“I do”…the magical words everyone looks forward to hearing right?.. Or do they?
Marriage isn’t as much of an expectation as it once was, but there’s still a lot of pressure around the idea of “getting married and living happily ever after”. For some, the idea of declaring their vows in front of weepy guests will be the best day of their lives.
For others, it sends a shudder of dread down their spine.
So, if you can’t weigh up whether you “do or don’t”, we’re going to help you out. You see, marriage isn’t black and white, every union is different.
Below are 6 terrible reasons to get married, and 5 beautiful signs that you should – including whether marriage is beneficial in today’s world. Let’s start with the bad news first:
6 terrible reasons to get married
Regardless of where you think you genuinely want to get married or not, it’s always a good idea to have a read of this next section. There could be cultural expectations or past trauma driving your decision.
And to find out more, we’ve spoken to relationship coach Michelle S. Thomas, founder of Your Relationship Surgeon, about marriage in the modern age. So, are you getting married for the wrong reasons?
Let’s find out:
1. You’re afraid of being alone
So many people enter mediocre or even downright toxic relationships out of fear of being alone. It doesn’t matter what age you are, there’s an expectation that if you’re alone you’ll be alone forever.
Relationship coach Thomas explains:
“Time pressure – this is mostly women, however, there are some men that have also been caught up in this also. They feel that their “age clock” is running out for the chance to get married and have children so they begin to forgo love, compatibility, and commonality and settle for convenience or close proximity just to have the title ‘married’.'”
And I get it. Being alone is frightening.
But you know what’s so much worse?
Marrying someone—anyone—just to avoid being alone and finding out that they’re terrible for you.
No one wants to grow old alone. But that shouldn’t be the only reason why you marry someone.
I know this has been said a lot of times, but it’s still very true:
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You need to be a complete person if you want to have a genuinely happy and healthy relationship—much less marriage—with anyone. You can’t make anyone happy if you can’t make yourself happy.
And sometimes, being alone for a while gives you the chance to do just that. It gives you a chance to know what kind of life you want for yourself, and live that life without having to depend on someone else.
Marriage won’t complete you. Only you can do that.
2. You want to solve your relationship problems
Getting married will not fix your relationship problems.
But somehow, that’s what a lot of people seem to think. They think that marriage is the remedy they need so the fights will stop and the spark will come back.
If anything, marriage only intensifies the problems.
It may be all sweet and magical at first, but what it does is only putting band-aids on a festering wound.
You’re still the same people, married or not.
That means that you’ll be carrying the same baggage when you enter your marriage. And that means you’ll still have the same problems.
A wedding is only a day. Marriage is your whole life.
And if there are issues in your relationship, spending your savings on a wedding won’t fix them. Instead, I’d recommend watching this free video on Love and Intimacy, by Brazilian shaman Rudá Iandê.
Rudá is a modern-day shaman. He offers practical advice and gets to the root of why many couples are unhappy in their relationships. He’ll make you confront some tough issues, but you’ll be glad you did.
He helped me identify many of the problems I was facing in relationships, and it’s completely changed how I view relationships. So before you rush into any decisions you could regret later, check out Rudá’s advice – it could bring about the real change you need.
3. You’re only doing it to prove something
Our society paints a very specific picture of a fulfilled life:
It’s a wedding. It’s kids. It is a white-picket-fence house.
As a result, we’ve always equated marriage as a sign of prosperity and maturity. No wonder why we get married just to get that validation.
People marry to prove that they have it together. They marry to prove to their ex that they can live without them. They marry to prove to everyone else that they’re happy. Heck, they even marry just to have a dream wedding.
I’ve always believed that you can’t and shouldn’t convince yourself into anything. If you don’t feel it, that’s because you don’t. It’s as simple as that.
And it’s the same with marriage.
Convincing everyone else that you’re happy will not make you happy.
Get married because it feels right for you, not because you want to prove a point.
4. You want someone to take care of you and vice versa
Yes, marriage is about caring for each other. It’s about giving someone the security of your love. A partnership is about looking out for each other.
But if you use it as an excuse to depend on someone for everything, that’s not marriage—it’s using someone for your own benefit.
What’s more, co-dependency in relationships results in many toxic dynamics.
5. You’re trying to fill a hole
We’ve all had traumas from the past. And these traumas manage to snake their way into every life decision we make.
Childhood trauma, especially, can be difficult to overcome. Many victims end up having the fantasy of a complete and happy family to compensate for the abuse and neglect they experienced as a child.
Others simply get married because they have nothing else to look forward to in life.
And sometimes, it’s to do with other types of insecurities about the future, as Thomas explains:
“There are some that will enter into a marriage because they believe that this will improve their life’s circumstances. Circumstances such as financial, status, value, and security.”
Unfortunately, marrying for these reasons doesn’t lead to any good.
You cannot build a good life with someone else if you continue harboring your old wounds. These are things you need to deal with on your own.
No one is going to fix your life for you. Marriage will not be a cure for your suffering. You must take time before you commit to looking inside, understand yourself more, and heal.
6. You feel pressured
Another classic reason why people get married even when they’re not ready yet—they feel pressured.
They’re getting old. They want to have kids. Everyone else is starting a family. On societal pressure, Thomas mentions an important factor – feeling socially accepted:
“One of the major reasons people get married is because “society” has taught us that we SHOULD be married by a certain age. We start to look at the people around us and feel like we will be more socially accepted if we are married.”
And that’s completely normal. You don’t want to feel left out.
But you have to realize:
Marriage is not a requirement for a happy life.
We have been culturally programmed to believe this. And according to Thomas, there are a few reasons why some cultures still push the idea of marriage as an essential part of life:
“There are a lot of cultures that “groom” children into understanding that their only way of acceptance, whether for religious reasons, familial reasons or sexual reasons, marriage is the only goal.”
I’m not saying marriage is wrong. It’s far from that. Marriage is a beautiful way to express love and commitment—if your reasons are right.
So take the time to reflect if marriage is something you want for yourself, and not something you’re supposed to want because it’s a tradition.
5 signs you should get married
If none of the reasons above has got you running for the hills yet, good for you!
But you’re not out of trouble yet. Sure, you may feel completely ready to get married. You may have the right reasons to think so, but you have to consider a few more things.
Below, I’ve listed a couple of signs that prove you’re getting married for the right and valid reasons:
1) You are both “complete” individuals
Yes, marriage is about two people coming together and building a life with each other. But marriage doesn’t mean giving up your individuality.
Don’t forget, you’re still going to be yourself when you get married. Your partner won’t suddenly complete you. And they shouldn’t be your whole life either.
Marriage is about two completely whole and separate individuals sharing their life.
You should come into a marriage as two happy and fulfilled individuals and have a solid understanding of each other that continues to evolve as you both do.
2) You completely trust each other
I know it’s been said a lot of times, but trust really is one of the most important foundations of any relationship.
It’s extremely hard to build and rebuild.
Remember, you and your partner will make mistakes. You will inevitably hurt each other, hopefully unintentionally.
That is why trust in each other is crucial. You have to trust the fact that yes, you will end up being hurt by your partner in varying degrees, but at least you should know one absolute thing:
That they don’t mean to hurt you deliberately. That they have your best interest at heart. And they respect your choices and decisions.
If you feel like this is someone you can trust completely, it’s a good sign your marriage will be a successful one. If not, then you know there are issues you still need to handle and it’s not the right time to marry yet.
3) You fight “well”
Conflict will always be there.
How you handle it determines the future of your marriage.
You have to know how to fight well and fight fair. Both of you should be able to resolve conflict healthily and maturely.
Some couples never argue, which is just as bad as couples who fight all the time. Take a look at your relationship and how you handle fights and disagreements.
If you believe that you both manage conflict productively, then you know you already have the right skills to be together for the rest of your lives.
4) You’ve spent some time truly getting to know each other
How much time do you need to get to know someone enough to marry them?
Time is subjective and only you can judge that.
Thomas makes an important point here:
“We no longer are in an environment that we are forced into following the old concept of marriage. Marriage used to be more of an arrangement than based on love and attraction. Now marriage can be enjoyed because of the powerful experience of true love. People now have the time to get to know their partner before embarking into a marriage.”
At least enough time to know them deeply—their innermost thoughts, dreams, life goals. But also know their fears, shame, and how they react when the world is not kind to them.
These are things that could probably take a lifetime to know from a person. And you shouldn’t wait until you know everything single detail about their life. But at least get to know the most important things first.
5) You express love freely
Have you heard of the “magic ratio” that makes love last?
Dr. Gottman and Robert Levenson came up with this groundbreaking discovery when in their lifelong study on how married couples make their relationship last.
The ratio is 5 to 1. For every negative interaction during a conflict, a healthy and stable creates 5 or more positive interactions.
Dr. Gottman explains: “When the masters of marriage are talking about something important, they may be arguing, but they are also laughing and teasing and there are signs of affection because they have made emotional connections.”
You don’t need to be extremely sweet. You just need to have deep intimacy and be able to laugh together as a couple.
Essentially, freely expressing love and affection is the key to a long and happy marriage. If you don’t have enough in your relationship, then it might be necessary to look into the reasons why.
Are there modern-day benefits to getting married?
As with anything, the decision truly lies with you. The benefits of marriage aren’t rigid, what’s right for one person might be terrible for you, so it’s a case-by-case issue.
With that being said, the modern world has allowed marriage to evolve. The traditional rules don’t apply as much as they used to. According to Thomas:
“If you find the “right” partner your life can experience joys and pleasures far beyond your wildest dreams. Connecting with your soulmate today has no borders or boundaries. Technology has opened opportunities for us to learn, connect and fall for anyone on the planet. That benefit affords us the opportunity of living any experience with our partner that we desire.”
Another way marriage is beneficial is the financial aspect – sharing the cost of housing, bills, and expenses is often easier to do when you have two incomes coming in.
But of course, getting married purely for financial reasons is a recipe for disaster, so ask yourself:
Why am I getting married?
Is it for love? Commitment? To build and grow together?
If it’s not, you’ve got some thinking to do, and some hard truths to confront. Better to do it now than after you’ve said: “I do”.
So is marriage worth it?
According to a relationship coach, Thomas:
“ABSOLUTELY, with the right person! But that is the key. Have the patience to find the person that embraces, empowers, and accepts you to gain the most out of marriage.”
But again, the beauty of this question comes down to you.
We’ve all got our personal views on marriage, but one thing we can all agree on is that if it isn’t for the right reasons, it’s going to end in a lot of pain and disappointment.
And when it is done right?
There’s no doubt marriage is a beautiful union of two people, committing to love each other and support each other through life.
It’s a declaration to the world, but most importantly between the two of you that you’ll look out for each other and love unconditionally.
But just as equally, this can be done with or without signing a marriage certificate. The main thing is to have a relationship that brings you both happiness, growth, and above all, love.