Why I think Marriage is Overrated

OK.  I got some pushback on the idea that Marriage is overrated.  So I thought I would expand on my thoughts a bit.

This is what marriage becomes:

  • Its spending all of your waking moments  with someone whenever you aren’t doing something more interesting.
  • Its spending the times when you are tired, sick, annoyed, ugly, smelly, sleeping, burping, farting and generally being an ass with the person you love.
  • It means being so exhausted from being nice to the rest of the world that you have nothing left to give to the person you married and they get whatever is left, which is often mean.

That is not the recipe for marital bliss.

Here’s the ideal relationship:

  • Spending time doing interesting things with someone you find interesting.  Don’t marry them.  Date them.
  • Going on vacation to interesting places with someone you enjoy being with.  Don’t live with them.  Go on vacation with them.
  • Giving your best energy to the person who makes you the happiest.

Yes, But what about Children?

If you want to pro-create, fine.  Create a contract and set of rules.  You don’t have to be in the same house when you raise the child together.  Its just been done that way in the past because it was necessary.  Its not necessary anymore. Just like its not necessary to ride a horse to get across town.  Times change and you can change too.

Here’s the best part, if you don’t tie marriage to having children, then the father doesn’t have to be the man you are in love with, does it?  It can be your best friend, or it can be ANYONE you think you can have a good child rearing partnership with.  Tell me why can’t you and your best friend decide to raise a family together?  The contract doesn’t have to be with someone of the opposite sex.  It doesn’t have to involve the genetic parents at all.  Sperm banks are everywhere.  Heck, if you are a woman, free sperm donation is available at any bar in America. (Although I don’t really recommend this course of action.) Foster Children are waiting.  Adoption is available.

My point is this.  Stop thinking like you always thought, and think like an individual with a multitude of choices.  Marriage is the most limiting choice you can make.

You won’t have to be trapped:
If you aren’t married or living together you always have choices.  You don’t have the trapped, paralyzed, frozen in a life feeling.  How many people do you know who are struggling in a marriage or live-in relationship but feel that leaving it is so HUGE.

  • Its physically huge because there is a move, separating stuff, finding a new space, settling accounts, etc.
  • Its financially huge your single life may cost you more, credit can be screwed up, and legal costs are high.
  • Its emotionally  huge. You have now made part of your identity this marriage or live in relationship. When you end those relationships, you are negating a part of your identity.  That’s really tough and ugly.

Sure, a long term relationship without living together is still going to be incredibly painful when it ends, and some part of you is identified with it, but its not going to be nearly the devastation and loss involved in ending a marriage or live in relationship.

Changing your dating relationship is several magnitudes easier to manage and get over than marriage/live in.

The fun side of the permanent dating relationship:

  • You look forward to seeing them.  There is the tingle of anticipation.   When you see someone all the time, you feel lots of comfort, lots of ease.  And I think its the death of a good romantic relationship.  You can get comfort and support from friends and family.  You can get your interest and excitement from your romantic relationship.
  • Sex is a whole lot more fun when its not a roll over, why not, did you brush your teeth, event.
  • Attraction is a lot easier to maintain when you don’t see someone plucking their eyebrows, clipping their nose hairs, scratching their balls, pushing up a tampon.  These are not things that should be shared.  Lets not.  Put your best face on for this person.  You will feel better, they will feel better and the mutual attraction will last longer.
  • Fewer bones of contention.  How many arguments happen over things like leaving the toilet seat up, how you fold laundry, taking out the trash, not paying attention when you should, being cranky when your shouldn’t, and generally not being nice to your partner.  A huge portion of those petty squabbles are eliminated when you are not sharing permanent quarters.
  • Money isn’t such a weighty matter how many couples have huge difficulties over money management and philosophy.  If you remain independent of each other, these issues will largely disappear.  They could surface, but if they are not manageable, you are not in a situation where ending your misery will cause you more misery.
  • Self Development and independence:  A great many of my friends have so completely identified themselves with their marriage that they have stopped developing their own interests.  Because if the interest does not coincide with their partners interest, its not done.  So before marriage there were two large circles of interests one for each person.  Those circles intersected on shared interests.  So there were three things to talk about each person’s interests and their shared interests.  At marriage, they give up unshared interests and suddenly they have a very tiny circle of interests.  Life just became boring.  This can happen without marriage, but is less frequent.  And it can also be that married couples maintain separate interests and pursuits.  But its a whole lot easier to do when you remain resolutely independent and don’t sew yourself into someone else’s life by living with them.
  • Your own space. Your space is your own.  Its by you, for you and no one else has to be considered.  Permissions for use of shared items – Nope.  Consideration of others when guests are invited – Nope.  New paint color – Your choice.  Clean or Messy – Your choice.

Finally, what’s the big hurry?

If you don’t have marriage as a destination then there is no more desperation.  You can actually choose a decent person to be with.  No settling.  No feelings of there won’t be another one in time.  You aren’t getting married anyway.  Remember?

Seriously, this is what I really mean.

The real reason why I advocate remaining mostly single:  You are you.   This is mostly a female viewpoint, but when women get married they become Mrs.  And I mean that psychologically.  Many women feel incomplete, less than whole, unattractive and generally worthless without a man.   Even those who can’t identify with that statement very strongly, feel it at some level because we have thousands of years of culture to reinforce the idea.

Remain single and over time you realize that who you are is good without marriage.   That another person is not in any way going to make you a whole person.  That support comes from lots of places and expecting support from one person is both unfair and a recipe for disappointment.  That you can support yourself financially and there is something incredibly self reliant and freeing in being the only source of your support.   That life is not what cultures define, its what you do.

I am not vehemently anti-marriage.

I recognize that there are advantages to it.  In fact, I realize that having a supportive spouse would probably have helped me with managing my mental illness. A good marriage is a built in support system.

I realize that its not likely that most people will see my viewpoint.  Even the most liberal among us still get married or live together.  There are many supportive and enjoyable relationships in marriages.  But I think there are times when the marriage is endangering even the strongest of those great relationships.    I think my viewpoint is the future.  In 150 years marriage will probably be an anachronism in many parts of the world.

12 thoughts on “Why I think Marriage is Overrated

  1. Marriage is not for everyone. It works for me, but as I mentioned in my earlier response, we work at it. Since half of marriages fail, that supports both our points. My wife says often you have to like your spouse, as well as love them. The passionate love will ebb and flow, so you better like the person. I have been at this for 30 years and consider myself fortunate.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t mean to make light of this topic, but my favorite quote regarding marriage comes from Groucho Marx. “I was married by a judge, but should have asked for a jury”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh boy – there is going to be a long long response to this – but probably as a post on my own blog. For now I’ll say this. Marriage is increasingly a choice – at least in our society – and I hope that trend continues. The two people involved can define it any way they want as long as they realize that they can define it any way they want. What feels like entrapment for some can be a whole new world opening up for others. I can only speak for my own marriage – but I know that it created many more opportunities in my life than it closed down. I have always been able to remain my own person and to continue growing and changing. It is important to me to have my own life independent of my marriage and that my husband can have the same. It’s important to me that when crap happens, someone has my back. and that when crap happens to him, I won’t cut and run. Those are my first thoughts. Stay tuned for more.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Really nice post. People in unhappy dating relationships or desperate to get married should read this.

    My favorite sentence of your entire post was, “Stop thinking like you always thought, and think like an individual with a multitude of choices.” —- THAT can apply to so much in life … not simply marriage.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. 🙂

      I think that too. We have so much pressure to find THE ONE and it makes people do the most bizarre things.

      I’m following a woman on tumblr right now who started dating a guy 4 weeks ago and has said nothing positive about him except GREAT SEX. And that she hasn’t said in awhile.

      I’m just dumbfounded as to why she is still dating him. WHY? Get a vibrator and make your life easier until the next guy who is worth it comes along.

      We program single people to feel like then are somehow less than if they aren’t on a road to marriage.

      And so she is continuing a relationship that she apparently gets very little out of.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have a friend who was so desperate to have children that she talked about the hot sex and says she was blinded to the warning signs when she married him. Now she has a hate-hate marriage of tolerance, but with 3 kids she says she adores. I knew this guy was wrong for her from the start. She’s looked into all kinds of divorce stuff and alimony, but doesn’t work and is hard-pressed to get a good paying job at 47 when she’s been out of the work force for over 10 years.

        I imagine she’ll stay with him another 10-11 years when her youngest is out of the house. She’s stuck because of the whole health insurance thing … it’s a bad place to be, but she says she loves being a stay at home mom.

        Honestly, I never wanted kids that much to put myself through hell with a horrible spouse just to have children. My partner always came first (figuratively and literally! HAH!). 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m lucky that I didn’t want kids. I think that puts a whole lot of pressure on women, but in this day and age it doesn’t have to.

        I’m not saying being a single parent is easy and I certainly wouldn’t volunteer for it. But I do think we should look more at alternatives in child rearing.

        Why can’t 2 friends raise kids together? Why is romance a necessity to family?

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m married and I agree wholeheartedly. I decided in the last two years that I wasn’t compromising anymore and I didn’t expect for my hubby to do it either. You would’ve thought I told people I was smoking crack. Point is…I agree with your ideas that we need to re-think the whole “institution” of marriage and how it’s done.


  6. I find it interesting that I was with my ex husband for seven years before we got married, we were married 8 months before we got divorced. Could be the 7 year itch maybe, will find out with my current partner we are coming up for 6 years this year, have one child and no intention of getting married

    Liked by 1 person

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