To me, marriage is nothing more than a contract you agree on signing: a contract between you and your partner and between both of you and the state. It is a legally regulated union between two people who supposedly love each other and who are offered some social advantages by joining this union. It does give the two of you some financial and legal benefices, as well as easier access to some social services.
It is, basically, a social construct whose necessity I understand. We are all part of states functioning based on laws and regulations and societies from which we need to derive benefits and into which we want to be fully integrated. But other than these advantages marriage offers you on a social plan, I see absolutely no point in getting married, and I don’t understand the hype around it. Here are 6 reasons why I consider marriage is overestimated:
1. You get married because you are supposed to
Many get married not because it is their ardent desire to do so, but rather because they are subjects of constant external pressure. It is a human need to fit in and feel accepted (by society and families), but for some, this feeling of belonging is generated by following the patterns, by doing what “everyone else” does.
Therefore, most people get married because they’re supposed to, because it is expected from them to do so, their good or bad image in the eyes of their families or of the community they live in being conditioned by their marital status.
To motivate what they think is their deliberate choice, they hit you with “because that’s how life works”,”it is normal to get married”,”it was time for us to do so”, which, to me, proves exactly this point – the collective pressure.
I think that what matters for you and what you want for your future should be above what others think is important in life. So, don’t get married just for the sake of getting married. It may spare you of future tension, hard feelings, self-reproaches and feelings of constraint.
2. If they marry you, it doesn’t mean they love you (more)
The thing that annoys me most about marriages is probably their association with love. When people say they married out of love, I always ask them: “But didn’t you love each other before you got married?”. And their answer (always the same) “Sure we did, but now we love each other even more” drives me nuts.
Marriage is by no means proof of love. It does not state or quantify your significant other’s feelings towards you, nor is it going to augment their love from the moment of signing the paper onwards. It blows my mind that some people trust their feelings to a piece of paper and live under the illusion that it is only through marriage that their love will reach the absolute.
3. Your relationship is not going to change for the better
A sad yet intriguing thing to me was to find out that people see marriage as some sort of salvation. The “power” of marriage has been so dangerously romanticized and overestimated over the years, that some even perceive it as a way of purifying their love and ultimately save their relationship. This goes hand in hand with what I have discussed above, but this one is more than a beautiful lie. It is an illusion that can lead to huge disappointment, emotional harm, waste of time and, imminently, to failure.
If there is a lot of tension accumulated in your relationship, if you are always fighting and arguing, having a hard time finding common grounds with your partner, if you have trust issues, empathy issues, and what not, marriage isn’t going to fix the problem. It is a simple formality, don’t expect for it to change anything between you and your partner. Your relationship will stay the same, and if it is doomed to failure, it will fail regardless.
4. Marriage does not guarantee happiness
Just as dangerous as perceiving marriage as the solution to your broken relationship is believing that it is a magic tool that guarantees happiness and will seal it forever.
There are examples of “perfect couples” who have been successfully married for years and declare themselves happy, but I strongly believe that it was not marriage itself that made these people’s lives beautiful. The key to their happiness must have been something more than that: mutual love and respect, good communication, common ideals and sets of values, and a type of matching that not every couple is lucky enough to have.
At the other end, we have examples – and not a few – of those married couples that did not succeed, either getting divorced or sacrificing their lives to be with a person that makes them anything but happy. Broken or failed marriages are nothing new, yet I am surprised that people still choose not to take this into account when it comes to theirs, preferring, instead, to lie to themselves with the illusion of eternal happiness and put all their hopes into a signature on a paper.
5. The “best day of your life” is not really yours
I think we all agree that the most exciting part of marriage for every about-to-be-married couple is the wedding party, or, how they call it, the big moment in everyone’s life. There is so much effort invested into organizing this event, not to mention the financial effort! Because people go crazy when it comes to their wedding party and are willing to splurge and spend money they don’t have, only to make a good impression on others. The bride’s dress and the wedding cake have to stand out to impress the crowd and give them reasons to utter words of admiration (and, why not, of jealousy).
The sad part is that the newlyweds’ desire for an outstanding event and their desperate efforts to please the guests come with the price of them missing out on all the fun. And that’s because they are so stressed out for everything to go and look as planned, that they don’t even have time to eat the food they have so carefully selected or to enjoy the music, the place and the decorations they have put so much heart into finding. They even end up spending that special night with people they don’t really know but “had to” invite.
What’s the point of throwing a huge party where you and your loved one should be those to have the time of your life if you are not even going to enjoy it because you are so rabidly involved in making the others feel well?
6. The illusion of achievement
I find it funny that some people can find pride in them getting married. They boast about their marriage and talk about it as if it were a great accomplishment never seen before. And even funnier is the others’ greetings – Congratulations! I understand you wish them happiness and all that jazz, but what do you congratulate them on?
Marriage is not an achievement. Graduating a school is an achievement, and so is getting a job, being promoted, finishing whatever type of course, overcoming a difficult situation. Pretty much anything you have invested effort, time and work into and from what you have learned something can be classified as merit. And yes, you deserve all the credit for that. But getting married, let me tell you, is not a reason for pride. Just like being married does not make you eligible for receiving any kind of praise or congratulations. It is a decision, and at most, an instance of courage, determination and decisiveness, but not an achievement obtained through hard work.