The rumors are no longer rumors; Brangelina is now official. Yes, ladies, eat your hearts out, Brad is now a married man. As I write this, there are scores of women all over the world calling their boyfriends demanding to set a date. After all, if Brad gave in, how can they — Tony, Matt and Joey — have any possible excuse to not immediately drop on their knees and offer everlasting love to their lovely girlfriends of however many years? Brad's ears must be burning as thousands of men curse his name and call on his demise for betraying the male gender by making an honest woman out of Angelina. Brangelina closed the book on the season of the long-term relationship and opened a new chapter on marriage.
Reality is, there are many happy couples that prefer being in relationships to having a piece of paper that declares that union legal. Are they happier? Some are. Some are biding their time hoping their partner will change their mind and sign on the dotted line. There are plenty of spouses who are miserable in their marriages. Some blame their inability to walk out on kids, some on finances, yet others on tradition. The reverse is true as well; there are plenty of couples that have been together for decades and are blissfully content with their arrangements. Some of them have kids, some don't. But they often site lack of marriage certificate as a reason they are still together: they are because they want to be — not because that piece of paper makes them.
Incidentally, a relationship itself is very different for every couple. Some live together. Some don't. Some share costs and expenses — some have individual financial arrangements. Some raise children together, while others adopt pets. Which is best for you? That choice is very individual. Here, however, to help you decide are some marriage pros and cons.
- Family: We love our families, but there are days we all wish that we were raised by wolves — wolves know how to keep their opinions to themselves. Family, on the other hand — not so much. When was the last time grandma Sylvia refrained from commenting on your hair style being too short and asked what man can possibly be attracted to you. Get married and watch your uncle Sal blame Congress for everything including his gout and your cousin Nancy cry because her boss hit on her. Whatever it is that entertains and keeps them occupied at Thanksgiving dinner, as long as it is not a unified stand against your "strange notions about marriage."
- Share Expenses: Have you looked at apartment prices in Boston or New York lately? Rent alone can be your annual salary. You can survive on bagels and coffee, but what about Friday night cocktails? You have three of those and your rent money is gone. Now think about this; no matter how small, your apartment can (almost) always accommodate another person if you share a bed — your bicycle can always double as a wardrobe. Now you have enough money for some cream cheese to smear on those bagels and a cocktail or two on Friday nights. Plus, you don't have to worry about finding someone with whom to have those cocktails and have sex with afterwards — now you're getting two benefits for the price of one.
- Kids: Kids are pesty little things. They are constantly asking annoying questions to which you have no answers like, "Daddy, why do you and Mommy have different last names?" Get that marriage certificate, and boom — you can give Mommy the same last name and the kids shut up and leave you alone. No marriage certificate and you might reconsider having kids — or have all the answers prepared in advance and rehearsed. Those little monsters can smell insecurity and, oh boy, I don't envy you if you get caught with your pants down.
- Divorce: Like your money? Don't want to give it away? Don't get that piece of paper that makes you legal. The second you sign, you are giving away half of what you have. And yes, that goes for women. And yes, that includes those of you who think you have the system beat with a pre-nup. So unless you can bury your fortunes in small buckets all over the Coast of Maine (which is a good way to hide it not only from your spouse and the judicial system, but from the IRS), don't get married.
- Privacy: Silly thing about married couples; they insist on sharing housing. So like it or not, if you're married, be ready to share your precious private space with another human. Be prepared to have your expensive super-moisturizing body wash used as hand soap. Be prepared to have to answer why you have seventy-three different pairs of black shoes and can some of them be thrown out to make room for a portable bench press. Be prepared to explain why your happy hour drinks with colleagues could not include spouses and why your cat must sleep at your feet. Like your privacy? Stay single.
- LGBT. How can you be married when your LGBT friends are discriminated against? If you have LGBT friends, you have a great reason not to get married. As their friend, you're not objecting marriage, per say. You are making a stand against inequality. This is a great excuse you can milk for years (Brangelina bled this one dry for seven — you can pull off at least six).
And there it is, all laid out for you. Given the info, do you think you're ready to get married?