Personally, I think the answer to this question depends on one’s culture and perspective. If you’re from a culture where marriage is seen as very important, and an essential part of family life (for example, in countries where joining two families is less for romance and more for pooling resources or building a dynasty), you would not be able to avoid getting married, otherwise a lot of people would be upset about it. You might even be excluded and rejected going against the norm. But in the 21st century, especially in developed Western countries like the UK and America, where more people are remaining single or living in relationships, it seems that an increasing number of people don’t care about marrying anymore, preferring to live together, and these relationships have both advantages and disadvantages.
For a variety of reasons, more people are forsaking marriages, perhaps because of a lack of commitment, or for the freedom it gives to break apart at any time without worrying about the high cost of divorce. In the UK living together has risen to over 13% over the past decade (23% in the U.S), while marriage has declined. It is not such a stigma anymore to live together, or to have children out of wedlock, so many people – especially younger couples – now please themselves in the kind of home they have. Whatever the reason, it seems to be the trend of the future. But it’s not marriage that causes problems between couples, it’s the possessive attitude and expectations around marriage that surface after the vows are taken.
Personally, I was married for nearly 30 years and enjoyed it to a great degree. I liked the emotional security it gave, the sharing and companionship, and the feeling of belonging without having to keep wondering where the relationship is heading. I have also enjoyed my freedom since leaving the marriage and would probably not get married again, all things considered. But, a part of me believes that when we love someone, unless we are not prepared to show that commitment, whether for one day or 10 years, we should be married, otherwise what is that love really about?
Right now I like my lifestyle as, being a writer, I enjoy solitude to think, so my partner and I choose to live apart, while sharing every possible moment together. It’s not ideal, but the love seems to grow stronger despite eight years shared already. I do not need a marriage certificate to show me that I love my current partner, or vice versa, neither do I need to be married to appreciate the relationship. But if I my partner wanted to get married, I would certainly consider it, because it would be lovely to pledge myself to someone I wanted in my life, for however long it lasts. A marriage also allows friends and family to share in that joyous occasion by declaring our love publicly, and we are all here for each other, not simply to live in a selfish way.
Above all, the public pledge together gives a very strong message about how we feel for each other and the commitment we have. So I think being married would certainly give the edge for me, though I appreciate that the choice of being married or not rests with each individual.
So which one do you prefer?
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