10 reasons not to get married
I would like to start by saying that I am not personally against marriage, but more that the committal of marriage should be done with far greater thought and awareness than most people seem to utilise. It is no coincidence that divorce rates are so high when we are pressured by society to believe marriage is the correct course for all long-term relationships.
I personally would rather go through life having never been married but having experienced many fulfilling relationships that were right for me at the time than marry the wrong person out of some sort of commitment obligation.
This article will highlight ten reasons why marriages consistently fail and will hopefully give some food for thought for people who believe marriage is a top priority. I encourage you to discuss, argue or agree with any of the points once you have read the article…
I’ve started with probably the biggest and most common issue that marriage presents and that is how easy it is to become complacent with the relationship if you are united by wedlock.
When you are married, it is easy to fall into the mindset that you have in a sense won your partner’s ultimate devotion and you no longer need to put as much effort towards maintaining their desires and remaining attractive. Even if this isn’t a conscious consequence, it is hard to do things that we know we don’t necessarily need to do for our own development.
Whilst I believe that emotional and psychological complacency is particularly detrimental for a married couple, health and physical complacency is a common occurrence too. There has actually been an interesting study carried out in America that reveals how couples are 63% more likely to significantly put on weight after getting married [source]. Whilst it is easy to say, “that won’t happen to me,” after a few years of marriage these things can creep up very easily.
Marriage by definition creates a false sense of entitlement that makes it easier to take the relationship for granted. There is a far greater sense of pride in the fact that you can win your partner’s attraction, affection and desires day in day out rather than feel that they will be with you regardless of what you do!
I’ve spoken before about how contempt is The number one relationship killer and it is far easier for it to develop between a married couple for similar reasons to complacency.
A common representation of contempt within a marriage is how courteous a husband and wife are to each other compared to how they act around other people. Similar to a family situation, it is not feeling that you have to earn your partner’s affection over time that can let standards drop.
3.) Adapting the relationship:
Relationships go through many phases, with some periods of unquestionable happiness and other times where the relationship has perhaps hit a bad patch. Regardless of how you feel about your partner at this very moment in time, the relationship WILL change over time.
Whilst it is disconcerting to think of your partner being attracted to someone else let alone ever acting on those urges, marriage creates an unhealthy restriction over someone’s ongoing desires.
Commitment is a big part of love but so is honesty. As I talked about in the article How likely your partner is to cheat, I would hate to think that I am ever imposing fidelity suppression on my partner.
I know of several highly aware people who adapt to a whole range of different relationships, from polyamorous relationships (having multiple partners, openly and honestly) to monogamous life partners. These adaptations of a traditional relationship are difficult to fashion whilst married if you decide it is the best course of action for you.
4.) Marriage won’t fundamentally change the relationship:
The worst reason to get married is that you believe it will solve all the problems currently in your relationship: if married, all the anxieties, insecurities and arguments will just magically vanish!
Whilst every marriage has a honeymoon period where everything feels euphoric, it doesn’t take long for the relationship to slip back to how it was before.
If you are getting married thinking it will change your partner’s ways or it will cure all the bad aspects of your relationship, then you are probably in for quite a shock.
5.) The security and peace of mind is an illusion:
People like the security and peace of mind that marriage provides, especially if there are children involved, or likely to be involved in the future. The relationship is no more or less secure because two people are married: a couple can be fully committed to each other and not be married, and likewise a couple can be married and never genuinely feel that level of mutual commitment, regardless of the sentiment that marriage suggests.
6.) Your development and identity can become obscured:
I’ve said many times before that constant development is crucial for maintaining a fulfilling relationship. This is both on an individual level and together as a couple. The security of marriage mentioned above actually restricts both challenge and growth as it becomes far easier for a couple to become out of sync with their development whilst married, however counter-intuitive that may seem.
Humans thrive on challenges – ask any successful person in the history of humankind whether that is true – and the independence that is lost when a couple get married can restrict the nature of personal goals and achievements.
7.) Premature conditioning by love:
Do you REALLY know your partner, including all their live-in habits and quirks, including all their aspirations and woes? People are very good at hiding those things when only partially cohabiting and even more so if not living together at all.
If a couple are insistent on getting married then that is fine, but I would strongly encourage living like you are married before actually getting married. Call it a trial if you must but getting married to someone you have never lived with is like buying a car before checking under the bonnet for an engine!
8.) Marriage nurtures insecurities:
Believe it or not, marriage actually nurtures the insecurities that people hope it will cure. If you get feelings of jealousy or have arguments now, then imagine what it will be like with the intensity of being married!
Marriage promotes a distinct abundance denial, a sense of feeling “now that I am married I will never be alone”. The literal sentiment here also carries into other aspects of personal development concerning an abundance mentality.
9.) Keeping sight of the bigger picture:
The fact is that you can work at a relationship and you can have the best intentions towards it, but you never know how things will be in five, ten or twenty years from now.
Living in the moment is exceedingly hard to do whilst married as the whole premise is based upon planning for the future, the undetermined future!
10.) Marriage as a tradition:
There are several incentives behind getting married that I’m sure you are aware of: tax benefits, legal rights and citizenship to name a few. Society also has a very conditioned view on married couples compared to unmarried, equally committed couples. Having said that, the only credibility or label that matters in a relationship is the credibility that the people involved decide to give it.
It has got to a point now where some people have already decided that they want to get married before even getting into a serious relationship! It almost becomes a case of “when I get married” rather than “if I find the right person then I will get married”.
Whilst I would like to reiterate that I am not personally against marriage in most circumstances, successful marriages are generally the ones that are the result of a non-obligatory, carefully rationalised decision made by two astutely aware people. 🙂
I came into this thinking I would disagree but you do make some good points. I guess marriage is something we don’t think too much about and just accept its what we should do cos of what our mom and dads teach us. Good post it got me thinking xx
I agree with you and in fact the relationship of our parents and how healthy their marriage was whilst we are growing up undoubtedly has an influence over most people’s default view on marriage.
Thanks for leaving a comment,
You missed out the point about how much damn weddings cost… I’m still paying for mine 5 yrs later!! :s
The financial strain of a large wedding is a factor but I would not expect people to go beyond their means with the ceremony. There is the social pressure to make it an extravagant affair but aside from the vows, it is essentially just a large celebration/party and if people are willing to spend large sums of money on such an event then that is their own choice. 🙂
Thanks for commenting… I hope the wedding debts are paid off soon! 🙂
I 100% agree with these points. I was recently introduced to his gran’s neighbour as his fiancée when we are only living together. We’re not engaged yet but we do have plans. She jusT made the assumption and introduced me as such to “maintain appearances”.
We’ve known each other 4 years, together for 2 and living together for 18 months and marriage is still a least 2 years away.
Compare this to somebody I know who got out of a 5 yr relationship and was with somebody new 10 days later. They’re now engaged 8 months later (bought a house together after 3 weeks) and will be married before their first anniversary. She appears to be using it as sone kind of milestone because on her blog it says “we moved in together and what’s next… marriage!!” which is a totally illogical train of thought. I won’t be buying a wedding present. :p
That’s an interesting point actually: ‘boyfriend’ or ‘girlfriend’ does come across as a rather casual relationship label, but there is no middle-ground label for people in committed, long-term relationships who aren’t married (‘life partner’ sounds kind of new-agey)! You’re right that we just have to accept that other people will make their own assumptions if they so choose and it doesn’t actually change the practical elements of any relationship anyway.
Your timeframes align with what I believe is about right, although it is different for every relationship. I want to REALLY know that my relationship is solid and lasting before even considering marriage and that’s just not possible in a matter of months. Some people definitely get caught up in the prestige and awe of getting married and almost forget what it really entails.
Thanks for your comment, 🙂
You brought up some interesting points. Too many times, people get married for the wrong reasons. I can’t agree with #7 though. I have known many people who have lived together and I know there is an advantage, but with every advantage there is a disadvantage. The disadvantage to me is that if you live together with someone marriage seems like the next step. That makes marriage predictable and the joy of marriage should not start off that way. Also, if a person doesn’t hold back and shows you his or her true self in all aspects of the relationship and vice versa, that can make a huge difference. To me it’s about knowing yourself and how much you’re willing to accept your partner’s flaws, and knowing how much you can take.
#10 always used to be a really important to me, but now that I’m older, it doesn’t mean as much. I’ve just been to so many weddings in my life. Tradition today doesn’t mean the same as long ago. If you ever saw the Sex and the City movie, there’s a storyline in there that demonstrates what can go wrong with tradition and how the most important part of marriage can get lost because of it.
All in all, I think you expressed these points beautifully Sam. I only wish more people saw this list before jumping into the ocean of marriage. It’s definitely useful advice I will take forward in any future relationship.
Hi Elena, hope you’re well!
I actually agree with you about how marriage can be systematic or predetermined for a couple who just go ‘through the motions’ of a relationship and never really discuss or impose what they really want. The way living together does help is when as you say “how much you’re willing to accept your partner’s flaws, and knowing how much you can take” as that is a big part of it. It’s normally those little ‘flaws’ that are often ignored in the lead up to marriage but after a few years they become the issues that get magnified greatly by some of the things I mentioned in the article.
I agree with you that the traditions of marriage are changing, although there is still a fantasy and prestige element surrounding it that a lot of people crave. It was a long time ago that I saw the Sex and the City movie but I do know what you’re talking about; great example!
Thanks for commenting and Merry Christmas! 🙂
Very insightful Sam. My mind changes all the time about marriage. When you are with someone for a while and everything is going great then it oftens just feels like the right thing to do. I agree some people miss the bigger picture though and think it is more necessary than it is. I also have some female friends who openly admit that they got married to keep tabs and trust their husband more. Surely that is not a great reason. I guess that comes under the insecurities point you mention. I like the first point about complacency too I think that is a big issue. In fact looking over the points I think they all have merit, esspecially 9.
I agree with you that society makes marriage out to be the ‘next step’ once you’ve been monogamous with someone for a while but there are so many other ways to develop and enrich a relationship before heading in that direction. If relationships could be scaled from one to ten on levels of fulfilment, I would say very few people wait until they reach the ten end of the scale before getting married, which is shown in the marriage/divorce statistics.
You’re right with your point about insecurities. If you don’t trust your partner, whether they are legitimate concerns or personal insecurities, marriage is not the answer to solve them. You almost want to be at a mutually enlightened state for marriage to have the best chance of success.
Thanks for your comments, 🙂