Published on September 19th, 2014 | by Nathaniel0
Marriage Validity: 3 Reasons I Don’t Want To Get Married
Before you get turned off and call Pope Francis, this isn’t one of those “The-world-is-burning-to-hell-so-let-your-freak-flag-fly” posts. Rather, it comes from a place of honest questioning. In American culture, we’ve upheld the institution of marriage as “the next step” after “getting a good job,” but is the ideal changing? Societal pressure used to dictate that we had to get married. But are we supposed to want to get married? Why? I mean- does it even matter anymore? Is a romance sustainable in the context of long-term commitment? Is monogamy subjugating our freedom? Is divorce a predictable outcome for the majority of marriages and if so why? These are just a flurry of the questions that catalyzed this post into existence.
In an age of sexual liberalism, internet pornography, gender neutrality, and the chronic celebrity divorcee, the world’s answer seems simple: marital resiliency is only restricted to elite purists deceiving themselves into believing they’re actually happy and that “abstinence” will safeguard the world. If 50% of marriages end in divorce, why even put ourselves through the potential perils? I’ve never been married and by no means am I an expert here, but these are the three reasons I don’t want to get married:
1. Expectations: My future wife would have a lot coming for her. As hard as it is to admit, my wife would at some point during the trajectory of our relationship become disappointed with the man I am. In the context of a “forever commitment,” it’s difficult to stomach that no matter what I do, I may not be everything she wants or desires. And as a man, I’ve been trained to divert from all inadequacies or potential inadequacies. Similarly, I have an “ideal” for the woman I would want to marry that she might not live up to: forgiving, accepting, ambitious, speaks Spanish, loves dogs, believes in health, looks like Lupita Nyong’o and Jamie Chung and Salma Hayek and Minka Kelly, depending on the day (kidding… sort of).
2. Commitment Mindset: Maybe the reality that marriage is something that we need to prepare for isn’t hitting my generation as hard as it should. As Millennials, we switch jobs every two to three years, we believe flexibility isn’t an option- it’s a necessity, and we grew up in the post-MTV-inception world when the question wasn’t “if you were having sex before marriage,” but “how old you were when you did.” The idea that I would be married to ONE woman for the REST OF MY LIFE is something that scares me. Why is there a need to commit to one spouse in marriage? Is it possible to even prepare oneself for that kind of challenge? Is anyone ever ready for the commitment that marriage requires?
3. The Evidence Close to Home: The CDC conducted a study from 2006-2010 and based on the responses, there’s a 48% chance that a marriage will end in the first 20 years. Sure, that’s better than I thought, but that means that nearly one out of every two of those couples who made that “forever commitment” called it quits. I’m also a child of marriage that fell into this bracket. And I love my parents, but I, like so many people nowadays don’t have the best understanding of what a successful marriage really looks like. I’ve grown up exposed to so many unsuccessful marriages and people who are now damaged as a result; I’d be lying if that exposure hadn’t damaged me.
So that’s it… three reasons why I don’t want to get married.
But you know what? These three reasons and the others in its fearful category (that many of us share) pale in comparison to reasons why I believe marriage is valid and why I want to get married (a few listed below):
1. Beyond the “Ideal”: Yes, there are “expectations” we have, things we’ve imagined our spouse will be, but I’d like to believe that there are qualities and gifts that she might have that I can’t even fathom. For every one of the qualities that turns us off from our spouse, I believe that there will be a wellspring of other qualities that amaze us, if we look for them.
2. The Freedom to Enjoy Contentment: Today’s commitment-free mindset keeps us running the game, the rat-race of always searching for what we perceive as “the best” even though it might not be God’s best for us. I believe that when both parties make and uphold a commitment before God, we can find and choose contentment, rather than searching for “new heights” of fleeting satisfaction.
3. Sacrifice: I know that “sacrifice” isn’t the most sexy word choice, but I think there is something sexy about sacrificing for your spouse. In the ultimate context, Jesus sacrificed for us, the church, and when we commit to a spouse we recognize the bigger intention of striving to give to them as opposed to us receiving. I look forward to striving to please my wife and in the process being fulfilled by Big Pops.
No, marriage isn’t a perfect institution. Why? Because we’re imperfect people. But we can’t allow our fears and past hurts to cripple our view of how God intends for us to see marriage, in its beauty and light. We enter marriage with the amalgamation of hurt, trials, and pain we’ve been through and we often put expectations on others to fix us. “He that findeth a wife findeth favor from the Lord” but at the same time God is entrusting us “to guard our hearts,” evaluate our character and our partner’s character before “jumping the broom,” and above all else trust Him for direction.