I’m a man who got married in his late 20s, and I want to tell you why getting married is absolutely worth it.
It seems less people are getting married today than ever before. Why is that? When I look at my parents or grandparents and their peer groups, it seems like basically everyone is married. In the case of my Dad… maybe even married multiple times. (He’s on his third marriage).
But if you’re a young adult aged 20-40 living in the Western world, looking at your friend group might yield a handful of married people. Sure, that couple from high school who were inseparable (and making out constantly) – of course they got married! Then there are hyper-religious people; of course they’re married too. You might even have that one buddy who got married and divorced in a quick but failed foray into committed adulthood prior to age 25.
Why are so few men (and let’s be honest, it is men who tend to be the limiting factor in an engagement) interested in getting married today?
Important note: I’m not religious, nor am I old-fashioned. I’m not saying you should get married right now, either. Capische? Do what feels right for you.
Today’s society seems to be increasingly geared away from adulthood and families. Instead, adolescence has been extended into almost middle-age, with thirty-year-old men playing Call of Duty, living with their parents, and spending their (shrinking) paycheques on foolish tchotchkes, nights out drinking, and toys for “Grown-ups.”
Part of this is due to our ever-connected and advancing culture, egged on by capitalism and night-club promoters pushing their wares (Note: I love capitalism & entrepreneurship. I don’t love grown men living with their parents).
But perhaps the biggest contributing factor to this, is the perception that you aren’t, as a man, “ready” to get married.
What does this mean?
For a portion of the male world, marriage will always be an unattractive option. This is because they often (erroneously) believe their chances of being a lifelong bachelor fending off women with a stick are high. They have also fallen into the trap set by TV, movies or a male relative who was burned, that marriage is a scam and it will only ruin your life. You can forget these guys – they would never consider being “chained” to one person anyways.
Marriage – or to be more specific, weddings – are EXPENSIVE. Diamond engagement rings, venues, dresses, decor, flowers, food, etc, etc, etc. This could read as a list of expensive things men don’t enjoy spending their money on. A lot of young-ish men have spent most of their life either not paying for anything by living at home, or splitting everything in a college house. They don’t want to share!
This is the biggest reason, in my opinion, men do not want (or convince themselves they don’t want) to get married. It’s also the saddest.
With the loss of decent-paying middle-class work in the US & Canada, men (and women) are struggling to figure out what to do. Often, they have to choose between todays “essentials” ($150/mo cellphone bill, fashionable clothes, $10 bar beers, “brunch”) or their future aspirations (house, wedding, kids, retirement). Young people stuck in this muck often feel like big goals (owning a house, having kids) are just unattainable in their lifetime.
Because of this, some men might feel like they don’t earn enough, don’t have the right job, or haven’t sorted their personality out enough to make the jump into getting married. Which sucks, because often they will be with a devoted partner (who is perfect for them) for several years.
Anything worthwhile in life requires a lot of forethought. Too much forethought can lead to analysis-paralysis or inaction on anyones part though, and sometimes it just gets pushed too far out of reach for young (but getting older) men.
Here are three reasons why you should make it a priority if you love the person you’re with:
When you make a strong commitment to someone, it gives you a foundation of love that you can always return to because you can depend wholly on your partner. No, I don’t mean become dependent on your partner. What I mean is that you can truly count on them to be there for you through whatever will come up. Why? Because you aren’t just on the same team. You are the same team.
When you know you’ve made a commitment to someone, and they’ve made a commitment to you, you can feel secure that you have a partner you can rely on. Without the lingering insecurity of where your relationship will be in the future, you can focus on actually creating that future. You no longer have to be hung up on social obligations and what other people think of you. You can start to focus on the things that will truly set you – and your family – up for success.
When you have a relationship that both you and your partner feel secure in, you really start to enjoy the things that make life truly worth living. At certain points (usually your early 20s), life can feel like it’s all about partying, meeting people, or finding a career. And thats fine – thats what that time is for.
As you get older though, it’s the smaller things that make up your life. Dinners, holidays, your home. Real travel. Maybe its pets, or kids (if you want). Marriage isn’t always the key to unlocking these amazing moments, but knowing you have someone you can count on makes it easier for the whole picture to come together.
It’s hard to sum up such an important concept into just a short article. My main goal today was to shed light on some of the reasons I think many men don’t think they are able (and thus say they don’t want to) get married, and a few reasons why they really should do it.
The most important thing when it comes to a marriage is to be with someone who truly makes you happy, when the time is right. Just don’t spend too much time waiting for the right time to smack you in the face, or you’ll miss it!