Sunday, September 7, 2014

Why Not to Marry

To marry or not to marry … that is the question

I am going to tell you why NOT to marry right now.

There are lots of lovely things to be said about love and marriage. It can be a beautiful thing if you are in love, being loved right back, and are emotionally mature. If you are thinking with a level head about your life and the future compatibility with your special someone, imagining being together forever will feel warm and good.

But I want to be blunt and list some reasons why not to get married right now.  

If any of these apply to you, I suggest you wait and think more on this very important life choice:

1.     All your friends are getting married and you feel left out.

2.     You are itching for a pretty wedding (a wedding is neither a marriage nor the reason for one).

3.     It’s the next step in Your Plan. Just because you finished college, got a job, had some fun being single, and are a certain age does not mean you marry so you can finish the puzzle you might be thinking your life should look like.

4.     You are lonely. We all get lonely.  And honestly a part of why a lot of folks marry is because they want to be coupled and not spend their lives single (and a bit lonely). But don’t let it be a big part of why you are marrying.  You might be clouded by fears of being alone rather than judging your compatibility or the quality of your commitment.

5.     You are afraid of losing him if you don’t tie it down right now.  (Fear is not a good place from which to make decisions. Especially big ones)

6.     Your family thinks you should. This is YOUR LIFE.

7.     Your friends think it’s time. (Ditto.)

8.     You are pregnant.  This may be an arguably good enough reason to marry given many other factors. But marrying someone who isn’t right for you,  isn’t kind, or doesn’t love and respect you -  just because you are pregnant and planning to have a baby – is not good enough reason alone to marry.

9.     You are engaged. Yep. You heard me. Just because you are engaged and have been planning to get married, doesn’t mean you should go forward if things aren’t going well. I hear people say it a lot, “We already told the family, bought the rings and everything, so I felt like I had to go forward.” This is not a good reason or place from which to start a lifelong commitment. If the relationship is showing distress, seek counseling or postpone the wedding. Figure out if it’s right to marry this person for a lifetime, not if you will be embarrassed in the short term by changing course.

10.                         Just because you are invested. This is a term I hear too much. We do invest. We invest our time and labor and love into lots of things. If you think you are invested now, just imagine 15 years from now after your heart wasn’t in it from the start.  We spend time with people, we love, we share joys and sadness and live our lives in relationship to others. Sometimes that ends. It doesn’t mean what we shared wasn’t or isn’t important. It also doesn’t mean it must last forever if the elements for continued shared joy and commitment are no longer present. Move on if this is the main reason you are deciding to move into marriage.


It might seem from what I have said that I am against marriage. I am not. However I see a lot of folks get clouded as to why they are marrying and what is motivating this huge decision. 

So let’s face facts: A large percentage of marriages will end in divorce. I know I may sound cynical, but I work with clients going through divorce and let me tell you, you want to choose your next ex very carefully.  I am serious. If you marry and divorce this person, chances are you are going to have to negotiate the most important aspects of life with him or her: children and money. You don’t want to do this with an unkind, deceptive, uncaring or disrespectful person.  It will be hell. Choose marriage wisely, as you may very well be also choosing your co-parent during a divorce.

And last, we live alot longer than ever in human history. Marriage was so very useful, and in many ways imperative (especially for women) in days past. The factors that made marrying as vital as it once was have changed. Today we can marry for love, and to add value to our lives.  We can take our time and choose wisely.

Just think, you can wait until age 30 to marry and still spend easily 5 to 6 decades with this person. Don’t you think you should be very clear about why you are choosing this person, and if you are ready before you promise yourself for the next 50 +years?

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