the right to chose. And I do believe that you can love a boyfriend just as much as I love my husband. Love has no title but let's not confuse the two..a boyfriend is just that a boyfriend…and a husband is a husband. The two are not the same….never have been and never will be!____I do believe that society has altered the definition of marriage. Boundaries are so easily crossed and people are hurt and scorned. It's extremely sad but nonetheless true.

  17. Johnna says:

    I think that those who believe that the two are interchangable should ask themselves this one question… Would it be ok for your daughter to treat a man as her husband… deal with all the ups and downs of a marriage and perform wifely duties but never recieve the title??? It's more than a ring or a paper…

  18. I agree with you 110%. Marriage is sacred. Marriage is the ultimate commitment. A regular relationship is just that, a relationship for how long…I don'tknow. Yes, they are some people these days who do not know what marriage is and proceed anyway hence divorce. I have known many boyfriends who have left very easy when things got hard or they were given more responsibility. Husbands do not see things as that easy. They will communicate and try to work things out with their wives. There are no ins and outs in marriage. I hate that people are downgrading marriage.
    My recent post Excuse Me

  19. Pingback: What Is Marriage? « The Family Foundation

  20. Tony Scott says:

    As a guy, I agree with your post. Between a boyfriend and a husband, the husband is a better deal. It's also nice to know that the person loves you and accepts you that he is willing to commit the rest of his life for you, right?
    My recent post Meet the Kabuki Brushes: Buff Kabuki!

  21. Anna says:

    I had a grin on my face while reading this :). You are so right about everything, especially this one: "When husbands have “had it up to here” they take a walk or have a beer." :D
    Boyfriends just live with you as they were prepared to run away any time. Husbands work on making your life together better, they spend on the house.
    My recent post cosmetic dentistry uk

  22. Mira says:

    Each thing listed, my boyfriend does. I do think married women tend to make generalizations about husbands vs. boyfriends…and it leaves a sour taste in other ppls mouths bc wives can sometimes speak snobbishly. What I don't understand is how married women, marry boyfriends who didn't already do the things listed above. If your man needs to make you his wife to get you female products, come home at a decent time, etc…then there's something else going on, way beyond a ring or a marriage. I'm very recently engaged and I appreciate and respect the man my boyfriend was before he proposed. If he wasn't that man already, I wouldve been a fool to say yes. Lastly, not every women's expectations of a man or relationship match…so it's not fair to seemingly make your marriage have more value than her longterm relationship. Never once did I think my boyfriend would up and leave or that he thought our relationship was easy to get rid of. With the way marriages fall apart constantly, please, save the judgements against single people. We are all, hopefully, working to preserve our relationships, ring or no ring.

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Hey Mira!

      Thanks for the feedback. You do make some good points, but I will say that as I've mentioned this was meant to be a humorous attempt at sending an important message to women who do not have great boyfriends and assume that their relationships are "like a marriage". If being pr-marriage sounds "snobbish", I apologize, but that is most certainly the point of this blog. I am pro-marriage and pro-love. I've often been called "too kind" but most-certainly never a snob. I'm so sorry you and a few others didn't understand the humor in this piece. Clearly i wouldn't think every husband or boyfriend would fit these rules. That wouldn't be realistic and honesty is what I strive for on this blog.

      I don't think women speak enough about the type of caliber of man worth marrying or committing to long-term and I want to do so. My husband was all of those things as a boyfriend, and even more so as a husband. I am not judging single people in general, but I do have some judgements regarding single women who choose to be with a man who's not worthy of their greatness and parade around as his "wife' without getting the love and respect she deserves.

      As always, I'm so glad we can continue to have a healthy debate here. I don't expect my readers to see eye-to-eye with me on everything, and I as I constantly say, all opinions welcome. Judging from the amount of comments here, this post was certainly worth sharing because discussion is healthy.



      • Mira says:

        Thank you for being a gracious blogger who welcomes all feedback. That means a lot. By no means do I think you're a snob, but sometimes the way wives celebrate their marriages comes across as me and my marriage are up here and you and your relationship are down here. I love to hear wives speak positively about their husbands and marriages, but sometimes the true purpose and intent gets lost in translation. Again, sometimes. Any woman, married or not, in a relationship that lacks love and respect can grow from a message about the caliber of man worth marrying or being with. I appreciate the conversations you're starting here.

  23. Tiffany In Houston says:

    I don't get why single women obviously come to a married woman's blog and get salty because she has the viewpoint of guess what…..a married woman!!!

    And Mira: if marriages fall apart all the time, why did you bother to get engaged?? You were fine like you were, right??

    People kill me.
    My recent post The Point Of It All…

    • Mira says:

      Hi Tiffany, My point was not don't get married, or don't get engaged. Simply be mindful that there are some boyfriends who do what husbands do. I can only speak on my relationship and the marriages I know. I think marriage is a beautiful thing, but I also think couples who aren't married, but who treat each other fairly and with love, are important. And if a woman feels her boyfriend treats her as she would want her husband to, I think that's great.

    • HeavenF says:

      She invited at the end of her post for single women to state if they agree or disagree, so that's what they did. Someone stating their opinions about the flaws in this article when clearly invited to do so by the author at the end is not "getting salty".

  24. Mrs_Mommy_MD says:

    !!! Great post!!! And I have to agree with all my fellow marriage defenders…I was the girlfriend, turned unintentional baby momma-fiance, and now the wife… I found a good man (who was once a good boyfriend and is now a great husband – yes, I say "good" bf because he has grown A LOT since then. We both have). Despite our ups and downs, there is an indescribable feeling knowing that I am his wife. Yes, the divorce rate is high, and our culture has removed the value of marriage, but you know what? What appears popular isn't anything close to what God intended marriage for, and that is not how my husband and I will end up.

    We are committed not to and we reaffirm that commitment every time we hit a rough patch. We were notorious for "taking breaks" when the going got tough. Marriage forced us to grow up and work out our problems instead of running from them. Of course, I don't advise marrying someone you aren't prepared to do that with. Marriage is by far the hardest journey we have embarked on (even harder than my experience in medical school thus far), but looking back on the past year, we have grown more during our almost 2 year marriage than we had in the 3 years of being together before that. Not trying to sound "snobby" or anything…To each their own, but I will say, don't knock it until you've tried it ;-)

  25. Erica C.Rush says:

    Love your post! Well put.

    • Renea says:

      I agree that there is a major difference. Marriage is ordained my God. So ordained that he hung the hinges of marriage on his love for his people, the church. Some may think that this is old fashioned, but the word of God never changes!!! It is his set idea and I don't care what society says or even how we feel, God honors marriage. A boyfriend will never get the same results or fullfillment of a husband. It's just not God's order. When you are out of order, many things are subject to take place. Thats just my take on it. Great blog though. Should be discussed more in detail!! Have a great day!!

  26. integratedmemoirs says:

    I agree with this post. I'm currently engaged, and my wedding is next spring. As someone who has been through the stages of girlfriend and a fiance, I've noticed the difference in the relationship. The methodology changes with the natural flow. I don't mean to sound "snobbish," but I feel as though marriage is the ultimate level in a relationship, and it's a level that I feel as though I need to be at with my fiance. He obviously feels the same way since he asked me to be his wife, six months after dating me.

    • ManWifeDog says:

      Thanks for dropping by to weigh in. I think a lot of women do feel the way you and I do. We're often criticized for how it comes over, but there our own unique definition of love and commitment are part of what define us — not to acknowledge them or defend them would be "wrong too.

  27. Pingback: Husbands are just legal Boyfriends « 2 Sides 2 The Story

  28. pmsing247 says:

    I honestly don’t agree with a lot said in this post because marriage is a title, legal in law and legal in God’s eyes. am not saying that marriage isn’t real or that it’s just a title, I am just making a point that whether a guy is your boyfriend or husband, he is going to treat you the way that he thinks is right. A title should not depict a man’s intentions or actions, and neither should a ring. Marriage is a relationship that has grown from a friendship, it’s a bond that two individuals have together that can’t be broken and if it’s slightly torn, they work overtime to mend it back together. I was with my husband for 5 years before we got married, he has grown but he is still the same man I fell in love with. Husband is the evolution of a boyfriend not a totally different person.
    My recent post Husbands are just legal Boyfriends

  29. ladyarabellavictoria says:

    I absolutely agree with the points made in the article and the pro-marriage commenters. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE and having been married and now living as a divorcee I can say that I don't want a boyfriend. I WANT A HUSBAND. I want that acknowledgement, from both a legal and social perspective, that says I am the ONE. When a couple is married there is an unconscious motivation to put forth more effort to work things out when times get hard. Also, SOCIETY sanctions the union. Wives and husbands have the LEGAL right to speak and act on each other's behalf. For example, they can make medical decisions and automatically sit next to their loved one in a hospital's intensive care unit. Girlfriends/boyfriends DO NOT have those kinds of rights and can only do what the legal next of kin allows. Spouses also have the automatic right to benefits such as retirement pensions, health insurance, 401K funds, social security for themselves and their children, etc.

  30. ladyarabellavictoria says:

    In addition, I'm reminded of a case where a man who died had an out of wedlock child. The child was born several years after he had listed his mother as beneficiary on his insurance policy and the child had not been adjudicated by a court as his offspring (adjudicated means the court has decreed he is the father, prior to that he is the alleged father). Nor was the child entitled to his Social Security benefits. This DOES NOT HAPPEN if the parents are married. Since this man didn't have the child listed as beneficiary on his insurance policy the insurance money went to his mother and she chose to not share it with the child. This is why gays and lesbians are fighting so hard for the right to marry.

  31. ladyarabellavictoria says:

    Heterosexuals have the right to marry yet are making a mockery of the institution. If someone wants to shack up that of course their choice but, in my humble opinion, they are wasting their precious time because if there is a breakup they have nothing to show for their "time" investment. That is not the case when one is married. If someone is married for a certain length of time they are automatically entitled to benefits (e.g. when one is married over 10 years to a military member they are entitled to a percentage of the service member's pension).

  32. Lola Monroe says:

    A commitment is a commitment wether or not a ring is involved. Marriage has its benefits and security for a woman. But in reality nothing is ever secure, you must always take care of yourself first before you take care of anyone else. I’m not saying it in a selfish way, I’m just saying you can’t get all caught up in being a wife and your husband is the end all be all. I know so many married men who cheat, so don’t say they try not to look at women, ya in front of you they pretend, but behind your back they are cheating. So we take chances in relationships and marriage, yes it’s easier to leave as a boyfriend girlfriend status and harder if you are married, but I’d rather be able to cut my losses at a drop of the hat then stay in a marriage with a man who cheats and eventually gets so used to you he doesn’t care. I’m not saying all men are like this but from what I’ve seen and heard they are, I could go on and on I mean I’ve found out some husbands are gay lol or have weird sex fetishes and have prostitutes wives don’t even know about or maybe in denial

  33. Carley's Bubby says:

    My names Bobby but my girlfriend has been calling me Bubby ever since we got together 4 years ago,and its grown on me. I think marriage is all in the mind. For instance,my girlfriends mom still trys to controll her and treats her like a kid and I think if we got married she might just leave us alone and accept that we are adults. I feel marriage is a sence of maturity and a way to commit your love of detication,so I think thats the only difference. Thank You,Bubby an Carley (P.S. Please email me at and let me know your opinion.)

  34. SkiGirl says:

    This post is very wrong a very snobbish…. because how someone treats you all it depends on the person in and of themselves. My boyfriend treats me more like a husband than my ex husband ever did. That is why he is not my husband anymore. It is an insult to every human when to make generalizations like this. Some people don't have money to have a wedding or a big fancy ring. Signing a piece of paper doesn't mean the same things to all people and vows are just words which are either followed up by respectful (or not respectful) actions. And Actions my dear speak far louder than words. A Ring does not stop your husband from looking at other women or make your relationship any better or worse. While I like the idea of vows I see most weddings are just pomp and circumstance these days and they are more a business catering to women's "princess egos" than anything else. If you don't understand the base principles of love respect and kindness when you are with your boyfriend who may become your husband and vice versa your marriage will instantly be in trouble. In truth a marriage should not change anything but only enhance what you already had. So sorry I think your post is weak, even if it was meant to be partially humorous.

    • ManWifeDog says:

      SkiGirl, you just don't get my humor. That's okay. This blog isn't for you. ;-)

      Thanks for reading!

    • Mrs R says:

      It costs $75 dollars to get married at the court house. My husband, lived in another state 6 hours away. We dated for 6 months. We bought bands at walmart (silver) for $28 each. We recited our own vows. No excuses…. No pomp and circumstance… no bridesmaids and groomsmen…Just US and it was beautiful. A man who wants to commit will do so, no matter what the circumstances are. There are no excuses…PERIOD. If it's really all about the love between the both of you, all that stuff will not matter and shouldn't matter. Marriage is more than a dress, some flowers, and a big cake. If you get married to the right person for the right reasons, and you trust each other, all the negative things you mentioned will not be a factor.

  35. Jewl in the rough says:

    A boy friend is someone interviewing to be a husband.
    Stumbled on your article while trying to figure out a relationship problem with my current fella. Good list & yeah, husband is more permanent. If you choose poorly or overlook too many little things when dating, the ring will strangle and he's a lead weight around your neck & financial life. I know many women over 50 whose lives have been miserable or unhappy due to poor mate choice.
    Marriage you can't run from or take a break from. Problems are real and you have to handle them like a team.

  36. Sunita says:

    I could go either way for most of the arguments – i do not think my husband loves me any more or less because of a ring. But the symbol and the memories of the promises we made before God, family, and friends somehow does make a difference during the tougher times. I’m a little late to the discussion, but as many close to me have discovered, there is an important difference. If you’ve been with someone for 15 years but do not have a legally binding marriage, you have no say should your spouse be ill, injured, or otherwise unable to express their wants. The next of kin will make all the choices, if none, the doctor. Those choices may or may not be what your hubby would choose. No one thinks tragedy will strike in their home. But it is a gut wrenching feeling to be helpless when someone goes against your loved one’s wishes. If you want to defend your loved one but don’t want to be married, at least make sure you have living wills and advanced directives.

  37. Sunita says:

    Btw, I did get the humor and thought it was a funny blog. Just thought I’d bring up other points since responders are so serious! :-)

  38. Ashley says:

    I think there are huge similarities and differences between boyfriends and husbands and I think it all really comes down to the man and type of person he is. I have always been the type to want to get married and I still do but in the mean time, I have a boyfriend who does all of the things that were listed as husband traits. A piece of paper, ring, and everything else is great but the amount of love and level of commitment isn’t determined by that label. I know many people who haven’t gotten married because of the financial strain as well as people who don’t marry because they don’t feel the need to spend money on showcasing what they already know in their hearts.

  39. Angie says:

    Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? Now I’m not saying that boyfriends don’t deserve special treatment, but I am saying that there should be standards and boundaries set in place and maintained on what we as girlfriends give to boyfriends. Many times out of desperation and fear of loneliness, we (including me) as women (girlfriends) lead ourselves to believe that we must roll out the red carpet for men (boyfriends) who have husband potential.When I realized that the more I gave to my boyfriend the less of me I had for myself. It was then that I decided to shift my personal focus. When I shifted the focus to reflecting on who I was, learning who I was, and finding my purpose in being single, I realized that I did not have to give my boyfriends husband privileges.

  40. kemi says:

    Is clear most people don’t know the different between a husband and boyfriend. Marriage is never about signing papers. When you are married both husband and wife becomes one, you can never be one with a boyfriend. At this point let just ask the originator of married for what He meant by marriage.

  41. Mercedes says:

    I believe all those “husband” tributes sounds just like a long term commited boyfriend.

    Marriage is revolved around religion. Before the “ring” became popupar and before religion spouted, people didn’t define two long standing partners.

    As an athiest, I can tell you my partner and I are just as deeply committed as anyones commited spouse.

    And besides, being married doesn’t make a man commit at all. Thats a silly false security that women get when they get married.

  42. Goodguy says:

    Atheist are confused about their own existence what good opinion one can expect from them other than to live like a monkey.

  43. Meme says:

    I am proud to say that I am a product of my married parents. To thoes who devalue marriage that is there very week justification for themselves, no one can deny The honor of marriage.

  44. Meme says:

    Plz thoes who say marriage just a ring, it’s not just a about exchanging rings it’s about serious commitments that bring responsibilities, fulfilling eachother rights, love, care, parmanent companionship, where sometimes u giveup for Ur loved one n sometimes u take the lead.

  45. Aukeaus says:

    So what is the woman version of this. What is a girlfriend vs a wife really other than you have a ring? Yes I made this commitment before god but why make that promise and choose that. Your articles sounds like a husband obeys his woman’s every command blindly. But does the woman deserve that?

  46. tony says:

    I think marriage is way more permanent and serious. I have seen some exceptions where live in guy was totally committed and just didn’t believe in institution of marriage. But barring that if the guy doesn’t want to marry you after suitable time period he’s usually holding out forsomeone he thinks will be better. Lots of guys tThink grass is all ways greener but girlfriend is good for now but not marriage material for them. The girl is too attached to walk away. This can go on for years so sad andevil. Boyfriends are bbuckshot after a certain point.

  47. ~MOMMY~ says:

    I am over 50 years old and divorced.
    All my life I never wanted to be married, or even hav children. I got pregnant and married a man and hav a daughter in high school who excels at many things. Without going into details I will say I now want a fulfilling relationship and hav a boyfriend who I feel is a match for me like I hav never had before. I was married for close to 20 years and it might surprised you that I feel marriage is truly connecting and sacred in ways I never thought possible. I loved being married and would like to be again. Theres a security and permanency with marriage that no other arrangement allows.
    I loved being married. It was just to the wrong person.

  48. Jason Evans says:

    What about the sex or intimacy issue here? How come husbands, boyfriends, sex buddies or even flings get the same benefits from their partner? Nowadays it seems like the old school view of marriage lost it’s value and seems so easy to cheat; and people with rings and commitments are unfaithful all the time. It all depends on the person I guess. :-(

  49. Daniela says:

    I don't think you are right..Everything you listed a husband does for his wife is exactly what a boyfriend will do for his girlfriend. Marriag doesn't make you love more or more mature.

  50. dawn says:

    Ok. Here is my situation; boyfriend and I have cohabitated 2 yrs now; he works all week 5 hours away but comes home on weekends. When I need help financially he says I am not hardly here to use anything or eat I am your boyfriend not your financial institute. Keeping that in mind; I want to make clear we were friends long before any relations (more than year). He does not believe that one has to be married to another to profess the love shared, I on the other hand would love to marry him. He told me to google what a boyfriends responsiblities are to a girlfriend with 3 daughters only 1 at home and now disabled mom here too. I make very little with no assistance from anywhere and get paid once a month. Please elaborate.

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  58. Jessie L.P says:

    I feel it doesn't matter. Boyfriend or husband. No matter the title they go by, a good man who loves you will do all those things. A good man can be a husband or the boyfriend, the ring on your finger makes a difference only to you and the people your showing off to. After all a husband can still leave his wife, its just more expensive then a boyfriend leaving his girl.

  59. Ditto this! It's when a woman thinks marriage won't happen or that he doesn't want it that she starts to settle for an "alternative contentment". There is a HUGE difference in being a man's wife and being a man's gf/"baby momma"/wifey (hate that term).

  60. Claire says:

    Absolute bull####. Your one of those people who do the majority of people’s head in with the my husband crap. Your relationship is no more important than anyone else’s, all are equal.

  61. Mrs bennett says:

    I totally agree the fact that we are even having this discussion of the difference between a husband and boyfriend makes me chuckle there's a huge difference like she said if there are any rough patch and you just wanted to get away boyfriends can just go but the husband needs to stick it out talk about it and get on with the marriage if a boyfriend cheats its just cheating but if a husband cheats its adultery it's very shameful you just broke the covenant that you valve in front of your loved ones and God is not something you can easily just get over and can you share your last name with your boyfriend and become one no,and isn't it so much better and valuable to have a kid in wedlock instead of out of wedlock and to show the world that this is the only person you want to be with, make love to, laugh,cry, make kids with, it's beautiful and it's so much value being called a wife or husband compared to being called a girlfriend or a boyfriend it sounds so disposable,the world takes you more serious when you're committed in the marriage you get more respect and more honor and what about when it comes to big decisions healthwise a girlfriend has no say so a boyfriend has no say so but a husband or a wife they have the power to let you go or keep you if it ever came down to that health wise they're able to come and visit you during critical time in the hospital because you are husband and wife everyone else would have to wait being husband and wife there is entitlement to everything I can go on and on about this but I need to go my husband's getting hungry lol

  62. YoroKobi says:

    Just think, if all women are more reserved when it comes to relationships with guys who are not married to them, men would probably be more loyal to their wives/girlfriends. The reason why women are mostly taken for granted is because guys knew they can look and have someone else anytime. You cannot believe the reasons given to me by my male friends whenever i ask them about this topic.

  63. Bebe says:

    I have to question a couple that stays together for years but argues "we don't need a piece of paper." Why not? Why is that so-called piece of paper a big deal to them? Could it be that the idea of a legal marriage frightens one or both of them?

    I've heard women who've only been dating a man for a few months refer to him as "hubby." It's offensive, honestly, and contributes to the breakdown of marriage in society. They are abusing the term – perhaps because they want a husband so bad, they may as well "fake it 'til they make it." If they ever do….

    On the flip side, I think many men today, especially those under 40, are commitment shy. They don't want to be tied down, either with marriage or kids, because when it comes to divorce, a man gets hit in the pocketbook hard. I think a lot of men are trying to avoid that, especially when they are in the "all about me" career-building phase. What they seek is a regular sex partner – not a wife.

    On the flip side, I know of plenty of married men who will chase after a pretty face. Being a husband doesn't change that. That should be removed from your list, and I hope for your sake that your husband isn't one of those men – because so many of them are.

    • Raquel says:

      If there is a man not wanting to commit it’s because it’s a huge responsibility and there are many men that do want more than sex I know a lot of my guy friends want love the same as any other women. It’s just that men need to know you can be flexible if they feel tied down. All it is, is air for men. They don’t want to find someone else like most women will think. If your great, your great.

  64. Raquel says:

    There is a huge difference in boyfriend and husband. My boyfriend of 3 year feels more like a husband as days pass I realize “boyfriend” will never fit him. He is every definition of a husband. He carries my purse, pick up tampons, and when I cried to him about wanting a baby he would hold me and tell me I’m not alone. We’ve gotten through long distance and now live 2 miles apart. I don’t believe a legal contract makes a you true husband and wife. It about how you followed your relationship contract through your dating experience. My mom has had three divorces so I know a ring won’t do the trick. It’s taking your time in the relationship and to be patient and understanding from the beginning of your relationship. It starts with yourself. If you give love without expecting anything from it you will create a happier life, over all. Love is not a loan. It’s a gift. I will never need a ring from my boyfriend he is my husband. If we do, great but ladies that are reading this communicate with your boyfriends or maybe girlfriends don’t hesitate to be open. Let them get to know you better than you know yourself. It’s ok.

  65. Nus nus says:

    Every people have different lives.
    Yours was with ur husband.
    To be fair! Each comment of urs saying the differences between husband and boy friend. .
    When i read. The moment i read the husband part i see me.
    The moment i read boyfriend part i am blur.

    What m saying. I wish the girl i loved was my wives.

    We might have lived together for 7 years without a ring.
    But each day and actives are as u described ur husband in !!!

    To refresh what i said back above. I agree 200% of every word u spoke .
    All i regret everyday is . Why did i do all that and i the end i am left as the boy friend and someone else is the husband.

    Life has given me everything. But it didnt give me what i really wanted.

    It does no matter husband or a boy friend.

    As long as someone loves and accepts someone from beat of their hearts. Thats and than when life starts.

    But u mentioned a disclaimer saying it is a view of a happy wife ever after.
    And i deeply hope u stay the happily ever after wife.

    Do forgive my grammer mistake. New english learner i am :D

    PEACE !

  66. Stink pot says:

    I am curious, it has been several years since you wrote this, has your perspective changed?

  67. Emma says:

    I can understand to be honest, my boyfriend got me the most expensive promise ring on the best Promise Rings for her top 10 list.

  68. Adelaide Zumba says:

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  69. Mike says:

    Comes down to different strokes for different folks, I think the most honest answer is that marriage is battling to keep up with this ever changing modern world. Where Facebook breaks down doors into couples homes and allows outside influence. I think the last statistics show that 70 to 80 percent of marriages end in divorce.

  70. chelsie ortega says:

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  71. Chris Lqemaster says:

    This males me cry im a guy if I love girl im putting s ring on her to finger the world of our everlasting love. I WON'T MARRY A GIRL THAT WONT ACCETA WEDDING RING. THATS SUPPOSEIDED TO BE A LIFE LONG LOVE THATS NOT TRUE LOVE WRONG WRON G WRONG. ITS SAD IM SINGLE TURNING 37 GODD HEART AND NOW MORE SBOUT LOVE THAN SOME OF YOU MAKRD ME SICK SHOE HER YOU LOVR HER I WOULD IM ASHAMED OF MOST give the change to shower someone with true love

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  74. K says:

    All of you who are saying the “only” reason women “settle” for non-marriages is because they’ve lost the “hope” that their boyfriends would ever commit… you’re sexists and apparently not familiar with a wide variety of human experience. I and many other women don’t want lifelong commitments. The current generation of 20-40ish year old women watched most of our mothers grow up STUCK in unhappy marriages and would much rather not have the BURDEN of a ring and a legal contract.

  75. GuRu says:

    I’ve read most of this blogs and I’m reluctant to say that I’m appalled by how the modern world views marriage threw( rings and paper). I’m a guy fully committed to my lady though we’re not married yet, I treat her as my wife. I do all the things a husband would do I care for her on so many aspects.We go shopping together, I go to the nail salon with her, she’s my best friend.We talk about all things with each other, we even bump heads at times. I love her so much. I believe it to be childish and unrealistic to believe there’s a difference in the BF/GF and Husband/Wife phenomenon. I believe the beginning of a relationship should establish foundation for the long term companionship. Ummm, is it suppose to be that a boyfriend graduates to a husband after marriage to receive such privelge as a husband. Certainly not, most marriages fail simply because the pressure implied with society’s fullfilment of the meaning. what’s the point of waiting for legal paperwork​ to change the dynamic of the relationship. If your man treats you as his wife treat him as so don’t look for society and the modern world to conform it. Oh yeah, and lady’s get your heads out ( You know where) because if a man don’t want you in his life for the long run you’d definitely know way before hand. Commitment is solely up the individual man or woman husband or wife. Marriage won’t change that, only your love for one another will. With all that I said just take in to consideration that a companionship is way deeper than paper and rings. It’s about unconditional and devote love for one another.God Bless​ you all.

  76. Meeta says:

    Not always the case may be you have had a very happy marriage..i have been married ..a 'ring'…i needed to be divorced..and i am happy without the 'ring'..sure the ring bears commitment..but what is such 'ring' wrapped round your finger which makes you cry night and day…you should thank God you have got a committed ex husband was just a husband as you say..big marriage..before every people and he vowed before God..and i forgot to mention mine was an arranged marriage..i know a marriage is sacred bond..mine was not the case..even though i tried hard to make it work..give time..give space..i am sorry was too hard..till the string just tore..'Boyfriends just live with you as they were prepared to run away any time. Husbands work on making your life together better, they spend on the house.'i dnt agree ..i got a boy as a friend..he did not run away anytime..when there were ex husband would never work on making our life together better..and i was not introduced as the 'best friend of my husband ..never'however..i like to hear about 'good marriages' that work.

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  81. Bibi says:

    Ok, those reasons listed were utter nonsense and completely biased…and quite frankly, insulting. My boyfriend of 5 years does ALL of those things listed under the “only husbands do this” section. There are many reasons why some couples don’t rush to get married, if they even ever. Some people just aren’t religious, thus not needing to commit anything to some God. Or some people don’t believe in the societal concept of marriage. Not everyone needs the security of a “ring” or the need to throw a lavish/over-commercialized wedding. My boyfriend of 5 years refers to me as his wife, and not a single person we know has a problem with that, except for you, apparently. According to you, all “boyfriends” are garbage. Grow up lol.

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  83. Eva says:

    LOL Yeah ask the Courts if there is a difference between a boy friend and husband.
    If you get an engagement ring from you boy friend and then later for some reason you break up and he wants his engagement ring, by law he gets it back; but if your married there is no return. That's a real life Analogy.

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  85. Ciekawy wpis, ogólnie masz racje, jednak w kilku aspektach bym polemizowała.

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  87. Nadia says:


    I broke up recently with my boyfriend because I tried to explain to him and presenting him to my boss and important people at my job as my boyfriend I don’t know had a cheap meaning to it. So I asked can i just say you are my fiancee so that it looks more honorable and he yelled at me and said are you ashamed of me? Why do i have to pretend to be your fiancee. It was ugly. I cried all night and made the decision to let him go. I want someone to see me so special that they can’t let me go. That I am worthy of someone wanting to soend the rest of their lives with me. I am dissapointed and lost my faith in this whole relationship thing, but to comment to your article. Boyfriend and husband have two very different meaning to them.

  88. Tamara De La Cruz says:

    There is a huge legal difference. Being a wife gives you legal rights you don’t have as a live in girlfriend. Know the differences when it comes to medical decisions, Insurance decisions, estate decisions, tax decisions, etc. Just because you live with him long-term does not mean you have any of the Privileges or rights given to a spouse.

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