Marriage Is Overrated — Here’s Why (And Why You Shouldn’t Feel Bad For Thinking It)

Marriage is changing. The marriages we see today are far different than the ones of our grandparents or even our parents, for that matter. Our ideas and how we view marriage has evolved, and while for some it still might be the ultimate goal, the truth isn’t a pretty one: Marriage is overrated. Yes, you can take the route of saying it’s just a piece of paper that binds you and your partner, so it’s overrated in that regard, but there’s more to it than that. It’s overrated in a lot of ways.

  1. Marriage doesn’t equal happiness. For people who have been longing to get married, pining away since they were kids to do so, they might live under the delusion that marriage will fix everything and make it all perfect, but that’s not true. Even if you marry the love of your life, there’s no guarantee you’ll be happy.
  2. No one is immune to divorce. With the divorce rate has been falling for the past couple of years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, it’s still lingering close to 40%. That’s pretty high, and no one is immune to becoming a statistic. Sure, fear of divorcing isn’t enough of a reason to avoid marriage. However, it’s not exactly encouraging, either.
  3. You don’t need to be married to live together. It might have been frowned upon in the ’50s, but we’re well into the 21st century. You can live with your partner without ever saying “I do” and no one cares. Locking it down with legality just seems silly and there are no real benefits.
  4. You don’t have to be hitched to have kids. Actually, all you need is some sperm, and you’re golden. Raising kids alone may not be everyone’s ideal, but that doesn’t make it impossible or wrong. If you want to be a parent, don’t wait around for a husband or wife.
  5. You can get insurance by just being someone’s partner. This isn’t the case everywhere, so you need to check with your employer. However, a lot of companies offer insurance to the partners of their employees. This is true for straight or gay couples. You don’t always need to walk down the aisle to benefit.
  6. It’s expensive. Unless you run off to town hall, getting married with all the frou-frou is really pricy. So you waste all that money on one day, then start your life together with pennies. The wedding day is even more overrated than marriage, to be honest.
  7. It can make you feel trapped. At least if you’re cohabitating, you can bail when things get scary or you realize it’s time to move on. Being married doesn’t allow for such a luxury.
  8. It’s a lot of work. Like, A LOT. It’s one thing to be in a relationship where you live together, but for some reason, marriage changes everything. You’re suddenly two parts of one whole in the eyes of the law and nothing is completely yours ever again ― everything is shared and divided.
  9. Fidelity is a struggle. Not to burst anyone’s bubble, but remaining faithful to one person for the long run isn’t easy. And the fact that marriage isn’t viewed as being as sacred as it once was and the reality of temptation always being nearby, fidelity can be one of the biggest challenges of marriages ― a challenge you could avoid by just staying single.
  10. You end up sacrificing yourself. Even if you swear you never will, you will absolutely sacrifice much of yourself for your marriage for many reasons. One is because it is so hard, and the second is because people don’t change, so all you can really do sometimes is sacrifice just to get by.
  11. It’s becoming obsolete. Not only is marriage overrated, but it’s becoming obsolete. It no longer offers the benefits it once did, because we no longer need it. People can take care of themselves, human beings are more and more independent, and it’s just become and unnecessary step that people take out of tradition, obligation, or convenience. It really is nothing special.

Things to keep in mind if people criticize you for thinking marriage is overrated

  1. Nothing’s wrong. Everyone around you is settling down, and it would be easy for you to follow suit — you just don’t want to. You know yourself well and you know marriage won’t make you happy. It doesn’t mean you’re broken, confused, or incapable of accepting love. In fact, that’s quite just the opposite. Instead of BS’ing your way through life, you’re being honest and living the way you want to. People may judge you, but go ahead and let them — it’s your life, and you have better crap to do than worry about being “wife material.”
  2. You’re still figuring it out. You don’t want to get involved with someone until you have a better grasp on who you are and what you do. You still have time things to figure out. It wouldn’t be fair to bring someone else into the mix before you’ve given yourself time to explore what you want. Plus, you don’t want to anyway. Some people know they want to get married, and that’s great. You don’t, and that’s great too! The world is vast and life is long. You’d rather spend more time soul-searching than searching for a partner.
  3. You’re not interested in that level of commitment right now, anyway. You love love! You’re not someone who runs away from the slightest bit of affection — in fact, you run toward it! You love hard, and you love often. Places, stories, people, and opportunities are the things that catch your eye. There’s so much to fall in love with, and you don’t want to be limited. Right now, you see no point in standing still in one place or with one person. That doesn’t mean you can’t — you just don’t want to! You refuse to pick one thing before you’ve experienced everything.
  4. You’re a free spirit. You don’t want to miss out on anything! You love having the freedom to do whatever you want, whenever you want. Marriage means considering someone else’s feelings. You want to be able to say “yes” to any opportunity that presents itself. You’re filled with excitement, and you love that about yourself. You’re in no rush to settle down. If you get married, it needs to be later on in life. You know, after you’ve already experienced a good chunk of it.
  5. There’s more to life than a wedding ring. Being married should excite you! If it doesn’t, you probably shouldn’t do it. Maybe you haven’t met the right person. Or, maybe you have and marriage still doesn’t interest you. You’re fine with dating, you’re just not ready to make that long walk down the aisle. Hey, you’re not alone! Contrary to popular belief, not every girl spends their free time pinning their dream wedding on Pinterest. You’re pinning food, places, and inspirational quotes. Nothing that deals with finding a soulmate.
  6. You have things to do. That’s not to say people who get married stop living because they don’t, but marriage means living differently. You’re connected to another person and you have to take their feelings into account. Marriage is great for those who want it — you aren’t one of them. There are things you want to do first… by yourself! You don’t want to live life with another person yet and you don’t have to.
  7. Being single is your choice. First of all, being single is AMAZING (and no, women who say that aren’t lying or trying to fool themselves). You might be open to a relationship or you might just be a lone wolf. Either way, you’re genuinely happy being alone. Right now, the most serious relationship you have is with yourself — and that’s exactly where you’re meant to be.
  8. It’s nice to be selfish sometimes. You don’t want to have to be there for someone else right now. It may sound selfish, but you’re not ready to be someone’s right hand. You don’t want to be the person he calls to vent about work or to discuss what he should get his mom for her birthday. Being invested in someone else’s life doesn’t appeal to you in the slightest. You love your family and friends, but your priorities are focused on you right now. You don’t want to have any regrets later on in life. So, your energy is being spent taking care of yourself — as it rightfully should be. There’ll be plenty of time for compromise and consideration down the line.
  9. You’re not unlovable. You’re the kind of person people are naturally attracted to. You exude confidence that people yearn for. They crave your honesty and unwillingness to compromise. You may not know what you want, but you know what you DON’T want. Not a lot of people can say that! You might be judged for not being “wife material.” People might call you selfish, bitter, and unlovable. They’re just jealous. You’re brave enough to stand by your convictions, no matter how against the “norm” they are.
  10. There’s nothing wrong with you. They say marriage is an instinct. You’re supposed to find a partner and get married before your biological clock runs out, right? Wrong! Where is it written that you have to get married? Why are women judged for opting out of traditional ways of thinking? People keep telling you that it’s a phase. They say that you’ll change your mind later in life.  Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. As cheesy as it sounds, all you can do is trust your heart and ignore the background noise.
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.