In Response to Newsweek and In Defense of Marriage

Yesterday I was on Twitter and I came across a link to an article from Newsweek called “I Don’t: The Case Against Marriage.” The article itself was really interesting and if you haven’t read it, you should check it out (just be sure to come back!).  It was written by two (presumably single) women and talked about all the reasons they didn’t believe in marriage.  I do happen to believe in the institution of marriage but I can certainly understand some of the arguments against it.  Shoot, reading their article I started thinking it would have been more practical to stay single myself.

But here’s the thing about my philosophy on marriage.  I don’t think we get married because it’s the best thing for society or for our families or for our religion or our country or the Western world.  I don’t think we get married because it’s the financially responsible thing to do or because we can be counted as part of a statistic.  I think we get married because, like any relationship, it teaches us and helps us grow as individuals.  (And I should add here that I believe people of all lifestyles should have the opportunity to grow through marriage…).  Could I have stayed with Chris this long and not been married?  Absolutely.  Could we have raised a child who is happy and healthy if his parents weren’t married?  Of course.  But would I be the person I am today if I weren’t wearing a wedding band?  No, definitely not.  And here’s why…

Marriage teaches me commitment and responsibility. Chris and I agreed before we got married that divorce was not an option.  We took it off the table.  Whatever we went through, we would work through.  We were able to make that commitment to each other because we trusted the other person would always put our marriage and family first and, so far, we’ve been right.  Knowing that I’m in this until the end, come what may, means that I can’t give up.  I can’t give in.  I can’t wash my hands of it or walk away.  And on those rare occasions when I have wanted to do just that, one look at my wedding ring reminded me that I have a responsibility to Chris to work through things.  And that means that sometimes instead of running to my bedroom and hiding under the covers or instead of walking out the door and never looking back, I have to suck it up, put on my big girl panties, and start working.  Sure, you can make the same commitment to someone without a wedding ring on your finger, but for someone like me who is always going to look for a loop hole, that wedding ring is a binding, physical reminder that I have committed to Chris and am responsible for the actions in my relationship.

Marriage teaches me that sometimes I can’t be the priority. I’m pretty good at making my thoughts and opinions known.  I’m a blogger, so that means that I have a pretty large ego to even think that people would have any interest in what I’m saying.  But anytime that ego starts to overtake me and my head becomes too big to fit through doorways, my husband is what grounds me.  Having a husband teaches me how to put someone else first.  Take paychecks, for example.  When I get paid, what I’d really like to do is go out shopping for a great new pair of shoes, maybe spend a couple hours walking around Target, maybe have a nice dinner out.  But being married means that I have to weigh my needs and wants against someone else.  Sometimes I get my shopping spree or dinner out.  But sometimes that means that Chris needs a new set of tires for his car or that it’s finally time to replace all of his socks with holes in them.  Being married has taught me how to consider other people.  It has taught me that the world doesn’t revolve around me and that sometimes my needs and wants have to wait for a while.  When you are single, you learn this lesson from a variety of people in a variety of ways and to a variety of extents.  So, I am not saying that single people are more selfish.  Single people learn the same lessons on compromise as I do.  It’s just that when you’re married, you learn this continually, day after day, from the same person who loves you to the extent of your lifetime together.  Marriage gives that life lesson a level of intensity that I need in my life.

Marriage has the best ROI. In business, you don’t put your money into something unless you are confident that your return on investment is going to be high.  In marriage, it’s the same principle.  Because I knew when I was getting married that I was choosing a partner for the rest of my life, I made sure to do my research.  I put the time into understanding all about the person I was getting ready to commit to.  I know his profits and losses in life.  I knew what it would cost me to keep him happy.  I went into the marriage the same way I go into investments – with my eyes wide open.  Had I been choosing a long-term boyfriend or partner instead of a husband, I might not have done all the preliminary preparations.  I might not have been so sure that we had the same thoughts on family or that we viewed money the same way.  I might have cut corners a little bit and settled for someone who had a 99% chance of returning what I put into the relationship.  But 99% for a lifetime is not good enough for me.  I knew that if this was going to work til death do us part, we had to have certain non-negotiable things in place first.  And so Chris and I worked hard to build a foundation for our marriage to be built on.  Not a foundation that would last 99% of our lifetimes.  But a foundation that would withstand the test of time.  Does everyone need to get married to have this kind of certainty?  Absolutely not.  But in marriage, you are making a definite decision to invest at a specific point in time.  And the act of making that decision will require (should require) some good old-fashioned leg work in order to be sure you are investing in the right stock.

Marriage is my promise to Chris. For Chris and I, our marriage was a statement to each other that we have found The One.  Before our marriage, Chris and I – like many young couples – struggled with the question of how we knew if we’d found the right person.  But I don’t think that is the right question to ask.  It’s not so important how you find the right person, but have you found the right person?  Because we were making a decision to become married and not instead realizing overtime that this had become a lifelong thing, we had to be really sure that standing there at the alter at a specific day and time, the search was over.  That after those vows to love, honor, and cherish, we were done looking.  There is a reason that people say when you get married you “take yourself off the market.”  In real estate, choosing to put your house on the market or take it off the market requires a contract with your realtor.  A binding statement at that on this signed date, your house is no longer for sale.  You aren’t leaving your house on the market indefinitely while still living in the house.  You are taking that sign out of the yard and making a public statement that this house is taken.  That is the promise that my marriage made to Chris.  That I loved him so much, so confidently, so completely, that I was done looking.  I had found my home, moved in, and taken the sign out of the yard.

I was offended by the article in Newsweek.  It offended me that marriage was boiled down to a financial or statistical decision.  For some it might be, but in my house, our marriage was a distinct decision made for reasons that may not be logical to some and probably aren’t able to be quantified by others.  And it is a decision that we continue to make every single day.

Being married doesn’t make me a better person than someone else.  It doesn’t make my lifestyle superior to any other.  There are a thousand different reasons that people choose to either get married or not get married.    People live the lives that work for them.  But being married brings things into my life that otherwise I wouldn’t have.  It makes my life richer, fuller, more complete, grounded, hopeful, and confident.  Some may find those things in their life through other ways and means, but for me I have those things in my life because I am married to my husband.

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90 Thoughts to “In Response to Newsweek and In Defense of Marriage”

  1. Katie – what a well written defense of marriage. I am anxious to read the article referenced (even though I know it’ll probably get my blood boiling), but I’m thankful I read your musings first…

  2. Thank you for your perspective!!! Being VERY recently married, it reinforces my decision. Your reasons were so fresh, too, rather than just the financial or religious reasons so often given.

  3. Sue V.

    Exactly! I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks Katie.

  4. Jennifer

    Absolutely Katie. I didn’t get married just to be a Mrs. someone. I married my husband because I loved him and knew he was the one I wanted to spend my life with. I married him because I couldn’t picture my life without him in and because I could picture my future with him in it. And like you, divorce was off the table from the start.

    At the end of the day I have a partner who supports me fully and who I support as well. We’re each others cheerleaders in life. We’ve made sacrifices because it means something better for the both of us. We bought a house pretty far away from where I work because the quality of our life would be better and because it would be easier for me to find work closer to home. The industry he works in would have limited options. Do i hate the commute, most days. Do i regret the decision? No way.

  5. Great post, Katie.
    I’m so happy being married and I’m really glad that me and my husband made the descision to. Actually, there wasn’t an alternative. I couldn’t actually see a future in which we weren’t married.
    xxxx

  6. Gina B.

    Well said.
    For me, marriage was the only option. I wanted a lifelong partnership that didn’t have an easy out of “So, now I’m done, see ya” like all of my previous relationships did. I’m someone who is always looking for greener pastures and I knew that when I found someone who I could picture being married to, that was the time to, as you aptly put it ‘take the sign out of the yard’. I was done. This was my pasture. And never, not once in the four years that we have been together, have I looked towards another pasture. If we hadn’t gotten married, hadn’t made a vow to each other, that might have been different. It’s a thing of permanence. I stick with my commitments. (and, reading this back it sounds like that’s the only reason that I’m with Eric, but no. I love him more than I can say and that’s why I knew I could marry him and make him my home.)

  7. Fantastic post, Katie! Really and truly. The part about marriage teaching you to put yourself second sometimes really hit home for me as I am finding (in my first year of marriage) that making every little decision together–whether it be what kind of cellphone to get to whether to take a new job to what kind of laundry detergent to buy–can be hard. But in the end it is definitely worth it.

    I’d really like to post a link to this on my blog since it really does sum up many of the most important reasons for getting married! Nice work, again 🙂

  8. the house example is the best.. I totally agree with you. The other day I had an argument with my sister in law about that, she told me: “I’ve been married twice and that paper only help me whenever I ran out of toilet paper”, she is divorce now and living with another guy and it made very upset when she said that ’cause yes! she got married twice, but did she marry for the right reason?? she is very critical of everybody that doesn’t think like her or do things her way and since I have my opinion too she always attacks my marriage making it look like is not worthy. Next month we’ll celebrate our 7th anniversary and every step we took since the beginning was planned.

    Getting married is a decision that takes 2, and commonly I find that people who talk bad about mariage is because 1) they got married for the wrong reasons, 2) they got desperate, got married to the first one they found to end up divorcing, 3) They’re in a relationship because they’re scare to face their own demons and are afraid to be alone and have zero in common with that person, but is better than nothing. 4) They just stick around an abussing relationship in a desperate intent to change that person 5) their not even close to being 100% happy living the way they are. 6) they are just jelous ’cause they want to get married.

    I see nothing wrong if a couple doesn’t get married but I don’t see nothing wrong either with a couple that does. Not everybody is the same and people need to respect others decisions in live.

  9. Great post, Katie! I agree. My husband and I absolutely do not think divorce is an option, so we do sometimes have to work at our marriage. But spending my whole life with him is the reward for a little hard work once in awhile. I’ll take it!

  10. Excellent post! And totally with you on all people having the opportunity to marry. I don’t know why, but I didn’t think you would either have that view or share it- but I’m so glad you do/did. I have to confess, I started reading the google reader and your post- I had to RECHECK to make sure I wasn’t reading another blog- ha! You continually surprise me. Can’t put you in a box my-dear. 🙂

  11. I think I’ll just skip that article. I’m pretty sure I like what you had to say better. I can see where you were inclined to be a lawyer.

  12. Your post actually made me cry. I am so proud to be married to my husband. The last part of “Marriage is my promise to Chris” is excellent. I often think of how much it means to me that my husband made that promise to me, and continues to every day. In relationships there are ups and downs and with a marriage you know that you can’t just walk out. It makes you take that extra second to figure things out.
    You always have great posts on marriage, thanks.

  13. Melissa

    I just got married (11 days ago!). Two years ago, I would have completely agreed with the Newsweek article. After meeting my husband, I knew that I wanted to commit my life to him, and that doing so would not be a rejection of my freedom as a person. At our wedding, I had a good friend read a passage from Madeleine L’Engle’s “The Irrational Season.” First, who can argue with L’Engle? Second, I think it sums up exactly what marriage means to me. I’ve copied and pasted it below:

    But ultimately there comes a moment when a decision must be made. Ultimately two people who love each other must ask themselves how much they hope for as their love grows and deepens, and how much risk they are willing to takeIt is indeed a fearful gambleBecause it is the nature of love to create, a marriage itself is something which has to be created, so that, together we become a new creature.

    To marry is the biggest risk in human relations that a person can takeIf we commit ourselves to one person for life this is not, as many people think, a rejection of freedom; rather it demands the courage to move into all the risks of freedom, and the risk of love which is permanent; into that love which is not possession, but participationIt takes a lifetime to learn another personWhen love is not possession, but participation, then it is part of that co-creation which is our human calling, and which implies such risk that it is often rejected.

    1. Heather Ben

      beautiful quote!

  14. marriage aint easy, but like you, we discussed before hand and took the ‘D” word (divorce) out of the equation. we have grown so much as individuals and in our relationship through being committed to loving each other no matter the circumstance and striving to work through things together.

    i remember as my husband and i were discussing getting married, one of the things we talked about was that we could achieve so much more being together than separate. this wasnt from a financial standpoint, but more from a teamwork, vision perspective. we felt like individually we were both strong and independant, but together we made so much more. that statement has revealed itself true over the past 4 years and i hope it continues to grow as we start our family.

    great post Katie!

  15. So true. I couldn’t agree more with you. I’m kind of nervous to read the article.

    1. Katie

      It’s not so bad, really. 🙂

  16. Great post, I loved reading your thoughts (and totally agree). Thanks for linking the article too… I’m off to read it!

  17. VERY well written! I need to check out that article, but I’m sure it’ll upset me, as I’m making the choice to “invest” in my forever and future with my fiance’ in just 3 months. I really appreciate many of the points you make here!

  18. Heather Ben

    I agree with you (mostly…). I have been married 8 years and have def had struggles and remain committed to our children and marriage. I hate the stat in the article that says 60% of men and 50% of women cheat in their marriage. That that is really awful. Sometimes people lie and there are no signals for it. Sure, some people still get married when there are “signs” that they choose to ignore, but for others there are not. I didn’t got into my marriage thinking divorce was an option, but if something like that happened to me – what do you do? It all depends…

    Maybe we should start a pledge, like the no-cell phones while driving, that we are faithful in our marriages. (Is that stupid???) I think the cheating thing is really the downfall of marriage, but I think what that really means (like you say in your post) that people marry much more casually then before and so don’t feel as bad when they break the vows of marriage. I mean, I want to blame it on the guys (sorry, but i do…) but what do you say of all the women out there that are sleeping with them! I think if everyone respected their own marriages and others, then the focus would be in the correct place.

    Like the analogy of the house for sale as well.

    PS – hope you are incorporating this into your book…

  19. Jen C

    i can definitely understand why some people don’t want to get married but not for the reasons stated in the newsweek article. If marriage is a business opportunity then you’re going into it for the wrong reasons. Some people really aren’t cut out for marriage. Its not easy, its not always fun but it is worth the hard work to have a partner, a best friend, to go through life with. I totally agree with what you said, very well spoken and thought out. Thanks!

  20. Omaha Kat

    Well put and well said. The only thing I would add is that something also needs to be said about religious beliefs. (whatever they may be) Sometimes “researchers” put so much emphasis on “financials” and “social conformity” that they forget to put love and faith in it.

  21. Thanks for defending the commitment that so many of us work so hard for everyday.

  22. Cristy

    I don’t usually comment, but I felt moved by your writing. Thank you, Katie. I was with my boyfriend for 8 years (and we’ll now be married one year next week! Yay!). I feel like I’ve grown so much more in this last year than in the last eight. It’s really an awesome thing to stand before all your friends, family and God and promise that it’s a life-long decision. I think one thing about marriage that I would add is that making this commitment in front of your family and to God makes it so that they are your support system when you struggle in your marriage. They hold you accountable, too.

    1. Sarah H.

      Nice point Cristy!

  23. Well said, Katie! I skimmed the article…I thought it was strange. Why are two unmarried people telling us why people get married? I love being married, I love what it means for our relationship. But I think that’s the big key, marriage means something different to everyone and for it to really work, it has to mean the same thing to both people. The fun part is discovering the stuff you didn’t even realize it meant…

  24. Thanks for sharing that article! I can’t believe the warped view on the institution of marriage that the authors have. When something as complex as a union between man and wife (just like anything) is boiled down to numbers and dollars the spin becomes unrealistic. You brought up some excellent points too. I’m going to share this article with others 🙂 Thanks!

    Cabin Fever in Vermont

  25. Very well said! I completely agree with you. It was kind of weird to read the article and go, “huh. Those are not outrageous points.” But, like you said, marriage (for me) goes beyond just the statistics and whether I financially need to be married (answer: no). It is about what emotional support and benefits I get out of it, and what I can offer someone else, and what kind of lifestyle I want to live. Thanks for the link and the thought-provoking argument for marriage!

  26. Sarah H.

    Way to go Katie! I’m with you! I tell people getting married is the best thing i ever did. I love it. But hey, I’m also the woman who has a husband who does all of the cooking and he still splits the laundry and cleaning with me 50/50. I’m a lucky girl.

    You know what line really irritated me in that article? This one: “In the workplace, meanwhile, women who use their partner’s name are regarded as less intelligent, less competent, less ambitious, and thus less likely to be hired.”

    WHAT!? If you were looking at someone’s resume or CV how would you even know if they changed their name? Anyway–that’s just ridiculous. In fact, more people I know look down on a woman who doesn’t change her name–like what are they trying to prove? Won’t that be confusing to their children? Personally I don’t look down on them, as it’s their choice and I know a lot of people who are published and have medical practices set up with their maiden name. I’m just saying I’ve run into the opposite of what they’re trying to saying way more than people who choose to take their husband’s name being viewed as less intelligent. Come on!

  27. Maggie

    I liked both the article in NW AND your response to it. In an increasingly diverse society, there has to be room for all views of marriage. If we are truly talking about “live and let live” concepts, then it takes the need to be offended by either point of view out of the equation. The truth is that people are going to continue to do what is best for them in their relationships. That means that the calculation of numbers or the commitment to your soul mate is a part of one’s own decision.

  28. Melissa

    Great post! I was also offended by the newsweek article and was very happy to read your defense. I too would not be the person I am today without that little band around my finger.

  29. Robin

    Wow. This was a GREAT article! I just got married in March and what you said is exactly right.

    You should also read the two responses to the Newsweek article written by a girl who is married and a guy who is getting married. They were interesting as well (but not nearly as inspiring as yours).

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go hug my husband.

  30. Lisa

    Very well put, I liked all of your arguments and they mirror our feelings on marriage pretty closely. I love being married to my best friend and no cynical article is going to change that!

  31. Meredith

    GRRR I read that article and it really really bothered me (I’m not even married). First, I totally agree with you that the article took marriage and only looked at it from a financial and economic perspective.

    As a counter point, let’s look at children from an economic and financial perspective: they are pricey with no hope of any return on investment, yet most people, at some point in their lives, want to have children (regardless of if they actually do or not). People don’t have children because the of the economic/ financial benefits (there aren’t really any) but because of love and a biological desire to pass on their genes. The value that children add to your life can’t be measured in economic terms. Just as marriage, and its value to you, personally, can not be measured in economic/ financial terms (though that can be a perk). It doesn’t make sense to only look at marriage through the economic lense, that is not how people make descisions or live their lives.

    I can see the authors point, though. If you can have all the legal benefits of marriage, without a social stigma and without actually getting married, why would you get married? This is where I find the comparison to the Scandanavian countries unfair- we, the US, are not Europe. We have different cultural expectations and social stigmas. To many people in the US, there is a huge difference between having a long-term serious relationship and being married. It’s the difference between introducing someone as your boyfriend vs husband. For most people, there’s a big difference between the two in the perception of the relationship. I think that perception is key. In the US, I think many people get married for the social acceptance/ validation of their relationship that people do not give them unless they are married (not the only reason they get married of course, but looking at it from the viewpoint of why would you get married if you can get the benefits of being married without actually being married). Getting married is a public display of their committment to each other and to their community. They are now held accountable as a couple and in general, in the US, that public accountability as a couple only comes from marriage.

    Gah- what was my point here? I’m not even sure anymore.

  32. Sara

    Katie, thanks for posting this. I really appreciated your response, as well as all of the comments above. One person above touched on the religious aspect, and that’s what I want to add to this discussion. I think if you look at marriage as a federal government designation, then of course you have all sorts of reasons why it’s a bad idea. If you remember that it’s a sacrament, and a promise you and your husband made before God and everyone you know, then it becomes something much greater than tax breaks or too much housework.

    My husband and I were married in the Orthodox Christian church, where there is no “Until death do us part.” We believe we are united for eternity. I certainly respect any couple’s right to be married outside of the church, but I do find it very difficult to take seriously any secular argument about marriage. To me, those ladies who wrote that Newsweek article just don’t get it.

    1. Sara

      Editing myself…I meant to say I find it difficult to take seriously any secular argument AGAINST marriage (not about)!

  33. allison

    Katie,
    Thank you for responding the way you did. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you wrote–and I’m not married…yet! I found the article to be a bitter take on marriage. There were lines that were offensive and downright rude! So what if I change my name when I get married? I know that does not make me less intelligent than women who choose to keep their maiden names. Marriage should not be thought of as a business transaction, but as a way to grow into the best version of yourself that you can be with another person by your side to share your successes.

    I was not surprised that you believe that people of all lifestyles should be able to get married. I am more right leaning myself, but I can’t understand why love is a political issue. But, that’s just me. Anyway, keep sharing your beliefs! You truly are an amazing writer. 🙂

  34. Hi Katie – I’ve been reading your blog for about 6 months now, and I’m finally de-lurking to comment on this because it’s pretty relevant to my current situation.

    I’m getting married in December and while my family couldn’t be happier for us, his family’s views are almost exactly what I read in the Newsweek article. So it’s been really interesting as we’ve not only had to defend our decision from vague “those people out there” sort of people, but also from my fiance’s immediate family members. (They’re not actually against our getting married, but each of them comes with a long list of reasons why they don’t expect our marriage to last. It’s somewhat discouraging sometimes.)

    Like you , and several other commenters that I’ve noticed, one of the first things that my fiance and I decided (before we even got engaged) is that after we’re married, divorce is not now and never will be an option. Your post sums up so well the reasons that we are planning on getting married. It’s so refreshing to see that we aren’t the only ones that think like this.

    1. allison

      I wish you the best of luck! Don’t let those discouraging comments bring you down, although I know it can be hard to ignore negativity. Congratulations!!!

  35. courtney

    I think the problem is that we have destroyed the sanctity of marriage. So many people go into to it thinking if I don’t like it next week, or next month, or next year I’ll just get a divorce. I’ve known people that got a divorce because of abuse and infidelity and I don’t fault them for that. I’ve also know people that threw in the towel because the were “tired” of each other. Personally, as a Christian, I see marriage as a sacred commitment between God, my husband and myself (and now my young son). I don’t always think it is easy or perfect, but I’m committed to it for the long haul. Thank you for sharing and for making the points you made. I think the article is written by someone that clearly doesn’t understand what marriage is about.

  36. Agreed. I find it hard to believe that European co-habitting couples are “happier”–exactly what is the criteria there??

    I will say, I’ve been married for a year–our first year was tough. Really tough, mostly b/c I’m unemployed and have been working my tail off trying to get a job. But none of that negates the growth that we’ve experienced individually or together. I have learned so, so much in the last year about life, love, expectations, commitment, how to fight fairly, etc. and I wouldn’t trade it for the WORLD.

    AND, if marriage itself is the physical manifestation of how Christ loves his church, then wouldn’t it stand to reason that humans (who are broken people and in dire need of a savior) that enter into marriage would be less than perfect at representing that picture? Just because people “fail” at marriage doesn’t mean that marriage itself is a failure.

  37. September

    Interesting article…is it odd that my overwhelming feeling while reading it was that I just didn’t like those women? They seemed bitter and jaded while at the same time naive. They’re also missing out on a lot of good things in life.

    The irony is that a lot of their information is correct–throughout history marriage is primarily economic and for the purposes of producing children. The conclusions they draw from that are a little warped however; this shift is empowering to women and gives us more control and a stake in marriage instead of doing the opposite. 300 years ago it’s unlikely that I would have had the luxury of marrying for love or even choosing my spouse; that marriage has evolved doesn’t make it obselete, it has enabled marriage to morph into something that better meets the needs of both parties on all levels.

    The one statement I wholeheartedly agree with them on is that younger generations are increasingly seeing the quest for marriage as looking for their “soul mate.” Life isn’t a Nicholas Sparks novel and I think too many people have unrealistic expectations as far as what goes into a spouse and what it takes to maintain a healthy relationship.

  38. Wow, that Newsweek article was beyond negative. I think in America the media has done a great job at destroying marriage. They put game shows on like the “Bachelor” and “Marry my Dad” that make a mockery out of marriage. The media continue to glorify women and men that have multiple children out of wedlock and showcase ppl that have filed for divorce after less than 2 yrs of marriage. Also I think this culture is so self obsessed, how do you think a marriage would survive if all you think about is your needs.

    There are ppl that do not need to get married, I definitely agree with that. But to bring a child into the world into your mess is even worse. I think that is why the statistics are getting worse. If you have a child that is raised by a single parent, how do you expect them to understand how a marriage works? I think it is a self fulfilling prophecy that I do not plan to participate in.

  39. Callie

    I really love the metaphors you use in your writing- it’s definitely one of my favorite parts about reading it. The ROI made me smile, and it totally makes sense.

  40. Whitney

    Hi, Katie! I’m a long time reader, first time commenter. I’ve never been much for online commentary; however, in this case, I had to dive in head first. Let me begin by saying my opinion is from the perspective of a non-religious, feminist, wife…

    As I read the article, I agree with the idea of marriage presented is archaic and outdated. Yes, marriage began as a financial/religious transaction. Yes, marriage was used as means of subjugation and control. Yes, women married because they had to, not because it was something they wanted.

    However, what the authors fail to consider is that marriage like so many other “sacred” western institutions (education, civil liberties, public safety, etc.) has EVOLVED since inception. Marriage has transformed into something entirely different than its antiquated ancestor, just like the women AND men in these marriages. Ideally, marriage is a partnership, rather than a dictatorship — a partnership where both parties are equally committed to a relationship, committed to building a home, family…a life together.

    While I agree that that flimsy piece of paper written in scrolled font does nothing for my stock portfolio, that paper, that license, is symbolic of the lifetime commitment we made. It’s a symbol that is the foundation for the remainder of our life. Could we establish the same life without that flimsy piece of paper? Maybe. But, if that flimsy piece of paper is so worthless, then why are so many people fighting so hard to be allowed to have one?

    There are so many other problems with this article based on flawed logic and false assumptions, but it is probably best to let those go for now. So many arguments…so little time.

  41. Alexis

    AMEN SISTA’!! Preach on Preacha’… absolutely LOVE it!

    And in honor of you’re fantastic post, and my cherished marriage… going to go get my sparkley ring cleaned. BOOO-YAH! 🙂

  42. Cassi

    It’s funny the article mentions Scandinavian countries. My husband’s best friend (he’s Scottish) and his partner (she’s Swedish) live in Sweden. They’ve been together longer than my husband and I have (10+ years now), and they have a two year-old little girl together. There is no marriage in their future. However, I don’t think that they take their relationship any less seriously than my husband and I do. We were just raised in, and conform to, different cultural norms.
    Knowing that, I can’t help but agree with both sides of this argument.

    1. Michaela

      I think that is the thing- they may not take their relationship less seriously, and a married couple may be unrealistic in their expectations and break down. It’s all about the fact that if you want to spend a lifetime with someone, you need to make certain commitments.
      If that is something that just evolved naturally in your relationship, that’s totally cool, but if you also want to celebrate that commitment with a party and some jewels- power to you!
      I am not married, but living with my partner, and do feel as though we will tie the knot in a few years, just to celebrate how far we’ve come, and how far we want to go together. but I don’t feel as though we’re missing out in the meantime.
      And Katie- ‘ (And I should add here that I believe people of all lifestyles should have the opportunity to grow through marriage).’ I LOVE that you think that too!

  43. Well, I started to read the article. But, those “young, educated women” sounded so moronic that I couldnt even finish it. What a bitter and jaded take on marriage. Both of those women look like rigid *insert bad word here*. (Was that judgemental? Sorry :P)

    Thank you for writing this post. It made me reflect on the reasons I got married in February of ’09 and I feel even better about them now then I did then. Anytime I feel a little unsure, you write a post about a similar fight and all is right with the world.

  44. As someone who is preparing to embark on that journey (I’m getting married in October) I just wanted to thank you for posting about this. My fiance and I are a little younger than the “American standard” if you can call if that (we’re 23) and we’ve been absolutely inundated during our engagement with all the reasons in the world why we SHOULDN’T get married. And I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a struggle, and that it hasn’t scared us a little. But like you pointed out here, we’ve really done our homework. We’re making that commitment, and we’re going to make it work despite what public opinion or the divorce rate has to say. It was our personal choice, and one we made very resolutely. So it’s very encouraging to read about someone who recognizes that marriage, while not always a basket of roses, can be as rewarding and wonderful as anything you can imagine…if you’re willing to put in the effort.

    Thank you again!

    1. courtney

      My husband and I got married at 22 and we’ve been married for seven years. We are happy, and no it’s not easy, but it is worth it. Congratulations!

  45. While I agree with most of the points I also have some differing opinions. (I haven’t taken the time to read the article mentioned yet)

    First, I don’t think people who end up splitting up get married thinking that divorce is an option. “Oh if this doesn’t work out, we can just get a quicky divorce after”. I think divorces happen for so many reasons that most of us cannot fathom. No matter how well you think you know someone before marrying them, you may find hidden flaws 15 years down the road. Not everyone is lucky enough to have spent their formative years watching the other person develop. Some of us have skeletons in our closet that come back and bite us later in life.

    I do see marriage as an investment. And it’s great if both people see it that way. But sometimes effort becomes unbalanced. People change, people grow up and sometimes they don’t grow together. I have seen people stick it through thick and thin, and some of those people probably would have grown more as individuals and lived happier more content lives apart than together. The effort was destroying both who they were as a couple and who they were as individuals.

    A lot of my relatives live in Quebec, an area of the world were people are turning away from religion at a relatively high rate from my understanding. Common law marriage also occurs pretty quickly in Canada. Many of my cousins don’t get married. They don’t see a need to do it. They choose to bind themselves to their partners in different ways, they have children, they have houses, this is their promise to each other.

    That being said, I do believe in marriage. I believe in a bond that is harder to unravel than figuring out custody agreements or selling joint property. But I do understand people who are capable of having a lifelong, perfectly strong bond without having a piece of paper that says they have to be together.

    1. Katie

      Thanks, Miriam. You made some really good points – especially about divorce.

    2. Jess

      True about Quebec although I don`t know if it extends to the rest of Canada. Common Law marriage is especially common in QC, and there are differences in marriage there that are not present in the rest of Canada, for instance your last name on your drivers license remains your maiden name in QC, always.

      1. I guess it has to do with the unique civil laws in Quebec. My aunts had gone by their husbands’ last name for years and recently the Province changed their drivers licenses back to their maiden names. They found it a little strange.

        I guess in other parts of Canada you can actually change your name based on a common law marriage. Something that takes 2-5 years of cohabitation or the birth of a child. It does provide the protection of marriage without having to have a ceremony.

    3. After reading the article, I have to say, I don’t think marriage is for everyone, and I don’t think you need to be married to have a loving, fulfilling,lifelong commitment to another individual, but the article was almost insulting towards marriage. Almost as if it implied that marriage was something of the past and should be eliminated.

      Even the statistics used were used in a distorted fashion. For example, 40% of children born to unwed mothers. Yes some of those children are born to loving couples who just chose to remain unwed. But others show a trend in our society where single motherhood is almost encouraged. While I know many phenomenal single parents, I think many would have preferred to have a partner to help them raise their children.

      Another frightening trend, the couples who don’t marry for financial reasons. My mother works for the revenue services of the government of Canada and tells me that people are pretty vocal about the fact that they are not married because they would lose their welfare benefits if they had to claim their partner’s income.

      And perhaps wedding ceremonies have gotten out of hand in terms of cost. It’s often an excuse to throw the best party of your life. But people often forget that the wedding doesn’t HAVE to cost tens of thousands of dollars. My wedding was a simple mountaintop ceremony with only our nearest and dearest, followed by a wonderful and casual BBQ at the state park’s picnic pavilion (where the rest of our friends and family had a great time). It wasn’t the traditional thing, but it worked better with our lifestyle and budget. I think Wedding, Reception and Honeymoon cost us under $5000.

      That being said, the article was very bias towards the cons. And the authors came off as being the people who are anti-marriage mostly because of a desire to buck tradition.

  46. Beautifully written! Thanks for standing up for what you (and so many of us!) Believe in!

  47. HEAR HEAR!

    I love being married. Maybe it isn’t for everyone, but I think that marriage has made me the person I am today in so, so many ways. I’m glad that someone else feels the same!

  48. dear katie,
    it is with relief that i finished your post today. you articulated your personal reasons why your marriage is important. you did not speak for anyone but yourself. i appreciate that. i think that marriage is an extension of patriarchy and heteronormativity and i do not want to participate in it. that being said, i am not legally permitted to marry my partner in the united states because we are women. i try very hard to respect all people’s beliefs about marriage and i can truly say that marriage is a wonderful institution for some people. i am glad you are safe and secure and loved in your marriage. in my partnership, parting ways is not an option either. we are in it to win it, regardless of not being legally recognized as a couple.
    love, melissa

  49. Amee

    It’s extremely refreshing to hear that marriage isn’t a bad idea! I am only 22 and have been married for almost 2 years (no, I didn’t get pregnant) 🙂 I have spent the majority of my engagement and marriage defending my choice to get married, instead of just moving in together. While I don’t advocate getting married young to everyone, I am shocked that it’s viewed by a lot of people as irresponsible as a young person (even at any age, really) to get married. I consider myself very blessed that I meant the one I love at such a young age and marriage has only made me better. I love that you are outspoken about your support of such a wonderful blessing!

    1. You are not alone. I was just one year older when I got married and people say the craziest things to me. As response to “I’m married”, I’ve gotten “How old is your kid?” (no children) and to this day people have the gall to ask my mother if her daughter is “still” married. It’s kind of a forever deal folks! 🙂 We’ll show them though when we’ve hit that 50th anniversary. They’ll be asking us how we did it!

    2. I had a friend who got married in high school at 18. We all thought she was crazy. But they are still together 10 years later. She just finished college (took them a little longer because they had to work through it) and they are expecting their first child together. Sometimes it works when you get married young. You grow together.

      1. Amee

        That’s really encouraging! Thank you!

  50. I love this post – very well said. I’m with you 100%. Marriage is making me a better person and enriching my life more than I thought possible.

  51. tessabella76

    Another fantastic post! Marriage is not “just a piece of paper” giving one legal and financial rights to another person. I met my husband 2 and a half years ago and we’ve been officially married for 9 months. But I felt married to him within months of meeting him. Before him, I had (at age 31) never even lived with a man (besides my dad and brothers) or had serious thoughts marrying someone. With my husband, we have the same goals, the same values, the same thoughts on religion even though we are from two different faiths. He is my best friend. I did not need a piece of paper to feel married to him but our marriage, our rings, and our marriage license are what tells the world that we are committed to each other and to each others families; that we will take care of and stay true to each other and our family. And we have also taken divorce off the table. There would have to be some pretty extenuating circumstances for us to even consider it.

    I truly believe that marriage is not for everyone. It takes a strong commitment to say I’ll always be there, though good and through bad. Some of us need the ring and the piece of paper and some of us don’t. And that’s ok. Marriage is not one size fits all.

  52. Jen @ Life with Jen and Ronnie

    Good points. I am definitly for marriage although it’s tough at time. I wouldn’t change it for the world!

  53. I read that article yesterday and it pissed me off. Thank you for writing this.

  54. I browsed the article and laughed when they said that “Once upon a time, marriage made sense. It was how women ensured their financial security, got the fathers of their children to stick around, and gained access to a host of legal rights. ”

    First off – this isn’t the 1800’s anymore. I am getting married in August. Our marriage doesn’t come with my mom’s finest china and my fathers dowry. Instead it comes with an onry 80 year old grandmother and a chihuahua/daschund mix who has a bad overbite. It comes with his patience and my determination. What I’m trying to get at is we each have things that we bring to the table that represent who we are. Marriage may not be the answer for everyone, but it is the answer for some. It’s less to do with salaries and more to do with wanting to be with your best friend, your other half for life. To me, my ring is a symbol that I wear to show others that my HEART belongs to someone else. It’s not about the cost of that ring. It’s not even if I decided to change my name or not. It’s the meaning behind it.

  55. cathy

    Katie,
    Good post. Don’t agree 100% with either you or the article but thought you post was very well laid out. Of course I am the woman that didn’t want children. Oh wait, that was three children ago!

  56. I absolutely adore this post. That is all. 🙂

  57. Sarah

    My life would feel incomplete if I hadn’t married my husband, not that I would be incomplete, but my life is complete because we are committed to each other.

    There is a great song by Ingrid Michaelson, “Giving Up”…it took me a couple listens before I got it, but I think it sums up deciding to be with someone for the long haul, taking that risk.

    Marriage isn’t always going to be easy, but there will be such wonderful times to outweigh the bad, and the things you give up turn into things you didn’t need anyway. My husband and I danced our first dance to Buddy Holly’s True Love Ways, and that’s how I see our marriage, sometimes we cry, sometimes we sigh, but we are always there for each other, through everything. We’ve had a very tough past 18 months, and I can’t see going through it all without my husband. It has strengthened us as a couple.

    I love your site and appreciate your viewpoint on so many issues.

  58. On my third anniversary of marriage all I can say to this is a-freaking-men!!

  59. Alexandra

    Great post, Katie! Marriage is about so much more than a tax break, it’s about becoming a family with your love and about having a safe harbor in the tempest of modern love. Thanks for reminding me of that today because I was ready to wring my husband’s neck for a financial decision. I still love the goober though.

  60. I’m coming to this post a bit late but I wanted to comment anyway because there is one thought that I don’t believe has been expressed yet. A lot of the time, I believe marriage is the wrong thing to do. I’ve been married 2 years but as a 23 yr old in college, I’ve met too many women who want the wedding, not the marriage. Before I met my husband, marriage wasn’t in my plan until I was at least 30. After, I couldn’t imagine not being married to him, and soon. Everyone thinks they’re special, I know, but I don’t always hear the same lifetime commitment from the young women I see getting married around me. They aren’t best friends with their partner, they don’t respect them or admire them. I just don’t think passion and willingness are enough to build a lifelong foundation. I wish they’d wait.

  61. dave

    Those two are hot (Jesse and Jessica). I have asked if they have match.com account.

  62. very well written! I agree with you. I was offended at how they portrayed marriage as well… Thanks for sharing the article… I think I need to blog about it as well (Though I don’t think I could write as well as you!)

  63. Kate

    Great post! You know, marriage may not be for everyone, but I hate to see it boiled down to statistics. I’m never going to sit there and analyze why or why not I should be with someone based on what has happened to people I don’t even know!

    I have to know, I’m sure you’ve had the discussion or at least thought about what if one or the other of you cheats? I have the same philosophy as you, whatever happens we work through, but that is one thought that is tough for me. I’m not yet married, and I’d appreciate some advice on that! I’ve unfortunately been in a lot of relationships where I was cheated on, so it’s really hard for me to trust someone. In fact, I’d say that’s the one big thought that’s holding me back in this current relationship, and I know it needs to be worked out in my head! Ok, thanks for playing therapist 🙂

  64. Angela

    I read the article, and as a sixteen year old with plans of finding my own Chris someday, I was outraged.

    Yet in my opinion, I feel as if my religion has also impacted my way of thinking about marriage- as something that is forever, and a covenant between you, your spouse, and God.

    I’ve only been dating my (first) boyfriend for a year now, and I already know that it is not just a piece of cake.It takes hardcore commitment, and I’m only in highschool!Just imagining how much time and effort it takes to have a happy, loving, healthy marriage blows my mind. But at the end of the day, I think its worth it. I believe that all realtionships, and especially marraiges need to be worked on daily.

    All relationships and marriges should not be statistics.
    Everyone is different, therefore every couple, and every relationships is different too.

  65. Keshet

    I love this post. It’s funny, because I’m an Orthodox Jew,and a lot of the reasons you discuss are what we discuss a lot from a religious perspective, as well–really interesting!

  66. kat

    I appreciate and respect people’s choices – we are free to choose what we wish!

    An opinion from the other side though – I have been in a fantastic, long-term relationship for 7 years. I am no less committed than those of you who are married. My partner and I are perfectly happy and see no reason to marry. We are not religious, and feel no reason to say the I do’s. I respect others choice to take vows, yet others feel compelled to question me! more often than not people question why haven’t we married? When will we marry? His family are wonderful, but i can’t help but feel they don’t take us seriously because we have not married like all his brothers/sisters/cousins have done. In fairness, they were all born, grew up and continue to live in surburban minneapolis. My partner and I chose to live in Asia and now Australia…we are the black sheep! Still…this negativity works BOTH WAYS. Quite frankly i am tired of hearing the “when will you marry?” question and the pitying looks from aunts! WE ARE HAPPY!

    1. Katie

      LOL – I remember when people started with the “when are you going to have a baby” thing with Chris and I. I just wanted to yell out, “WE ARE HAPPY, DAMMIT!”

      Thanks for being bold enough to comment on a different choice, Kat.

  67. Tanya

    Katie,

    I want to thank you for writing this. As a 25 year old single female, what you say gives me hope. Being raised, going through 2 divorces, I grew up unsure I thought marriages could last. I hope to one day find “The One” and have a lifelong lasting marriage. I know marriage isn’t always easy but when you make that commitment, your in it for the long haul. So thank you for such an honest response to the article.

  68. Leigh

    I enjoyed reading the article (and even the negative stats) because it made me want to support the institution of marriage, even more! At 20, my boyfriend and I have been together for five years (long distance at college). ‘The One’ questions arise occasionally. His parents divorce has pushed us to have the same deal you and Chris have… If were doing this, there’s no turning back!

    Some days I’m not sure if I HAVE found ‘the One.’ Will he ever stop getting on my nerves? Do we have what it takes for us to last? But then I realize my expectations have less to do with him and more to do with me, relying on God, and expecting the best from my boyfriend.

    What I am sure about is that while he is a summer camp counselor 536.99 miles away with limited cell phone access… I miss my best friend. And I don’t really like ‘doing life’ without him! Can’t thank you enough for your blog! Sometime, I would like to hear about the transition from long distance to being with each other daily. How did you and Chris deal with that transition?

  69. Sarah C. H.

    I really love this post. I thought about this a lot right before and right after my wedding. You’ve pretty much summed up how I feel about marriage. I didn’t get married because I felt pressured to by society. I got married because I’d found the person I wanted to be beside me for the rest of my life and we wanted to make that promise to each other. End of story.

    I feel like it’s a trend to insult marriage. It’s not just a religious institution (my marriage was secular). It’s not just legal paperwork. It’s so many things, but most of all it’s a promise between two people.

    I could go on and on, but it’s your blog, katie, not mine. Haha.

  70. Amen! I just celebrated my one month wedding anniversary and I couldn’t agree with you more. My husband and I made a promise to each other and like you and Chris, we also agreed that divorce was off the table for us. Thanks for this post!

  71. I know I’m late to the party on this (work keeps getting in the way!), but thanks for writing such a great post, Katie! I really couldn’t agree with you anymore, and I’m single. At this point, I’m the only one left of my friends who isn’t married (26) and I get asked all the time if I’m ever going to “settle down.” In my eyes, marriage is a VERY serious and conscious decision that too many people take lightly. I have more than two couples in my life who divorced after LESS than one year of marriage because “it wasn’t what they expected.”

    No offense to any divorced couples, but I only plan on getting married once. Divorce will not be an option for me and my future husband. Because of that, I owe it to myself to really spend the time getting to know not only my future husband, but myself as well.

    At any rate, thank you so much for writing this! Marriage is more than just statistics…it’s about two people, their relationship and how they grow/work together for something good.

    PS. L.O.V.E. your blog! 🙂

  72. My parents, who met at 17 and were married at 21, decided to separate in October after 36.5 years of marriage. I have no “ideal” example of marriage to follow, but I know what a marriage SHOULDN’T be like.

    For me, I wanted that extra step of commitment–to unify us as a team. And I wanted us to do that before we started a family. We were married at the ages of 28(me)and 29 (Aaron.) We both were involved in other relationships–some very serious–prior to us dating each other. We already were confident in who we were as individuals and what we wanted out of a partner prior to us dating each other. I think that has really helped us. We have only been married for four years, but we are in it for the long haul. We didn’t just get married because “society” or our parents told us that was the next step. We didn’t get married because we wanted a fancy-schmancy wedding. We wanted–and still want–to be together and we wanted to show our commitment to one another.

  73. Katie N.

    AMEN!

    I read that article and it made my blood boil; what a negative take on such a beautiful institution. I am very recently married and identified with all of the statements that you made in your rebuttal. It is so nice to read your blog, and other’s comments, to know that there are still people who believe in the beauty, reality, and infinity of marriage.

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