Are more people marrying for the wrong reasons?
Updated: Jan 5
When we get an engagement announcement, with the happy couple on the front cover, asking you to come to their engagement party to celebrate their future wedding, we often smile thinking how blessed or lucky they are to have found the person they want to grow old with, who treats them the way they deserve. -The one truly committed into a future together. We’d like to think that their decision was based on true love. A true union of souls, where there is respect, romance, humor and maybe a deep spiritual connection.
Unfortunately, the reality is that many get married for other reasons. In fact, it seems that more often than not, different circumstances are leading a lot of couples to take the plunge and get married based on reasons that should never be part of the decision to enter into marriage.
-Many years ago, I had a colleague named Shannon. She was a tall, beautiful blonde with a sultry voice on top of that. She was constantly on the hunt for a husband. She would come in to work every week and feverishly discuss her current, and usually brief, boyfriend with us. It was a fun part of the morning chatter. I admit, I got sucked into her “tell all” stories as well. From the dress she wore with the high slit, to the luxury car he drove, to the fancy restaurants or vacations he took her too, -to some very deep revelations on their sexual encounters. There was no censor with Shannon, which is why her stories were so fun and intriguing to the rest of us.
The only problem – Shannon was not looking for a husband based on love at all, she was looking to marry a rich man to take care of her and her young daughter."
-Then there was Walter, a man I once knew, with a fast-paced job who, as a camera man for a very prestigious travel and adventure magazine, was required to travel globally at a moment’s notice. He was reaching forty, and aside from the predictable loneliness of being on the road so often, he always craved having a wife at home to make love to and have dinner with him when he was home. But even more than that, Walter felt it was time to have a child to hopefully continue his legacy. So Walter went on a few on-line dates and after a few encounters, he decided to marry the closest woman he could find that fit his needs -on a short notice.
These are just a couple of stories of people I’ve personally known who married for the wrong reasons. And unfortunately, as many would have predicted, Shannon is now on her third rocky marriage and Walter’s marriage lasted just a little over a year before it ended. And I’m sure you know of people who have married for similar reasons, or many other reasons that are not ideal or that don’t include love.
This is why I believe it's so important to take into consideration that there are reasons we should all avoid when it comes to getting married.
Here are my top 10 reasons NOT to get married.
1- Loneliness. Some people are afraid to be on their own. They’d rather get into unsuitable relationships than be alone. Often times you see this when the person’s job requires them to work too much and to travel often. Other times it’s because they lack friendships and other types of connections. And finally when someone has self-esteem issues. They still crave that connection or intimacy with someone and they’d rather be with someone who is not a good match for them then no one at all..
2- Sex- Unfortunately, this is a common mistake that many people make, confusing sexual attraction for love or for compatibility. You are highly attracted to this person and you think by getting married the sex will remain just as it is now, and somehow the most important part of being married which is the emotional connection will just be there. But guess what, you have it backwards. I’m not saying sex is not important in a marriage. It most definitely is, but sex is not a foundation for a relationship. Sometimes the sex is just great sex. So, make sure once it cools down, and it always does, what's left is something that will keep you connected and carry you through the rest of your lives together.
3- Financial reasons. Some people are looking for money or status. Sometimes they see the car, house, or bank account & are immediately attracted to this person. Or maybe they don’t want to work. They just want to be taken care of. -It's important to keep in mind that if something happens where your spouse decides they want the next, newer model, or they realize your financial needs are not what they signed up for, you will find yourself in a major financial bind by allowing yourself to become completely dependent on someone else.
4- Social pressures. Some feel the need to fit in with friends. Their friends are getting married and deep down, they feel like it’s a competition. They find they are constantly comparing themselves with their peers and now feel like they no longer have anything in common... Or, they get caught up in the social media frenzy of wedding announcements, and social posts and think “everybody is doing it!” And thus, they now feel the need to join in the married club.
5- Distraction from problems. Some like to run away from their reality. Sometimes things happen that people feel they need to distract themselves from, and believe it or not, not all turn to drugs or alcohol for this. Some convince themselves that being married and having a family is all they need to erase it all. And as such, they use being married as a way of avoiding facing the issues they know deep down they should be working on, and resolving.
6- Looking for a savior. Some look for a partner to come into their lives and fix them, -to make them feel whole. They want this person to fill their void and give them that false sense of security even though they know, deep down, that eventually reality will veer its ugly head and cause havoc. -But yet, they are still willing to go through the whole marrying process.
7- Family pressure. Sometimes family is constantly nagging and asking when they are going to get married. This can definitely be much harder to ignore than social pressures for some. -Especially for those who have grown up in a household or come from culture where men and women get married and have children by a certain age.
8. -To have children. Aside from the whole "biological clock ticking" where some women rush to get married feeling like the opportunity to start a family is closing up, other people feel because they have the perfect house and their career is just the way they want it, and although they don't necessarily have time, or feel they have a parental bone in them, having a child just seems like the next best thing to include in their "perfect life." Having children seems to be the one thing missing from their beautiful Norman Rockwell painting.
9. - Facing an ultimatum. Their partner is telling them they've had enough - that they are putting their foot down because they feel they have waited long enough or have put in enough time into the relationship.
10. - Unplanned pregnancy. Whether it's for cultural or religious views, or financial reasons, some think it’s better to have a child as a married couple. However, staying together or getting married for any of these reasons alone is never a good reason- Especially if the relationship is shaky. In fact, if you are staying in an unhealthy relationship, where there is constant fighting or worse, it will cause way more harm to your child in the long run. Opt out of marriage talk and work on developing a healthy co-parenting relationship instead.
These are just some of the worse reasons people are getting married and probably why our divorce rate is so high! On the flip side, sometimes, love alone is not enough to make a lifelong commitment. Life can be hard at times and present real challenges. You need someone who shares your core values and stays by your side, someone who can keep you anchored when times get tough. Although you should marry someone you're in love with, marrying someone just because you are in love, may not always be a wise choice either.
So, if you find yourself on the fence of this decision, pay attention to the entire picture. Start digging into the reasons you are contemplating marriage, and take a hard look at what beliefs you hold about marriage itself before you take this step. Otherwise, you will likely end up part of the divorce statistics.