This post was inspired by a tweet from Grace: “‘The Case for getting married if you want to and when you are ready.’ Someone get on this.” Originally posted on March 28, 2013.
Marriage isn’t only for opposite sex, monogamous couples who want to have kids. It should be an option for any constellation of consenting adults for the following reasons:
Symbols matter. Of course you can have love and commitment without marriage (or marriage without love or commitment) but the act of reciting vows or slipping a ring onto your finger is a powerful reminder of your emotional bond.
Longterm relationships are difficult. Sometimes you’ll be so frustrated with your significant other(s) that you wonder why you ever fell for them. Marriage is a public proclamation of your love and commitment that invites your community to share your joy and pain. A promise spoken out loud in front of everyone carries more weight than one you think but never say because it transforms an intention into a tangible demonstration of your emotions.
Sympathetic friends and family members can also pull you through these tough times by reminding you why you married your spouse(s). Don’t underestimate the value of listening to outside opinions when you find yourselfhashing over the same issues with your significant other(s). Not all of this advice will be useful, of course, but sometimes a fresh point of view can help you understand the parts of your marriage that aren’t working well at the moment.
It protects you legally. To give just a few examples, if your spouse becomes extremely ill you automatically have next-of-kin status at the hospital. Upon their death you automatically inherit their assets if there isn’t a will. You can foster or adopt children jointly. Sponsoring a spouse for residency or immigration is faster and easier than sponsoring other relatives.
Should these benefits be constricted to married people? The answer to that question would fill its own blog post but right now marriage comes with a long list of benefits that aren’t available to the legally single.
Married people have more satisfying sex lives. Ignore all of the TV shows and movies that portray marriage as an instant libido killer. Statistically speaking married couples have more and better sex than the single folks we assume are having much more fun than us. Trust and communication are incredibly sexy once you’ve been together long enough to know exactly how to turn your partner(s) on emotionally and physically.
The institution is evolving. Almost everyone living in the west chooses their own spouses and marries for love. The system is far from perfect but we are slowly creating a society that accepts a wide variety of ways to live. I believe there is great value in changing our cultural expectations of marriage to a more inclusive and egalitarian form of it.
In no way does this mean that everyone must get married. What makes me happy might make you miserable but it can be a beautiful experience if it’s something you’re interested in pursuing.
Do you agree with me? What have been your experiences with marriage?