For some, the very mention of marriage fills them with fear. For others, it’s the glue that binds them together as a couple or family and is something that they’ve always known was absolutely right for them. In this article we will discuss if marriage is worth it.
Does Marriage Actually Make Sense Though Anymore?
It’s a subject that has caused fierce debate as society challenges the reasons why marriage is so vital to so many people. If you are already married, did you do so for love and happiness, for that more profound emotional connection and ultimate bond with your partner? Or was it perhaps a case of following family tradition or for cultural appropriateness?
Maybe your decision was a more practical one, fueled by logic and the financial benefits that accompany marriage. Perhaps it’s because you wanted to start a family and didn’t want to do that out of wedlock. There are lots of reasons why people choose to both get married or not. Just because it made sense a long time ago, doesn’t mean that it does today. Or does it?
Why Did People Favor the Union of Marriage So Much More in the Past?
If we look back in history, unfortunately, women didn’t have the same rights as men and to a certain extent were considered as ‘property.’ The fact that the traditions of marriage in Western culture do still include the ‘giving away’ of the bride by her father and taking on the husband’s last name are all testimony to those traditions. In some cultures, that goes even deeper with dowries passing hands between the families of the bride and the bridegroom. A wedding isn’t just a union between a man and a woman, it’s about the extended family connections too.
Women previously had less access to financial security in the workplace, and so marriage was often linked not so much to love and companionship, as to a position within society and a more secure and viable financial situation. Of course, that’s not the case these days with many women enjoying their own financial independence and even opting to keep their own surnames once they’re married. Does that mean that these days more women are actually marrying for love and romantic reasons?
What About the Issue of Reproduction?
It wasn’t so long ago that having children out of wedlock was positively frowned upon. Was marriage then a means of committing to having children within the societal norm? Given that we’re far more open and accepting of having children outside of marriage these days, is that another nail in the coffin for the tradition? If you can have a child when you want, enjoy your own financial freedom and keep your own name, is the concept of marriage now outdated?
It’s certainly true though that marriage with kids (either before or after you’ve had them) does make a lot of sense and can help you to all feel more connected as a family unit, especially if you all share the same surname. However, studies show that in reality, it makes no difference to either the development or behavior of a child as to whether their parents are married or not. Having a stable, loving home life is what counts. So again, is marriage losing some of its luster?
There is Still the ‘Taxes’ Argument to be Had Though, Right?
If you are looking at the practical rather than emotional aspects of marriage, this issue frequently crops up in conversation. Again, depending upon where you live, there are some tax breaks associated with being married. Is that really the case though? Certainly, it’s not an argument against marriage, but is it really one which demonstrates the value of it? If you both work, earn roughly the same amount of money, regardless of whether you do or don’t have children, there’s not really any tangible benefit. Besides which, saving money isn’t really the foundation upon which a long and happy, successful marriage is going to last.
Let’s Chat About That Critical Word – Commitment
Commitment is not the same as love, but it is a very outward demonstration to the rest of the world that the two of you mean business, that you are serious about each other, and that your intention is very much to (try and) spend the rest of your lives together.
Choosing to stand up and take solemn vows in front of your family and friends in a formal setting and a legally binding ceremony is undoubtedly meaningful; and let’s face it, once you’ve signed on the dotted line, becomes far more difficult to get out of too, not that most people think that way. Enjoying a successful and long-lasting marriage should be the intention and goal, and working to ensure that you do so, requires commitment, acceptance, and respect.
Once we have a commitment to something and we feel that deep-seated sense of ownership, we’re far more likely to put in the effort to sustain it. Whether that’s marriage, a new job or even a diet and exercise program, signing up to something and putting our marker in the sand, makes us more responsible.
So What About Love and Happiness?
Ultimately, all of the complex issues we’ve been discussing aside, the real reason why marriage is still worth pursuing is because it can bring a deep sense of happiness and belonging, of accepting yourself fully and your partner too and committing to a healthy and happy relationship. Formalizing that commitment is just the icing on the cake; love, respect and mutual acceptance are what matter, not a piece of paper.
If you are still struggling with the concept of marriage and can’t decide whether it’s worth it, a great place to go to for more information is the Save the Marriage system. It’s a fully comprehensive program that will help you navigate the choppy waters of marriage and show you the benefit of commitment and acceptance. It’s a great resource and has already contributed to successfully saving many troubled marriages.