Reasons To Get Married

The divorce rate among first-time married couples is 50%. The rate goes up exponentially for every marriage after the first. Yet, people keep getting married. Is it the romance? Do they all get caught up in the moment? Is it a conspiracy? Even in an age when blended families, exes, and single parents are the norm, couples continue to have faith in themselves and in the institution of marriage, despite the odds.

Why might they do that? What gives them such faith? Love is the top reason many people give for getting married. It is easy to be swept away by the feeling, to make romantic declarations, and to carry these promises over into a marriage and even a family. But what makes one love last and another love fail? Many people think love is a feeling. It isn't. The feelings associated with love are affection, lust, infatuation, enmeshment, excitement, euphoria, possession, and many other strong, overwhelming feelings. You can feel this way for a person in healthy or unhealthy ways, but that doesn't mean you are in love. Love is something you do. If you continue to choose to be with someone, despite hardships, if you are committed to the relationship, and if you give yourself and your partner respect and precedence over others, you are acting out of a love that has every chance of lasting.

It is possible and even desirable to have a family outside of marriage these days. But it is never easy. Children need a Herculean amount of care, and they don't give anything back except smiles. There are going to be sleepless nights and sick days and unbelievable hardships when you bring children into the world, and having a partner in this process makes it bearable, easier, and more easily enjoyed. It is priceless to know there is someone else on the earth who loves your child as much as you do.

They say we don't have our children forever; we are only borrowing them for a little while. A young family only lasts for one third to one half of our adult lives. Before we have kids, and especially once they're gone, we're on our own. Companionship, someone to share a life with, is something we are programmed to need. It is something that, if not filled, creates a feeling of loneliness at a soul-deep level. Marriage gives us a guarantee of companionship. We'll never have to be alone. For better or worse, we'll have each other.

No matter what people think, living together is not the same as marriage. Marriage comes with a level of commitment that isn't easily broken. Many couples are startled to find that, even after years of living together, new marriage brings a different and surprising level of intimacy and responsibility to their relationship. Marriage is legally and socially binding. Many people find it isn't easy to escape. And that brings comfort to many who choose it. It is a guarantee of togetherness they didn't have during the more tenuous dating relationship. There is an ownership when talking of "my wife" or "my husband" that is heavier than that of a boyfriend or girlfriend.

And these days, sometimes it all comes down to the finances. Especially when there are children involved, it can be impossible to make ends meet with only one provider. Some families are even forgoing divorce nowadays because they simply cannot afford it. They've acquired houses and cars and debts together and these things have bound them in ways that are harder to escape than even the legal ties of marriage.
Friends and lovers can give us companionship, can help with family, can aid us in times of financial trouble, but they aren't partners. They aren't equally responsible for our children and our mortgage payments. And they can walk away at any time. When you ask someone to be your husband or wife, it is bigger than you are. Despite its failure rate, marriage holds more promise than fear for many.

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