7 Reasons Marriage Isn’t The Ultimate Expression Of Love

As someone who doesn’t really believe in marriage, I found myself walking down the aisle toward a man I loved about two years ago. Why I agreed to marry him despite my vocal opposition to marriage was simply because I loved him and wasn’t thinking straight. That’s what love does to the brain.

However, even before I married him, I knew that exchanging vows didn’t mean I loved him any more than I had the day before. Yes, we were suddenly legally bound, but it didn’t affect the emotions I had for him. In other words, marriage isn’t the ultimate expression of love. It’s not the end all be all, and anyone who thinks differently might not understand what it means to be truly in love.

  1. Love doesn’t have to be defined by a piece of paper. What does marriage get us? A piece of paper saying we’re hitched and, of course, a tax break. While a tax break is great, the reality is that marriage isn’t going to make you love your partner any more or any less, or vice versa.
  2. Commitment isn’t assured by marriage. If you need marriage to keep you committed, then you’re missing out on what it means to be in love. If you’re in it to win it, you don’t need marriage as a way to keep you faithful. You just need to love and respect your partner to the fullest.
  3. Marriage doesn’t make you any more serious about your relationship. Although your relationship changes after marriage, I think it feels that way because we think it’s supposed to feel like it does. If you think the ultimate expression of love is to get hitched, then you’re looking at your relationship through rose colored glasses.
  4. This isn’t the 1950s anymore. Once upon a time, if you wanted to be with someone, you had to marry them. You couldn’t live with them without exchanging vows because―gasp!―the total horror! That right there isn’t an expression of love, but an expression of giving in to society’s rules.
  5. An elaborate wedding doesn’t equate to love. When I got married, my father told me that the most important day wasn’t the wedding itself, but the day after. People seem to think that in throwing some big extravagant wedding, they’re proving to everyone that they’re soooo in love, but that’s not an expression of love. Instead, that’s an expression that you’re trying to outdo every wedding you’ve ever been to with your over-the-top Gatsby-themed extravaganza.
  6. Marriage can sometimes feel like a competition. If you’re the last of your friends to get married, and you manage to find a guy who’s ready to settle down, you might just go for it. This doesn’t mean you love him enough to marry him; it means that you don’t want to be the last woman standing― definitely not an expression of love.
  7. Marriage doesn’t mean happily ever after. One might think that the ultimate expression of love is to stand in front of friends and family and declare that you’re in for the long haul, but do you really need that? Do you really need a marriage and a ceremony to follow to prove that you’re in it for the long haul? No. You really don’t, and once you realize that, you can step away from the concept of marriage and focus on your relationship instead.
Amanda Chatel is a sexual health, mental health, and wellness journalist with more than a decade of experience. Her work has been featured in Shape, Glamour, SELF, Harper's Bazaar, The Atlantic, Forbes, Elle, Mic, Men's Health and Bustle, where she was a lifestyle writer for seven years. In 2019, The League included Amanda in their "15 Inspirational Feminists Every Single Person Should Follow on Twitter" list.

Amanda has a bachelor's degree in English and master's degree in Creative Writing from the University of New Hampshire. She divides her time between NYC, Paris, and Barcelona.

You can follow her on Instagram @la_chatel or on Twitter @angrychatel.