Every time you check Facebook, it seems yet another person has announced their engagement.
The couple acts as if they have fulfilled the ultimate fantasy. But this fantasy is just that: a fantasy.
I had the chance to speak with a divorce expert, Amy*, who has worked as a certified life and divorce coach for eight years.
We discussed the magical day all girls fantasize about, but the reality is actually not so magical. In fact, it's pretty grim.
A wedding is a pricey and time-consuming affair, but unless the relationship lasts, they will wind up paying even more for a divorce. According to Amy, divorce costs three to 10 times more than a wedding.
So before saying "I do," it's wise for couples to consider the possibility of "I don't."
Here are four reasons marriages don't last, according to a divorce expert:
1. Love is not enough for a successful marriage.
As cruel as it sounds, love has little to do with any marriage. The myth "all you need is love" is only a marketing plan created by the savvy people in the wedding industry.
Love will eventually fade, no matter how strong it is at the start. What will stay will be your interests and values. These two things need to be in sync with your partner's before you even consider making this long term.
A marriage is supposed to take place between people who share the same ideas, so they can work toward them together and achieve their common goal.
2. Marriage is a business contract.
Nowadays, we see weddings as lavish affairs requiring expensive rings, expensive dresses and a team of people to tend to the details. Weddings and marriages are painted as joyful parties, rich in love and butterflies.
Years ago, marriages were contracts between families. Women were exchanged for political or financial benefits.
Today, in the eyes of the law, they are still just legal contracts. When you marry, you legally link yourself to another person's assets and debts. You legally agree to share everything.
If that is not understood from the beginning, Amy says you will likely have some money arguments down the line, which could end in disaster.
3. Marriage is a golden cage.
That's another hard reality: From the moment a woman weds, she is locked in a hypothetical cage. This cage is meant to protect her and her children, but it is restrictive nonetheless.
Whether we like it or not, our spouse is part of the definition of who we are to society. Unfortunately, many women lose their identities to the idea of marriage, and even after a divorce, it is still difficult to get that back, Amy notes.
Isn't that romantic?
4. Women and men are still not equals.
Since women earned the right to vote, it has been assumed that women are equal to men. This must mean marriages are 50/50 affairs, right?
Wrong. Women are not equal to men, and our society states this very clearly, even if it masks the message.
In a modern marriage, the woman is expected to work as much as a man. But in many homes, the stereotype of the patriarchal married couple is still alive.
Amy says a woman could grow resentful of these expectations over time, which will undoubtably strain the marriage.
So, is marriage an equal partnership based on love? Unfortunately, not in many cases, according to Amy. Marriage is a legal business. Values, goals and delegation of work all factor into whether or not the marriage will last.
Luckily, we are in a generation that does not require marriage for a person to be successful.
We have the opportunity to marry who we want (if we want to marry at all). And we have the resources to approach it with educated and practical thinking.
At the end of your deliberation, if you still believe your marriage will last, then you have my blessing.
*Name has been changed.