Why I Have No Plans to Marry

To be a 36-year-old unmarried woman who feels no urgency to marry is still a relatively radical, rebellious position to take in 2020. It makes people feel a lot of different ways — confused, uncomfortable, even angry. So why have I chosen to eschew such a long-held and well-respected societal rite?

Marriage offers only the pretense of commitment and its trappings. Nothing magic happens after you both say “I do”. You don’t become closer. Your spouse doesn’t become more faithful or devoted to you. Their flaws don’t disappear. Your relationship problems don’t dissipate. The marriage certificate is simply a formality.

Marriage creates a legally-binding contract. I don’t want to “become one” with another person. I don’t even want to live with another person or have a bank account or vehicle under anyone else’s name. I don’t want the messiness of having to separate assets during divorce proceedings or worry about being paid alimony or paying someone else alimony. People change, sometimes drastically, and both of us should feel the freedom and security to leave the relationship if we feel it is not in our best interest anymore. I can love another person very much while still standing firmly on my own two feet, remaining independent, and holding on to my own identity.

Marriage is more relevant to religious folks. Many religious people believe that marriage is the moral next step to take once you have found someone with whom you want to spend your life and have children. For these people, saying vows before God and witnesses in a formal ceremony is a requirement. Of course, this doesn’t mean non-religious folks can’t get married or that civil ceremonies don’t exist.

Marriage was begun in ancient times as a way to bring two powerful families together to spawn more powerful offspring. Until a few hundred years ago, marriage was a bargaining chip in politics, not a symbol of love between two individuals. However, many people today use it in just this manner — to demonstrate to the rest of society their commitment to each other and, very often, their plans to start a new lineage through their children and their children’s children. And this is not problematic as long as the limitations and pitfalls of marriage are acknowledged by both parties.

Do you have any thoughts on the topic of marriage? Are you married, divorced, looking forward to marriage, or an eternal bachelor/bachelorette? Let me know!

Perspective = Reality

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how our perspective becomes our reality. The way we see situations and events determines how those things will affect us. Even the words we use shape our worldview, which in turn shapes our stances and emotions.

For example, I often hear the term “failed marriage”. But why do we conclude a marriage has failed just because it has ended? Perhaps it is the traditional “’til death do we part” part. Can a marriage be called a failure if the members of that marriage were happy for at least part of it and learned something from the experience? Is a marriage seen as “failed” because of the implied religious mandates that the couple never sever the relationship? Perhaps your parents, pastor, or society itself has taught you that marriage should be life-long, even if the situation becomes untenable for one or both spouse(s). Perhaps you’ve internalized that belief and therefore convinced yourself that you’re a “quitter” or that you didn’t try “hard enough”.

But this post really isn’t about marriage. It’s about perspective becoming reality. We have to be so careful to only humor the thoughts we think about ourselves that uplift us, not those that tear us down. Because ultimately, our thoughts become our own personal reality. I am trying to remember this daily by not dwelling on what I consider to be negative and constantly either reframing stressors in my life or concentrating on more important, pleasant things. I also definitely notice that it’s easier not to obsess over an issue or think of it it in a negative light if my life is otherwise full of positivity. Adopting positive perspectives can be a struggle, but it gets easier with practice and is always worth the work.