Marriage is a big commitment. Because we build up marriage so much in our minds, many are often hesitant to make the leap of faith and commit to one person. Besides the obvious commitment made to the person you’re marrying, there are often many other reasons why people find themselves “stuck” when they consider marriage. Let’s consider some of the many reasons why people might avoid a committed marriage and if such concerns have any validity.
It costs too much money.
Often a marriage = a big wedding, and a big wedding = even bigger spending. Between the dress, the venue, the cake, and the photographer, many worry they will enter marriage completely broke. However, there are actually many monetary benefits to getting married. For one thing, taxes become easier, and can have a larger tax return. When spouses file jointly there’s also a good chance that it will take less time to assemble the paperwork and cost less to have it prepared. Additionally, that big flashy wedding isn’t necessary. No research study to our knowledge has ever correlated wedding costs to marital success. Many people feel like they must decide between the full blown expensive wedding and the courthouse. Many, many couples have wonderful and meaningful weddings that fit within their current budgets.
I’ll have to give up all my social circles for my spouse.
Your spouse is all you need to be happy, right? Wrong. In fact, studies indicate a relation between social support and marital happiness, suggesting that it is better to continue to socialize outside of your marriage instead of eliminating all friends except one. Marriage can also lead to an expanded social network as spouses introduce each other to family members, childhood friends, and work colleagues, and couples find themselves meeting other new couples like them.
Married people are all miserable and heading for divorce.
While it is true that many marriages end in divorce, it is not an absolute. Divorce is also not as common as many believe. While the divorce rate shot up alarmingly in the 1970s and 80s it has been declining ever since. Additionally, a study by Stack and Eshleman found that married individuals are on the whole 3.4 times more happy than those who were single or cohabitating. Marriage doesn’t automatically mean a sentence to eternal misery.
I will miss out on the dating [sexual] opportunities I had while single.
Many fear that with marriage comes the loss of excitement from meeting new people and experimenting with different types of relationships. Specifically in regards to sexual satisfaction and frequency, married couples actually experience higher levels in both areas. Research indicates that married couples have sex with a much greater frequency than singles. Having a permanent partner to date logically seems to reduce anxiety that comes with dating new people, and the fear of rejection.
I will lose my independence.
Going from single to coupled isn’t necessarily a bad thing when it comes to being independent. While your sense of independence may change, it is often replaced with what experts call “transformation of motivation,” where each individuals start to work together towards a mutual goal, rather than their own desires. Instead of being the only one looking out for your needs, you gain a companion who also has your best interests at heart. Having to look out for your spouse also prepares you for professional work. In fact, a study found that married workers are less likely to miss work, are more productive, stay employed for longer, and are more likely to get along better with coworkers.
Find out if you’re ready to take the next step into marriage by taking the RELATE assessment today!