After having multiple conversations this week about the topic, I just want to say this: Marriage isn’t for everyone.
A legal binding won’t keep you together with someone. Not even children. Love, communication, and understanding (among many other things) are responsible for that. I’m a firm believer in this. I’m not interested in getting married and I’ve met plenty of men and women who feel the same. Having a child doesn’t automatically constitute a marriage, nor does it make it ok for you ask someone when their wedding date is. If you absolutely have to ask anything regarding that, maybe it should be, “How do you guys feel about marriage?”
I say that with reservation.
At least for Millennials (I’m 32), we were taught by media and our elders to grow up, get married, and start a family. In my opinion, women have had it worse with cartoon princesses/weddings, Jared’s jewelry commercials, and let’s not forget that this is the norm on tv shows and movies. The happy ending? The protagonist and his love interest get married. Or if the family is no longer together, the parents were once married. Someone is still wearing a ring, blah, blah, blah.
Rarely do you see families that are just…together. Simply together. With a strong bond and no marriage or ring in sight. I’m obviously bias and I know marriage is for some people and not for others. However, there’s a gross imbalance of marriage in the media.
I plan on having a family one day and marriage is not in that vision; something that I proudly communicate up front when dating women. I find out her thoughts on marriage during conversation, and most of the time, my reasoning is understood. Occasionally, I’ll get the, “Why not?” response. Thus, I reiterate myself, further breaking down the weakness of the institution while uplifting the bond that people can have.
To be clear, my best friend is married. I was his best man at his wedding and it was one of the most beautiful spectacles I’ve ever seen. I fully support him without question and I believe that their bond is strong. So it’s not that I don’t support marriage between two loving people, it’s just that I don’t support it being a stipulation to have a family or life for that matter.
Many of the reasons why I disagree with it come from overhearing women talk about engagement rings and how he better get a [insert carat size] rock. Huh? The ring size doesn’t mean he loves you any more or less. That’s vanity bullshit. You just want the attention. This isn’t the case for every woman but I imagine that because you’ve succumbed to the societal pressures of the marital institution, your friends (not you) are expecting to see something worth discussing. So you need to get that huge rock on your fourth finger for people to see and talk about. I’m open to discussion about other reasons, but I fail to see what the ring size/type says about your partner’s love for you. Let me reiterate that not all women are like this and at the same time, many men like partaking in this. Totally fine. I’m just pointing out some of the flaws with the process.
Another issue is the reason people get married and how soon they do it before really knowing the other person. I’ve seen a few situations where, because of the pressure from families and society, a couple gets married — without really knowing each other. When I lived in Atlanta for a while, I would hear stories or encounter people who were engaged but not living together or sharing the same space. Most of the time this is a terrible idea unless you’re over each other’s houses ever other day. But the fact is, you need to know how that person: sleeps, eats, shits, pees, cooks, cares, and cleans in their home. And they need to know that about you. Paramount to that, you need to be able to do it together!
Getting married without really spending time with each other and being in each other’s space is not the smartest move. There are always exceptions and I’m sure your brain is running through every married couple you know just so you can shout at me. I know. Relax. Generally speaking, you wouldn’t buy car without test driving it. Why would you even think about marriage with someone whom you don’t know very well.
My last point is the cost. On average, it costs approximately $25k for a typical American wedding. $25,000. Take into account the average cost of divorce being about $15k. You have the pressure put on as soon as you’re out the gate. That’s $40,000 worth as soon as you get going. So I can only imagine that many people force themselves to stay together because of the cost, if nothing else. Otherwise they live as “separated”.
I don’t want that pressure. I don’t want to feel forced to stay with someone if I’ve fallen out of love with or perhaps are energies no longer work together. Hopefully I make the right decision when the time comes but it will be love to keep me there, not legal documents, cost of divorce, and societal norms.
I originally started writing this piece as a quick post and then Facebook suggested a “Note” status. The intent was to be concise, but the words just poured out.
Whichever path you choose, go down that road for love, not because you feel pressured to do so. I’m sure people will have plenty of counterpoints to my arguments and I would be remiss if I didn’t expect and welcome them.