Of course, by now almost everyone has heard the doomsday statistics on divorce – the CDC in the United States reports that 50% of all women’s first marriages end in separation or divorce after 20 years, while 33% of all men’s first marriages end in divorce after 10 years.
In light of these discouraging numbers, perhaps we should all collectively examine the reasons that we enter into marriage in the first place.
Without further ado, 5 absolutely terrible reasons to walk down the aisle:
1. What if this is my last chance at happiness?
This kind of thinking, when written out in print, is undeniably tragic and illogical. Nevertheless, many people stick around well past a relationship’s expiration date out of fear: fear of being alone, fear of being unable to attract someone new, fear of going alone to a cousin’s wedding next month, etc.
These fears, large and small, can hold us back and prevent us from doing the truly brave thing of facing the unknown and daring to imagine a better life.
If fear alone is your motivating factor, rethink those vows.
2. The kids/dog/house
Sometimes a relationship can acquire a life of its own; before you know it, you are getting your mail delivered to the same place, rescuing a dog from the shelter, and shopping for strollers together.
When life takes over, it is easy to think of marriage as something that happens to you, rather than a choice you make. But becoming a passive observer in your own life is a recipe for disaster and a terrible reason to get married.
3. The pressure…
Pressure to get married is a real thing, and it can come from many sources: significant others, parents, in-laws, friends, and even co-workers.
The cultural expectation of marriage is intense, especially concerning couples who already co-habit or have been together for a number of years. But see #2 above: getting married should be the choice that you make, not the choice imposed on you by others.
4. All my friends are married already
Peer pressure is a funny thing; even if no one suggests that you get married, simply seeing all of your friends get married can ratchet up the pressure.
You may start to regard your single friends as an endangered species; each year, a few more die out. When all of your friends are married, it seems like everything would just be so much easier if you were married, too—joint vacations, even dinner reservations, would be less awkward. There is one thing even more awkward than being a third wheel, however: being one half of that couple whose palpable misery keeps friends away.
5. The invitations have already gone out!
Multiple rounds of correspondence announce to the world that a wedding is imminent: Facebook postings, save-the-date cards, shower invitations, bachelor party/bachelorette party announcements, and official wedding invitations all make a marriage feel like a truly public enterprise.
The prospect of cancelling a wedding at this stage can be terrifying, but it’s even more terrifying to enter a marriage you don’t want just because you fear a little public humiliation.
In public humiliation versus private happiness, your happiness should always win.