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10 Terrible Reasons To Get Married

You're thinking too much about the wedding, and not enough about the marriage, sis.

Marriage

A wedding is a day that most women dream about as little girls. Many have imagined exactly how the day will look, having picked out the venue, the man, and of course the dress. It marks a time filled with love, joy, and hope for the future that the two of you will spend the rest of your lives together. But before a wedding, it would be wise to take a moment to get clear on your reasons for saying "I do," thinking not so much about the wedding but instead, your reasons for wanting to be married.

The wedding day itself can be filled with both anxiety and excitement but this one day should not be the determining factor in your decision to make a lifelong commitment. With divorce rates as high as fifty percent in America, according to the APA, a marital union is one that should be weighed with careful consideration. A wedding ceremony is literally one day that will change the course of your life so it's important to be clear on your reasons before taking the leap to husband and wife.

Here's my top ten list of reasons NOT to take a trip down the aisle.

1. You’re lonely or feel alone.

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This is probably the dumbest--I mean, the most common reason single people desire marriage. Most women, particularly those of a certain age, have bought into the narrative of dying miserably and alone. This fear is so great, sometimes, that if a man comes along, even if he lacks qualities that we want in a life partner, we may feel a knee-jerk reaction to cling onto them, if they'll have us. The sinking fear of losing our last chance at love is so intense that it can cause us to settle for anyone that comes along just so we don't end up being alone.

2. You feel pressure from your family, friends, or society. 

Let's be honest. Women over 30 are all too aware of the ticking time bomb that is our biological clock. And if the prospect of our eggs drying up isn't enough to scare us into finding a mate, then the fear of becoming an old maid is. And you know what's worse? It be your own family! Single folks have it hard enough on the dating scene trying to explain our singlehood to other singles, let alone those closest to us. I bet I can speak for a lot of singles when I say we all had at least one reason to thank COVID in 2020: for helping us evade the inevitable inquiries about your dating life at the annual family functions.

Instead of feeling the pressure from our relationship status, it may serve us better to get clear about what it is we actually want. I, for one, have had to get clear and really ask myself, "Do I really want a relationship? Or do I feel this way because it's what's expected of me?"

3. Because you have chemistry and amazing sex.

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Unfortunately, it's a common mistake that many people make, confusing sexual attraction for compatibility. Child, I would be lying if I said I've never been in a relationship where the sex was so good that I considered proposing mid-act, myself. But sexual compatibility does not a marriage make. Couples who have been together for long periods of time will tell you about the challenges of a marriage that come after years of being together and that the physical nature of intimacy grows with an emotional connection rather than a physical one. I'm not saying that sex isn't important in a marriage because it is, but sex is not a foundation for a relationship.

Once sexual attraction wanes (and it will) what's left needs to be something that will carry you through to the "ever after" far beyond the "happily" part.

4. Simply because you get pregnant or have children together. 

While I'm all for saving the structure of the Black family unit, staying together for the children's sake alone is not a good reason to stay or enter into an unhealthy relationship. In fact, staying in an unhealthy relationship where couples argue can cause more harm for children than those whose parents divorce or have a healthy co-parenting relationship.

5. For unethical, monetary reasons.

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It's a known fact that marriage has financial benefits when it comes to things such as filing taxes, merging assets, and getting a green card. Wait, what? True story, right? My ex-boyfriend actually married an illegal alien in exchange for $7K so she could become a US citizen. According to him, it was more of an arrangement than a marriage, but a legally binding contract nonetheless that ended up being a legal nightmare. I guess you could say, it also ended things for us, too.

6. Because you want to be a trophy (kept woman).

If you can believe it, there are actually women who would rather marry a man who is well off and live what they consider to be the dream life of a "housewife". Don't get me wrong, there's absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to be in a domestic capacity, but I just couldn't see myself trading my independence for an allowance, no matter how hefty it may be. God forbid something happens where your Prince Charming moves on to the next silent arm candy and you find yourself in a financial bind because you were completely dependent on someone else.

7. You think being married will make you happy.

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I hate to be the one to break it to you, but marriage was never intended to complete us, but rather, having a loving partner and a healthy relationship should complement our lives. It's dangerous to place your degree of happiness onto someone else. What happens when they inevitably let you down? Not only is it an unrealistic expectation, but that's a lot of pressure to put on someone's shoulders. The idea of another person making you feel happy or complete is a lie we've been told for far too long. It's better to seek someone who adds value to your life with the understanding that you are responsible for your own happiness.

"...Marriage counseling was a turning point for me, understanding that it wasn't up to my husband to make me happy, that I had to learn how to fill myself up and how to put myself higher on my priority list." — Michelle Obama, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon

8. For religious reasons. 

I could probably write a whole other article on this topic, but I'll save that discussion for another day. However, the truth is, I know people whose sole motivation for being married was based on their religious beliefs, maybe even fears of living in sin. I came up during a time when cohabitation was called "shacking up" which was considered just a few steps away from being "knocked up" both of which were taboo, and still are for some folks. Bible scholars, which I am not, argue the context of the man leaving his father and mother to become "one flesh" with his wife to couples "playing house" and living in a marriage-like relationship. I'm not here to tell you what God does or doesn't approve of, but I can't say I'm in favor of religious scare-tactics to induce life-changing decisions, either.

9. You think marriage is a cure-all for your relationship.

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Listen, the truth is, your relationship before you get married is probably as good as it's going to get. If you think getting married is going to cause your partner to change dramatically, for example, that he'll stay home with you and the kids more, force him to settle down, or treat you any differently simply because you've managed to upgrade your title, you may be in for a rude awakening, sis. While marriage does afford some luxuries and securities that you don't get while dating, it also adds a layer of pressure for some couples. While some people see the intermeshing of lives as a benefit, some view it as a burden of having to take on someone else's problems, responsibilities, and financial woes. That saying of "when two become one" takes on a whole new meaning when referring to a spouse that owes back child support during tax time. IJS.

10. Simply because you love him.

I can just about guess what you're thinking. "But, I love him, and that's a good enough reason to marry him." And you would be absolutely wrong. Sometimes, love alone is not enough to make a lifelong commitment. Life is hard and it comes with real challenges. People die, things change and life moves forward. You need someone who shares your values and can keep you anchored when times get tough. Should you marry someone you're in love with? Absolutely. But marrying someone just because you're in love may not always be a wise choice. As sorry as I am to say this, love isn't always enough.

These are just a handful of reasons why you need to get clear on your reasons for walking down the aisle. Believe me, I understand the allure of a man getting down on one knee with a diamond to propose. Even though we have clear ideas on how our dream wedding will look, we may not have a realistic idea of what the marriage will look like.

But which is worse, canceling a wedding or going through a divorce?

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ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

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