A few weeks ago, in one of my classes, we were having a discussion about why people get married. The answers that followed the question both surprised and confused me. I would have thought that the first answer would have been for “love,” but that was not the case. One of the first answers was for “stability” and to “prove commitment.” Next, someone stated for “financial security,” which I was not too surprised by because there are people out there that will marry for money. Then came “marriage benefits,” “religion/spirituality,” “for the children,” and “because society and/or my family says it’s what I’m supposed to do.” It truly shocked me that LOVE was not the first answer that was given; it wasn’t even the fourth or fifth answer. Love only came up because the professor brought it up and it was the last reason to be brought up before moving onto the next topic of conversation. Despite that this conversation happened weeks prior to today, I still can’t get passed the fact that, maybe, people don’t marry for love anymore.
When thinking more on the subject, I can’t help but wonder if perhaps people don’t list “love” as their first and primary reason for marriage because it’s too cliché. People feel as though love is not a good enough reason anymore because that’s what everyone always answers with. So, instead of stating that they married for love, they go in a different direction such as the answers listed above. The problem is for me, though, if love is not somewhere on your list, why did you get married? One of the main reasons people enter into a love-less marriage, or so I’ve heard, is due to children, which can also be linked with keeping up appearances.
More and more recently I’ve been hearing stories about people who get married just to have children or because they have become pregnant and want to get married so the child can have a family. Shotgun wedding, anyone? People seem to be under the impression that because you have children, you must get married. There are many factors that probably go into this thought process—religion and family being the two big aspects to come to mind—but an unhappy marriage can actually be more detrimental on children than a having a mother and father who never married, but are able to get along with one another in order to make a happy life for their child or children.
Thinking to the television shows 16 and Pregnant and the Teen Mom series, I’ve come to notice that the girls, in particular, have this idealization that you have to marry your “baby-daddy” in order to have a family and a happy life. I’m not saying that it’s always the girls who have these thoughts because I’ve seen some of the teen dads with the same ideas as well. To me, it just seems like these girls are stuck on the idea of a “happy” family that consists of a mother and father being married; however, if you’ve watched the show, you know that the girls who have gotten married often don’t end up with the “happy” family that they were looking for.
If memory serves, the girls who did get married did not stay married for that long. I believe that the one of the marriages lasted approximately six months; though, I could be mistaken, and I honestly think that it was because they did not go into the marriage because of love, instead it was because they had a child or children together. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that there are marriages that are the product of having children that work out well, but it seems as though when a couple does not marry for love, it often ends up in disaster.
The point behind this post is that people get married for many different reasons in today’s society. Some people marry for love, while others marry for money, their children, to get marital benefits, or other reasons. At the end of the day, if your marriage works for you and your spouse and you’re happy, then the reasons aren’t as important. But it is something to think about. So…
What were your reasons to get married?
If you’re not married, what are some common reasons you’ve heard as to what leads to a couple getting married?
How important do you think marriage is to you and to society?
Don’t keep it a secret! Tell me your thoughts in the comments below!
Posted on October 7, 2013 by Felicia