Love

Is 'Having Kids' The Only Valid Reason To Get Married Anymore?

Photo: pixelshot, Emma Bauso | Canva
Children with their arms crossed, wedding day in back

Editor's Note: This is a part of YourTango's Opinion section where individual authors can provide varying perspectives for wide-ranging political, social, and personal commentary on issues.

In today's world, it's astonishingly easy to get married and divorced. It seems marriage is undertaken with less forethought and research than buying a car. But traditional marriage is apparently on its deathbed. Notable psychotherapist Esther Perel suggests children are the last remaining tether to traditional marriage.

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Is 'having kids' the only valid reason to get married anymore?

1. Should we get (or stay) married for the sake of children?

The evidence is unclear on whether children are better off with married parents, in that, when all variables are carefully considered, children are better off with educated, upper-middle-class parents — not necessarily married parents. If marriage isn't the key ingredient to raising happy healthy children, should we even bother?

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2. The history of traditional marriage is a tainted one, given that women were once viewed (literally) as property.

Women were gifted or sold to men like chattel to increase the economic stability of the men involved in the transaction. Certainly, we want to move away from that model of marriage, but the modern-day "marry for love" model doesn't seem much better since divorce and unhappiness are common.

If marriage was simply a 'financial transaction' in the past and a 'romantic impulse' in the present, it's no wonder people seem leery to walk down the aisle these days. If we aren't getting married for the kids or economic reasons, why would we get married at all?

they are so in love

Photo: Mix Tape via Shutterstock

3. What if we choose marriage to enhance our lives?

What if we looked for a true companion to spend our days with? What if we researched our future spouse to understand how we might be compatible and how we could help each other through the complicated and often messy stages of life? What if we looked beyond the physical attraction of a future partner and instead looked at each other's value system and life goals?

4. Modern-day marriage could easily be the finest version of commitment we've ever seen in human history.

Two adults, fully developed and independent, come together to build a stronger and more loving family (by first being stronger and more loving versions of themselves). Children wouldn't be the sole bond that holds a marriage together but rather the result of two people who love each other mindfully choosing to bring children into their lives deliberately. Children would neither be responsible for keeping a marriage together nor tearing it apart.

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5. What if we got married for all the right reasons, like love, companionship, personal growth, shared values, and life's dreams?

What if we had a mature and realistic vision of marriage? One that isn't syrupy romance or jaded cynicism. Maybe the history of marriage with all of its mistakes and failures will lead us to a new and improved vision of marriage. Not for the children or finances, but for mature and equal love and connection.

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Lisa Kaplin is a psychologist, certified professional life and executive coach, and a highly experienced corporate speaker. She helps people overcome stress and overwhelm to find joy in their personal lives and success and meaning in their professional lives.