Til’ death do us part. It’s only five words. It’s also the most dangerous series of words in the English language, behind the words “Nothing, I’m fine,” from your girlfriend. Those words symbolize the beginning of the end for most people, because marriage will undoubtedly ruin your life. Think I’m kidding? We have over a 50% divorce rate. That means half the guys in this country owe their wives half their stuff. That’s a shitty way to go after anywhere between 3 months to 30 years of marriage.
Now, marriage works for some people. My parents, for example. They fight occasionally over normal, married for 30 years problems, but they’re also the kind of people that fall into the “soul mates” category. For almost everyone else, stop it. Stop it right now. Subjecting yourself to a medium term “tax form official” status relationship will only lead to lawyers, insulting phone calls, weird holiday swaps for the kids and a seething resentment of your former partner that you can capitalize on well into your late 80s. The problem is, you are committing to a lifetime of loving someone who may very well change along the way. I suppose someone might say that’s the beauty of marriage, but I tend to not like putting all my eggs in a basket that could one day decide it wants to bone the pool boy instead, and leaves with me with a several hundred thousand dollar bill over my head. Then I’ve got nothing except that aforementioned seething resentment. See where I’m coming from here? Marriage is a gamble with low odds and uncertain ROI. If the people that invented it were pitching it on Shark Tank, everyone would have been out by the time they finished describing how property rights work once people get married.
Perhaps I’m being cynical and unfair. In my family, a great number of marriages are absolutely fine, but there are still big, hot button family issues after that many years of marriage. Any long-term relationship will develop these, but those relationships have the benefit of not being life-long contracts.
As a single guy with a bunch of friends that are tying the knot, it’s like each couple merges into one person after they get married. It becomes increasingly difficult to see only part of a married couple because they go about their lives as if marriage has suddenly turned them into conjoined twins. You know who I don’t want to see on our boys weekend away from the women in our lives? The woman in your life. Or worse, her and your kids. I get that you have a family, with duties and responsibilities, but is it too much to ask that I don’t have to see them while we’re catching up over beers and incredibly poor life decisions.
The worst curse I could ever think to be thrown someone’s way is that they find themselves married soon. If you find exactly the right person, it’s bliss. Statistics, however, show that about half of American marriages are so pathetically not blissful that they end in a split. Til’ death, indeed. I’d much rather be cautious on pulling the trigger on marriage in favor of a series of long term relationships. If and when you find the one for you, great. If not, then just enjoy life as it is. The need to rush into marriage that some people get is terrifying and irresponsible. A spur of the moment decision to spend the rest of your life with someone? Genius move.
At the end of the day, everyone has to do what is right for them. For some people, getting married with kids at 20 “works”, but in the sense that they have to work to make it work. Very few people graduate high school and go, “I want to be a stay-at-home parent.” More and more, I think traditional marriage has become this outmoded thing that doesn’t fit how our society works currently. When it was created, you lived to 35 or 40, tops. Today, we live twice as long. The expectation that you will spend the next 50-70 years with one person is pretty damn demanding. Just in terms of personal development, I’m going to have to err on the side of near perpetual bachelor or bachelorette status.
If you do think that getting hitched is your cup of tea, make sure the right legal protections are in place and then take the age old advice: eat, drink, remarry.