Why i think marriage is for fools
Marriage is for fools.
I say this as someone who was married and barely divorced before turning 30. (So yeah, call me on my bias if you like.)
Personal opinions aside, research on human relationships overwhelmingly indicates that, despite our best efforts, we are simply not meant to stay with one person for life. And, I’m going to take it a step further, saying what many of us have considered but avoided expressing for fear of judgment: it’s not natural to have sex with the same person over and over again.
Studies show that over a third of marriages are affected by infidelity, and one in five of us cheats on our current partners, like, literally NOW.
Just because we are cold, callous creatures incapable of loving – conversely, human beings have the ability to form incredibly meaningful and complex bonds with one another – it is simply that loyalty, at least not one that lasts for decades, is not in our DNA.
I’m not saying that to excuse cheating. There is no greater betrayal than cheating on a loved one – this is something I have personally been guilty of in the past and I always agree to forgive myself – but to point out the incredibly insane chances of passing a lifetime with someone, free from infidelity.
You are literally more likely to die in a plane crash than to make it to your deathbed without having had at least one partner who has had fun with you in your lifetime. So why the hell would you do it ?!
The institution of marriage does not even correspond to our modern values. We spend tens of thousands of dollars (some of us – * sip * – more) to tell a bunch of family, friends and people we barely know but Aunt Sharon insisted on that we invite, that we are going to let another human possess us ?! Have you ever sat down and listened to the traditional wedding vows?
A priest, probably from a church you barely attend, tells you to repeat after him: “I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband / wife, to have and to keep, from this day forward. “.
Read that again. “to have and to keep”. The very idea that each of us should be able to own another person is archaic nonsense. This is where ideas come from like a man being able to have constant access to his female partner for sex or decide what she is allowed to wear when she leaves the house.
Not to mention the fact that when these vows entered popular practice, the average lifespan of adults was 30 years. Now it’s 70. That’s more than two lives! If having another person on the line for a decade was a bearable sacrifice then, doing it for more than three times is good old-fashioned masochism now.
A published study in the Archives of Sexual Behavior found that while most couples reported an increase in sexual satisfaction during the first year of their relationship, this rating steadily declined as they were together, while like the frequency of intercourse. And research published in The Journal of Sex Research sexual variety confirmed as a primary motivator for 74 percent of unfaithful partners. Read: Having sex with the same person for an extended period of time is really hard work.
Which is why, if you search Google for “ways to put the spark back in my sex life” (and as someone who has been married for almost a decade, trust me, I did), you will get over 15 MILLION results. And if that isn’t enough to fight your instinctive human urges to go fornicate with someone new, the multibillion dollar market for libido boosting products is here to help you get turned on by your partner again. They’ve got pills, creams, sex toys, and genital pump gadgets that look like they’re out of a horror movie, for that.
But don’t worry about it yet; you have a wedding to plan! This means you can focus all of your energy on the important things like napkins and centerpieces and where your warring cousins should sit. There will be plenty of time to let reality in later, as no amount of placemats or floating candles can make up for the fact that you will still have to keep the “spark” alive 20 years from now when resentment is yours. – Hateful parents have settled down.
There is just one glaring problem that the wedding industry really hopes you will forget; marriages are the complete antithesis of the leaps we have made towards gender equality over the past decade. A woman dresses in white to symbolize her purity for her future male owner, has come down an alley to be “given” by her father (because, after all, fathers should “own” the bodily autonomy of their daughters ) then, after literally pledging his life, another man (a priest) tells him that his new owner can kiss him.
Stop and think how deeply unhealthy that seems.
Wait, but what about tax purposes? Marriage is good for those, at least… right? Sure. As long as you don’t mind putting all your financial stability on the line for someone else, who has a statistically 33% chance of cheating on you.
Think of it this way: would you buy a lotto ticket if there was nothing significant to be won if you won, but losing said lotto potentially meant losing half of your assets? No. And you would probably consider someone who did it to be a jerk.
And yet, statistics show half of us roll the dice anyway, and end up divorcing. Which begs the question: why are we doing it?
I can already hear you screaming on the screen: FOR LOVE, HEARTLESS HARPY! WHAT’S NOT GOING WITH YOU? YOU DON’T HAVE A SOUL ?! (Mmm… maybe. But that’s for another blog.) But above all, I’m just a logical person, and despite my desire to live every Sandra Bullock movie I’ve ever seen, reality indicates the likelihood of finding – and then staying with – my Keanu Reeves is like every Sandra Bullock movie I’ve ever seen: fantastic.
It’s not that I’m unable to appreciate true love or accept the few people who seem to have beaten the Matrix and achieved lifelong monogamy.
My own grandparents have been married for over 60 years and I can’t think of a happier couple, and for those of you who are wondering, yes I have a boyfriend and we are very much in love, thank you .
But times have changed since my grandparents stood in front of their families like barely post-teen lovebirds and repeated vows that made their separation socially unacceptable. There is no shame in walking away from a broken relationship today.
I know this because when I apprehensively confessed to my mother that my own marriage was over months after my husband and I had separated, her reaction was not a disappointment. It was a relief.
“You are still young. There is no sense in staying in a situation for decades if it makes you miserable just because you made a commitment,” she said as she handed me a handkerchief around. wine one evening after work.
His words are tinged with irony. I watched her endure unbearable misery for decades in a toxic relationship with an abusive man before she finally walked away. She had been brought up believing that marriage was sacred, should never be dissolved, and something that only the weak and the selfish shunned when the going got tough.
It always seemed like an unhealthy punishment to have her best years stolen from her by our abusive father, all because she had made him a promise and signed a piece of paper.
I spent many nights in bed as a child, silently praying that my mom would wake me up to the news that she and my dad were divorcing, and I could begin to learn who she was under the veil of depression that her. abuses were throwing at her. And my feeling is not unique.
Developmental psychologist Mavis Hetherington’s work, who followed 2,500 children to chronicle their mental health following their parents’ divorce, found that an overwhelming 80 percent of children were not adversely affected, when we know of after research that children who grow up in homes with a negative relationship model tend to face mental disorders. health and relationship issues later in life.
When you consider all of the above, it is no surprise that we have started to embrace new patterns of relationships as a society, such as polyamory, open marriage, and – God forbid – long term celibacy through choice. New research confirms one in five of us has been in an openly non-monogamous relationship and 42% of us stay single (on purpose!).
And yet, it seems our persistent prescription to the ideals of which Sandra Bullock’s romantic comedies are made keeps marriage in business. While marriage is undoubtedly declining popularity Since its big day in the 1960s, when nearly 75 percent of adults over 18 were married, 48 percent of us still say ‘yes’.
So if you are one of them, good luck. You are going to need it!
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Nadia Bokody is a journalist, media commentator and editor. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Cosmopolitan, and more. To pursue her on Instagram.
This article originally appeared on She said. Reprinted with permission from the author.