Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Why are you getting married?

I was reading an article from the May 25th Time magazine about cohabitating couples and the increasingly popular choice to not get married. It's not something I ever really considered for myself, (except in the "I'm going to die a spinster" sort of way), and I think a lot of women probably do grow up with the ideal of getting married in their heads a little more so than men. A few things in the article made me feel like it was the men pushing for not changing their status from single to married. 

One guy says he loves the mother of his children too much to marry her. I think I somewhat get it. For some people, a change in relationship title completely changes the relationship. Especially in the beginning, every step in the relationship changes things. A pretty standard scenario goes like this: you meet, are interested in each other, start to flirt and fall. You have all of these things in common, like liking the same bands or mint chocolate chip icecream, you like to read books... You are a perfect match. Everything they do is cute or endearing and you love it. Once you become boyfriend and girlfriend things change a little bit. You get comfortable, and they do something differently than you think they should've. When you were "just friends" it was okay that they were off hanging out with other girls but now you worry, because weren't you and him "just friends" a little while ago? 

It doesn't always go that way and only in a perfect world (or 50 first dates) would everyday feel like the first day you met them. But that title does change expectations somehow. Because it's a commitment, and you feel like they are or should be committed to your way of thinking and doing. I guess for some people, marriage is the end of freedom. I just don't feel that way about Garrett. I knew about him, and neither one of us saw not getting married as an option. Not that life has been sunshine and flowers the whole time, and not that the divorce rate doesn't scare the crap out of us sometimes. I kind of figure that some of that ~50% didn't know. 

I'm kind of reminded of 500 days of Summer, if you haven't seen it and plan to stop reading. She doesn't believe in love and won't define their relationship. They break up and bam! she finds someone else that she knows  about. Which really sucks for him, and makes Zooey Deschanel seem like a real bitch. 

I guess I just really like the comfort in knowing I'm married. Unfortunately, most of the previous discomfort was from other people. Garrett and  I both grew up in Christian homes and neither of our families were excited we decided to live together. Except Garrett's grandpa, who wholeheartedly congratulated us. But for two adults who knew we went together, and who lived together from the start (we met on a dig and lived in a house with other students and 2 TAs real world style), it was hard to justify looking for roommates when we wanted to be spending all of our time together. It's a lot easier to explain that we live together now that we're married. I know we shouldn't care what people think, and most of the time I don't, but I don't like making someone else uncomfortable about us. We weren't trying to "live in sin" or anything, it just takes time to have and pay for a wedding and we kind of felt When Harry Met Sally about it "because when you realize out you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." 

How I feel about some of the arguments not to get married?
-"Weddings are expensive, we can save all of that money by not getting married" 
They don't have to be. For us to get married at the courthouse it was a little over $200 maybe? You don't even have to get dressed up if you don't want to.
-"We don't want to get married until everyone who wants to get married can"
I can sympathize with that. But I also feel like there are more constructive ways to voice that opinion. The government probably does not care that you are opting out of your tax break, and they probably don't know the reason.
-"Most marriages these days end in divorce" 
An interesting part of the article I read said that cohabitating couples are more likely to break up than marriages. Which makes sense, it's less of a commitment and it doesn't cost money to get out of. Which is probably a good thing, you should think really hard about it before you get married, and if you are contemplating divorce, you might try a little harder to make things work out.

When it comes down to it, I have no opposition to marriage and I've grown up wanting to get married. It felt like "the next step" in life, which isn't right for everyone. But I care more about Garrett and our relationship than what job I have or where I live. I want the house and kids and dinner parties (okay, only kind of, because I can't cook all that well). And I think it's perfectly okay not to want those things. 

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