Sunday, April 18, 2010

Why Get Married?

I had an interesting conversation last night. A co-worker and I started having a heated discussion about why people get married. I have learned from this discussion that this should be one of those topics people stay away from at parties, like politics and religion.

I don't remember how the conversation got started. What I do remember is her saying "Why get married when 50% get divorced and the other 50% are unhappy." This is about the time where I blew a gasket because I felt my relationship was being scrutinized. Had we both been sober, I think we could've had a calm conversation.

So, I'm going to give my reasons for why I think people get married.

1. Her argument was that 50% of marriages end in divorce, so why get married with a high failure rate.

I can't find actual data on this statistic, but I know this number is generally accepted among the public. I'm going to accept this number for simplicity reasons. I'm also going to assume that even though we do not have to register for every romantic relationship we have, more non-martial relationships end versus marriages ending in divorce. So if we're going to go with her argument of why get married if you have a 50% chance of getting divorce, why enter a relationship if you have a higher chance of it ending?

2. I want to wake up every day and have a choice with whom I’m with.

Let’s go back to the 50% of marriages ending in divorce. Doesn’t that mean that the other 50% are choosing to stay married? It’s still a choice regardless of the legal document or not. I know there out there who feel trapped in a relationship, married or not. Every day is a choice when you’re a relationship and both parties choose to stay together. That’s what makes a relationship.

3. I asked her why wouldn’t you get married? She responded why would I?

Because marriage is a ceremony where you stand up in front God, family and friends and make a verbal commitment to your partner. You become accountable for your relationship and the actions you take towards your partner. By making public vows, you’re saying you will respect and work with your partner. This is a public way of saying you're in a long-term committed relationship. If this is what you're seeking from your partner why wouldn't you get married?

1 comment:

Maria said...

Oh yeah...not a drunk topic!

Personally, I think some people shouldn't get married. There is a lot of pressure (real and assumed) in our society to marry (good God, if one more person asks another person when they will FINALLY get married, I might scream!) and then have kids (Good GOD! ONE is enough! Leave me alone!). That, however, is not a reason not to marry if you have found "the one" though. Here is why I would say some shouldn't and others should.

1. I believe marriage to be Biblical/religion based. Therefore, those who do not believe in God should not get married in the religious sense. Those folks don't need a wedding.

2. The Government should not be involved in marriage. I wrote about this a year or two ago on my blog. The government's role is in civil union, completely separate from marriage. Issuing a license for a religious based tradition (some might even say mandate) is a problem, in my opinion.

Beyond those two items, I think that all persons should have the opportunity to commit themselves to one another-- through legal channels or not, and if marriage is what they choose, that's fine. If it is a commitment between two people, that is fine too. In the end, with the lack of respect for the institution of marriage, the paper really means very little anyway. People make the promise before God and family, but only intend to keep it while things are going well. Very few actually mean "in sickness" or "poorer" when they repeat it.

When society pushes people to marry early, too soon, or before the couple is ready, the probability of divorce rises. When the union is entered in to as a life-long endeavor, the mentality changes. It is no longer, we're married until we decide we want different things.

As for the statistic, I think it is misused. For example, in 2008, there were a little over 2 million marriages in the US. That is a marriage rate of 7.1 per 1,000 total population. The divorce rate was 3.5 per 1,000 population (44 states and DC reporting). So, approximately half of the population gets divorced. I think more statistically analyzed, if you take rate per year of divorces and looked at that over the course of a marriage (number of years would be variable), you would end up with close to 50% as well. Kind of like the 100 year flood, really being a 1% chance annually, but in the life of a traditional 30 year mortgage, according to statistics, you should have at least one flood.

Sorry to get all nerdy.