There aren’t many good reasons to get married. I can only think of one: needing to get married.
Wanting to is never the best reason, as our wants either change, or we come to realize our reasons for wanting weren’t the greatest.
There are, however, a million and one reasons not to get married.
Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but there are plenty of bad reasons to enter such a union -- and worse yet, these horrible reasons are more often than not the reasons why people do get married.
If you aren’t getting married for the right reason then, by default, you’re getting married for the wrong reason.
The decision to get married does have a huge impact on your life, regardless of what your reason for getting married may be.
Do yourself a favor and be clear on what you're getting yourself into and why.
Here are five of the most prevalent wrong reasons to get married:
Constant pressure from family and friends.
My mom has been asking me when I’d be getting married since I turned 21 -- my grandma started pestering me about it as soon as I turned 18, maybe even sooner.
Thankfully, my grandpa always set me straight: “Whatever you do… never get married. Life's too short.”
Of course, he was kidding, partly anyhow. I’m sure he’d be incredibly happy to see me walk down that aisle, but at least he knows better than to try and pressure me into it -- because that’s what many families do.
I know plenty of friends who have parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles who all pressure them into entering holy matrimony.
Even if not direct pressure, the constant half-joking questions our family often makes us uncomfortable with feel like pressure.
In addition, marriage can be contagious. Have you ever noticed close groups of friends seem to say, “I do,” as if it were triggered by some sort of domino effect?
As if an epidemic was slowly brewing within your little community?
I wish they would make a vaccination for such cases, but unfortunately, they don’t.
You’re going to have to do your best to resist on your own.
Feeling alone and fearing being alone forever.
This is one I often worry about, myself. I’ve gotten accustomed to being on my own, but some days are more difficult than others.
Yet I would sooner be alone than pretend to be happy in a relationship I know I can never be happy in.
No one is happy being lonely -- loneliness is sadness, literally.
It’s a certain kind of sadness, but it is sadness nonetheless, however, some sadness in your life is necessary. Some sadness is good. More than that, it’s inevitable.
If you can’t run from it or avoid it, then you may as well embrace it, learn from it, become better for it.
Sadness is your mind notifying itself that it needs an emotional void filled.
The problem most come to face in such situations is believing that void can be filled by any individual.
The void you feel is emotional in nature, not physical. Therefore, unless the individual you are bringing into your life fills that emotional void, he or she will simply make that void more apparent.
Filling such a void is difficult, but mainly because most people don’t understand what it is they are missing.
Once you figure that out, you’ll have a much higher chance at building a successful relationship.
In the meantime, do your best not to fear that which you can’t control.
Feeling like you can’t and won’t do better -- settling.
Better is subjective. In this case, it shouldn’t be part of your vocabulary.
Feeling like you could do better or there is better or could be better is a clear sign you should not be getting married.
The only time marriage works is when two individuals love each other enough, for the right reasons. It’s not about believing you’ve found the best person in the world.
It’s not about believing you’ve found the smartest, strongest, most beautiful person in the world.
It’s not even believing you’ve found “the one.” It’s meeting someone you believe to be so incredible, so remarkable, so perfect for YOU that you don’t want or need to look for anyone else.
You understand there may very well be someone objectively “better” out there, but that isn’t of any interest to you.
You’re not looking for better… in fact, you’re not looking at all; you’ve already made up your mind.
Wanting to have children.
I understand the motivation behind this one -- especially for women. The fact is women have a timer running.
Even with advancements in technology and medicine, the longer you wait to have children, the more difficult it will be to have them, and the more risks both the woman and child will be exposed to.
This may change in the next 50 years, but for now, that’s the way things stand.
Biological clocks aside, having children when you're older -- for both the man and woman -- changes the relationship between parents and child.
If you have a child in your 40s, by the time he or she can legally drink a beer in the US, your doctor may be recommending you stay away from alcohol entirely.
Of course, the longer you wait to have children, the more difficult it becomes to find someone who still wants to have children.
Once you get into your late 30s and 40s, you’re going to probably start dating divorcees, who may very well already have children.
Children need to be raised in a loving household in order to be raised properly. If the relationship between parents is rocky, it can have a negative effect on the child.
There is nothing more important to a child’s development than feeling loved.
There are now many ways to have children and many different ways to raise them.
If you really want children, then it may be wiser to raise them on your own than to raise them in a household filled with unhappiness and negativity.
Feeling like that’s what you’re supposed to do.
This one sneaks up on us the easiest. We’ve been taught, from a very early age, the thing to do when we grow up is to get married.
It’s ingrained in just about every culture in the world -- at least in all the more modern cultures across the globe.
Because we feel marriage is a requirement, a necessity, we pressure ourselves into getting married without always knowing.
Marriage only exists because human beings created it. And why did we create it? To make these unions profitable to the parents of the betrothed.
Marriage was -- and often still is -- a business transaction. But now we throw romantic love into the mix, and we have this perfect concoction of reasons to hate ourselves and our lives.
First, we worry about not finding our soulmate, about not finding love, and then, we worry about not being married so much so that some will abandon searching for love for the sake of getting married.
If you’re willing to throw away the possibility of love for a piece of paper, tax cuts and the illusion of companionship, then you need to reprioritize.
A bad marriage will leave you feeling more alone than being alone could ever make you feel.
You’ll feel like a prisoner in your own home. Marriage can be the most beautiful of unions, but it can also be the most torturous. Be careful with your “I dos.”