Linda: Many people nowadays consider marriage an obsolete institution. Here are a few of the explanations people offer to explain their orientation.
Adam: “Marriage is a trap set by women to capture men in order to keep the naturally promiscuous male for themselves alone. Women want to ensure that their men make a living to provide for the family and protect their offspring. I choose not to be used that way. I see marriage as a system that benefits women but takes advantage of men.”
Martina: “Marriage is a trap set by men. Because men have power from being physically stronger and enjoy much greater privileges in the culture, they want exclusive sexual rights. I am unwilling to be captured and placed in a cage that marriage is for way too many women. I’m not having it.”
Jacob: “My parents had a horrible divorce when I was eight years old. They fought bitterly for years in the courts over custody of me and battled over properties. I witnessed endless ugly interchanges, accusations, and blame, hysterical crying from my mother, and cold stony silences from my father. I would never want to go through a horrible divorce, so I know a sure-fire way that I can prevent such suffering—I’m not getting married in the first place.”
Bernadette: “Marriage is primarily an economic arrangement. My mother didn’t go to college and didn’t have a degree, a skillset, or confidence to make her own money. She was dependent on my dad to provide food, shelter, and everything else, so marriage was her security. I have degrees, professional skills, and make plenty of money to provide for myself. Why would I need marriage.? I can take care of myself.”
Luke: “Cohabitation suits me just fine. I have all the benefits of marriage without the legal entanglements. My girlfriend and I keep our money separate, and I am unwilling to leave my finances at risk just in case our relationship doesn’t make it.”
Of course, not all people who chose to forgo marriage make that choice because they are afraid. Marriage isn’t for everyone. But many do forgo marriage because their fears are in the way. In each of the above examples, the people are attached to their suspicious narrative about marriage. They have repeated their belief so many times to themselves and others, that they have brainwashed themselves into believing that their story is true. They may not even be aware of how much fear they are carrying about marriage being a trap, more trouble than it’s worth, a lopsided arrangement benefitting the opposite gender, or an outmoded, old fashioned institution that has outlived its usefulness.
Like any belief system, the one about marriage deserves a thorough investigation to see what’s really true. Each of us is challenged to deeply examine our beliefs to discover the real drawbacks and prices that come with marriage as well as the benefits and privileges that accompany marriage.
Many people don’t have the motivation to examine their limiting beliefs. But that’s the only way to discover if there is a small seed of truth in their belief that their fearful mind has blown way out of proportion. Once their fear of loss of freedom and fear of suffering has taken over, there isn’t room for them to consider the beauty and advantages that come with marriage. I am well aware that it may take years to grow a truly delightful marriage that works for both partners. And I, for one, have done my thorough examination, and find that the sacrifices are small prices to pay for the bonanza of benefits that come with a fulfilling marriage!