6.2

Surprising Marriage Advice from a Happily Married Couple.

Rob/Flickr

My parents have been married for almost 27 years now.

I’m not saying this because they’re my parents, but frankly, they’re the most successful married couple I’ve ever seen. Despite the success they’re still achieving and the love they still intensely hold for each other, they keep telling me one thing: “never get married.”

My parents aren’t the only ones I encountered in my life who are happily married yet never recommend the institution of marriage. No matter how much love, respect and independence a married couple maintain, at the end of the day they will tell you “don’t do it.”

The ones who recommend it however, and are leading a successful marriage, have most probably been blinded by “habit” and are subconsciously stuck in their comfort zone.

Most people in different cultures nowadays, regard marriage as an important goal in life; especially the upcoming generation who only sees this institution as rainbows and unicorns. What they envision is the spooning in the morning and the cuddling at night. But once they get down to it, rainbows disappear and unicorns die.

I have never been married and I’m honestly not planning to. Not that I’m against partnership, love or romance. I’m just against the “institution of marriage.”

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about marriage and love. I asked her if she thinks about getting married one day. Having a partner in her life, she said something that kept running through my head for it made so much sense. She told me “If he asks me to marry him, I will. But if he doesn’t, it’s better. I want to deliberately stay with him because I love him, not stay with him because I have to.”

Marriage is a big psychological game. Just like my friend hinted, when you know you have the choice to leave, love will grow and you will most probably stay. But when you feel committed to that ring and paper you signed, you will start feeling trapped. Instead of letting love consciously grow, you will feel yourself obliged to love just because you made a promise to keep that ring forever in your finger.

Here are some reasons I am against marriage as an institution:

Social pressure.

Just like we are told to go to school, get a decent education, go to college, be successful and have goals, we are also told to marry. Social pressure concerning this matter defers from a culture to another but eventually they will all look at your age and wonder why you don’t have a husband next to you or a baby on your lap.

To have a partner and to have a baby is of course a part of life’s evolution, but marriage isn’t. And unfortunately, societies have made this a must and considered not getting married a failure in life.

A commitment that is hard to maintain.

Commitment requires hard work and sacrifice. And commitments are never wrong. We can commit to anything in life from classes to beliefs. But marriage commitments are the hardest since we aren’t directly committed to our partner.

We are committed to the duty we swore to keep in front of a God or an authority. We are committed to the children we will have and the family we will build. Hence, the notion of “commitment to a partner” gradually fades away.

The temptation to cheat.

Whether in a relationship or married, some partners at a certain point feel the urge to cheat. The reasons are many, but in a marriage it’s different.

When we’re in a relationship and feel like cheating or maybe actually cheated, we have the option of ending things (more easily). We end things either to become free again and therefore not be labeled a cheater, or to end the feeling of guilt in case we did cheat.

However, if we’re married and felt the urge to cheat, we consciously know it’s not “proper.” We might cheat at the end the day but marriage is a bigger commitment than just a relationship. Therefore, knowing we shouldn’t cheat in marriage and knowing we are trapped because we can’t just end things and become free again, the temptation of cheating grows bigger.

The divorce industry is a B****.

No one can guarantee a happy, ever-lasting marriage. 50 percent of people who get married, end up in a divorce.

Divorce never has a happy ending; someone eventually will get screwed, if not financially, emotionally.

Depending on the country even religion, divorces can be hard and expensive. Conclusion, in order to dissolve what you thought will last forever, is going to cost you big bucks.

The end of options.

Partnership is a box full of surprises. No matter how much we claim we know the other person, we don’t.

Some partners show their true colors after 10 and 15 years.

If we were in a relationship and were faced with one’s true colors, we have the option of leaving. Leaving in return means the possibility of finding someone better.

Nevertheless, marriage is the end of options. If your spouse turns out to be a scumbag, you’re literally stuck.

The end of dreams.

Achieving one’s goals alone is different than achieving one’s goal when you’re married. I’m not saying that one cannot dream or succeed if he’s married; I’m just saying it’s different.

Achieving dreams when you’re not married means a wide sea of possibilities. You don’t have anyone to worry about or a limit you fear to cross. When we get married however, our goals and dreams can be more limited because we have to consider the other person’s wants and needs.

I personally say one cannot achieve big dreams (as quickly or readily) and get married. Not because we can’t but because marriage is a lifestyle by itself that needs time, energy and should be carefully looked after in order not to crack.

Thus, giving attention to both your dreams and your family is something tiring and will eventually drain you of energy.

Your social life won’t be the same anymore.

When couples get married, friends—especially the ones who are still single—will see you differently. There will be parties you won’t be invited to anymore, gatherings you won’t hear about and friends you will most probably forget they exist.

It’s not the married couple—it’s their friends who got accustomed to see marriage as an isolated world, and sometimes us single folk will isolate ourselves. Single people imagine their married friends living in a house alone cuddling and speaking of getting old together.

Marriage is a personal decision. For some it’s alright, for others it’s a red line.

At the end of the day, there is no right or wrong. I am not an anti-marriage person or anti-partnership. This is just a list I have created that goes along with my current conviction.

For myself, now, I still haven’t found a practical reason of why I should marry. If I did one day, maybe I will.

Maybe.

 

Relephant reads: 

Why I’ll Never Get Married, Ever.

3 Things to Consider Before Beginning or Ending a Marriage.

Top 5 Reasons Not to Get Married.

 

Maybe marriage is for you, maybe it isn’t. But, here’s how to know if your love is the one for you:

Author: Elyane Youssef 

Editor: Renée Picard

Image: redwoodphotography at Flickr 

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Leanne Chapman Apr 3, 2016 3:03am

What an absolute load of nonsense. This article is chock full of assumptions, sweeping generalisations and stereotypes. Since when is having a partner and children part of evolving, any more than marriage is? Marry or don't marry, who cares, but for some of us marriage is about exchanging sacred vows in front of loved ones because you've already made a commitment to the other person. It's not something you do after you marry, what sort of logic is that? Everyone has different reasons for marrying or not marrying, it's not because they're blind or forced to or not committed. Grow up.

Ember Jul 22, 2015 11:40am

Unlike a lot of commenters, I did read the whole article. I always try to remain neutral, and I think this poses an interesting viewpoint.

There definitely is a LOT of sacrifice with being married. You may both want to travel, but your list of places to visit won’t always be the same or same priority. You may both want children, but a different number or not until a different age. The same would be true of a partnership. It would be wrong to say you can still have what you want, and I think most people that do are the ones whose partners are having to do all the bending. Expecting someone to do that for you or you’ll leave is frankly horrible.

The most important thing I keep remembering about marriage was summarised in another article I read about a year ago – marriage is not for you, it’s for -them-. Marriage is about loving someone enough that you want to support them, see them realise their dreams, help their days go by a little easier. Even at your own expense, sometimes. And if you both want to do that for the other, it should work well.

Marriage is not selfish. As such, I can see why parents would tell their children not to bother. They want their children to live their own lives, and have whatever experiences they want – not compromise it for someone else.

Sometimes a little selfishness is due, and you CAN compromise yourself completely if the balance isn’t there from the other person – but a lot of selfishness is not I don’t think a great way to live. To not get married because of some of the reasons above, like because you can’t just go for someone else on a whim (which, you can, and many do!) or because if you grow apart you can’t just leave (which, again, you still can and many do) are selfish reasons. No, more than that, I find them LAZY. It’s like saying ‘love isn’t worth this much effort’, or ‘love isn’t worth fighting for’. If that’s the viewpoint, then what quality of love can you even expect from any form of relationship – if it’s only to please one, and adios if not?

It’s a very sad thought indeed.

Michelle Jul 22, 2015 9:14am

I know that this is somewhat beside the point, but i think it affects people's mindset about their odds of success. That old statistic that seemingly everyone trots out about 50% of marriages ending in divorce is outdated and inaccurate. The figure is closer to 25-30%, in North America anyway, and it has been for decades. Your chance of making marriage work are much better than 50/50!

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Elyane Youssef

Elyane S. Youssef is an extraterrestrial who was given birth by Earthlings. While living on planet Earth, she fell in love with art, books, nature, writing, photography, traveling, and…pizza. Elyane finds her joy in backpacking and bonding with locals. To see the faces she interacts with on her travels, you can follow Face of the World on Instagram. Besides getting on and off planes, she is in a serious relationship with words and hopes to inspire as many people as possible through them. Once her mission is accomplished on Earth, she will return to her planet to rejoin her extraterrestrial brothers and sisters. In case you’re wondering, yes, she is still willingly obsessed with Frida Kahlo. You can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. You can also check out her macrame art on Instagram.