31

Why I Will Never Get Married

never married

When I was a little girl, I played wedding games just like all the other little kids. I got dressed up in a cute white dress and held a bunch of flowers while a prepubescent boy held my hand. Another child pronounced us married and off we played.

I grew out of this very, very quickly. When my teens years hit I was more obsessed with seeing the world, going to university and becoming a whole person than I was with getting married.

If you believe the media, all women dream of getting married. I have never dreamed of getting married. The idea of a white wedding leaves me cold. I can’t help but consider the astronomical costs of weddings. My friends have thrown down thousands for a single day of their lives for a marriage that is statistically going to fail.

For the cost of an average wedding ($36-48,000 depending on which statistics you believe), you’d be better off putting a large down payment on a house, or travelling the world together and finding out if you are truly compatible.

I Will Never Get Married

But the cost is not the determining factor. There are so many other decisions guiding my choice to not get married.

Marriage is the trade of a woman between the father and the husband. Marriage in itself is an institution which contributes to the maintaining of traditional gender roles. The very act of a father giving away his daughter to her new husband shows this. As a modern woman this is something that I simply cannot be a party to.

Even the engagement ring harks back to days of women’s subordination and inferiority to men. The ring is a symbol of ownership. A very potent sign to “stay away from my property”. It doesn’t just symbolise commitment, it is an indicator of how someone more powerful than you (your husband) thinks you are worth.

If you take the religious option, I’m in agreement with Julia Gillard. As an atheist, marriage just simply isn’t relevant. However, many people who aren’t religious are marrying. Perhaps this is to somehow legitimise their relationship in the eyes of the government?

The funny thing is, I’ve been with my De-Facto partner for 4 years. In the eyes of the government we already have all the rights of a married couple. My choice to not get married it seen as something strange. I’m constantly asked when we will tie the knot. Which seems strange in this modern world. We made a commitment to each other and we don’t need a ceremony or an expensive party to prove it.

The state has no power over our relationship and our marital status has nothing to do with the commitment we have to each other.

It makes my heart ache to think of all those little girls who are taught to prepare for marriage. How to catch the great guy, how to be the perfect wife. Instead they should be taught to be complete as individuals who don’t need a husband to make them feel whole.

photo credit: ^@^ina (Irina Patrascu) via photopin cc

photo credit: ^@ Vincent_AF via photopin cc

31 Comments

  1. Someone I know got married, refused to take her husbands name and then got all up in arms because centrelink wouldn’t give her any money. I just shook my head at her (certainly not the first, or the last time) and wondered why on earth did you get married then? If she is so against all of the things that make a person *married* then why on earth go through with the whole thing. She’s now in the midst of a very messy divorce, and while de facto have the same legal rights as a married couple..there is still the added cost of having to actually get divorced.
    My parents aren’t married but they’ve been together for nearly 30 years. Paul and I have been together for nearly 6 years and we don’t have any plans to get married. I was like you and didn’t have plans for the big white wedding when I was a kid. I just didn’t see the point.

  2. Exactly right! Sad story your poor friend! Divorce is painful for everyone.
    I’d be quite happy to just be a couple without any of the legal stuff but we needed to be de facto to live together because of my partner’s work.

  3. I am married and it changed our relationship. I like that my children feel part of something special and the marriage bonds keep them feeling safe. I was also suprised about how safe I would feel in a marriage. I don’t think it is the be all and end all of relationships and I don’t care what anyone else does, but I know for our relationship, it has really helped it grow. I really struggled with the ownership and the ring thing too but I actually really love wearing it now! A great post!

  4. Interesting perspective, though I have to say that I disagree. I have been married for 7 years, very happily. I think that marriage means different things to different people. Personally, I never dreamed of my wedding and all of the trimmings. I may have had a bride doll or 2 in early childhood.
    My father didn’t give me away, we only spent about $3000 all up on the wedding, and we were married in my grandparents paddock, by a celebrant.
    We celebrated our love, and pledged commitment to each other in front of everyone whoa taters to us.

    Getting married isn’t the only way to do that, and not is it particularly necessary, but for us, it was an act of love.

    There isn’t only one definition, of either a wedding or a marriage.

  5. I think we are lucky that in most countries marriage is now a choice. It is sad that in still many cultures it isn’t. But here for us, it is and I have been married twice. The first time I was too young, the second one was with more thought and a full heart. We have been married now 8 years. I certainly don’t feel I serve my husband or exist just to be married. For me it is about forming a family and a union. Our wedding cost about $6,000. We had no bridesmaids or groomsmen and we walked into the ceremony hand in hand. It works for us. And that is what is important. If it is not what you want that’s fine. great even. So many go in with big hopes and dreams and find they come crashing down. We are lucky we have a choice.

  6. My husband and I got married because we are from different countries. It made being together that much easier, I also love that I have the same last name as our son. Not that name alone makes you a family, but for me it was something I wanted. Our wedding was small, modest, and not a blow out like some/many weddings these days are. If marriage is not something you want, don’t do it. But it’s a bit harsh to criticise or ridicule those who do it.

  7. I completely agree that we girls should be taught to be complete as individuals who don’t need a husband to make them feel whole. My husband’s job is not to make me whole, complete me or make me happy. But I love being married. I love having his last name and wearing his ring, just as he wears one from me. It feel so safe and protected in my marriage and I love the “foreverness” of it. We choose not to be one of those divorce statistics, but to show our daughter that marriage is wonderful, precious, safe and enduring.
    Isn’t it great, though, that we live in a country where there is choice.

  8. I like you never wanted to get married, never dreamed of it, was never interested. So I understand where you are coming from. At 33, I ended up changing my mind. We were happy before and we are still happy now.

  9. I guess I both agree AND disagree, in certain areas. I know many long-term committed couples, as well as long-term married couples. I know of DeFacto relationships that have outlasted many a marriage. I, personally, am married. And though I can’t speak for my wife, I can certainly say that I’m glad we got married. I think there’s a feeling of obligation to one another in a marriage that I can’t say I would feel if we simply lived together. But is that a good thing, or a bad thing? Certainly not everyone feels that sense of obligation, or there’d be fewer divorces. So it’s obviously not the act of being married that causes it. I guess my perspective is that marriage is an option, not necessarily a goal.
    I wouldn’t discourage others to do it, but I would encourage them to only consider it under the right circumstances.

    • You’re so right, Sam. I love this quote “marriage is an option, not necessarily a goal”, unfortunately I think women in particular are pressured by society to be married. To be “an honest woman”. I can’t speak for what its like for men!

  10. I got married so I could get a visa to stay in my husband’s country. It’s not that I didn’t love him but I would never have married him if the visa thing wasn’t an issue. I did take his surname, mainly cos it’s a cool name! I do have a wedding ring but only choose to wear it if it goes with what I’m wearing.

    Marriage has changed things for sure. I do feel that I have worked much harder on the relationship than on previous ones, as I don’t want to be another divorce statistic. And my husband definitely does view me in more of a traditional role now that I’m his wife rather than just his girlfriend. But that may be cultural.

  11. I’m getting married next month! Having been together for 9 years and with 2 kids, our wedding is more of celebration of our life than the beginning of it. The traditional ideals of marriage don’t interest us. And I would never spend $36-48,000 on a wedding! Absolutely crazy. I’m very much looking forward to being a DIY bride and having a lovely, simple wedding.

  12. I have a good friend who will never marry because her parents marriage was such a shame and she didn’t believe it in because of this. I wanted to be married before I had kids, just a tradition I wanted to carry on. Not sure being married makes me my husband’s property, in fact we are very equal. But if it’s not for you then who is anyone to judge, just as I’m sure you don’t judge those who decide marriage is for them :)

  13. I never really thought I would get married it wasn’t my goal or something that I dreamed of I guess because I had always hated when people referred to their partner as their other half. I remet my husband nearly 5 years ago and I cannot tell you why I wanted to get married so much with him…wasn’t about the wedding ours was a cheapo affair it was about being married to him…..still don’t believe in other halves I was a whole person before him and remain a whole person with him xxxx Great thought provoking post

  14. I never thought I’d get married, it wasn’t really that important to me, but after 13 years and 4 children we decided to get married after all. It changed nothing about our lives, it was just a great opportunity to gather all the people closest to us together and have a big party to thank them for their love and support over the years.

  15. I grew up with many unhappy marriages around me and I never wanted to get married. But the Indian culture frowns upon single girls and I succumbed to family pressure eventually though I was lucky to find a great guy and my marriage is nothing like my parents’ thank God.

  16. Well said. It’s an institution that I think began in the face of god – but now it’s diluted somewhat for some just due to the divorce factor. It’s not the be all for everyone and it’s about the true commitment of you as a couple (and look at all the money you save!!!)

  17. I love this post…I had written something similar a while ago. I agree with you — marriage is outdated. I can understand to an extent when people get married in countries where a defacto relationship doesn’t have the same rights as a married one but I fail to understand in Australia why people continue to spend so much money on weddings for a piece of paper when at the end of the day, a defacto relationship will give you the same rights. All my friends here want to get married and see it unmarried women as bitter. Which I don’t agree with as I know some lovely single women. I was in a defacto relationship myself and we never planned on getting married. It didn’t work out {for various reasons} but marriage wasn’t one of them. If I ever have another relationship, I won’t be rushing to tie the knot.

  18. I don’t remember ever having goals or dreams about wedding dresses or princesses in castles. I also insisted on a small wedding, no fuss, 30 people and no big expense whatsoever.

  19. Well I’m a Christian so I hail from a biblical view of marriage, and honestly, I don’t believe there is anything like it. Marriage is a commitment, not to just be together, but to constantly put others first. It’s a process as much as it is a one day event. You stop being just about you, and become something greater. And not in a fulfilment kind of way, because you were obviously lacking before, but in a ‘this is actually making me more than I thought I could ever be’ kind of way. The wedding event itself is not just that public declaration as important, but a charge to those presents to regard the sanctity of the marriage as well. To always encourage you to push through the dramas and the hard times and remember that is is a commitment.
    As for it being about selling women. The bible actually refers to a man leaving his family and joining his wife. She is not the commodity at all, but rather he is the one who makes the decision to begin his life with her.

    • I was raised christian, (I got out a few years ago) so trust me I know exactly where all that comes from. Regardless of your opinion of the religion – the wording “leaving his family and joining his wife” is not a rebuttal to the property-like exchange of a wife to her husband at all. That man can leave home and go “join his wife” because he has already been to see her dad and get him to approve the exchange. Marriage is an social construct that was created in a time where no matter what you think was going on in “biblical times” women WERE property. Marriage was usually not consensual, and if it was it was because the society wouldn’t let them work or conduct their own lives as they pleased – if they were to be financial secure they had to enter into a work transaction with a man. You be MY “wife” and I will pay for your food/clothing and let you live in my home. In exchange, you will let me have sex with you as I please, you will get pregnant as many times as I tell you to. You will clean the house and be presentable when guests come over, your job title will be homemaker – but always use ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ as if you’ve never wanted any other identity for yourself. And please, don’t be foolish and try to leave me. I will stone you myself if someone else doesn’t first. Your feelings really don’t matter – so I trust that you will not risk public embarrassment by falling in love with any other men, you are mine after all.

      In more current times, no Christian will out right tell you that you are the property of your husband. But you are to wear a ring that says you “are “taken” “off limits” “stay away” – and your husband doesn’t want “love” he wants respect. Show him you respect him by being very careful not to be attractive to other men. He might be jealous, and if you really were loyal to your husband then you wouldn’t do that to him. We won’t tell you that your place in society is to have baby and cook and clean. But we will spout the virtues of GODLY WOMEN …you know the ones who have baby’s, cook, clean, and RESPECT their husbands above everyone else… we won’t say out right that having a carreer, life plan, projects, interests, or identity that does follow Titus 2 or Proverbs 31 is “wrong” persay…but you will know that you aren’t quite as godly as those homemakers over their in the modest dresses with baby’s politely standing beside their husbands.

      It is okay to have the faith that you believe in, but anything that tells you that you must believe in ALL or none, should be handled with care. It is easy to think that there were “the good old days” but in reality, the time in history when the bible was supposedly written was atrocious.

  20. Its a very individual choice. I’m not married as I’m single. I’m not ruling marriage out however I would definitely do it quite cheaply as I think weddings can be very expensive.

  21. Thank you for this. I feel the exact same way. I was never one to dream about my wedding when I was growing up and now as an adult I not only not interested, but completely turned off to the idea. For me, I can’t stand the insincerity of it all. I get the feeling that a lot of women just want the attention and the party, but rarely do the people involved think about the reality of the commitment. I barely know what I want with my life tomorrow, how could I possibly know what I’m going to want thirty years from now? And PS, I’ve had someone consistent in my life for sixteen years. We are more committed to one another than most married people I know. I feel like there is a definite shift in how people feel about the idea of marriage recently. And I think you captured it beautifully.

  22. As you said you are fighting the statistics. If you are to truly love someone and want to spend eternity with them, why would you choose marriage when you know your relationship will be stronger without it? I think these days it is a mindset that your are brought up to believe that once you are married you will be happy. What most people don’t realise that you create your own happiness and you shouldn’t feel as though you are obligated to follow the footsteps of society as this may damn well not be for you. Make the choices that you want to make, because you don’t want to get to 40+ and realise you have been living the life others want you to.

  23. Omg you are preaching to the choir over here! I feel exactly the same way about marriage. All my friends, who are too young to be married in my opinion are getting married. I’m like you haven’t even seen the world yet and you think this is the guy you will be with and sleep with until you are 95??? It sounds absurd especially when you are 23 yrs old.

    I am too one of those women who have never fantasized about getting married. I too, believe that I do not need to spend the outrageous amounts of money to get a piece of paper to “prove” my love to someone. I can do without it. I don’t need a ring either. Marriage to me feels like a trap and people always give me a wide eyed stare when I say that. But it does.

    Good for you for not getting married! haha. I tell my parents all the time that me getting married is not going to happen nor is having kids, but thats another topic. :P

  24. I’ve been with my partner for six years, over three as a pareja de hecho (Spain’s version of a civil union). We’d not talked about marriage until very, very recently – here, things are divided down in the middle in a divorce, the money and property goes to offspring and custody is always given to the mother. To me, it’s not the big ceremony that matters (we will do two because we think having out families involved is extremely important), but the joining of two families, of making a vow and of being surrounded by people who are important. He was much more anti-marriage until we talked very seriously when my mom came to visit about what it would really mean to me. I never played those games as a girl (I always had to be the groom anyway!) and never made a big deal about wanting it until we got serious!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *