Marriage seems for most to be the natural course of life. You grow up, graduate high school and either get a job or go to college and then somehow, someway find that perfect person to call your own. But with people now waiting longer to get married and starting lucrative careers, more pause is being taken before people take their vows and say “I do.” Research reports that since 2001, the number of people getting married has been continuously decreasing each year. In 1970 72% of the population was married and now the number is just slightly over 50%. Likewise the percent of divorced people is rapidly on the rise. Obviously, all this data is making people think twice before getting married. So, Should people get married in this day and age when nothing in life seems to be permanent or long lasting?
Another factor in the decline in marriages is no doubt the effect that divorce has on the mindset of young adults. More and more commonly people in their twenties considering marriage are from a broken home themselves. This may add to their apprehension and guarded sense of taking a marital vow. Of the 82% of married couples that make it to their 5th wedding anniversary only half of those people are likely to make it to their 10th. As times goes on, the chances of longevity in a marriage simply decline. The numbers are alarming enough to make every person question whether or not people should get married and if so, why?
Most people are able to understand that love in the beginning is full of passion, romance, fire and flame. It’s all good! The sex is good, the company is good and the fact that there is very little shared responsibility makes life very easy for a couple. Living in separate homes gives each person enough freedom and the worries are usually few. There is little to worry about. If the relationship breaks down there aren’t things like children, financial woes and societal judgment to take into account and most certainly people move on. Breaking up is much easier before the legality of marriage is implemented and dating is quite simply fun. For centuries men and women have been warned of the long term and certain effects of saying I do. The sex disappears, the wife turns into a nag, the husband turns into a lazy pile of crap etc….So why change a thing? If you are getting the milk for free, why buy the cow?
At some point after a certain period of time it just seems natural that the next step is to get married. Often, only one partner truly wants to wed while the other feels fine the way things are. For fear of losing the relationship altogether couples get married. Soon after the 98.6 degrees of marriage returns as the feverish thrill dissipates into a warm and cozy feeling that can seem boring compared to the alternative. Very few people plan for this. After everything is said and done and two people are stuck watching TV in the same living room night after night, working the same jobs every day and following a routine of life- what is left to do or say? This complacency leads to the realization that there are lots of things that you don’t like about your partner. Unfortunately, it’s too late! You are married now and must deal with it all.
The flip side of the coin says that just because things change doesn’t necessarily meant hey are bad. Life is about a series of transitional periods and when we marry, we transition together. Sometimes one partner may be ahead of the other while other times the growth happens in unison. Making it through each phase of growth together is an accomplishment all in itself. Even if you have dated someone for 10 years, rarely do you discuss in any detail real life situations that tend to make or break a marriage. Suddenly married with all sorts of new commitments and expectations the world gets difficult. It is easy to think back to your days of singleton life and realize that you had it made. There was no one to answer to, no one to worry about, no one to take care of and certainly no one to tell you what you could or should do or not do. Before you get lost in a sea of regret think about how you spent your time when you were single. Did the occasional loneliness bother you? Did you feel complete? Did you spend your free time searching or hunting for a partner? Were you always on the prowl for a new hook up? Did you envy other people who were married and starting families of their own? Did you feel pressured to find someone in order to fit in or did you believe that marriage was not only expected but required to be taken seriously in life? Should people get married?
“Love at first sight is easy to understand, its when two people have been looking at each other for a lifetime that it becomes a miracle…” Amy Bloom
So what are the benefits of marriage? Marriage does allow people to calm down a bit and finally commit to getting to know one person inside and out. It is definitely nice to have the closeness and knowing that someone in this world loves you and is committed to a relationship with you. It is also nice to be taken serious as an adult and marriage affords each of us a little bit of that. Marriage is also frighteningly one of the few ways that allow for the creation of a family without judgment. It is difficult to understand that in 2009 with families coming in so many ways that people still judge unwed parents who have children. The fact remains that they do! Marriage can be a really nice arrangement. Finally, you can just be yourself and be comfortable doing so knowing that you are married. There are often financial benefits and even banks tend to take couples more seriously than single people. Marriage is also a rite of passage that ‘begins you life journey.” Now you can start planning for a future and everything that means to you. Yes, you can do all these things as a single person but there is still a weighted brick that lay on the back of most single people in their late twenties and thirties. You must get married!
Even with all the benefits there are a plethora of back drops to marital bliss as well. No matter how hard a couple tries to hold onto their autonomy, some is lost along the way. Certain behaviors and actions that may have been accepted or look passed before are now unacceptable and can lead to emotional or physical infidelity. Sometimes being in a marriage feels a lot like being a kid again. All those years of not being able to wait to grow up and then suddenly you are confined again by the emotions of another person. Not jail like of course, but the flying by the seat of your pants, making your own decisions and living by your own will are stifled a bit. Then of course there is the sexual boredom that eventually sets in. Honestly, how many times can you make love to the same person before it gets old? Many partners take foreplay and romance less seriously and some of the passion is no doubt lost. If you think for a minute that it won’t happen to you, you are dead wrong…eventually it will!
Enter kids into the picture and the story line of marital bliss can be even harder. Two people now have to agree or come up with a way to raise more people and nurture them into healthy and happy beings. Kids get in the way of a lot of things. Yes, they are a blessing and they add much love to a union; but they are also hard to deal with, stressful and increase the responsibility and expectations of a couple ten fold. If you think you were tied down before you had a husband or wife; you will be shocked at the shackles that children place upon us. Children also exasperate al the things that we realize we don’t like about the person we married. They expose their true self and child hood maladies that have the potential to turn us all into children again. So be forewarned. Possibly, a law should be in place that couples have to wait 5 years before having children. Dog kids are a great way to start out in this area!
“Love is a temporary insanity, curable by marriage”
Should people get married? That question is a very personal one. Marriage is definitely losing its appeal and the media has by all means helped it along. The answer to the question remains the same…if it feels right for you then you should get married. If you don’t see yourself as a married person and feel the life is not right for you, then you should not get married. Any married person that tells you that marriage doesn’t change anything is absolutely wrong. Marriage changes a lot. Luckily the balance of marriage can have as many positive effects as negative and the key to a happy marriage is to remain true to your self through out.
The fairy tale stories that men and women hear as children are just that…fairy tales. The altruistic story is a little less glamorous and takes much more work. Marriage requires us to give up certain parts of ourselves and often to put our individual dreams on hold for a bit. Many people find that what they wanted in the beginning is totally different than what they want in the end. There is so much give and take in a marriage that it is difficult to keep score and even harder to break even. Is it worth it? Most of the time happily married people will say that it is. But keep in mind that happily married people don’t get that way overnight. In order for a marriage to last, people need to remain in a state of unspoiledness that is tempered to stay true to commitment and willing to work through a lot of mental, emotional and physical garbage. The first ten years are really about the unfolding of the relationship and the people involved. Sometimes it is difficult to know ourselves truly until we are forced into cohabitation with another. Other people feel vehemently that no person should get married regardless of the circumstance. Probably wise to take note of their reasons either way and decide for yourself what kind of life you want.
If you have spent time wondering whether or not people should get married and you are one of those people that you are wondering about, suggestions would lead to waiting a bit. Marriage in its institutional set up is rewarding, fulfilling and offers many happy experiences. Uncertainty about anything usually means people are resisting a gut instinct. In other words, asking the question “Should people get married” probably indicates that there is enough doubt in your mind that you right now you shouldn’t. When the time for marriage comes – you will know it is right!