If you are thinking about getting married someday, I hope this message inspires you to think twice. If you are already married, I hope these words help you and your partner overcome the damage that marriage may have done to you and that, together, you may heal in love. I’m not against marriage, but I am in favor of perfect love that never fades, inner peace, family stability and joyfulness—all of which marriage fails to deliver.
We’ve all heard the opinions against marriage, but sometimes it feels like deciding against marriage is deciding against life-long companionship, children, stability and all those wonderful things which marriage supposedly brings. Nothing is further from the truth! My position against marriage is a position in favor of everything marriage supposedly offers but fails to do so.
Here are my top 10 reasons that marriage fails to deliver what it promises:
1) Marriage places too much focus on the superficial.
When you are in love with someone and decide to be together forever, you should spend your time celebrating that love in private while at the same time looking at the reality of what it means to bring your lives together. There are the living arrangements, the finances, the household chores, the interests and hobbies you both need space for, the family and friendship relationships in both your lives, and so much more.
What do engaged couples do instead? During the wedding planning phase, they spend far too much time and money on the superficial: engagement rings, wedding dresses, cakes, flowers, venues, guest lists, on and on. So much wasted on things that nobody really cares about—things that have nothing to do with your long-term happiness or success as an individual or a couple.
Wedding planning is a huge distraction from everything a couple should enjoy focusing on and making real steps toward. If you want to spend your life together with someone, why not just get started with life instead of this huge, kind of silly spectacle called a wedding?
2) Marriage often prevents couples from real communication and from finding their true path.
Despite what the movies tell us and everyone believes, there is more than one way to do a committed relationship. When two souls unite and your lives merge, why not start with a blank canvass?
What are your needs and those of your partner? Do you believe in unconditional love? Do you practice total openness? Or are there boundaries that you wish to clearly establish? How do you feel about meaningful communication with exes or even new friendships or flirtations?
Marriage is a rigid idea that limits your ability to decide your own reality as a couple. If you're mature enough to commit to each other, you don’t need marriage. Just be open about how you feel, what you need, what excites you, what scares you—and then allow your partner space to do the same.
This is a journey and it takes some time, but if you can get to total understanding through true communication along with trial and error, you will end up with a committed relationship that meets everyone’s needs—and you don’t need any institution to agree with your choices.
3) Marriage is about roles, not about authenticity, honesty and acceptance.
That blissful feeling of being in love is what happens when two people are open and accepting of one another. If you can continue to do this, that feeling of perfect love with no resentment continues—even for life.
To get married is to ruin this feeling of love by agreeing to accept a bunch of default rules and by playing a role. If, one day, you or your partner find yourselves with thoughts, feelings or needs which fall outside the rules and conventions of marriage, now you feel like the relationship has failed. No, in this case the idea of marriage has failed; not necessarily your relationship.
It is enough that you love one another, always be open, and always do your best to accept truth and to work through your feelings together in love. Marriage is this huge, scary, restrictive thing that makes true communication and openness more difficult.
4) Marriage takes away your freedom to love and to follow your own life path.
Why should the church or the state have anything to say about the way you love or what you choose to do with another consenting adult? Too often, marriage is something people jump into without even understanding it and then, when it fails, they are at the mercy of the courts to decide things that the couple should have worked out on their own.
Why not talk about everything upfront? Will we have kids? How many? What happens if we decide to break up? What if I cheat? What if either of us wants an open relationship? What is your position on debt? Do we want to combine our money or do we want to keep it separate? How would we separate the money if one day we ever split up?
To sign a contract limiting your freedom to love is a tragically foolish decision. Talk about it. Work it out. Regardless of whether you are married, don’t have kids or combine your finances until you are in full agreement and trust each other completely. The stakes are far too high and marriage doesn’t make it any safer!
5) Marriage punishes failure.
Nobody wants a relationship to fail. That’s never the plan. It isn’t as though you need to setup a huge punishment or put forth this ridiculous contract to prevent your partner from leaving you. They aren’t going to leave. That’s why you’re deciding to live together, to have kids and everything, right?
If the whole thing ends up falling apart, that’s tragic enough. On top of this, you don’t need to go through the painful and expensive legal process called divorce. Work things out day-by-day and never agree to anything you might regret later.
Oh, and when it comes to kids: respect each other. You are both parents, you both do your best, and even if your relationship ends it doesn’t mean you have a right to remove the other parent from the child’s life. You are both adults and want to do your best. Show some respect to the person you love or once loved. Work it out as the decent people you are.
If this fails and you must get the courts involved for custody issues or child support, you can do that even if you’ve never been married. Marriage adds nothing of value here.
6) Marriage brings a set of rules that most people cannot adhere to.
Let’s get real, these days it is extremely unlikely for two people to fall in love and never have any needs or desires outside the relationship. I’m not saying that every relationship needs to be an open relationship, but whatever you do agree to should be between you—and it should be specifically talked about, understood, and agreed to by both parties without any reservations. Otherwise, marriage or no marriage, you aren’t ready to start a life together.
Oftentimes, marriage helps people avoid these kinds of honest conversations and difficult decisions. Then, you end up quite shocked later to find out who you married. Open-up, have some real conversations, be honest. You may be surprised to find out how exciting and enjoyable this is—even if it can be scary at first. But there’s no other way for two people to make a life-long relationship work and to establish real trust.
7) Marriage is so scary that people end up alone.
These days, so many people stay single because they are terrified about the idea of marriage. They want to spend their lives with that special person, they want children, but the idea of marriage is so huge and scary that they sabotage relationships before it gets to this stage. This is tragic.
You don’t need to be married in order to live together and to have children. If marriage scares you, then don’t do it. Enjoy your relationship. Be yourself. Live your life.
8) Marriage adds nothing.
Are we talking about hospital visitation rights? Inheritance? This can be dealt with directly with separate contracts and agreements (as can everything else in life).
I would have a very difficult time coming up with reasons that marriage makes sense. What is the purpose? To spend your savings for a big day? To post pictures that aren’t entirely honest? To trap someone for life? What exactly does marriage add?
9) Marriage is way too expensive.
The diamond ring, wedding dress, the food and drinks, the travel, the venue, the flowers, the invitations—what if you kept that money in your savings account or used it to actually start your life together?
Would you not sleep better just skipping that year-long engagement where you are pressured by salespeople (and your partner) to spend all your money on things you don’t want?
10) An untethered love relationship and life together is far more romantic!
Do you want the most important decision of your life to be something so unoriginal that you have nothing to say about it? Or do you want to blaze your own trail as an individual, couple, and family?
We were not born just to adhere to a set of rules that have already been figured out. Follow the path of normalcy, guided by fear, and your life will not have much impact. You will not be remembered for anything in particular and you will not have much of a story to tell.
Everything you want is found in your freedom to do it. You don’t have to sacrifice your freedom for perfect love, a committed, loving relationship and family. Nothing is found in sacrifice, while instead everything is…well…sacrificed. Be brave enough to have it all and give the same to the person you love.
A committed relationship is a creative endeavor which also happens to be the most enjoyable and meaningful thing we do in life. Allow yourself to grow, to be you, and to let your love flow freely. Whether or not you are married, do not give marriage any importance.
What matters is only the love you share and the most romantic thing you can do is own it, celebrate it, and live it on your terms. Marriage doesn’t matter, what's between you and that special person does.