Marriage in the 21st century is an interesting concept. While some couples choose alternative routes to relationships like polyamory, others are in favor of dissolving the age-old tradition altogether. A quote from a 2015 Fox News piece began circulating around the internet recently, prompting a number of users to share their own views on love and marriage. The post claimed that the reason most men have issues with commitment is because marriage offers no advantage to men. The post read:
"Because there's nothing in it for them: What exactly does marriage offer men today? 'Men know there's a good chance they'll lose their friends, their respect, their space, their sex life, their money and — if it all goes wrong — their family,' says Helen Smith, Ph.D., author of 'Men on Strike.' 'They don't want to enter into a legal contract with someone who could effectively take half their savings, pension and property when the honeymoon period is over. Men aren't wimping out by staying unmarried or being commitment-phobes. They're being smart.'"
The post even caught the attention of celebrities, including rapper and reality TV star, T.I., who reposted the quote with the following caption:
"Just found some info out there from @nay6ah60d_neal I thought I'd share… and mind you, I DIDNT WRITE THIS,A WOMAN DID…. but I do agree to a degree. I've heard it,& seen this a million times over. Note to women: Happiness needs no validation….The Ego does. Most women out there nowadays just wanna be married to impress they friends,family (his side pieces) and fit into society's standards. THATS NOT LOVE!!! That's how you end up stuck with someone YOU THOUGHT YOU WANTED!!!! No matter what… Whatever you do…
Do what you do to make YOU HAPPY!!! -The End"
His thoughts triggered a variety of responses internet-wide that both supported and refuted his claim.
His response proves that we as women need to evaluate our beliefs as they relate to love and millennial dating. I may be cynical, but it seems that the general synopsis toward marriage among people is that they lose more than they gain after establishing a union for a lifetime with their partner.
According to Helen Smith's thesis, a man's life changes as it pertains to finances, friendship, and sex, after marriage. But doesn't a woman's life also change in those same ways? Other than a title and romantic security, what advantage does marriage really have to either party?
Think about the reasoning behind bachelor/bachelorette parties. We use those times as one last night to mourn the glamorous single life and what it meant to us before we head into a dreaded life of monotonous monogamy. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Our mothers and grandmothers were raised to believe that marriage was a form of validation. In a time where the primary breadwinner was the man in the relationship, that union was essential to a woman developing a successful life and building a family. But millennial women are on some new sh*t. We can be ballers, have babies, and leave legacies all without the help of men, leaving millennial women to wonder exactly what's in it for them when it comes to marriage after everything that they're forced to give up.
This idea of give and take in this conversation is interesting to me, because from my standpoint as a 25-year-old unmarried black woman, love is supposed to be about sacrifice, not what one loses or gains after solidifying a commitment.
The traditional idea that love is a prison, where upon entering you are forced into giving up everything you hold near to you, is outdated. We as women are no longer rushed into marriage due to untimely pregnancies or financial woes. We have the choice to spend our lives with whoever we choose, so it's important that we redefine our expectations of an ideal union and choose wisely.
Women prove every day that the concept of marriage is no longer equal to success or validation, so the only thing to keep in mind when you make that choice is your own happiness.
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