Top 5 Reasons Not to Get Married.

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“It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

When I go back home for the holidays it doesn’t take long to run into a surly relative or an old friend who feels the need to ask,

“When are you getting married?”

To which I always reply,

“I’m not.”

Yes, I have been with my partner for almost five years.

Yes, I love him.

But guess what I don’t love..? Marriage.

Here are 5 Reasons I’m Not Getting Married.

1) The Pains of Patriarchy

I, for some reason, agreed to be in my best friend’s wedding (and no, it doesn’t turn out anything like the Julie Roberts movie).

I thought that if I could respect her decision to marry she could respect my decision not to, but I forgot about all the other people who go to those sorts of things. I’m sitting next to her dad while photos are being taken. He leans over and asks the dreaded question, “So, when will it be your turn?” I reply that I have no plans to do such a thing. He says, “Oh, you just haven’t met the right guy yet.”

Right. I’ve just been hanging out with some dude for the last four years that I only sort-of kind-of like. And until Mr. Put-a-Ring-On-It comes riding up on his white stallion to take me away, well, this other dude will have to do. (?!?)

And then my best friend’s dad walks her down the aisle and “gives her away.” Like what happens in every traditional wedding ceremony.

This ritual, both historically and symbolically, gives the woman away as if she is a piece of property that a man is privileged enough to own.

A man’s hand to another man’s hand.

And we continue to do this ritual even though it’s saturated with inequality and starts off the marriage unbalanced.

Don’t even get me started on certain sayings like “man and wife,” which allows the man to be whatever he wants but labels the woman immediately to one specific role.

I don’t find it necessary to participate or support this type of institution (I no longer attend weddings, either). And though many married people have chosen alternatives to these traditions and rituals, when one says they are “married” it carries the weight of patriarchy whether the couple wants it to or not—as well as the weight of sexual acceptability.

As Judith Butler says in her book Undoing Gender,

“For a progressive sexual movement, even one that may want to produce marriage as an option for non-heterosexuals, the proposition that marriage should become the only way to sanction or legitimize sexuality is unacceptably conservative.”

By participating in marriage I feel as if I would be taking part in legitimatizing and accepting the power dynamics that already exist—the power dynamics that keep us all oppressed. And why would I want to do that?

2)  I must find my prince and ride off into the sunset?

When I was a little girl I never dreamed of the picture perfect wedding. When I closed my eyes I didn’t see a big puffy white dress—nope, not me. In my fantasy I was decked out in a blue sequin mini-dress. My long blonde hair flew wild to the beat of loud music. I was surrounded by beautiful people—everyone loving me, me loving everyone. I don’t know why I never pictured myself in a big fluffy white dress. I guess I thought they were ugly. And I thought being a rock star would be more interesting than being a wife. But many little girls do dream (and dream and dream) of the perfect wedding day (if you ever watch TLC, examples abound).

The idea of finding our “one true love” is embedded in us all from a very early age. Watch any Disney movie, see the princess being saved by the prince, followed by the “happily ever after” marriage. (Because in fairy tale land, life ends after the “I do’s”.)

In shoptalk, we feminists call this heterosexual normativity—the practice of encouraging people to fit within heterosexual strict standards of being monogamous, married, usually protestant/Christian, usually white, usually middle/upper class while shunning and making feel guilty those who do not. Examples of heteronormativity are everywhere from Hallmark cards to sitcoms to algebra questions to pop music… Though there is absolutely nothing wrong with woman/man love, of course, what is wrong is making it out to be the only thing that’s right.

One of my favorite theorists, Gayle Rubin, writes in “Thinking Sex,”

“Most of the discourses on sex, be they religious, psychiatric, popular, or political, delimit a very small portion of human sexual capacity as sanctifiable, safe, healthy, mature, legal, or politically correct. The ‘line’ distinguishes these from all other erotic behaviours, which are understood to be the work of the devil, dangerous, psychopathological, infantile, or politically reprehensible. Arguments are then conducted over ‘where to draw the line’, and to determine what other activities, if any, may be permitted to cross over into acceptability.”

These sorts of power dynamics keep people from reaching their true potential and restrict people from enjoying life to its fullest degree.

In other words, I’m looked down upon because I just want to wear my blue sequin mini and “whip my hair back and forth” instead of fulfilling my duty to be “princess” for a day (and wife for my life).

Marriage is the pinnacle of heteronormativity, and I don’t feel comfortable supporting it. Though I am currently with a “man,” not getting married is one way we keep our relationship “queered.”

3) Monogamy, Monotony

My grandparents on my mother’s side have been married for 50 years. My grandmother on my father’s side has been married 13 different times.

I don’t believe that everyone is monogamous, or that everyone should be. I think the world would be a much more beautiful place if we were all more accepting and open to other ways of love.

Supposedly around 50% of marriages end in divorce, and the percentage gets even bigger by the second marriage.

So, let me just reinforce this point: half of the people who tie the knot end up needing to untie it later—and usually it’s a really tight knotty knot that is difficult and expensive to untangle.

And I’m the weirdo for not wanting to be a part of that?

People get married because they’re told over and over again that this is the way it’s done, and yet over and over again it isn’t being done right (and obviously not for the right reasons).

Why do marriages fail? Perhaps they weren’t supposed to be together forever to begin with, perhaps they’re too limiting, perhaps the couple lacked necessary communication skills, perhaps the love juices ran out, perhaps…

Perhaps it’s because the institution of marriage is not for everyone.

And it’s about time we all accept it, and accept the people who don’t want to do it—even and especially if we happen to be one of those people.

4) Benefits for Whom?

Too many people I know have gotten married for the benefits. And I’m not talking about the benefits of a long loving relationship; I’m talking about literal benefits, such as health care.

Isn’t it gross that the health care system in America functions in a way that requires its citizens to maintain a heteronormative lifestyle in order to utilize it fully?

Kathleen Hanna, poster-grrrl for the riot grrrl movement, a 90’s feminist *F*-the-establishment movement, got married for the insurance. This breaks my heart.

I don’t think health care should be a high priority for a major decision like marriage.

It sort of comes off as a nonchalant choice—like egh, why not, it will save us $500 a year, might as well.

But what is most disturbing is the fact that the state legitimizing people who are married over everyone else. Because married couples get better benefits, marriage itself becomes justifiable (even if half of marriages end). As Butler says,

“The state becomes the means by which a fantasy becomes literalized: desire and sexuality are ratified, justified, known, publicly instated, imagined as permanent, durable. And, at that very moment, desire and sexuality are dispossessed and displaced, so that what one “is” and what one’s relationship “is,” are no longer private matters.”

When one marries for benefits one basically says, “yes state, you can control me and my sexuality.”

Yes, being able to see the one you love in the hospital is important, yes health care is important, yes tax reduction is wonderful, yes property ownership is grand, but why can’t we all have these benefits? Why do people who supposedly find their “one and only,” get that over people who may not, or can’t, or don’t want to?

5) *F* the Children

Politicians have been using “in the name of the children” for decades now. “What about the children?” “The future is our children.” Blah blah. When they use “children” in these statements they are not talking about living breathing walking (crawling) children, they’re discussing them figuratively. They’re discussing them so as to pull citizens’ heartstrings and get them to vote a particular way. But can the idea of “the children” ever really end? Isn’t it absurd to use “the children” as a scapegoat for influencing moral authority?

In “The Future is Kid Stuff” Lee Edelman writes,

“That figural Child alone embodies the citizen as an ideal, entitled to claim full rights to its future share in the nation’s good, though always at the cost of limiting the rights “real” citizens are allowed.”

We’re all really sensitive about our children, but guess what? We arethe children, your parents are the children, your grandparents are the children. When will we do what’s right for us instead of for some hypothetical person who hasn’t been born yet?

Why do we continue to behave in a manner that we don’t really like just because that’s the way it’s been done in the past? I don’t think any child would appreciate that if she or he knew.

And what about the children?

They think, they learn, they grow.

They are not innocent vessels of pure moral order…and even if they were, pretending that marriage is the only right way to live creates unhealthy boundaries that repress their sexuality and subvert their desires into a social order that is not necessarily moral or ethical.

So, I don’t want to get married for the children: true living breathing walking (crawling) children deserve to understand that love doesn’t have to be the same for everyone and it’s okay to follow your heart, to explore, to enjoy life and all the strange beautiful people in it.

This is just the beginning. Interested in more?

Suggested Reading:

Judith Butler, Undoing Gender

Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, The Ethical Slut

Lee Edelman, “The Future is Kid Stuff” in the book No Future

Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality

bell hooks, All About Love: New Visions

Gerda Lerner, The Creation of Patriarchy

Gayle Rubin, “Thinking Sex”

Riki Wilchins, Queer Theory, Gender Theory

~

 

Editor’s Note: there are other perspectives:

11 Reasons Why I’m Getting Married (Again). 

Why Everyone Should Get Divorced Before Marriage.

Why Get Married?

 

Image: Marcelo Matarazzo/Unsplash

Bonus:

How to Fall in Love with Yourself.

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Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver, Colorado. She explores the real truth at goeatacarrot.com and the real fake news at whattheconspiracy.com. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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anonymous Jul 11, 2015 11:45pm

Thank you for writing this. I've read a few of your posts on polyamory and you are an excellent writer. I just recently learned what pansexual means, and I think I might be one. I usually refer to myself as a "serial monogamist", but even when I'm involved with one person, there's always a few more whom I fancy alot. And I've always been open and honest with my feelings towards my lovers. I just haven't met any out or open poly people! I've discussed opening our relationship with my partner of 4 years, but he doesn't want to sleep with anyone else. I refuse to believe that "there is something wrong in our relationship" or that "he is not satisfying me" because I want to extend my love and body to others. Some people have a really hard time understanding that, but I guess hundreds of years of societal indoctrination will do that to you.

love love love!
xo

anonymous Jun 14, 2015 2:14pm

You make some good points about why you don't want to get married. It sounds like the right decision for you. It is great that you have been so thoughtful about such a huge life decision, more people should be. But boycotting other people's weddings or telling other people what they should want or do is not feminist. Feminism is about having choices, not making choices for other people. Feminism is about equality, not saying my choices are better than yours. Feminists support the rights of others.

anonymous Jun 14, 2015 12:55pm

Our only reason for getting married was to make his Mom happy.
She was getting close to despondent that exactly 0 of her 4 children were going to be.
Exactly nothing changed with our relationship after we had a nice little ceremony, a party, and $1300 spent. I didn't change my last name. We had a bunch of pretty flowers, a neat dress, a very cool tux, potluck, and some pictures, to show his Mom that yes, we valued her feelings, and her role in our lives. She's not getting grandkids from us, we thought that a day that we were not against, to bring her happiness, could be fun. And it was.
And no, she does not 'control' our lives, we chose to do this to honour her.
Marriage doesn't have to be an 'institution', it can just be a gesture for friends and family, or even the couple, if they so choose.

anonymous Jun 14, 2015 12:34pm

I concur. Bravo. I have been saying this for a decade and it is time we stop brainwashing young women to believe marriage brings happiness; this is unhealthy for men and women. I was married and I admit it was for all of the wrong reasons; I wanted my daughter to fit into the acceptable societal pattern of America for some reason. Even though I never followed the herd before, when my daughter was born I wanted her to have the whole family experience I never had. In the end I learned that it is not about the steroetypical family, but about the love and acceptance you provide for your child despite the circumstances. Staying in a dysfunctional relationship for the kids just provides unhealthy role models. I have brought my daughter up as an independent woman, and I believe this was the most healthy experience she could have had as a young girl. I never settled or depended on men for my happiness again, and I hope she learned that vital lesson. I brought my daughter up to believe that her relationships are important, but the moment she dreams of should be the day she lands her dream job, travels to explore a country she always wanted to visit, or receives a role in a dance production, as she is currently studying professionally. The big white dress is sooooo overrated compared to these life events. Thank you for addressing this topic. I see a wave of change on the relationship front in America, and I hope it continues. We all need to learn to love ourselves, first, as cliche as that may sound… it is a vital truth.

anonymous Jun 14, 2015 10:05am

I'm divorced and I agree with some of your points. But I find it a little selfish to say you won't support your friends and families decision to marry by refusing to attend weddings. That's no different than a bakery refusing to make a cake for a gay wedding. It's basically saying "because you don' t believe as I do, I won't accept your invitation to your event even though it means I'm important to you and that's why you invited me" Relationships are defined by the people involved. As long as there is religion, there will be a marriage institution. You, and many others, are also free to define your relationship. The world is changing, but I find acceptance and love to be much more freeing then condemnation.

anonymous May 29, 2015 3:27pm

Much of this was feminist which usually warrants nothing more than an eye roll from me cause I am more traditional. However, it's true that not everyone wants to marry, and I don't think it should be questioned . I also love that the author's grandmother was married thirteen times. How wonderful to love deeply thirteen times; most of us are lucky for one or two.

anonymous May 26, 2015 1:45pm

This would have resonated with me much more if it didn’t feel like pure rebellion. Don’t know if it was the author’s intent, but it seems like marriage is out of the question for her because she is scared of how her marriage will represent her to other people. Which is terribly ironic. We choose what we choose , and people will read it how they read it. What matters is that we’ve chosen in a way that builds and supports our best life, whether in work, love, family, friendship.

anonymous Feb 20, 2015 8:49pm

The sad irony to come in the not so distant future: feminists in Europe (who chose not to have children) will live under Sharia law because of the demographic shift that they brought about.

anonymous Jan 30, 2015 11:15am

I never wanted to get married, as an atheist I couldn't get my head around the idea of the big church style wedding, reading out of the bible, and all that bs. I never wanted a monogamous relationship either, but I've changed my mind on both points. I found the person I want to be with for the rest of my life. She's the perfect imperfect person for me. We have a deep connection that I've never felt with anyone else.
Being monogamous isn't even hard for me anymore. I actually feel uncomfortable, and even sick to my stomach when other women make passes at me, or try to touch me in a sexual manner.
In our relationship we are both equal, we split everything; chores, cooking, and the bills. We communicate, and work through issues in a healthy relaxed manner. We also give each other space to do our own thing. Whether that's me playing guitar, while she works on her hooping, or us going to hangout with our friends separately.
I'd like to have a secular ceremony, that would be outdoors. We both have a love for nature. That's something we'll discuss when the time comes, children too. She loves my son from a previous relationship, and we might have a child of our own in 5-7 years. If she agrees, we will be married by a good friend of mine who is a reverend, who conducts ceremonies for both heterosexual, and homosexual weddings. I don't want to marry her to be her boss, to lock her down, for the legal perks (that's what bugs me the most about marriage, and probably the thing I concur with most). I want to marry her because I love her, I want to profess my love to her for all to see and hear.
Marriage isn't an institution, I won't be institutionalized, I wrong be caged, "love will set you free". Life can be so much more joyful when you don't live it being cynical, and pessimistic, when you respect someone else's choice as much as you feel they should respect yours.

anonymous Jan 27, 2015 8:24am

I agree with you on most pf this, at least on numero uno im with you all the way. Patriarchal conservstive religious weedings are insanity, absolutely. Heres the thing, marriage outdates chrostianity. And many marriage traditions feom around thw world are not rooted in papatriarchy and/or religion! And even if this wasnt the case, whos to say a couple in love never intending to part CANT make a ritual all their own? I admire your taking a stand against the misogynistic status quo so very much and I will be there w you til my last breath. But I also hope to be with my bestfriend/soulmate/twin flam into eternity. I hope we get married and it will simply be a celebration of pur love with no mention of a deity or tired sexist rituals. I dont think that makes me any less of a feminist. I see the partiarchy, but I wont let it push me our of society, I will push above, make my own way.

anonymous Jan 26, 2015 2:57pm

You said the one who does all the talking is wrong I wish to disagree. My spouse used not talking as a form of abuse!!!

anonymous Dec 14, 2014 12:25am

I don't see the point of it (besides society imposed benefits), unless you are living your life based on other people's expectations of you (like overbearing/controlling family). It just seems like a carte blanche to treat your partner like crap because you know they are stuck with you, if you truly love each other isn't that enough?

anonymous Sep 25, 2014 11:29pm

I enjoyed this article immensely, and I believe it brings up incredibly relevant issues, many of which I agree with. Had I read it a year ago I would have had no qualms! Today, my only suggestion is that it be retitled “Top 5 Reasons to seriously examine the instituion of marriage, your inter-personal relationships and don’t forget to really grill yourself before making life decisions” because I also agree with the points and sentiments expressed in the comments above.

anonymous Sep 24, 2014 4:03pm

Oh, and something I forgot…having to do with the first reason…I wasn't given away by anyone. My husband and I went there together and stayed together. Most of it has to do with the fact that my father isn't in my life, but I never saw the point in it anyway. Once again, you choose the conditions of your marriage. Don't want a church in your marriage? Don't get married in one!

anonymous Sep 24, 2014 3:59pm

Just because the idea of marriage is like you describe doesn't mean that you and your spouse have to treat it like that. Yes, in most marriages over the years it's mostly a man in charge deal. Man works, man pays bills, woman plays house and makes man a sandwich.

But you know what? I'm married to a man who I never thought I would be with, don't really have any interests in common with, and it's great. There are struggles, but that happens in any relationship after 9 years. He works, I stay home with the kids. I stay home because that's what I want to do, I want to homeschool. He doesn't agree with it, but respects my decision. He has fought off his traditional parents who get almost angry and offended that he cooks dinner and does laundry. Our relationship is what WE make it. We decide what's right and wrong, and no piece of paper is going to change that. It would be this way with or without it. I love him, and he loves me, we respect each other, and most importantly we share views and beliefs in child rearing, money management, life in general, etc., and I believe that's more important than "true love, soul mate, happily ever after" crap.

Oh, and on the kid thing…yeah, I can't see teaching our kids to screw whoever they want backfiring. -sarcasm font- Maybe as teens or adults have a conversation about it, but you're talking like we should let them know from birth this is okay. Not sure where I was going with that, other than to say I don't agree, but to each their own. 🙂

anonymous Sep 24, 2014 3:56pm

I like your article and I do agree with your points however, I'm a proud feminist and I got married earlier this year. Just because that's the way things were does not mean that's the way they need to be. Both my parents walked me down the aisle of an outdoor secular wedding. There was no 'who gives this woman', no 'man and wife' , just our first names. I completely understand your perspective and to be honest, I was conflicted prior to my wedding. But just because a wedding is traditionally patriarchal does not mean that these factors need to be brought in to a wedding or a marriage.

anonymous Sep 24, 2014 1:12pm

First of all, I highly agree with your opinions on these issues. However, the disconnect here, is how is this really related to "marriage" as you call it? Oh yeah, I forgot, the general population has this idea of what "marriage" is and those people who don't like that idea of a TRADITIONAL marriage begin attacking "marriage", based off these views. It's ignorance at its best, and sadly it shows your insecurities. A person secure in themselves makes their marriage what HE/SHE wants, not what society says it should be. I have been with my husband for 7 and a half years, married for two. Not one thing on this list is an issue in our marriage. Don't like the idea of your dad giving you away? Get married with just your significant other at the courthouse. That's what we did. We did have a public wedding later on, and I did let my dad walk me down the aisle, but only because I have an overly-sensitive family that would have been offended and caused drama if I hadn't. I am secure enough in my sexuality and gender identity to know that it wasn't my dad "giving me away". I never "belonged" with to him, and I don't "belong" to my husband now. I'm secure enough in knowing all of that to humor my family and put on a show. What's the harm in that? Don't want to run off into the sunset together? After our legal wedding, I went to work. After our public wedding, we went out to a bar with all of our friends, and then back to hotel room with one friend where we smoked weed until the sun rose. Don't want monogamy? Don't be monogamous. We are and always will be in an open relationship. We date and hook up with others. Sometimes in front of each other, sometimes not. It just takes open communication and non-jealously to make it work. Obviously not all relationship are mature and secure enough to handle this though. The benefits issue definitely had nothing to do with it for us. We got married at 22 and 23. We had nothing like that to offer each other. We were barely making it by in life together. And fuck the children? Fuck the children! We are not necessarily adamantly opposed to have them. But I honestly hate kids, and it will take many years for me to be ready to have my own, if ever. My point is, everyone is so focused on "I'm never getting married, because marriage is (insert traditional marriage ideas here)" It's humorous to me to see this. People who are so insecure in themselves that they don't have the self-confidence to find the right person and then make their marriage what they want it to be. There is nothing wrong with never getting married and there is nothing wrong with getting married and doing all of the things listed here. The sad part is the ones who never get a chance to experience the wonderful, adventurous, exciting, taboo, intimate, frustrating, loving, rewarding, and overall just happy part of being married to someone, just because of all these ignorant assumptions. It's 2014, everyone has the freedom to make their marriage (or just relationship, because unfortunately, there are very strict laws on what is considered a marriage) what they want.

    anonymous Feb 24, 2015 8:55am

    Just to point out that hooking up with others in your marriage has nothing to do with security or maturity in your relationship. So if I am a person who thinks hooking up is for different types of people just not me that makes me insecure and immature? Who are you to make that assumption or label someone in that regard. That’s just being plain arrogant. As stated in this article, some life decisions such as marriage, monogamy and monotany are not for everyone. That sure as hell does not make those people who choose different lifestyles insecure or immature. It makes them who they are!

    anonymous Jun 14, 2015 6:11pm

    Then what is even the purpose in getting married? If it’s not to be monogamous and not for the kids, why do it? That’s what I struggle with. Some people say it’s to make a commitment. But if you’re not religious, why can’t you just promise to try your best to stay together and do the best you can in the relationship? For me, it seems like an institution designed to force people to stay together so that so that spouses won’t just run off whenever things get tough. But in reality, people grow apart, and some people never grow up, and people just get plain sick of each other. I was married (twice ) and both times I was treated like an object to be possessed. I will never do it again.

anonymous Sep 23, 2014 7:07pm

I agree and disagree with many of your points. I agree that some of the traditions such as giving your daughter away in marriage is definitely patriarchal and pronouncing the couple man and wife is definitely degrading but we have more freedom these days to change what we want in the ceremony whether its the wording or even walking down the isle. It's more about making the ceremony personal than traditional these days. It's easy to change wording and you don't have to get married in a church that follows such strict tradition.That shouldn't even be a top reason not to get married.

I really don't believe that MOST little girls dream about their wedding. Brides just say that on tv! Yes most disney movies used to end with the prince and the princess marrying and having a happy ending but I think that is changing too. Movies aren't made to showcase couples after the marriage because marriage or even being a committed couple is not fun or exciting, it's actual work! Maybe couples getting married forget about that and think everything is going to be perfect. I don't know…

What I will say is a good excuse not to get married is that it seems like many couples like the idea of being married and make a big deal about about the wedding due to pop culture instead of bigger issues that no one likes to talk about like living together first, financial issues, if you want children, or how you want to raise them! It should be fine to even talk to your partner about your feelings for others or sexual desires even though you don't plan on acting on them because you are in a committed relationship! This gets swept under the rug when it comes to getting married and the wedding!

In regards to the healthcare, it's not about saving $500 that is stupid! When a couple gets married for healthcare benefits its because the partner either horrible insurance or no insurance at all and needs it!! Most couples will NOT get married just for the insurance! That is just dumb! A lot of these couples are couples like you who have lived together for years and then one partner gets critically ill or they have children! It has nothing to do with the institution of marriage! It is what is best for the couple! The only government penalty is when a married couple files their taxes separately! You can live together, not get married, and file your own taxes without a problem!

Your last reason makes no sense to me. Screw the children??? It is about the children but more importantly about yourself. I do not understand how that proves your point talking about what politicians say other than the point that its another cultural thing. How would you feel going into school to pick up your kids and you have to explain to the principal that you are their mother even though you have a different last name? I guess this goes for married women as well who don't want to change their name. It is tough!!! That is just one example. I am in the process of changing my last name for that reason in the future. It's easier! Laws about marriage are there to protect you and your children! If you don't want children either, than I it would not pertain to you!

In a whole, it just seems that you are ticked off about people asking you about when you are getting married…. whatever! It's the same when they start asking you about when you are having kids! It's just a conversation point! Your reasons are not strong ones! Yes our culture is a problem but it doesn't have to be! Things are changing! Monogamy as a married couple is the same choice as a couple who is committed to each other! The difference is that it seems as though married couples might not discuss issues with monogamy or sexual desires before the wedding! The whole idea is that as part of wedding planning couples should be open to discuss these things and not be so concerned about the floral arrangements! I think couples that do not get married might have an easier time discussing things. Couples need to discuss the not so fun topics like financials, kids, etc before the wedding and not get caught up in the wedding planning! I believe that's what's causing the divorce rate to be so high! So I have to disagree with most of your points or at least say that they are not strong points at all. Thank you!

anonymous Sep 23, 2014 12:54pm

The author seems to have a lot of expectations about what marriage should be. At its core, marriage is an agreement between consenting adults about their relationship, expectations, and aspirations. Marriage hits the rocks when there is a lack of consensus.

anonymous Aug 4, 2014 6:27am

To say you don't even attend weddings any more due to your beliefs about the institution of marriage is a little hypocritical. In your article you make it very clear that you want people to respect your choice not to marry, however, by not attending weddings you are not respecting peoples right TO marry.

I'm all for having an opinion but not when the delivery of this opinion makes other people's choices seem less important or significant.

anonymous Jul 17, 2014 6:02am

omg i adore you!!! how can i follow you on facebook?! it’s not finding you when i search :(:(

anonymous Jul 16, 2014 9:23pm

First off, I want to say that I understand your view and agree with ALOT of the points you made. But you know, the whole part about the woman being handed off to the groom at the alter by the father is questionable. I mean yes, some people get married and churches and do things very traditionally, but not all ceremony's are like that. Like if I was getting married I wouldn't view it as starting off the marriage unbalanced or anything like that just because my father brought me down the aisle. I don't feel that people need to get married in order to have kids etc, but a lot of people view it as making a promise to be with one another. Yes, you can do that without being married, but some people may want to say vows to their loved one in front of the people they care about. At my sisters wedding I met my sisters in law etc, and it was just a great thing for my sister, because it brought her happiness as my parents told stories from when they were younger and same with the grooms side and in that sense it felt like our families were becoming one. Like you, I have never been into the cheesy stuff, and I don't feel that need to get married but I do appreciate and respect and well wish on those people that DO value traditional ways.

anonymous May 30, 2014 1:36pm

I'm glad you posted this. It got me thinking about why I value marriage and I even wrote out a long response! Here's my response: http://treasuringandpondering.blogspot.com/2014/0

anonymous May 30, 2014 9:54am

Oooo k…. You should never get married. You are absolutely right.

anonymous May 30, 2014 6:32am

Hmm I would raise just one issue with #1. It in a few ways doesn't interpret marriage as a social institution, which it is. Also, it does strike me as framing humans with little to no agency in how to function within/shape that institution. Looking at the history of marriage, while it has usually had the lovely theme of supporting patriarchy, it is hardly static. What I mean by pointing out that it's not static is just that it can change (even though it has been rather stuck in some ways for a looooooooong time). It's very possible for people who enter this institution to shape the trajectory of its development with their own views on how it should run. Yes it's been rather dragged down by its misogyny and heteronormativity, but with more and more groups of people who enter the institution who were excluded from it , it could change for the better.

anonymous May 30, 2014 5:08am

It should be noted that Kathleen Hanna suffers from Lymes Disease which is a very debilitating condition.

anonymous Apr 22, 2014 8:10am

Well there are a lot of different perspectives, I just read i the comments. The only thing that bothered me was how people project their outlook on the subject as the reasons why people would make certain decisions….
Example:
Iwould like to be married someday,but if it doesn't happen its no big deal. The man I'm with is the most amazing guy! Marriage makes no difference in that fact. He's great and I'm happy either way!
So for someone to pose the question that they can't see why people feel they must legitimize their relationship by getting married. First… I think its sad to have such jaded feelings about it. But, to imply thats why some people like the idea of marriage is lacking positivity and open-mindedness. Other than that I like that people are individuals and share their outlooks on here.The vast majority was done with positive energy!
As for monogamy I must be in that type of relationship. Whatever works for others is fine with me. But I get physically grossed out at the thought of coming in contact with bodily fluids of multiple people. It makes me think "BackWash" and that gives me the willies! So its not that I'm on my moral high horse, it truly grosses me out!!! LOL

anonymous Apr 22, 2014 5:04am

Out of the mouth of my 12 year old daughter when people ask her when her mom (me) and my male life partner are getting married…My mom and Tom have BIG LOVE. When you have BIG LOVE you dont need a paper proving you love each other. It is in your heart!

anonymous Apr 5, 2014 8:56pm

I love being married. It's a beautiful thing. But I respect everyone's opinion. Words can't adequately describe why this is right for me and my husband. And I am not sure I could write an articulate article defending it. I feel like if I don't need to defend it. It just feels right. Not perfect but right.

anonymous Mar 15, 2014 8:42am

This was the first entry I have read and rolled my eyes at. Good things to think on sure but this kind of idealist resistance reminds me of being 17. Yawn.

anonymous Mar 14, 2014 6:14pm

It is not easy to break away from the norm. We need to think more critically about traditions that we’ve been taught to blindly accept throughout our lives. I am not against people who believe in marriage (because everyone has a right to believe in what they want) but I agree with the author and applaud her open minded views and bravely putting those views out there.

anonymous Feb 28, 2014 9:29pm

Wow…very negative writing. I hope this writer finds positive way to express “difference” of each individuals. Difirences makes the world beautiful and interesting. It needs to be put in creative writing, not this ugly one !

anonymous Feb 28, 2014 12:26pm

I think a big part of this article is about freedom. Freedom to not marry, and to recieve the same rights as those who are, to be free to have the types of relationships that suit that particular individuals needs best. Gettting the state and frankly patriarchal religion out of it. Christian values have long dictated the types of relationships that are considered acceptable by law in this country. I believe it's unconstitutional.

anonymous Feb 27, 2014 11:44pm

I think a big part of this article is about freedom. Freedom to not marry, and to recieve the same rights as those who are, to be free to have the types of relationships that suit that particular individuals needs best. Gettting the state and frankly patriarchal religion out of it. Christian values have long dictated the types of relationships that are considered acceptable by law in this country. I believe it's unconstitutional.
Personally, I want to have the freedom to marry who I love and at this point in time it is still illegal. I am in a polyamorus relationship and I have been for years, with a couple who is already married. We want to spend our lives together but there is fear of some legal repercussions. There are those in similiar situations who have had their children taken away or if they did try to marry, they were arrested.
I want to have the freedom to marry and receive the same recognition and rights as mongamous hetero and more and more gay or lesbian monogamous couples do.
The Freedom to marry who you love as a statement of your commitment and dedication to your special people or person is just as important as the having the freedom to receive the same rights if you do not.

anonymous Feb 22, 2014 11:25am

While I very much respect the idea of making it more socially acceptable for people to remain unmarried, I don't think that has to be tied to such a negative attitude towards those who do choose to go the more traditional married route. And I use the term traditional loosely, as none of us really understand how any other couple chooses to structure their relationship. That's none of our business. We should have no more judgement and prejudices about married couples as we have about unmarried couples, or partners. Political talking points do not describe how actual people actually live.
And the divorce rate is no where near that cut and dried. Factors such as age, education, income level and location greatly effect the likelihood of divorce. So the chances of any given first marriage ending in divorce are certainly not 50%. It may be much greater, or much, much less. But certainly, don't get married if marriage is not for you.

anonymous Feb 4, 2014 7:43pm

I envision myself getting married someday, however I really liked the points you made in #4 & #5. Definitely some things to think about. 🙂

anonymous Feb 4, 2014 6:50pm

As a wedding photographer with 25 years experience – I know a thing or two about marriage contracts. Yes contracts. I still meet couples who's weddings I shot way back then. I've been married once myself & divorced. Ah divorce – It was expensive but it was worth it. Observing the life my married friends live and listening to their independent feedback for years (especially when they've had a few beers, away from their spouses and are actually truthful) – I can truly say – I would not recommend entering a marriage contract – never. Relationships, living together, is perfectly fine. One girl told me what about when you are old and need someone to take care of you. I said well she is going to be just as old and disabled so what good is that 🙂 One said your kids will take care of you. Just recently her 16 year old that just moved out of her house with her boyfriend and says she hates her moms guts. Times change quickly – the mind is complex organism. You put too much faith in the trust of others and you will be in trouble. Everyone is looking for some benefit in another. I don't mind being of benefit to other but I must stay in control. In marriage contracts and when you have kids the government and the legal system decides your fate. Men watch you – it's not in your favor. In the movie 'Heat' DeNiro puts is nicely 'Never have anything in your life that you can't walk out on in thirty seconds flat, if you spot the heat coming around the corner. Make friends, take care of each other, live, love, laugh – but don't sign a marriage contract. For those who already – I am sure there are a few that are happy, mostly tired or bored, and others waiting anxiously for the other to die 🙂

anonymous Feb 4, 2014 10:55am

You. Are. Awesome! 🙂

anonymous Feb 3, 2014 8:39pm

Loved it! I have had these same views as you for so long and I'm so glad you wrote this article along with the great resources you provided! Thank you.
I'd like to add to #1. That the women need to wear a white dress symbolizing they should be 'pure' virgins while the men can be whatever they want to be, again oppressing women's roles and sexuality
Also like to add
#6 I want to be with someone because I love them not because I am 'married' to them and committed myself to being with them for the rest of my life no matter what. The reality is reality is so fluid and changing and feelings change, people change, situations change and I would never want to force someone to be with me against what they truly felt and wanted and vice versa.
#7 The ring.
Men are supposed to proposed to a woman with a big beautiful diamond ring. Let's not even think once about where this diamond came from? We are uniting two people through the blood and slave work of exploited children abroad in dirty mines that are polluting the entire environments around where they were built. Beautiful way to show your loved one how much more privileged you are than others and how little you know about the world's issues.

    anonymous Feb 4, 2014 9:48am

    Actually, the white dress became popular during Victorian England. It had nothing to do with purity but showed that one was wealthy enough to buy or have such a dress made in such an impractical color to wear for only one or a few times at most. (Nothing shows dirt like white and this was before the days of washing machines or concentrated laundry wash.)

    Also, diamond rings did not become popular as engagement rings until the early 20th century thanks to a large advertising campaign by De Beers. Rubies, opals, and other stones as well as plain rings were often used for engagement rings prior to then.

    (All of these are verifiable BTW.)

anonymous Feb 3, 2014 6:52pm

I agree with a lot your saying, good insight, i wouldn’t get married for health insurance but it doesn’t save $500 a year, try more like $500 a month!

anonymous Jan 26, 2014 8:39am

Marriage is nothing more than a legal contract. It is not romantic and it’s not a guarantee of love.

anonymous Jan 26, 2014 7:56am

My partner & I have been together for almost 3 yrs & We are committed to each other. We have discussed having a commitment ceremony, similar to a wedding, and will at some point; however, we both like that this will be for us alone, not for the state or to be on record. I agree with the author’s points. I would like to add one. I have been a single mother & get quite a large tax return for claiming head of household & single, as does my partner. We would actually be penalized for claiming jointly. In addition, I work with people who are on disability & often Medicaid/Medicare. I have seen time & again for those who are married how their combined income disqualifies them from receiving Medicaid & thus, struggle significantly more than there peers who are single. This is an important fact that more people need to be aware of before saying “I do”.

anonymous Jan 25, 2014 8:37pm

Loved this article. I do not believe in marriage nor do I encourage anyone to get married. I won’t trample on someone’s beliefs but it seems to me that marriage has always been a method of control. You can love someone without signing a contract and truth be told, I don’t believe we as humans are meant to be with the same person forever. And to all the men “hurt” by this article, it shows that you aren’t comfortable with a woman asserting her independence. The inside of your soul believes that a woman needs to be married in order to be happy, and you sir are wrong. The stereotypical family is slowly disintegrating, get used to it and embrace the change that is needed.

anonymous Dec 27, 2013 6:40am

Author’s absolute generalization about Disney flicks is incorrect. In its latest, Frozen, the “charming prince,” Hans, turns out to be a power-hungry douche right after the engagement. Guess getting him to put a ring on it was insufficient to overcome his darker inclinations…

anonymous Dec 5, 2013 2:42pm

Great article. Pretty sure my "wedding" will just be a vacation with me, my long term partner, our other partners, our friends and sexy friends, on a trip to Hawaii. Weddings, in the traditional sense, are gross, self-indulgent, discustingly lavish, and make countless attendees feel like shit about themselves. I'm all about celebrating love without a contract.

Also, "Sex At Dawn" is a great read for your list, too.

anonymous Oct 7, 2013 8:53pm

For those who decide not to get married (or still can't legally get married), do be sure you've covered all of your legal bases regarding medical power of attorney, end of life decisions, and some form of legally binding document that determines what happens to you after you die. When it comes to legal issues it's not just taxes and health insurance! My partner and I were together for over 15 years and I had medical power of attorney, but once he died I had no legal authority. His parents had to sign the documents at the hospital for his body to be released and make all the arrangements with the funeral home – I had no legal standing. Thankfully we have a great relationship and they included me in all decisions, but I know many people for whom it didn't happen so nicely. The last punch came with the death certificate: I'm not on it. 15+ years and legally I don't exist on his death certificate. That hurt more than I anticipated. I know we don't like to think about things like this, but it will come to all of us eventually.

anonymous Oct 7, 2013 3:14pm

I used to feel the same way as the author….until i had kids without a commitment! What an eye opener reality can be! I am now happily married, and think marriage is pretty darn great… Especially for the (mom of) children…

anonymous Oct 7, 2013 11:37am

It's just not true that 50% of marriages end in divorce. That figure is obtained by taking the number of divorces per year and dividing it by the number of marriages per year. The problem with this is that the pool of people available to be divorced is greater than the number of people married in a given year, because people getting divorced have been married for 30 days, 1 year, 2 years, 15 years, 24 years and so on. When we look at cohorts of people married for these intervals of time, and divide the number of people divorced in each cohort by the total number of people in each cohort, the figure at which we arrive (in the US) is closer to 30%. Arguably that's still high, and you will have made your point. But if you are going to say 50%, you need to be accurate as well as precise.

anonymous Sep 12, 2013 3:22pm

I have bookmarked this so I can just send this link to anyone who starts nagging me about marriage. Great article, so many great points! Not all are relevant to someone Down Under (we don't get any benefits from marriage that you couldn't get from a de facto relationship), but everything else rings a chord.

anonymous Sep 12, 2013 8:52am

I'm curious if the writer has children and how long they are in the relationship?
Sounds like you're dealing with a lot of fear, paranoia.. and wanting to fix the world (in the the wrong ways).
People who give emotionally (and more) ultimately will be better for the world, if that's what your interested in.
Not getting married is perhaps one way of showing that you're not ready to be a giving person.
You're on the wrong track. Strong rooted families are the starting points for a better society.
Of course there are a million reasons not to get married, there are also a million reasons not to have children and not fall in love.

anonymous Sep 12, 2013 8:13am

This sounds like a whole lot of reasons to change conventional ideas about relationships in general. I'm a patriarchy smasher as well but don't see how marriage is at all patriarchal once we see it's roots and are living in a marriage by choice. No one "gave me away". That's a bullshit tradition anyway. Are we really that daft as to think these rituals symbolize anything when we know better? Nothing has meaning unless we give it meaning. We no longer live in a world that needs marriage to legitimize children. Hello, 21st century. Most of the people of think/thought this are dead or dying. So while I can respect your opinion, your tone sounds bitter and makes me feel like you have a big immature bone to pick.

anonymous Sep 6, 2013 7:58pm

Um it’s interesting to read the intense reactions to this article. K is clearly pointing out what she she’s and how it doesn’t fit with her view of life.

I don’t see her as bitter or defensive or pessimistic. I see her as proactive, intelligent, exploring. I don’t find anything in her writing condemning or judgmental of people who have different views.

anonymous Jul 7, 2013 2:36am

All good reasons. She did miss one incredible book by Chris Ryan and his wife Cacilda Jetha, called Sex at Dawn.

anonymous Jul 6, 2013 6:35pm

This is a very pessimistic view. Don't let the burdens of the history of marriage ruin it. It's a commitment between two people. My present marriage is the 2nd for both my husband and myself. Our firsts gave us kids. This one is soulmate material without a doubt. We need to redefine marriage not condemn it.

anonymous Jul 6, 2013 6:32am

What a bitter woman! yikes! Just reading it brought me down.

anonymous Jul 5, 2013 11:47pm

The Internet shows me there are women who aren't glued to the concept of marriage, and better yet, of women who want neither marriage nor children. My question is, where are you all hiding? If you're half as sharp and charming as Krystal B, I'll fall for you in a heartflash.

Great article. I don't see any problem with getting married if it feels right… But even among the non-religious, it's upheld as a necessary symbol of love. Why, because propriety or consensus reality demand it? That money could go toward a home or a bitchin' sex swing. Y'know, something real that has an actual bearing on the relationship.

anonymous Jun 3, 2013 10:10am

"Kathleen Hanna, poster-grrrl for the riot grrrl movement, a 90′s feminist *F*-the-establishment movement, got married for the insurance. This breaks my heart. [ . . . ] I don’t think health care should be a high priority for a major decision like marriage."

Why? Fuck the establishment, exploit it if you have to, make it work for you if you can. Marriage is really not that important, is it? It's just a set of codes that make things easy to sort. I'm married. I'm not monogamous. I'm getting married to my current partner for the legal benefits alone. Because having health care and other legal rights and benefits is much more of a major decision to me than a contract with another human I love. That can be ended. Divorce is not a bad thing, the alternative is.

anonymous Jun 3, 2013 8:42am

I was saddened to read the author proclaim respect for her friends decisions to get married then systemically insult that decision, especially with all the presumptions and assumptions she made about traditional marriage and people's decision to participate in it. I was married in a "traditional" ceremony, in an Episcopal church, by an Episcopal priest and none of what was described was a part of my ceremony nor did I have a relationship in which one person had more power than another or in which I was expected to defer to my husband. However, despite the author's presumptions that all "traditional" marriages fit one particular definition or her assumptions about why people choose to get married and what those relationships look like, I wish the readers would understand that this is the author's opinion, the author's interpretation and the author's thoughts on the matter and not feel the need to be insulting.

anonymous Jun 3, 2013 5:34am

Many good points here, but since you rightfullly want respect for your own choice, why not go ahead and go to your friends' weddings and celebrate their choices? I'm sure you have friends who are creative enough to have ceremonies that emphasize the positive. Re-envisioning rather than abandoning marriage could be an even more efficient way to make the whole women-as-property tradition obsolete. Why would so many same-sex couples want to participate if there wasn't something there worth saving? And if you are pressured by nosy people, you should feel free to exclaim "How rude!" although if it's the bride's well-meaning grandpa, it would be nice just to smile and shrug. I really appreciate this topic being raised and found the responses to be interesting. The people who just sling insults at you do kind of help to make your point.

anonymous Jun 3, 2013 12:21am

wonderful article. Thanks Krystal.

anonymous Jun 2, 2013 10:25pm

in spanish, they say novio y mujer.. husband and woman. i found that a particularly interesting twist. thoughts?

anonymous Jun 2, 2013 10:19pm

I like you Krystal. Seems odd that marriage is not seen as an institution in flux/failing, and how ill suited it is to our nature, our population size and global energy predicament etc. People get so defensive about it too, and then all of that "you can't experience true happiness/unselfishness" etc crap: ughh.

Ever read Sex At Dawn? If not, I think you'll find some powerful support for your well founded aversion to and criticism of the marriage custom.

Michael

anonymous Jun 2, 2013 10:16pm

I used to agree with this- then I realized all that theoretical feminist stuff I read in college wasn't the real world and had zero applicability towards it. Marriage, like everything else in life, is what you make of it. You can choose to have it symbolize the patriarchy, or you can do things your own way and only see it as belonging to someone you love for the rest of your life. Both of you that is. Frankly, I have come to realize that belonging to a single man, and he to me, could be one of the sexiest things ever. I didn't always feel this way, but it's so much nicer now that I do.

    anonymous Feb 3, 2014 7:30pm

    All things are laden with meaning and depending upon how you interpret it- will mean very different things for different people.

    I really did not agree with any of this article but I realised that is because it goes against my deep inner feeling about the spiritual meaning of marriage.

    I don’t think it is ownership per say but I do believe men and women can be guides and protectors for one another in life . In my feeling my father is the man who I turn to protection and guidance (I know not all people are blessed with a relationship like that but I digress) when I get married I feel my partner will be the person in that role. It makes sense as we are building I expect a life together!

    I was really offended by the man bashing in this article- yes point out the issues as you interpret them but there seemed to be such anger there.

    It is my understanding that feminism is actually about acknowledged the inherent (&they are inherent!) differences and similarities between men and women and striving for equality for all.!

    Side note: my parents never got married, their relationship failed and they have both been married once each to other people for over 20 years and still counting. Sometimes marriages work!!!! & it is ok to want one!

    Peace!

anonymous Mar 31, 2013 3:54am

Didn’t take me long to realized the writer of this trash is a total and complete bitch.

anonymous Feb 24, 2013 11:32am

[…] Though the script offered my husband and I a pleasant life together, the role that I was playing was not genuine; I couldn’t find myself in it. Not long after I was married, my Mom checked in with me to see how I was adjusting to my new life. “I’m bored” I told her. Her response affirmed exactly what I had been feeling, “Things are different now.” she said. “You’re married.” […]

anonymous Nov 28, 2012 5:04pm

Wasted my time reading this senseless rant of an article.

Lesbo

anonymous Aug 8, 2012 10:25am

There seems to be a pervasive trend in which feminists are turning into the female synonyms of misogynists. Am I the only man who finds this insulting? Author, you are free to choose your own vows, who, if anyone gives you away, and to view your marriage as a true partnership (or to view your partnership as a marriage). There are so many successful examples of 'non-traditional' marraiges out there that I feel we need to start discussing this topic in a more positive and forward-thinking manner. The only valid reason I feel you present here number 3. Perhaps the insecurity and distrust injected by the other points you argue are the cause of so many failed marraiges? I don't have that answer but enough with the man-bashing. Personally, I don't want a woman doesn't want to step up and be a parter – many men feel the same way.

anonymous Aug 8, 2012 9:21am

[…] Obviously when a couple creates a child there are obligations that require them to stay united in some capacity until that baby becomes an adult, but aside from thwarting men from planting their seeds willy-nilly and scurrying off to fresher pastures (which many marriages fail to do nonetheless), I think it’s safe to say that the institution, in general, has out-lived its purpose. […]

anonymous Aug 4, 2012 3:13am

i totally feel what you are saying (: but sometimes things change drastically… my story: i had the same ideas as you have, until i met my beautiful partner. he lives in the USA, i'm from Holland..and if we really want to be together and have a future together, we'll have to make compromises and maybe even obey rules set by society..and get married..because in Holland and the USA this is a rule if the other person wants to live there permanently. i totally understand what you are saying, and i do agree.. but sometimes life unfolds differently (((: thank you for sharing!

anonymous Aug 3, 2012 9:54am

Today's society offers each of us more choices than ever before about how we live our lives. The institution of marriage comes from an historical context much different from our own and was geared firstly at survival, procreation and better health. Even if people lived in smaller tribal communities, procreation still only involved two people. I think there is probably a genetic predisposition for wanting to nurture your own progeny so that your genes can make it into the next generation; remember, birth control is a recent thing.

As for all that love and 'happily ever after' stuff, if you look back into history, it was not the most important thing (see the list above). Some couples hit it off well, other fought – just like today. Our modern media has made too big a factor out of the experience of 'bliss' for lack of a better word and many people feel they must find it in their relationships or they are missing out on life. Tracking down bliss in a relationship is a futile as tracking down a meaningful bliss experience out of a bottle of wine or drug.

There is no right or wrong way to live; being married is not better or worse than not being married in and of itself. Life will present us challenges which enable us to grow – it just keeps coming at you. This is true no matter how or where you live. What is more important is your relationships to the challenges that you confront in life: how you meet and engage with them. This develops a 'spiritual' center from which you can approach life. Do you remain a 'good' person in the face of frustration and confrontation, do you lose your center? A spouse and kids can get under your skin regularly and give you a constant flow of challenges. If you invest your time in your family, wanting them to have as much health and goodness as they can, you just may take the challenges they present more seriously, you may begin to deepen your self-reflection.

Caring deeply about somethings, some causes and about some other people in your life is a good starting point for emotional and spiritual growth. The marriage context is a tried and proven method for anyone to engage more deeply in life. It is not the only way, it may not always be the best way, but it's potential is huge. Drawing a line in the sand is always better than 'just being free'. The marriage commitment at least slows down our 'flight' response when we are faced with adversity; what you do after that is up to you. How you handle you life determines your experience, not the contents or particulars of your lifestyle.

    anonymous Aug 3, 2012 10:22am

    I guess I should explain that I have been married, both happily and unhappily, for 28 years; our kids are grown and on their own.

    I think it would be interesting to be able to go into the mind of couples who have been together for a long period and compare the number and intensity of spousal homicide fantasies with those of sexual fantasies about the same person. Now that would be an interesting topic!

anonymous Aug 3, 2012 7:47am

Top 5 reason’s to get married:

(1) You want to spend the rest of your life with someone. It happens, and when it does it’s like jumping naked into a glacier lake. Holy fuck. Side note- it is just as possible to love someone without feeling this way, and also possible to spend the rest of your life with someone without getting married. It’s interesting that you don’t see the latter too often. See number 2.
(2) You’re an escape artist. I think most of us are. And by escape I mean inner as much as outer. It’s difficult to hide from yourself when the same person is smelling your morning breath for 20 years. When things get uncomfortable, and they will,you’ll be thankful you made that promise. Unless he/she turns out to be a total douche– then you’ll be thankful your brother is a lawyer.
(3) You don’t believe in happily ever after. Those that think marriage is about fairytale romance are doomed. Happiness blossoms through getting to know yourself. See number 2.
(4)You enjoyed being single. Waking up at 2pm covered in maple syrup wearing nothing but dog collar was fun and all but… oh wait. That just happened last week with my husband. Never mind.
(5) You know that nobody’s perfect and you don’t give a shit. There is perfection in imperfection. What a relief.

OK I’ll add one more:

(6) You are free. If you file ‘marriage’ under the old cliche of ‘pains of patriarchy’ (yawn) you are as much of a sucker as the people you judge in your writing. Marriage is a promise, it has nothing to do with church or state. It can be anything you want it to be.

anonymous Aug 3, 2012 3:38am

Love it Krystal! Very logical!

anonymous Jul 31, 2012 8:23pm

You seem to have very strong feelings on the subject. So much so, that you refuse to attend your friends' weddings. Not that it matters, but I certainly support your viewpoint and your personal decisions, though if I were your close friend, I would be very insulted if you refused to attend my wedding.
I believe in marriage- not every marriage and not because you "have to."
I believe that it is a challenging life and to pledge your forever to another willing, faithful person gives you a much stronger chance of success. Though I recognize gender disparities and all the other gross stuff that comes along with it, I don't think that they need to detract from a loving, committed, give and take relationship…for better or worse, in sickness and in health.
I know that everything that I am willing to give is priceless and I want the person sharing my life to make that pledge as well.
I am fully aware that many people take such a pledge lightly, but that is beside the point. That's akin to saying that you'd never buy a car because some are lemons.
A relationship of convenience is merely…convenient. I am 41 years old with two children. In case you haven't learned this yet, I'm here to tell you that life is far from convenient.
When I chose to marry, I pledged forever to my husband, convenient or not. I did not take that pledge lightly and neither has he. We have been up and down and in and out and everything in between over the past 17 years as husband and wife. We've stayed fast together throughout all of it.
Though my marriage was sanctioned by the government and a church, if I could have neither, I would have demanded that we pledge ourselves in front of family and friends. It is the public pledge that does matter, even if foolish people belittle their own marriages.
I've joked (but not really joking) that my marriage is like a street gang: blood in, blood out. We have been through many challenges and there have been times we might have run in the opposite direction had we not made those vows.
I am eternally grateful that we made them.
Life is not all about youth and health and sex. It's also about sickness, depression, lay-offs and many other not-so-great moments. If I am willing to give that to someone- male or female- then that partner had better damn well promise to give them to me.
Life is about balance and I'm not a fan of sitting in the middle of a see-saw by myself.
You are absolutely entitled to choose to avoid making vows with anyone, but I caution you to open your mind…just in case. There have been many ideals that I've tempered over the years and I suspect that this may be one you may revisit in time. That is not a condescension, but a strong hope for the greatest love and support I've ever been privileged to celebrate.
It is certainly okay if you don't, but I would at least recommend that you not be so negative about others who choose to make such a choice.
You don't know me and I don't know you. I promise that this is not a judgment and there is certainly no reason for you to care about my opinion at all. I just wanted to make the point that marriage…the commitment of two people to live their lives…as sticky as those lives might become, together is nothing to be disdained and avoided at all costs.

anonymous Jul 9, 2012 1:11pm

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anonymous Jun 26, 2012 2:30pm

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anonymous May 18, 2012 10:47am

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anonymous Apr 19, 2012 3:53pm

To each his own. I respect your decision not to get married, but it seems just a bit as if you don't respect people who choose otherwise.

My husband and I actually are both queer, and having been in relationships where I'd be denied healthcare, inheritance rights, and power of attorney, I knew that we had to get married because we needed and valued those benefits. And I was conscious of the fact that our marriage is not a traditional heterosexual one, even if it may seem that way at certain times – like when we are in formal dress and on our best straight-world behavior. Maybe you, your partner, or both of you are members of the LGBT community as well – I don't want to assume either way – but I assure you that you can have a totally queer marriage between a man and a woman and still have that marriage license. We've also slept with other women at times, so we're not monogamous either, in addition to not being straight. Yes, technically we are "committing adultery," but I sort of get a kick out of flouting the rules anyway.

Other commenters touched on this already, but you can also get married in a way that skirts patriarchal tradition. We did a self-uniting ceremony and then went out dancing. No one gave me away, and no one called us "man and wife." I hate white – and ain't no virgin – so I wore all black, which is also one of my favorite colors.

I agree that America's policymaking and rhetoric is overly concerned with future children (especially fetuses) at the expense of those of us who are alive today. However, whether I shunned or accepted marriage, this would still be true. My reproductive rights would still be up for grabs every election cycle. And the paternalistic, anti-sin, tinged-with-Christianity, conservative social culture of America would not change regardless.

Finally, I do not know enough about Kathleen Hanna's personal situation to say whether you are right or wrong about her marrying for the insurance. However, my husband and I both have pre-existing health conditions, and have both gone without insurance for years. Certainly, the US healthcare system needs to be reformed – far beyond the not-ideal reform bill passed by the Pelosi-led congress – but if a person needs healthcare and has a legal, above-board mechanism for acquiring it, why not? You only have one life, so taking care of your health while you can is a wonderful privilege.

anonymous Jan 24, 2012 3:16pm

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anonymous Dec 10, 2011 9:55am

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anonymous Nov 21, 2011 2:13am

You have a very stereotypical view of marriage and relationships and children. Or perhaps you have a very stereotypical social group. Either way, that’s just you, not the real world. I don’t know anyone with a marriage like you describe. I can see how it might look that way from the outside though. There’s a phase of life that is optional, where you become a parent instead of a kid. It’s a really big perspective shift and lots of the things that seemed absolutely ridiculous and old fashioned suddenly make sense and the teenage angst fades. Life has phases. Just ask any elderly person if they’d rather be married or single… actually don’t bother. You already know the answer. If you’re not into it, that’s cool. But people forget you can be a feminist and get married. There is nothing more powerful in this world than a strong mum. And you can also get married without a church or the state involved (as I did). And insurance costs a hell of a lot more than $500/year for a family.

    anonymous Apr 19, 2012 7:16pm

    I agree that her article does not jibe with how the real world works. Like you, we got married without the typical frippery and we have no religious affiliation – unless his agnosticism and my prayer to the Dead Rock Star Valhalla counts, which I don't believe they do…

    At the same time, I sense some judgment present in your comment, where you insinuate that parenthood is more noble than non-parenthood. I think that at present, America is a society where fetuses are valued, but actual parents (and their children) are not valued at all. I also think it is somewhat taboo, still, for women to admit (as I now do openly – I see no sense in cowering in shame because of how I am naturally) that they don't like or want kids. Even childless women like myself sometimes feel pressured to coo over a baby while in our heads, we're thinking, "Thank the lord I don't have that ugly, squalling little shit box dependent on me!" just so we don't get stereotyped as nasty child-haters who upset baby carriages for fun.

    You can absolutely be an adult, emotionally, and mentally, and get past your teen angst without becoming a parent. Dozens of my peers in their 30s have managed to do it, and most times, so have I. And parents aren't universally mature or emotionally centered simply because they're parents. I need look no further than my own basket-case mum (or my husband's) – or the handful of women in my HS graduating class who got knocked up as teens, and they and the babys' fathers continued to party like parenthood never happened. In several cases, the teen parents' own parents (or siblings) wound up raising the babies.

    You do make an excellent point about insurance, however. It is definitely not cheap in America, especially if you need a plan that covers more people. And even if you're single and have a pre-existing condition, you're looking at about $700/month for a bare-bones plan in my state, which practices medical underwriting, and will continue to until Obamacare takes effect in about 19 months…if the bill isn't overturned before then. To cover a family here, a bare-bones plan is $1,200 a month. That's just not sustainable in an area with the average rent or mortgage skyrocketing to $850/month and the average personal salary under $35K.

anonymous Nov 21, 2011 1:27am

Closeted Lesbian more like it!

    anonymous Nov 21, 2011 8:23am

    Wow. Classic patriarchal dude maneuver.

    anonymous Apr 19, 2012 7:02pm

    I am an out and proud queer woman and what you say is idiotic.

    p.s. It's 2012, and lesbian is no longer a slur, nor do we hide in shame for desiring members of our own gender. In fact, we've made amazing progress in the LGBT community over the past decade. In 2000, no states had marriage, and in 2012, six states and D.C. do, with more on their way.

    So get with the times!

anonymous Nov 21, 2011 12:35am

Marriage is some kind of business proposition… that I don't understand yet.

anonymous Nov 20, 2011 11:23pm

I was in a committed relationship for 10 years of my life. Now I have been married for two with another woman. In my experience marriage has done a HUGE difference on how I feel and treat my partner. It is that sacred ceremony in which we both went through a spiritual transformation which we have shared and nourrished for the past 2 years that has made a difference for me.
I am not saying it that in my previous relationship we were not committed or we loved each other. I am just saying that there was a paradigm shift for me when we took the steps to make it "sacred". There are no warranties… ever. Marriage like any other relationship has to be nourrished daily, otherwise it can go down the drain quickly. What I am saying is that for me marriage gave it an extra dimension that wasn't there before. An excitement and a feeling of respect that is way much deeper than when I was in that other relationship. The reason why my other relationship ended was because we clinched to our feelings of love, yet we kept hurting each other. There was no real respect. There was love, yes, but the commitment to honor and respect each other was not there.
Again I agree with many of the points raised here… but what I agree most with is that it is a personal choice. In Europe in fact very few people want to marry. In my circle of friends it is a taboo… nobody believes in relationships "forever" anymore. Most of my friends are terrified just by the thought of it. So the pressure here is the other way around. My own divorced father always told me "never marry! it is a huge mistake." Yet, so far I have proved him wrong. Marriage has been the best decision I have made in my life so far. I couldn't be happier.

anonymous Nov 20, 2011 8:26pm

Nice article, only one thing is nagging at me. The comment about Kathleen Hanna getting married for insurance benefits is entirely inaccurate. I’m sure a woman who has her own career and involvement with various things such as teaching classes doesn’t marry a famous Beastie Boy for insurance purposes. Plus it wasn’t a 90’s movement it started in the 80’s and carried through. You should probably check facts out unless you know her personally.

anonymous Nov 19, 2011 1:30pm

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anonymous Oct 21, 2011 8:43am

I think the thing that made this article hard to read is that the tone seems so angry. While I agree with some of what you have said here, you make it sound like if you get married you have no choice but to have a cookie cutter wedding, and if you want a cookie cutter wedding you are wrong, or you are a bad feminist, or you must be crazy. "Perhaps it’s because the institution of marriage is not for everyone. And it’s about time we all accept it, and accept the people who don’t want to do it—even and especially if we happen to be one of those people." well, that is all fine and dandy, but you need to accept that some people do want to get married. your wedding ceremony can be whatever you want it to be. a ceremony doesn't make a wedding legal anyway. its all about the paperwork. i could get married in a leopard print leotard while jumping on a trampoline, and instead of "you may now kiss the bride" they could say, "hey! you two can now high-five!" it can be whatever you want it to be! and you know what? if my fiance was on his death bed and we werent married, and i wasnt allowed to be in there, it would kill me!

as far as the divorce rate and people not having successful marriages… i do think it is because people get married for the wrong reasons. but in my opinion, the wrong reasons are things like… getting married when you are 18 and have no life experience. grow up first! or getting married because you knocked someone up.

    anonymous Jun 3, 2013 4:10am

    You really, really need to be a wedding planner, Melissa! That image of the trampoline high-five will stick with me and make me smile every time I think of it! So, thank you for that.

anonymous Oct 20, 2011 8:43am

AMEN!!! I tried it. It was horrible. Patriarchy is so deeply assimilated into our culture and institutions that even though it was clear I am a feminist and a highly independent person, I was supposed to be "his". Gross. I too am in a long term relationship where we are together by choice and I do not need marriage to make us legitimate.

anonymous Oct 19, 2011 6:06pm

Great Article! Makes people think. I posted on fb, but also would like to share.
Reasons to get married: If you want to quit your job & your partner have insurance, so your family would stop bugging the s#t out of you. If you die, your partner gets nice settlement – that's it.
I do realize that this is very my very personal feelings and not necessarily shared with most of the women.
P.S. not married & in the happiest relationship if my life for almost 10 years, contemplating on child production in the nearest future…

anonymous Oct 19, 2011 5:25pm

Yeah, to get married, you have to love and care about someone more than you do yourSELF. It's not for everyone. Some people would rather remain self-centered, vain, angry and free to be promiscuous but ultimately alone.

    anonymous Oct 20, 2011 8:49am

    Right…or you can get married because you fear being abandoned and want to control another person. And people that get married never have sex with other people, aren't angry and abusive, and always honor their obligations to their spouses and children. But hey…at least they are not alone which is the worst thing in the world. Or not.

      anonymous Nov 21, 2011 1:16pm

      Spot on.

      anonymous Sep 12, 2013 8:15am

      I don't even think Jim was talking about being alone in the literally sense at all. Marriage is about selflessness, compromise, all those things. Or it should be. How about we point the finger at immature, selfish, emotional stunted human beings for not making marriages last? It's not marriage. And hell, these days you can get divorced in a couple of months. So whatever… people suck at relationships and that's what needs changing.

    anonymous Aug 5, 2012 7:35am

    or marry so that you can be self-centered, vain, and angry by having someone else to take it out on, make them do the household chores, wait on you, etc. And legally feel obliged. Oh, and shall I include: feel morally superior. Like you.

    anonymous Sep 12, 2013 8:13am

    Right on Jim.

anonymous Oct 18, 2011 8:24am

Upon reading your article, my first thought was; “Wow! This is exactly what I thought about marriage when I was in my teens and early twenties!” I am now 30 and engaged and guess what?!?! I wanted it. I wanted family. My bio fam. lives over 1,000 miles away and we don’t have the same, or even similar, values or lifestyles. But I met a man who I love and his family is one that I feel I am already apart of. This is truly comforting to me and taking his name (yes! I’m taking his name!) gives me an even greater connection to this family I’m becoming apart of. So, I just want to say that there are many reasons for getting married and many of them have nothing to do with the reasons you listed not to. FTR, I still agree with many of your points, but they are no longer points that serve to polarize me on the issue of marriage. Instead, I am living my values by doing it differently. Marriage is a journey that is different for everyone, and I am choosing to allow my values and my heart discern the course of my relationship which is soon becoming a marriage. I hope that as we wake up we can have conscious relationships with all beings and that we can respect the roots and the limbs of our giant family tree!

    anonymous May 30, 2014 1:53pm

    You're not getting married, you're being adopted. It appears to me that you want to be a part of a family in a way that's denied to you by your bio family. I have no problem with that but I think that's what's at the core of your decision to be married.

anonymous Oct 18, 2011 7:19am

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, my viewpoint was this: I believed that, if a couple wanted to have children, they should be in a serious, committed relationship. I suspected that, if a person was hesitant to legally marry, then there was a good possibility that they lacked that level of commitment.

Been there, done that.

I probably continued to feel the same way right up until the time of my divorce.

I would never, ever get married again, and I question the need for marriage to legitimize a relationship and children. For the first eight or nine years of my marriage, I envisioned being married "'til death do us part." That didn't stop me from eventually realizing that I was in a seriously damaging situation. However, being married made it difficult and costly to get out; a vindictive partner will think nothing of destroying the entire family financially just to make a point. I look at the parents of my son's friend, who never married, lived together for ten or twelve years, then separated; how is their situation different from mine, other than not having bankrupted themselves with legal fees?

People will say, "you should have known what he was like before you married him." Sorry, you can't truly know a person until you've lived with them for ten years and even then they can surprise you by doing horrible things you'd never thought them capable of. There are difficulties getting out of a relationship whether you're married or not, but I guarantee they're worse if you're married!

On the other hand, I can't say that marriage isn't the right choice for someone else. That is their personal decision. I'm just saying that, for me, there is no reason I can find to marry again.

Before I close, I would like to gently encourage the author to examine some of her arguments in points number 1 and 2. The "giving away by a man", the white dress and dream wedding– those things have everything to do with "having a wedding" and very little to do with actual marriage. You can go down to city court and get married by the judge after the previous night's arraignments; you can have a JP marry you in the back yard with your grad school housemates as witnesses; you can have a wedding in a beautiful park where the bride and groom walk alone from opposite sides and meet in the middle; you can have your mother walk you down the aisle because your father wasn't present during your upbringing. Marriage is a legal commitment, and whether you want to be "given away" by a man while wearing a billowy white dress really has nothing to do with it.

anonymous Aug 24, 2011 10:37pm

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anonymous Aug 18, 2011 10:18pm

it's nice to have fun. enjoy it.

when little people, or old people, are depending on you you will feel differently. and that's ok.

    anonymous Aug 3, 2012 2:00pm

    You're a great example, brother.

anonymous Mar 10, 2011 11:56am

I can relate. I am not really thinking I want to get married. I do want to have a committed relationship but I don't think marriage is for me. When I say this people, think I am going through a phase or crazy. I just don't like the straight jacket that hetro-normative relationship means and it just seems to put on a lot of perfection pressure for everyone.

anonymous Mar 6, 2011 11:14am

[…] in the media, and yet I feel there is more to add. So while everyone else is speculating about Why I Am Not Married, I thought I’d add my two […]

anonymous Feb 17, 2011 3:09pm

I am two years into marriage after a five year ‘courtship’…and marriage has changed everything! I am questioning the entire institution for sure! Thank you for your article and all it leaves to thought.

    anonymous Jun 2, 2013 10:29pm

    I never wanted to get married. It's the only time in my life I succumbed to pressure and I believe it was a big mistake.

anonymous Feb 14, 2011 11:01am

[…] knew very little about the lives, experiences and lessons of the adults that raised me beyond that most of them got divorces, that they experienced war, revolution, drugs and music in some way that they didn’t like to talk […]

anonymous Feb 13, 2011 7:21pm

As soon as we have a rational society, we're going to say openly to people, "Please don't have children until you're prepared to be good, warm loving parent to them and not pass on any of your hurts".People will hear us if we say that right. And boy, the birth rate's going to drop awfully fast, because it takes getting rid of your hurts first to keep from passing them on to the children. A lot of the urge now to have children is simply loneliness. For many women it's the first time they've had somebody they could be really close to, and they tell you this: "My little baby, he's mine………Mmmmmmmm, how good he smells, or something like that. Well babies are that nice. But a lot of this is just loneliness. Actually, there are so darn many children waiting for parents, waiting to be adopted, that there's no need to push the population. We've got to clean up the environment and allow the planet to flourish again. We should not be under any kind of pressure to get married.

anonymous Feb 10, 2011 5:13am

There are many different options that apply to many different cultures. Saying that something works for everybody (whether we should all get married or we should all not get married) is the same type of thinking, essentially, and it is of no use. We all have options and, even more importantly, anthropology has shown how different cultures have come up with a wide range of choices on this subjet over time. In my mind, the ideal situation would be that we all become aware of the options that we have and that we are given the tools, by our culture, to figure out what we want and how we can get there. Child raising can work in different ways, although it is clear that it works better if you do not get married or have just one steady partner but are surrounded by a village helping you raise your child than by being all alone. All alone is not the way we evolved.

anonymous Feb 10, 2011 4:20am

A well written piece about a real sea change occurring in the way we think about relationships. I enjoyed this read and will keep it to email to people when I don't have time to explain myself. What I don't get is where the readers are getting hate? I don't see it. I see nothing in this essay that indicates this woman hates anyone. If you feel hated for being married when you read this you have a problem that is internal because it isn't coming from her. She doesn't sound angry. She sounds clear and thoughtful and serious, and yes, a little righteous, but that's OK, someone needs to take a stand. My read is that the thing she's angry about is people dismissing the choice she is making and expecting her to choose according to their values. A lack of a marriage ISN'T a lack of values, it isn't a "lack" at all. It is a different set of values. It isn't choosing NOT to do something, it's CHOOSING to do something else.

My partner and I reject the hetero-normative monogamous rule. We understand this confusing for some people. Your confusion is NOT an indication that I've made a poor choice. I've made just the perfect choice for me, and soon, very soon I hope, my partner will be able to get affordable health care and visit me in the hospital and get a tax break for sharing a house. I hope those things will happen for the 3 elderly lesbians who live next door too, and the gay couple with a baby and a dog on the other side, and the married couple across the street. We all have a right to make our own choices. How different life and love would be if people were allowed to choose without judgment any lifestyle they feel drawn to.

"I have a dream" of an America where all personal choices are honored as equally valid…

anonymous Feb 9, 2011 8:25pm

Hey we discussed your article on our podcast!!! http://aaronkrager.com/2011/02/09/aes-1-2-3-plann

anonymous Feb 9, 2011 4:31pm

I agree with the comments above. Citing divorce rates is a very shaky argument against marriage. What, in fact, is the measure of a "failed" marriage?

I do think that there is something to the concept of a vow. Some Buddhist ceremonies I have seen use the Mahayana vow (pledging to put others first) as a model for marriage ceremonies. That type of a commitment seems to me to have value — and to be more profound than the romantic concept of "soul mates" or two people who are "made for each other".

And if you make a vow like that — does wishing the best for your wife mean that you can never divorce? Or if you make that type of vow and break it (lose your temper, act with cruelty, drift apart) — is that better than never taking the vow?

I don't really disagree with a choice not to marry. I've just been pretty lucky with my marriage. And I like the idea of imperfect people making vows.

anonymous Feb 9, 2011 10:40am

Via FB:

#
Tessa:
This is a very interesting article and I like the way it deconstructs our notions of how/why people in our society pair off. My only critique is that the statistic about divorce is presented incorrectly. It's true that 50% of marriages end,… but fewer people are getting married, so it's not actually a greater number of marriages that are ending. Also, couples who co-habit before marriage have higher break-up rates, so heads up. Although obviously if you're deconstructing the notion anyways this probably does not affect you. I think a lot more research is being done in this field now that we are, thankfully, moving more toward ending discrimination against nontraditional unions.
#
Katherine C: Those tax "benefits" are a myth and generally only benefit single income or low income families. If you have two incomes of sufficient amount and for example no children therefore fewer write offs, you are actually bumped into a higher tax bracket and a larger percentage of your income will be taken. Whereas if you both filed single status, each individual would have to earn more as individuals to reach those higher tax brackets.

#
PB: Most of those reasons could be the basis for an argument to get married as often as possible!

    anonymous Oct 24, 2011 10:00am

    As a married person. I can attest that we were basically "fined" for being DINKS (dual incomer earners no kids). We were taxed less when we were single.

    If you are still looking for someone to write a blog on the true positives of marriage no one ever tells you about. Let me know. It's a story of 2 feminists yoking (yes my husband/life partner is more of a feminist than I).

anonymous Feb 9, 2011 9:55am

I've been with my live-in boyfriend for almost three years, and we're perfectly happy as a committed, united un-married couple. However, I think the arguments above are a bit of a stretch. In regards to the ceremony, it is certainly well within the right of a bride to choose NOT to include the "giving away" of herself in her own wedding. People just need to take a moment and think outside the traditional, expensive and frivolous box a bit. As for the second query, what's wrong with flipping your hair, rockin' that mini-dress and pulling Mr. Rock Star up on the horse with you? A wedding, AND a marriage, are what you make them to be, not what someone else tells you they should be. #3…monogamy is not monotonous to some of us. A good number of people (50% by your reckoning) find happiness with their spouse and are content to allow that to grow over time and space, as opposed to bouncing around in a "free love" world. As to the other two, well, if you have your own insurance, then you don't need a spouse, and children are a choice, not a requirement. However, if you do have them, you damn well better take care of them…BOTH parents…married or otherwise. All that being said, I think the idea of the feminist movement missed the mark a bit: rather than having women wholly and completely separate and/or superior to men, how might it be if we were alongside, as friends/partners/lovers/equals, braving the world and living our own unique lives? I seriously doubt a little piece of paper is going to change anyone's mind about that!

anonymous Feb 9, 2011 8:30am

As most of my relatives are extremely conservative fundamentalist Christians, I tend to view any wedding that doesn't include lengthy dissertations on Biblical injunctions regarding wives obeying their husbands as refreshingly progressive. Nonetheless, I did find it very strange recently to see a very socially conscious friend asking his even more socially conscious girlfriend's hardcore left-wing father for permission to marry her….

anonymous Feb 9, 2011 6:24am

plus, WHY bring the church and state into your relationship? I'm 47 and have never been married and will never be married..

    anonymous Aug 3, 2012 1:28pm

    What church? Never heard of a secular ceremony?

      anonymous Aug 3, 2012 2:00pm

      But the state, too? Lawyers and all?

        anonymous Aug 3, 2012 2:08pm

        There were no lawyers involved in my wedding. I think maybe you are talking about divorce? Or prenups? Prenups aren't a requirement to get married…
        The "state's involvement" has only applied in verifying our relationship admittedly ridiculous ways, like health care (which I agree is silly) and renting a car (where my husband was free to drive the car without ever showing them id, proof of employment, or even having to be present).
        I will echo what others have said. Get married, don't get married. Think that it's silly, or don't. It's optional, after all. But don't act like there's only one way to get married or be married, or that we can't decide what it means to us and how it will play a role in our lives. I'll never act like marriage is the only way to validate your relationship or have a healthy one. Or that you even need to have a relationship at all.
        Deal?

anonymous Feb 9, 2011 12:11am

I used to feel this way – then something in my head just clicked one day – it had nothing to do with health care, or benefits, or children. For me, it was the ritual of making the decision more permanent. Only took us 6 years. I think marriage started out that way, especially in other cultures, as a way to lay claim on your chosen one.

    anonymous Sep 23, 2014 2:42pm

    it's better to KNOW than to think. Marriage was a bartering system, usually paired with two cows or a goat, whatever the brides family could add to the girl/female's estate value to be 'bought' and owned by the man.

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 7:46pm

I never ever wanted to be married. I had three long-term relationships and never even thought of marriage or kids except in a dismissive, judgemental way. A staunchly so-called feministand woman's studies devotee, I didn't want to buy into the system – just like the author of this article. Marriage and patriarchy was NEVER going to get me, never.

BUT…ne day I met a man, and within one hour, I wrote an email to my three best friends and told them I had just met the man I would marry. This email was read at my wedding three years later by one of those friends who thought that someone had hacked into my email account and written those vile words – they could not believe it was really from me. But it was, and I was right. Now I'm divorced and am with someone else who I am planning to marry. If you have not been married you cannot know this, but marriage IS different from cohabitation, and not just in all the negative ways mentioned in the article. It can be different in some amazing, spiritual ways as well and it is for these reasons that I no longer judge marriage and those who choose to partake in it. A healthy, spiritual marriage is a thing of beauty.

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 7:13pm

It might be interesting to compose a list of reasons to get married. I suspect it would expose something worth thinking about.

    anonymous Feb 9, 2011 9:41am

    Great suggestion. Would you like to? In any case, I'll find someone. I'd love to hear reasons to get married, after this! ~ Waylon

      anonymous Oct 19, 2011 12:02am

      * reasons to get married:
      1.) the commitment can be stronger. this was proved to me when watching fear factor once, they had committed couples and non-committed couples, and the committed ones performed better in their obstacles. They went the distance for their partner. But this is obviously possible without technically getting "married". You can have a commitment ceremony or whatever and still have that without going through the state. II think if we weren't married, we might have left each other because it would have been too easy, and for that, I'm glad we dived in to the traditional commitment. But it made sense for us. And for me, coming from a single parent home, I felt that marriage was an extra security measure that I personally wanted and needed.
      2.) It might be more feminist in a weird kind of way. (gasp! what?, I know). You have more rights to assets, kids, etc, etc if you're married. It's like not getting insurance for disasters. If shit hits the fan, you have more rights on many levels. Yes, boring, not passionate, but at the end of the day it's nice knowing. When you're domestic partners, I'm not sure how that works out in the court, especially with kids involved.
      3.) You can be married and have creative arrangements, like sister wives(polygamy), or open marriages(polyamorous). Assuming all of us married folk have the same construct is pretty close minded, like assuming that all lesbians never want to get married. Either way it's a box that no one wants to live in. We all have our battles to fight against the system, and this just isn't one of mine. I never really envisioned myself married growing up, with a single parent who was majorly burned from the whole experience, and who voiced this often. For me, it's a non-issue. I was single most of my life, but whenever I do something, I want to do it all the way, and marriage feels like taking it all the way, not holding anything back.

      anonymous Apr 22, 2014 10:16pm

      I recently read a definition of marriage as a place of nourishment for two who are out climbing life's mountains and slaying dragons. It is a comforting image to me.

      anonymous Apr 22, 2014 10:25pm

      Although it doesn't take a marriage to have a long term sexually exclusive relationship, I believe that sex can get better and better over time. It doesn't have to get boring.

    anonymous Feb 22, 2014 4:36pm

    The internet is filled with bitterness! I tried looking on youtube "Why should I get married" and I got two relevant results. The others were Why I should NOT.

    I wish someone for once would write something good about it….as someone who is getting married in next week this is really depressing.

      anonymous May 29, 2014 8:59pm

      Marriage is amazing, if you marry the right person! I got married last year for the first time at 35 in a small, secular ceremony in the presence of family and close friends, in fact, we had a mutual friend officiate. There was no "man and wife" or "obey" at our wedding! I still have strong friendships and so does he. We are both independent with similar and also separate interests that we nourish together as well as independently. He empowers me, and I do the same for him. I get to share all my joys and triumphs, and well as my trials, with my best friend….with all the legal protections that marriage allows. In fact, some companies offer incredible incentives to not only their employees, but their spouses as well. Also, there is just something, to me, that is comforting about being married. What's mine is his, and what's his is mine….including our nephew (my sister's son) who idolizes my husband and whom my husband is helping through a very difficult time in his young life. Overall, It's nice being a family, both emotionally but also legally, and there's NOTHING wrong with that. Congratulations to you, and I wish you many years of love and light with your future spouse!!

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 6:35pm

I highly doubt I'll end up married. On the one hand, it sounds boring. I live a rather semi-nomadic life; I'm moving around a lot. The idea of marriage…being tied to one post like a dog…just not pleasant. On top of that, no one in my family, neither the men nor the women, has had a happy marriage. In fact, a decent number of the men have at least two divorces under their belts. Auspicious, no?

    anonymous Jun 2, 2013 11:02pm

    While I respect and completely understand people's choice to not want to marry and will whole hardheartedly admit it is not easy or for everyone. Boring is one thing my marriage is NOT. Just as we can choose to not marry we can choose marriage and not have it be some one size fits all definition of what marriage is. My spouse and I have been married for 13 years and our relationship is constantly evolving. We've lived in California, Arizona, Mexico, and now South Korea. We spend most of our summers living outdoors biking, rafting and hiking. This summer we plan to move back to the U.S. buy mountain bikes and do some more bike touring with our 6 year old son. We live a fairly nomadic life as well. Anyway, I just wanted to point out that not every married couple wants a home with a picket fence, 2.5 children, and sit around watching television every night. Not that there's anything wrong with that either. Just also not a choice that I would desire.

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 5:29pm

(I wrote this on facebook, but I might as well write it here as well)

Another top reason not to give $$ to EJ 🙁 I get not getting married…I have friends who are not married, a relative with a child who is living with her (male) partner and not married…to each her own. But this reads like an angry young woman who is in her first year at (insert women's college of choice). It reads as emotional; not well thought out. If you want to get married in a blue sequin dress, do it (I got married in a maternity dress). No one is telling you you HAVE to get married in white chiffon! As for point #1, shouldn't let other people's expectations (or societiys') dictate what you do with your life – especially when it's something like marriage. So what about what your bff's dad said? It really matters that much? As for monogamy – many marriages aren't…again, don't let the expectation of the "normal" dictate what you should do. As for insurance – that I agree with; but that's a problem with the American health care system, not the institution of marriage. And as to children – again, don't need marriage to have children, nor do you have to have children once you are married.

All of this seems very simple – it's a personal choice. Get married if you want to, if you don't want to, then don't. And…FTR…I don't think my husband and I have ever referred to ourselves as "man and wife" lol!

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 5:21pm

I've read several of your books listed (a Communications graduate here) and love your article. While I am not a huge fan of marriage (or monogamy) I respect those who are and hope they can respect my position as well.

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 1:44pm

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by anniegirl1138, elephantjournal.com. elephantjournal.com said: Why I don't want to get married. . . http://bit.ly/etJfct #elej […]

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 10:29am

Nice article!

With regard to rule #1, I think you've got it backwards. Its usually the woman who really wants to get married and once you're locked in, its all about the matriarchy, not the patriarchy.

    anonymous Feb 8, 2011 7:11pm

    That's the stereotype, but it's hardly the reality.

      anonymous Feb 8, 2011 10:29pm

      You've obviously nevr been married then…

    anonymous Feb 8, 2011 7:18pm

    You seem confused about the historical development of patriarchal structures.

      anonymous Jan 30, 2012 6:43pm

      You seem to be obtuse to the systemic misandry inherent in Family Law (at least Canadian law).

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 9:02am

Complete freedom of decision offers us the opportunity to direct our own lives by making our own choices rather than being enforced by patterned behavior based on old messages of distress or based on the functioning of oppression in the current oppressive society.
Any person of any age, given accurate information, can make a rational decision, and every person is always free to choose for himself or herself the viewpoint that he or she will take towards any situation and is free to change that viewpoint whenever she or he wishes.
It is our inherent human nature to view unsolved problems as interesting challenges rather than insurmountable difficulties.

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 8:58am

These are certainly valid issues that make a lot of sense … well worth considering before getting married. From my own experience, I often did and still do things that don't make sense … fall for someone or something and act like an exuberant idiot, for instance, has been a recurring theme. After dating my (now) wife for a while, I started to feel a weird, inner drive to want to have children with her – to have something that would live beyond me. This was another admittedly irrational impulse, but – like so many before – felt right for me. I've discovered that marriage is an ordeal … you have to endure the many issues that you cite (plus butt-loads more crap) – all the while – many years & decades worth – each person continues to grow, often in opposing directions. Marriage really doesn't make a lot of sense … perhaps moreso when you want to have children together … BUT, over time, when you stick it out with someone for many years through thick-n-thin, you discover a quiet joy and pride in giving, enduring, sacrificing, caring, forgiving etc. that feels pretty nice … not super passionate and thrilling, but warm and reassuring. Yoga helps – A LOT. You make a lot of very valid arguments, but don't be surprised if one day in savasana, you feel an irrational feeling to have a family and get married. You might find the "ordeal" of marriage fulfilling – but only when you ignore all the facts. C'est la vie!

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 8:40am

Actually, you're not. I've never heard of you and I don't have a youtube account. So, nice try. –Krystal B

    anonymous Feb 9, 2011 9:44am

    Krystal, sorry you have to get such comments. This article is worth debating, contemplating…but not condemning. Thanks so much for it! ~ Waylon

    anonymous Jul 16, 2014 6:38pm

    right on sister !! Im 100 %, no 200% with you on that !!

    anonymous Oct 23, 2014 11:46am

    I'd say the complaints against marriage here are valid, but neglect to point out the legal minefield marriage has become for men. It is matrimony (not patrimony) and as such is a matriarchal tradition. Modern laws make men either non-essential or essential only for the sake of income garnishment, or make men criminally culpable for non violent issues of discord, and violate all aspects of civil liberty in the process. Bottom line is, modern feminism is a political movement, not an equality movement, and family law is rotten with sexist/feminist jurisprudence.

anonymous Feb 8, 2011 3:58pm

Thank you for debunking that bogus statistic, anniegirl (and saving me the trouble.)

anonymous Oct 18, 2011 7:21am

I think she has a great message and it was well written. I am married, and have a M.A. in Communications, and am somehow offended by your comment, and not her writing. So…..? Don't be a hater, please.

anonymous Feb 13, 2013 9:43pm

I actually like what she writes.

anonymous Oct 24, 2011 10:01am

as you should 🙂

Mike Williams Apr 22, 2018 11:48am

My brother and 3 close guy friends have had their lives ruined by no fault divorce. The family courts have taken their children away from them, and they are all financially ruined. Why did their wives (in every case) divorce them? Either their wives became bored and started cheating, or they just left. None of the wives claimed abuse or mistreatment. I agree, forget marriage, it just isn't worth the risk.

Alex Obed Mar 21, 2018 10:34am

Great article, Krystal! I’m a fellow elephanter btw!