“And even though I’m unsure about most things in life, I am certain that I love you and will continue to love you forever.” ~ Unknown
“I do”—but maybe I don’t need to.
What is marriage truly, and is it still something we need to strive for in this life?
It seems like so many of us do things simply because “we’re supposed to.” We attend college, marry, have white wedding dresses, birth children and live a life that is almost a carbon copy of everyone else’s in the western world.
But I don’t think the question is really about what marriage is—but rather, if it should still be a defining factor successful relationships strive for.
Marriage was created to legally join two people, and there are many different ways to do this depending on geographic region and religious beliefs—but the ending result is that two people have officially “made it.” They are stating to themselves, their friends and family that they are pledging their lives to one another.
The thing I’ve been stuck on lately is: why?
I’ve already been married, so perhaps this is only the retrospect vision that wearing a white dress now affords me to have, but I am wondering if the highest and deepest form of love is, in fact, to get married at all?
If two people choose to be together—to love one another without boundaries, and support each other without stipulations, through anything in life—then why does a marriage license make it any more likely to soidify that?
The sad truth is: it doesn’t.
A marriage ceremony is just one event, a day in a series of a thousand, and the reality is that going through this (usually) expensive ritual doesn’t guarantee any sort of security or everlasting happiness.
These days, we are seeing people wait even longer to take that plunge. Now, more than ever, 30-somethings are not rushing to the aisle in an attempt to fulfill the roles society has handed down to them. Instead, they are taking the time to experience life and find themselves.
As we evolve spiritually and mentally, it’s only natural to assume our romantic relationships will begin to evolve as well. What we, as humans, have sought before may no longer serve us—and by questioning everything we’ve been previously taught, it seems we are also starting to question traditional marriage.
The thing is, I’m all for marriage! But just not how I’ve been told it’s “supposed” to go.
I don’t know if I will ever wear a fancy, white dress again or have a big ceremony—part of me dreams of having a ceremony where just myself and the man I love are present.
If we exchange our own vows and rings—with no officiant, no big cake and no huge guest list—would it be any less meaningful or real? There’s a smile behind my eyes whispering, yes, and maybe even more so.
But we wouldn’t be legally bound to one another or file our taxes together, as we are so often corralled into doing, simply because it’s been the traditional way of joining two people together.
Yet, even with all of those things, we wouldn’t be doing—we would still be together every single morning, knowing that it’s a choice we make each time we open our eyes to a new day.
I don’t want to make it easy for my lover to leave, but I also don’t ever want him to wake up next to me and feel he has to be there because of a piece of paper we signed a decade ago.
I want to be chosen every single day—just as I’ll choose him.
I believe that for those who feel strongly about being joined legally with another, they should fulfill those desires by having that big, white, cupcake wedding. My only advice is to actually think about why they are doing it that way.
And some might say: What about God, Allah or Ganesh?
In many religions, it’s seen as unsanctimonious to have a man and woman living together “out of wedlock.” However, regardless of which religious text we follow, I don’t think any divine being would truly say that an unheathy marriage, where love is lost, is better than two people who are living together and loving each other every day because they choose to.
Some use religion as a tool to impose fear, and others choose to see it as the guiding light of divine love.
Each of us has the ability to think for ourselves and decide which type of life we want to lead. There is no right way to love—and for many of us, we don’t discover our own personal beliefs regarding marriage, until we actually stop and consider if we are doing something because we want to, or because we are expected to.
I fully support all of those who are evolving beyond marriage—or at least the limited definitions that we have been taught it implies.
It seems we are on the brink of beautiful waves of awakening, and that the underlying commonality we are all experiencing is that we are asking questions—we are wondering, and we are no longer blindly accepting something just because we were told to do so.
Maybe someday we will evolve fully beyond marriage, and realize that black is a perfectly acceptable color to wear while pledging our love to someone. We may even realize a marriage ceremony doesn’t have to be about a religious denomination—or all the excessive food, drink and decor—but that instead, it’s about the feelings and the words presented.
Perhaps someday, we will get to a place where love will simply out-shadow obligation.
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Yoli Ramazzina