With the divorces rates being so high in the US (first marriage is 41% to 50%; the rate after second marriage is from 60% to 67% and the rate in America for 3rd marriage are from 73% to 74%*), you wonder why people bother getting married at all. Is it really as rewarding and fulfilling as they say and worth the risk and heart ache? Or is it just something we do because it’s always something we’ve done as a society?
In a recent article in the NYTimes called Breaking Free from the Nesting Doll a woman asks herself should she marry a man out of obligation. She met and fell in love with a man who had truly helped her through a bad time in her life, he truly was instrumental in her healing process; but does that mean she owes him a commitment for the rest of her life as repayment?
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Maintaining a healthy relationship is far more important than having the title and benefits of the institution of marriage, especially if you are tied to a partner that just makes you miserable. And are we obligated to marry someone just because he or she has done us a service? Is it worth sacrificing our lives just to make someone else’s dreams come true? Or on the other hand is it right to ask someone to sacrifice their dreams in favor of yours? Isn’t marriage ultimately about creating a life together? But how do you discern between creating a new life and compromising your life in favor of the relationship?
So many people feel like because they were dating for a certain length of time, or lived together, or maybe they financially invested in someone, that marriage is owed or at least inevitable. Some get married for other altruistic reasons, and some for very selfish reasons.
In the US I think we get married for many reasons, many of which have nothing at all to do with actually wanting to share your life with the individual in question, or being in love, or even in a workable healthy relationship. So many of our reasons are generated from expectations, pressure from family, or society. And sometimes our reasons are just plain selfish. Here are a few of those reasons – none of them worthy mind you – I think people get married.
1- I just don’t want to be alone. Being with anyone is better than being with no one. Or so they think. They usually pick someone they can “tolerate” without having any real connection with them. You aren’t alone, but you are definitely lonely. This kind of marriage never produces the feelings you really want– a deep connection to the person with whom you share your body, your home, your finances, your spirit. You end up feeling more lonely living in such close proximity to another human being with whom you have no real connection. #marriedandlonely (Sadly, I’m sure there is a dating site or chat room for this.)