Is Marriage Really That Bad?

Or has society just grown out of it?

woman hesitant to proposal Prostock-studio | Shutterstock

Why do people get married? To improve their quality of life.

Why do people get divorced? To improve their quality of life.

Once the basic needs are covered, quality of life is why people do most of the things they do. 

And with marriage becoming less and less common, it makes you wonder: How come people are seeing it less as a major source of a better life?

I re-watched the sitcom Friends recently and one thing stuck out like a sore thumb: how freaked out the male characters were about marriage.


Even a subtle hint of anything marriage-related, like, say, just uttering the word "wedding" would make them throw a hissy fit and retract into their man cave, never to be seen again.

Women had to subtly hunt them down and trick them into marriage, all the while being very careful not to accidentally alert these commitment-phobic princes of their hidden agendas. When the act finally happened and men were eventually stuck for life with the same old ball and chain, they’d be complaining like there was no tomorrow about how awful married life was.

And still … although the poor decent and hard-working men of this world were aware of women’s conniving ways, they still found themselves on one knee, ring peeking out of a velvet box:


"Will you do me the honor of becoming Mrs. Johnson?"

RELATED: What Is The Real Value Of Marriage?

However, a few decades and some major social movements later, nobody is hunting down men for marriage anymore.

What happened? Have men finally managed to convince women to leave them alone? Or have women managed to convince themselves that it’s just not worth it?

I recently came across Vena Moore’s article on marriage: "Marriage Is a Raw Deal For Women" and started to wonder: Who is in the right here? If women are the ones who end up with the short end of the stick, how come it’s the men who are always complaining about getting married?

My guess is there are two main reasons why women are no longer chasing men down to get them in front of the altar:

  1. Financial power — As a result of increased female education, labor force participation, women’s economic independence, and gender equality, women no longer need men for survival.
  2. A much safer society — With the pillaging and plundering mostly out of the way in civilized countries, women no longer needed men to keep them safe (from other men).

Let’s not forget how the idea of marriage started. It was initially a union of families (and their wealth and power, if any), and the perfect way to ensure the offspring resulted from that union belonged to the groom.

It was nothing more than a power contract. Zero love was involved.

Women were not allowed to make their own money. They were not allowed to own property. They were allowed to be property. Enter marriage!

And since men were saving women from lives of financial misery and ever-present danger, they were getting in return a maid, a cook, a mother to their children, a nanny, a nurse, a therapist, plus someone to regularly sleep with.


Hmm, that sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. Unless you’re not into a clean house, home-cooked meals, a shoulder to cry on, and somebody to take care of your day-to-day needs.

I think I’d better find myself a tradwife.

But just because it sounds good to me doesn’t mean it also sounds good to men. Maybe men hate married life just as much as cats hate indoor life. Sure, indoor cats live safer longer lives than feral cats (just like married men), but are they happy?

Studies say they are. Happier than single men, anyway. They are also wealthier.

RELATED: 8 Seriously Valid Reasons Why Some People Choose To Never Get Married

What if that’s not enough for men though? What if they’re looking for something else?


Men counterattack the idea of marriage with a strong argument: they don’t want to commit to one woman. Mind you, if the main reason for marrying her is to have someone to regularly sleep with, that woman is one woman more than they had before, so they’d only be committing to the one woman who actually wants them vs. the whole world of women who don’t.

Isn’t the problem of sleeping with a lot of different women solved by today’s hook-up culture, though? Isn’t it free and available everywhere?

No, it’s not. Quite the contrary. Young men have less sex today than in the past 30 years.

So while most women today can get a lot of the things they want without a marriage, most men don’t.


Advantages of marriage for men:

  • Women do most of the housework, child-raising, and emotional labor in the relationship.
  • Married men are wealthier, happier, and live longer.
  • Love, safety, and companionship.
  • Regular sex.

Advantages of marriage for women:

  • Love, safety, and companionship.

If you read this and thought love, safety, and companionship are still enough to keep someone married, you need to know that almost 70 percent of divorces are initiated by women.

I guess the idea of love and companionship is nothing more than an idea because once women give marriage a try they soon find that the connection they’re looking for is not really there.


RELATED: Has Marriage Turned Into A Status Symbol For ... Men?

To answer the question in the title: if married life were good, the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high. If married life were good for women, they wouldn’t be the ones trying to get out of it.

It rather sounds like women are (or at least used to be) quick to marry, but also quick to divorce. It turns out that although they thought they wanted it, married life didn’t exactly make them happy.

For men, it seems to be the other way around. Men resist the idea of marriage but if it happens they enjoy it more than they imagined they would.


So what is going on here? Is marriage nothing but an obsolete institution that some don’t want and others don’t benefit from?

The short answer is yes. We have been constantly fed nonsense by a societal structure that never had the well-being of the individual in mind.

We are all victims of cultural and societal conditioning, peer pressure, and trying to find our place in an ever-changing world.

Slowly but surely, though, the veil is starting to fall. Both women and men can make it on their own.

Women can own property and own themselves. Men found out they could cook their own food (or order it in) and would no longer starve to death without the devotion of a loving woman.


They can come together but they don’t have to. They can be interdependent, but not co-dependent.

Have we grown out of the idea of marriage? I sure hope so. We can do better than that.

RELATED: Why 50% Of Women Regret Marrying Their Husbands

Mona Lazar is an unapologetic writer, unconventional relationship coach, and wild dreamer with words published in Better Humans, Medium, Illumination, The Soulciety, Newsbreak, The Startup, Hello, Love, The Good Men Project, Curious, and others.