Why Married is Better than Living Together
The most important reason to get married, and why you will miss out if you don't.
In this article:
- Why the divorce rate should not discourage you from getting married
- The most important question to ask yourself about marriage
- The unique benefits of marriage
- Why single people can't have this benefit, even if they live together
- What if someone's partner doesn't want to get married?
With a high risk of divorce, does it make sense to marry?
Let’s apply this kind of statistical question to other subjects and see if they make sense for you. “We shouldn’t buy cars because so many people have accidents,” “We shouldn’t have children because so many parents have bad relationships with their children,” “We shouldn’t try to start a business because four out of five new businesses fail.” Do you see the problem with this kind of reasoning? When we try to prevent risks, we also prevent successes. We become less and less happy.
The real reason why married people are less likely to break up
If you are still concerned about the "risk" of getting married, ask yourself the question, “Why have a boyfriend or girlfriend, if so many unmarried couples break up?” After all, the statistics for unmarried people staying together are terrible. Maybe you have even had some previous relationships yourself that have gone wrong. Staying with an uncommitted partner does not decrease the risk of your breaking up. Actually you are much more likely to break up than if you were married. People who are less committed to each other work less hard to stay together. It is convenient, but it isn't secure, and ultimately it is less satisfying.
Ask yourself the right questions about marriage,
The correct way to use statistics in your personal life is to find out what the people who do have success are doing. So, if 5% of couples stay together and 60% of marriages, the most important question is, "What are those 5% and 60% doing that makes the difference?" Then, decide if you are willing to do that in order to have success. If you are willing to pay the price in order to get the benefits, then it is the right choice for you. (One of the biggest factors for the success of these two groups is the way that they handle problems).
Marriage is not about being "legal."
Marriage has been around a lot longer than governments have. The benefits of marriage are not connected to that little piece of paper from the courthouse that says you are married. I don’t know anyone who has put that on their wall or looked at it twice. The legal process of marriage is mundane, boring, not interesting. So, if marriage were about having a piece of paper that you never look at, I would avoid it at all costs. Fortunately, it's not...
The benefits of marriage really have to do with the relationship between husband and wife and the commitment to live as One.
Living as One means becoming like one body. What benefits you benefits me and what hurts you hurts me. There is individuality in marriage, but it is an extension of the marriage rather than something separate. “Marriage,” then, really means “Joining” in the sense that two pieces fit together to make one object. A girlfriend and boyfriend are like a hammer and a nail. Matching, but limited in what they can do. Husband and wife are like a hand and an eye. Each is very important, each can do great things, but together they are capable of doing much more than either one could alone.
Now, you might wonder why you can’t have this as boyfriend and girlfriend.
The reason is that the level of commitment needed to be a hand and an eye is one so strong that jealousy and insecurity are banned from the relationship. That is not possible in a relationship in which someone has not committed their whole life to you. That escape hatch they have will cause jealousy and insecurity to remain in the relationship. Whatever your boyfriend or girlfriend wants will be run through a jealousy/insecurity filter. If either of these are triggered, then your heart will not be into helping him/her with the desires of his or her heart.
If you have really committed your love and life to someone, then you will help them to achieve the desires of their heart, even if you have some fear that you could lose him or her.
That is trust. Trust is what love risks to get more than what insecurity could have. Trust is the cornerstone of marriage and growth. Without it, there is no growth, only compromises, and a gradual slide into the roommate syndrome. Any married couple will tell you that without trust, there is no relationship.
If this sounds radical to you, it’s just because it’s not fashionable now.
The Oneness idea goes back to the Garden of Eden. It’s a hard thing for the “Me” generation to commit themselves to helping their mates to achieve their dreams. But, when both husband and wife do that, what blossoms from the marriage is far greater than what they could achieve on their own and far greater than what they could have were they not married.
We already use this model of relating for other relationships
You can see the idea of a Oneness, or partnership marriage, a little easier by considering it in the context of other relationships. Parents for example, help their children to grow and have all that they can in life. They don' t fear that their children will be so successful that they have no need for them anymore. The children have a great relationship with parents who help them to grow and succeed. In business, we help our partners or associates to have success because their success is our's too. What's good for the business is good for us. In my marriage, I consider that if my wife is not growing and going for what she wants, then I am not doing my job as a husband.
When NOT to marry.
If people are going to marry without committing, without really “joining,” and without really working in the best interest of each other, then I would be the first to agree that there is no reason to marry. Marriage was never meant to be a piece of paper. It was God’s gift to show us the beauty and wonder of being joined to another person, and a sample of what it is like to be joined to Him. On our own, we struggle, but with a helper, we can love and live and be happy.
A marriage decision is made by two, but what if only one person wants to marry?
This is one of the most common areas that I work on with my clients. The typical situation is that my client has been committed to her boyfriend for a few years, but he is not interested in marriage. She doesn't know if he is going to eventually leave, or marry her. But, she loves him. Does she wait? Does she leave? Does she pressure him to marry? What if pressuring him would make him leave? Together we create a loving way to bring the relationship to the next step and a new level of intimacy.
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