Once you reach a certain age or a certain amount of time spent with the same partner, especially as a woman, friends and family will inevitably start asking questions about marriage or even downright pressure you into taking this step. But is getting married such a good idea? I believe not, since, nowadays, at least in the developed countries, it doesn’t bring truly valuable benefits.
Marriage is no longer necessary legally or practically. Once upon a time, for a woman, getting married meant ensuring financial security and gaining access to a variety of legal rights they wouldn’t dream of otherwise. But now, in the modern world, years after the feminist movement has established legal rights for women, we no longer need marriage to get access to certain benefits. Nowadays, women are highly educated and actually constitute the majority of the workforce in the US. Furthermore, we no longer require a marriage license to be allowed to visit our partner in the hospital, and, for a lot of us, getting married doesn’t even imply a tax break.
Marriage does not guarantee fidelity. Many people get married hoping that the sanctity of marriage will reduce the chances of being cheated on. But if your spouse doesn’t respect your relationship and is tempted to cheat, a piece of paper will have no power in preventing infidelity. Actually, it seems that in around half of marriages, one of the spouses will have an extra-marital relation at some point.
There’s no longer a stigma on you if you have a child without getting married. While, in the past, having a child before marriage was terrifying for a woman due to social stigmatization, nowadays, we’ve become considerably more open-minded. Actually, according to a Pew report, even in 2008, over 40 percent of births were to unmarried women – and the number has risen during the last few years. In addition, according to the HHS, a third of children adoptions in the US are by single parents or unmarried couples.
Marriage does not bring security in a relationship. There are too many people deciding to get married for the wrong reason. And one of them is thinking that it will ensure that “until death do us part”. While this may have been true a long time ago, or still is when it comes to very religious persons, marriage doesn’t ensure the security of the relationships in many of the cases. Though the divorce in the US rate has seen ups and downs during the last few years, it is still alarmingly higher compared to what it was a few decades ago. The only thing that will truly bring security is having a strong relationship, based on trust, no matter the legal status.
Love is mysterious and magical, and it should stay that way. And marriage, by definition, is just a contract. The beauty of love is that it is undefined, it is unique to you and your beloved one, and it is continually changing as you grow together. I neither need nor want my love to be defined in legal terms.