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It's Time to Ditch Getting Hitched

Updated: May 3, 2022

by Sloane Moriarty

As the day of hearts approaches, couples begin to rush around in hopes of finding the perfect gift that will seal their partner’s love for them: red and pink balloons, rose petals, chocolate boxes, teddy bears. It’s all so seemingly magical, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

As we get older, fall in love, and whatnot, we look into our future and see one enormous stepping stone, or roadblock, depending on how you look at it: Marriage.

Most of us will work our whole social lives around finding that one person who truly makes us feel complete, and once we’ve done it we marry them. That’s it. It couldn’t possibly go up from there. Right?

Unfortunately, for all the love birds out there, almost half of marriages fail such expectations. Research shows that 41% of all first marriages end in divorce, and that number increases to 60% for second marriages, and then to 73% for third marriages. So, before you jump the gun and decide that you absolutely can’t live without a ring on your finger from your “soulmate,” there are some things to consider.

Getting hitched isn’t necessarily the best option because marriage is fundamentally rooted in sexist ideas. It leads you to lose sight of yourself and lose track of your priorities, and will likely lead to unhappiness. More than anything, marriage is not necessary to prove your love for another person, it’s simply a way to throw a big party and legally combine your possessions with your spouse’s.

Like many other precious traditions here in the United States, marriage has an underlying pattern of male supremacy. The institution itself started as a way to have a woman be transferred from her father’s property to her new husband’s property. Of course, this isn’t the case now, but the stigma of women and needing to be married still remains, which leaves many women feeling immense pressure to tie the knot. The most obvious gender issue with marriage, however, is the fact that women- as per tradition- take their husband’s last name. Surveys show that 70% of women choose to adopt their husband’s last name as opposed to keeping their maiden name or going the newly common hyphenation route. There is nothing wrong with wanting to solidify your family structure, but in the 21st century, it seems outdated to have a woman legally change her name in order to fit a tradition that was created for the male to have full control over his wife’s identity.

Even today, identity loss is a common issue in relationships, and especially in marriages. Couples often tend to get so caught up in the excitement of being together that they start to lose sight of who they are as individuals. Even further they often ignore the things that they once prioritized in life, such as spending time with family and friends. A study found that people who get married are less likely to interact in person or even via phone with relatives and friends. This same study sheds light on the fact that single people overall tend to interact with their community more, and devote more time to socializing with others. A relationship should not force you into a shell of couple-only activities. If anything, it should bring you new experiences and new friends to enjoy them with. Getting married shouldn’t be the end of one’s social life.

None of this is to say that staying single is the best option, because for most it’s absolutely not. Half of marriages work out beautifully, but there’s a lot to consider when taking this leap. There must be a lot of time put into getting to know someone before deciding marriage is the best option, or else this 50% success rate will start to decline rapidly. Above all else, the risk to reward ratio is a big factor, as marriage is a cycle that often leads to feelings of regret and unhappiness.

A survey conducted by Civicscience shows these feelings: It found that only 57% of their participants would definitely remarry their current spouse. This is a miserable statistic. You get into a relationship and then you realize a couple of years in that maybe you two just aren’t that compatible, but it’s too late: You’re already committed “till death do us part.”

Divorce is always on the table but is oftentimes consuming and costly. The quickest procedures in California take 6 months, with the average taking 15. Divorce takes a toll on families, children especially, though studies show that these effects on kids are usually a short-term issue. Escaping an unhappy marriage is definitely doable, but it will lead you into spending a good amount of time making up for the bond that you broke.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to spend your life with someone, but doing so simply doesn’t require marriage. Living with someone and creating a life together isn’t contingent on nuptials.

However, if you do decide to take the leap, you should dedicate years of time into getting to know your significant other. Especially in today's day and age, getting married shouldn’t be something couples feel an immense pressure to do when another lockdown could be around the corner forcing you to spend 24/7 with your spouse, who, come to find out you may not enjoy being around too much. Or, you begin to discuss current events, and you stumble upon the fact that your spouse doesn’t believe in climate change….

What’re you going to do now?

Be in love, wear a ring, and throw a party if you truly want to celebrate your incredible connection, but all of this can be done without involving legalities. Plus, old St. Valentine never said you had to be married to be in love.


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