While marriage isn’t as much of a foregone conclusion as it used to be, many of us have still been bamboozled into thinking that as long as we find the right person and hurry to the altar, everything will be magically alright. It’s about time we stopped living a lie and realize that not getting married may actually be better off for you and your relationship in the long run.
- You don’t need a piece of paper to tell you how you feel. Getting married doesn’t guarantee anything except maybe tax and insurance benefits. If you really love someone and know that you want to keep doing that for as long as you can, why do you need a church or the government to come in and validate your emotions? Marriage won’t make your commitment or relationship stronger—that’s entirely up to you.
- Life changes are welcome. I’m the sort of person who needs to have flexibility in life. I want to know that I can wake up one morning and decide to go live in a different state for a while or switch to a different job. It’ll be difficult to this if I had a husband to take into consideration. If the person I’m dating isn’t quite cool with the idea, I can still decide to up and leave without everything crashing down. Never getting married leaves room for you to keep growing and discovering yourself because you won’t be weighed down by another person.
- It gives you an easy way out. Breakups are hard enough to deal with. Imagine having to go through the upsetting and incredibly stressful process of filing for divorce and dividing assets and all that stuff. Just knowing that you have the option of simply ending a relationship — even if you don’t plan to use it — gives you a lot more freedom to be happy and to see just how far love can take you. Sure, things not working out is going to suck, but it’ll suck a hundred times less than ending a marriage.
- Getting married won’t make you feel more satisfied. Contrary to popular opinion, studies have shown that couples who get married tend to feel less happy and content with their lives as the years go by. Sure, the honeymoon phase is going to feel like you’re walking on clouds, but what comes after is going to slowly suck the joy out of the relationship. What your love needs to survive and maintain happiness is a close bond with your partner, not a piece of paper.
- The pressure cooker loses most of its power. When you’re just a couple, there are fewer expectations forced on your shoulders. Not having to worry about the many ways that you screw things up is freeing because it lets you settle down and enjoy what you have. Even as a single woman, my dating life was a lot more fulfilling. I wasn’t trying to take my relationships to where I thought they were supposed to be headed. I didn’t lose sleep because things weren’t moving fast enough. I found peace in just knowing that dating in itself is a beautiful experience. Loving someone and learning how to be with them is really all there is to relationships; getting married is just introducing a complicated twist. It’s near impossible to not be happy in your love life once you realize this.
- You’re free to remain your own person. I know that as long as you’re in a healthy relationship, you still get to retain your individuality, but let’s not pretend that marriage (no matter how perfect it is) doesn’t stifle that. The truth is that you’re going to have to give up a lot of what defines you as a person if you decide in getting married, and this doesn’t always lead to very happy endings.
- For better or worse can put you in chains. People grow out of love all the time, but when that happens after you’re already married, it becomes a lot harder to walk away. There are too many things holding you back from the cost of the wedding to what people will think. Even when it’s causing a lot of pain for everyone involved, the vows you took might stop from taking a clean break until all you have left are bitterness and regret.
- It unlocks a new level of comfort. When you let go of societal pressures that make marriage the end goal and ultimate value of all relationships, you’ll finally be able to enjoy complete freedom with your partner. You can decide what you want out of your relationship and the things that are really important to you. It’s great because now you know that the person you’re with really wants a life with you not just a title to slack under, so you can let yourself go and experience love in new and exciting ways.