If you’re unsure about tying the “knot” and are looking for reasons why you perhaps shouldn’t get married, you’ve landed in the right place.
The younger me definitely wanted to be married and have kids by the time I was 25. Then I got to 25; as single as ever; and realised I couldn’t even take care of myself, let alone a baby.
And in the years since, I’ve done a lot of inner work, self-growth and discovery. I’ve also learned about the severe gender imbalance between men and women, which has existed for thousands of years; and how marriage supports this.
I’ve been in a relationship for over four years with a man I love and care about very much, and believe is my soul partner. Yet, I’m still conflicted about marriage.
I want to commit to him, and I think I want to spend my foreseeable future with him. But I’m angry how marriage continues to trap women (and men) into miserable, lonely half-lives. I’m angry that marriage has become an expectation rather than a choice.
I understand and respect people’s choices to get married, or remain un-wed. What you choose is none of my business. But I can’t help but think so many of us blindly walk into marriage for the wrong reasons. And so many of us stay in those marriages because we think it’s best for the kids, or, worse still, because we’re no longer able to financially support ourselves on our own.
That’s why I want you to make sure you’re making the right choice for you; and your wants and needs.
If you reach the end of this list of reasons not to get married and you still can’t wait to, great. I’m happy for you. And if you don’t, that’s great too. Because you’ll have saved yourself from making a huge mistake.
Here are 11 reasons why you shouldn’t get married (even if you really want to)
1. You’re getting married because you don’t want to end up alone
For some reason, we are taught that the worst thing that could ever happen to us as women is we end up alone.
No man snoring beside us in bed each night, who we feel obliged to have unfulfilling sex with. No kids to birth or shower or change or feed for years; while their noise leaves us with a permanent headache. And no family meals to cook, dishes to wash up, or big house to clean; because you know that women usually end up doing more than their fair share.
Being alone sounds terrible.
You can make yourself your number one priority. Your needs and wants and interests will always come first. You can do what you want, and when you want, without having to factor in another person.
Being a single woman is amazing. Think about how much fun you had when you were single? You could spend so much more time with your girlfriends, meeting new people, pursuing hobbies, and travelling; living your life for you.
Society teaches us that being a single woman is something we should aim to avoid at all costs; and that getting married and having kids is the only path to take. This is bullshit.
And there’s nothing more lonely than spending the rest of your life with someone you don’t love, or even like.
2. You feel pressured by others to get married
I was only around 22 when my mother started telling me I was “leaving it too late” to find a man, and that I was going to be “left on the shelf.”
It’s both hilarious and horrifying the more I think about it, because she was mindlessly parroting the same words her mum had said to her when she was younger. It was that pressure that led to her marrying my dad, before she even really knew him. And let me tell you, that didn’t work out well at all (for either of them).
There’s an awful amount of pressure on young women to “find” someone, and “settle down.” Let’s stop and think about that. Who wants to settle down? I don’t want to ever settle for less than extraordinary; and I sure as hell don’t want to tame myself into society’s idea of what a woman should behave like or do.
So whether it’s pressure from your parents, your friends who are all getting married, or even from a religion you’re a part of, please don’t get married unless you truly want to.
You don’t need to please anyone. And you’ve got mothing to prove. This life is your own. Live it in a way that makes you happy.
3. Reasons not to get married: Financial security
Women used to marry largely for money; mostly because they had little to no choice in the matter, and this was one of the only hopes of creating a better life for themselves.
And there are many women who still get married thinking they’re creating financial security for themselves. But the reality is often the opposite.
Women who get married, then leave work to raise kids often find themselves with very few options later in life. They may want a divorce, but have no way of financially supporting themselves or their kids, and then feel trapped in relationships they no longer want to be in.
Someone might seem wealthy, but you really have no idea if they actually are, or to what extent. Remember, when you marry someone, you’re also taking on all their debts and liabilities as your own, too.
And if someone is vastly wealthier than you, it might create an unhealthy power dynamic in your relationship, where you don’t truly feel equal. This may prevent you from disagreeing or arguing with your husband, speaking up when you feel called to, or saying no. That’s why I recommend that every woman earns her own money, and has a secret stash that she keeps just for her.
You cannot overlook a person’s values, personality, or outlook, just because they’re a millionaire. Even love on its own isn’t a good enough reason to get married. It takes so much more to make it work.
4. You want the dream wedding
Your wedding day is just one day. One day out of tens of thousands more. Marriage, on the other hand, is supposed to be forever. Think about what that means.
And be mindful of the fact that most brides don’t even enjoy their wedding day that much, because of the huge amount of stress placed on them. We think that everything has to be perfect, and we’re constantly worrying that it won’t be. The day goes by in a blur, and before you know it it’s over. All that’s left is that lifelong commitment you made to your partner.
So don’t rush into marriage because you want a dream wedding. You can have that any time you want. Make sure this relationship is right for you first.
5. You’re pregnant
There’s still a stigma around having a baby with someone you’re not married to, and being a single parent. But do you know who’s actually fuelling this stigma?
Unhappily married people, who want the next generation to be just as unhappy as they were.
Most of our parents understand how challenging marriage is, because they’ve lived through twenty plus years of it. They know that it often doesn’t work out, and sometimes they’re filled with regrets about the choices they made, especially the rash ones.
So whatever you do, don’t allow someone like this to make you feel guilty for being pregnant and unmarried. Don’t feel pressured to tie the knot just because you accidentally got pregnant. The world is full of competent, happy single parents.
Having a baby does not make the list of reasons to get married.
Maybe a baby isn’t what you want right now, and you might be thinking of having an abortion, or giving the baby up for adoption after birth. Maybe you raise the child together, but unmarried; or maybe you raise your child alone.
There are plenty of options available to you, all of which make more sense than getting married.
Marriage doesn’t solve anything, it only creates more obstacles and challenges, so make sure you have a rock steady foundation before you even contemplate getting hitched.
6. Marriage is rooted in patriarchy
Do you even know what the word “wife” means, and why marriage was invented?
It was a legal way to control and tame women, and make sure they had little to no rights of their own.
When a woman married a man, she had no legal identity of her own. She was essentially owned by her husband, after being passed over to him from her father during the wedding ceremony (in exchange for a sum). And we continue to uphold this patriarchal tradition when we allow our father to “give” us away.
Married women owned nothing of their own, especially not the house they lived in; and this didn’t change until the Married Women’s Property Act was proposed in 1882, which finally allowed a woman to own property.
Your husband was legally entitled to beat and rape you, and do whatever he pleased.
Marriage was not invented so that two people who love each other could express that, and commit it to one another in writing. No. It’s a legal, man-made contract that was engineered to benefit men, and control women; reinforcing the idea that women are inferior, and no more than pieces of property.
When we celebrate and promote marriage, we’re celebrating the people (men) who created it, and the entire history that it represents; which is the oppression of women.
If this fills you with rage like it does me, then marriage might not be the right path for you. And that’s okay.
7. Reasons not to get married: You think you’re running out of time
Once again, society places far more pressure on women than men to be engaged or married by a certain age.
If you get to 30 and you’re still single, or in a happy relationship with no signs of wedding bells, so many people have something to say about it.
And even if nobody is saying anything, those same thoughts circle round your head. You tell yourself you should be married by now, which often leads to you settling for someone just so you can tick it off this imaginary list.
Being married should never become more important than who you’re marrying, and why you’re marrying them.
Just because you feel ready to get married, and you want to get married, it doesn’t mean you should give up on waiting for the right person, and just do it now.
You’re never too old for something, and what is for you will never pass you by.
8. You want to take your man off the market
Some women are in a rush to get engaged or married, because they want to “lock down” their man. Some men do this, too.
Here’s the thing—men are everywhere, and they’re not going anywhere.
If you hold off on marriage because you’re not ready yet, and your partner doesn’t understand or respect this; then leaves you for someone else, or worse, cheats on you, then he is NOT the guy for you. You deserve worlds more. You’re better off without him.
And you can always find someone else. Men are everywhere, and they’re so much more available than women are. You might think the one you’re with is a one of a kind and perfect for you, but chances are, he’s not.
9. You haven’t yet learned how to communicate your needs
I’m a fairly strong writer, but it wasn’t until a few years ago that I realised I was a poor communicator.
I struggled to put my feelings into words, and articulate them to my partner. There were so many things I wasn’t happy with in our relationship, but I didn’t know how to voice them; so I buried them and let them eat away at me over time, making me increasingly angry and resentful. And if I felt hurt after an argument—which would happen often—I would shut down, sometimes for days, and give him the silent treatment.
This is not what a healthy relationship looks like. And it can all be avoided by learning how to communicate with your partner.
The main reason why couples argue or end up breaking up is because they feel like their needs aren’t being understood or met. More often than not, these needs aren’t being communicated, so the other person has no hope of meeting them.
So, if you haven’t yet built the confidence to communicate your wants and needs to your partner, and vice versa, then don’t even think about getting married.
You both need to master the art of communicating and listening for your relationship to thrive.
10. You think marriage is the ultimate symbol of commitment
Almost everywhere we look—fairytales, books, TV shows, movies—we learn that marriage is the end goal. That it is the ultimate achievement that we should all strive for. And that there is no better way to commit to someone you love.
But why do you need a meaningless, legal piece of paper to do that? Does it really change anything?
Why can’t you just be happy, either on your own or in a relationship, without needing to prove yourself or your love to anyone?
Remember, historically, marriage is nothing to do with love or commitment. And when you take that out of the equation, what are your real motivations for getting married?
11. If you’re not married, you can leave at ANY time
If you’re looking for reasons you shouldn’t get married, this alone is enough of one.
Marriage is so easy to get into, but when you want to walk away? It’s fucking complicated and messy.
Marriages break down all the time. How awesome would it be to enjoy the time you have together right now, marriage free; and be able to walk away at any point in the future when you want to?
We need to start making more selfish choices for ourselves as women, that give us more options and freedom. Men make selfish choices all the time, every day, and they’re much better off for doing so.
When you’re in a relationship, and both of you know that you can walk away at any time, the dynamics are different. It keeps him on his toes, and hopefully stops him from taking you for granted. You do your own thing as individuals, but you still enjoy the commitment of living and growing together.
And who knows what will happen? Maybe twenty years fly by, and you’re still both incredibly happy together. Maybe another year goes by, and you realise you’re not as suited as you initially thought you were. Even worse, maybe he turns into a massive asshole. And you break up with him; without having to worry about lawyers or custody battles or who’s going to get what.
You get to leave, at ANY time, without any unnecessary stress or hassle. That’s empowering as fuck.