Top 5 Reasons Not to Get Married.

Via Krystal Baugher
on Feb 8, 2011
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rules happy marriage

“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).

photo <> Guilherme Tavares

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.

photo <> Katia Dametto

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.

photo <> Francis Bijl

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). 


Love starts with us, first:


About Krystal Baugher

Krystal Baugher lives in Denver. She earned her MA in Writing and Publishing and her MA in Women and Gender Studies from DePaul University/Chicago. She is the creator of Mile High Mating, a website dedicated to helping people "do it" in Denver and beyond. You can find her on facebook and twitter (as long as you aren’t a stalker).


159 Responses to “Top 5 Reasons Not to Get Married.”

  1. Yogatchr says:

    Wow. Classic patriarchal dude maneuver.

  2. Jaimee says:

    Spot on.

  3. […] plan to be single for a while—maybe the rest of my life. This is not a dramatic statement made because I’m scared to get hurt again. It is a statement […]

  4. Masculinist says:

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

  5. Elle says:

    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.

  6. Elle says:

    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!

  7. Elle says:

    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.

  8. […] until my brother got married did I realize that not everyone grew up in a loud “Ma where’s the cereal!” household […]

  9. […] I can stop making this list because it’s already been written here, here and […]

  10. Tracy says:

    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.

  11. G says:

    Love it Krystal! Very logical!

  12. Loverly says:

    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.

  13. MatBoy says:

    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.

  14. MatBoy says:

    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!

  15. Teenie says:

    What church? Never heard of a secular ceremony?

  16. elephantjournal says:

    You're a great example, brother.

  17. elephantjournal says:

    But the state, too? Lawyers and all?

  18. Teenie says:

    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.

  19. Iris Josephina says:

    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!

  20. Amanda F says:

    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.

  21. […] 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. […]

  22. kosokun says:

    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.

  23. Austin says:

    Wasted my time reading this senseless rant of an article.


  24. Jarcia says:

    I actually like what she writes.

  25. […] 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.” […]

  26. jake says:

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

  27. ktc says:

    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.

  28. michael says:

    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.


  29. Jessica says:

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

  30. Kalika says:

    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.

  31. Brazzell says:

    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.

  32. @MaxZografos says:

    wonderful article. Thanks Krystal.

  33. Judy says:

    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.

  34. Judy says:

    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.

  35. Boudicca says:

    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.

  36. harpoontang says:

    "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.

  37. floridgush says:

    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.

  38. Carolina says:

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

  39. Doris says:

    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.

  40. Jonathan says:

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

  41. Susan says:

    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.

  42. lisab says:

    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.

  43. lisab says:

    Right on Jim.

  44. lisab says:

    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.

  45. jjlove says:

    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.

  46. Hui says:

    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.

  47. macpanther says:

    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.

  48. Divya says:

    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…