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.Lonely Season 4 GIF by Friends Giphy
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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