From the moment we depart our mothers’ wombs we are brought into a society in which marriage is a norm. We are expected to adhere to that path and attain the American dream; go to school, get a degree, get married, have a house with white picket fence along with a family and a pet. We are so indoctrinated that we fail to realize why we are even getting married in the first place!
Many people are dismayed when asked why they want to get married, because a lot of people simply don’t really know! The idea that you are getting married because you love one another is outrageous. Does that mean that you didn’t love them before you got married? Is your love solely based on the act of getting married? Or is it that you want to follow tradition and get married? Female Genital Cutting is a tradition and is performed as rites of passage in parts of the Middle East and Africa. Just because its tradition doesn’t mean it’s good. Traditions take many forms and they could be wicked or noble. If we continued following the traditions developed at the start of human history, we wouldn’t evolve as a species.
Simply, you do not need marriage to have kids, express love, or live together, so why get married? Love is not an institution, why make it one by signing that paper? The government shouldn’t be a part of your love; you don’t need their stamp of approval on your relationship. Love is free flowing, unconditional, don’t make it stagnant and put restrictions on it.
Part 2: Costs
The media presents marriage as the ultimate goal for young girls; complete with a lavish wedding and a beautiful dress with all eyes on them. Unfortunately, many see their wedding day as the happiest day of their life. If it’s the happiest day of your life, then you have nothing to look forward to. That is the pinnacle of the happiness you could attain, everything else after is downhill. I would certainly hope it’s not the happiest day of your life.
Also, one must take into account the debt accrued with marriage. To start with, you have to get a marriage license here in San Diego which is $50. Then the most expensive of all is the wedding itself. Weddings in 2009 were estimated to cost 30,000 dollars and that was 2 years ago; it is likely that price has risen.
Depending on your cultural background, either your parents pay for it or the couple may have to. A wedding can put a financial strain on either party and most likely, a couple will get married in debt. Why not put all the money into a college fund, or take a trip with your loved one and explore the vastness of the world — especially before the divorce. According to the 2002 Census Bureau, “50% of all married couples in US will be seeking a divorce attorney.” Here in Southern California the divorce rate is even worse; at about, 60-75%.
If any of these statistics hold true, it is likely you will divorce, so, you might as well plan your budget — not only for the marriage, but for the divorce that follows. To file for divorce here in San Diego can cost around $395. It gets worse when courts and lawyers are involved — an uncontested divorce can run from $1,000 to $10,000, while a contested one can be from $5,000 to $25,000.
Let’s not forget about the other possibilities of divorcing; custody issues, property loss, psychological problems, restraining orders, alimony, and worst of all, losing half of your pension to your ex.
If you are planning to get married, you should really look at all of the possible outcomes of marriage and prepare yourself — not only financially, but emotionally.
Look into yourself and ask why you really want to get married? Make sure you really understand your motives and desires before you take that plunge. Any happiness you can attain in a marriage could be attained without one. Any misery that can ensue in a marriage may be avoided by not marching down that aisle.
In the previous parts of my articles I discussed how marriage is not needed in order to express love, start a family, and live together. Moreover, it is an institution that could lead to divorce along with financial and emotional disfavor.
However, looking at all aspects that encompass this societal creation, there are some advantages of marriage.
Most commonly, and why many homosexuals fight for gay rights, are the numerous legal benefits. It differs from state to state, but overall, you tend to pay fewer taxes by being married.
The benefits include social security, Medicare, disability, military, and public assistance. In addition, being married — instead of simply living together — can afford the splitting couple some protections: equitable distribution of property, child support, and death benefits.
If one of the couple is not working or not insured, coverage is available through your spouse’s insurance plan. If your spouse’s life meets his/her expiration date, you can receive retirement plan benefits, workers compensation, and wages.
Legally signing your love on that piece of paper also constitutes many consumer benefits. You can receive better rates on homeowners, auto, and health insurance. If you have children, you might also welcome the numerous tuition discounts.
Lastly, the only other sane reason to get married is the ability to make your loved one a citizen of your country. Your love may be encumbered by the distance imposed with government borders, and marriage could alleviate that.
Bear in mind, each couple has different life circumstances and marriage may not help them financially. If you are married or plan to get married, check with your tax advisor since a marriage penalty may apply to you, for example.
As many financial benefits as you may acquire from marriage, consider the other potential costs as discussed in Part 2 of my article.
Clearly there are logical advantages to getting married. Nonetheless, marriage seems to be more of a bond then a boon. Buyer beware.
Part 4: Orgins and Conclusion
Many people equate marriage with love, but in reality it never originally had anything to do with love. It was founded on unequal ideals of the roles of men and women in society.
Thousands of years before marriage was created, men and women shared multiple partners and children. As hunter-gatherers began to settle down into agrarian civilizations, more steady family relations were needed to organize a more complex world.
The first recorded marriage ceremony was in Mesopotamia in 2350 B.C. which united one man and one woman. Over the next thousands of years, the seed of marriage grew, creating a tree with deep roots and spreading branches — roots that bound women to men, and branches that blocked out the rays of equality.
Children, before marriage was instituted, were raised by the whole community. Once people moved from nomadic lifestyles into settled communities, men began acquiring property. Children, just like women, became a man’s chattel, therefore men wanted to make sure the children they were raising were their biological heirs; thus allowing their bloodline and inheritance to pass to their legitimate offspring.
In many cultures throughout history, men of wealth were allowed to have concubines, prostitutes, and even teenage male lovers. They had free reign to quench their sexual thirst, while the wife would starve sexually.
To make matters worse would be if a woman couldn’t bear children. The husbands would give their wives back to the parents in the same way we return broken items back to the store. They would marry someone who could provide a child, and cast away their ex, often damning the divorced women to poverty and ostracism.
It was 3,000 years after the first recorded ceremony, when religion and marriage were consummated. In the 8th century the Roman Catholic Church developed into a powerful institution, and for a marriage to be legally recognized, a blessing from a priest was required. Later in 1563, at the Council of Trent, marriage was written into canon law as a sacrament.
Religion gave a facelift to marriage and improved women’s plight. Men were to treat their wives better, show them more respect, were pressured to remain sexually faithful, and were forbidden to divorce. However, according to the church, men were still the head of the household and women were to obey the husbands.
Romantic love in marriage only came in to play in the Middle Ages with the introduction of romance literature, such as the story of Lancelot and Queen Guinevere. In these novels, men were advised on how to woo women by complimenting their lips, hair, and eyes, for example. Women were now not only there to serve their husbands, but also to be served by their lovers. In this case, romantic love first began as an idealization of another man’s wife. Eventually, though, romantic love moved into the realm of being an ideal part of marriage as well.
The evolution of marriage continued to transform society, especially in the 1920s and 1960s with the birth of women’s rights in the United States. However, marriage still needs to continue its metamorphosis and rid much of the underlining ideals on which marriage was founded.
When women get married and sign themselves to their husband, they are symbolically losing their identity. They surrender their last name, a name that encompassed who they were. They then take the husband’s last name and absorb his identity.
Before you get married, understand it origins, ask yourself why you are getting married and if it will benefit you in the long run. Religion and love never had anything to do with marriage.
Marriage will not guarantee security, your spouse may leave you or cheat on you regardless if you are married or not. Marriage will not guarantee that you won’t die alone. What you can get in a marriage you can get in a relationship. Don’t get married just because society tells you to. When you get married you may believe that you and your spouse are going to be the same people. However, both you and your spouse will change; you will not be the same people in 10 days, let alone 10 years! As human beings, we aren’t the same cellular being that we were at our birth. If your cells don’t stay static, why would you think you won’t change? How can you be so sure that you will love that person the rest of your life?
You have to be prepared for not only the changes your spouse goes through, but the changes you go through, and how that will alter the dynamics of your relationship. Marriage can derive from a form of insecurity and once you have a strong sense of self worth you will no longer look to other people to complete you.
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