For those who believe marriage is the end of a relationship, commitment may still be something they want with another person in their life. Their association might have all the formal trappings of a marriage, but they avoid the legal ties. In the modern world, their commitment can be just as deep and irrevocable as those who have stood at the altar before friends and relatives, but they believe the lack of marriage enhances their relationship.
Vowing to love, honor and cherish before friends and family has long been a measure society used to ascertain a couple was serious, and they were granted a sense of community due to their willingness to be tied to each other. Some people today believe they can still have that same commitment, but they want the acceptance of their community without the formalities. There are now many places where they receive that support, and they believe they are better off for it.
Marriage still has serious legal complications and ties within modern society, and there seems to be few changes on the horizon. People who make a commitment without societal formality have found they do have fewer rights when it comes to insurance and pensions. If they are willing to live without these benefits, the majority of people will treat them as a married couple without wedding rings or certificates. It is their choice, and most people will respect their wishes.
The emotional entanglements of being in a committed relationship are often same with or without marriage, so couples are not giving up that part of the ties that bind them. They might feel just as deeply for each other after years together as couples who married young and remained together. The differences between the two types of relationships are now mostly external, so their happiness and satisfaction are due mainly to how they live their lives together.