To marry or not to marry?
The institution of marriage and its various associations have undergone such a rigorous transformation over the last century that ‘to be married’ has a substantially different set of meanings and motivations than it used to. Modern couples now need to decide whether it’s worth tying the knot over the popular alternative of co-habitation. So why does marriage mean such a different thing nowadays?
A dark history
Unfortunately, many reasons for the decline in popularity of marriage lie in its history. Marriage often used to be more of a business agreement than anything else, women being passed between men as objects, and more often than not resulting in some degree of financial gain for one party. This hint back to an age of female oppression means that many modern women are completely against the state of marriage and all it stands for. Indeed, there are many traditions still remaining that are off-putting for women – taking the man’s surname, for example.
A decline in religious faith, in the UK at least, has also changed people’s perspectives on marriage. It is often viewed as a purely religious institution, and those who do not follow a faith are therefore not inclined to become a part of it. To illustrate this effect, marriage rates in strongly religious countries are much higher than in Britain. But many in the UK still get married for these reasons – there’s even an Christian dating site where Christian singles can meet.
Why marry, then?
So, for many marriage is no longer an expected practice of a religion. Nor is it a financial or legal matter of convenience. The considerations of having legitimate heirs to inherit money have also become redundant. So why do so many people still get hitched?
Here are a few reasons to get married in our modern age:
- A touching commitment – what could be more romantic than declaring that you will spend your whole life with one person? Marriage is still a great way to demonstrate a deep commitment;
- A tie that’s hard to break – relationships can be rocky, and sometimes you need to fight to keep them alive. But it’s far too easy to break up if you’re only living together. Marriage means you are more likely to fight for what you have together as it will be a lot harder to give up;
- Becoming a family member – it can be difficult to gel with the in-laws. But a wedding ring is a sure way for them to take you relationship seriously and welcome you as a proper part of the family;
- Children – marriage is also a language your children are more likely to understand. It creates a nuclear family unit and saves you from having to answer awkward questions;
- The party – the wedding itself is a brilliant way to celebrate your relationship and have a really special day with all your favourite people.
There are some great reasons for UK dating couples to get hitched. But co-habitation is an attractive alternative for many. Which one you decide to do completely depends on your beliefs and lifestyle. But remember, marriage is a strong commitment, so this is not a decision to be made lightly!