Should I marry ?
A seemingly simple question. Unfortunately, not so.
In fact there are really 2 basic, and separate, issues that need to be explored to try to answer this question:
1) Should I leave the state of singlehood to hook up with another person ?
If the answer to that is “yes”, then these days the following question arises:
2) Should I marry, or is it enough to be in a de facto relationship ?
1. Should I hook up with another person ?
I note that I am only proposing to answer this question from the perspective that you are in a situation where there is a possible reasonable candidate for the position of your possible lifetime partner (in other words, you are already in a relationship with someone). That means that I don’t have to explore the issue of whether you should be trying to find someone if you are single at the moment.
I start by stating the obvious: give anyone the choice between –
- being in a relationship with someone who they don’t like, who doesn’t like sharing, who is continually argumentative, and who doesn’t seem to respect them; or
- on the other hand, being single –
the answer is a no-brainer (I hope).
So, it follows from that that you should only contemplate giving up singlehood if the person who you might marry ticks a fair number of the following boxes:
- you like them (and they, you)
- you respect them (and they, you)
- you care for them (and they, you)
- being with them is enjoyable for you, at least for most of the time
- they can make you laugh, at least sometimes
- they don’t have any habits or personal attributes that really annoy you
- they don’t have any violent tendencies
- it is possible to argue with them, without every argument threatening to turn into World War III
- it is possible for you to win the occasional argument with them (at the very least)
- they have roughly the same world view as you
(I’ve got a lot more on this topic at: Am I marrying the right person ?)
- they are not deeply religious (unless you are also deeply religious, and of the same faith)
- you are roughly sexually compatible
(I’ve got a lot more on this topic at: Am I marrying the right person ?).
You might have noticed that I haven’t included anything about love in that list. I have a whole section on that topic elsewhere on this website: Is love relevant to marriage ?
Most of what I have seen from observing those I know, and from what I have read, supports the view that hooking up with the right partner will leave you in a happier state overall than if you stayed single. Note that “overall” back there: being together with someone is bound to have its ups and downs – it’s not going to put you in a state of perpetual bliss.
So, to put it mathematically:
- if you hook up with the right person, 1 + 1 can equal 3
- if you hook up with the wrong person, 1 + 1 can equal minus 3, or worse.
Given the importance of hooking up with the right person, rather than just relying on the list I have set out above, I strongly recommend that you have a look at: “Am I marrying the right person ? This provides a much more detailed examination of what you should look for when contemplating marrying someone.
2. Should I marry ?
You have got to this question because you have decided that you have found someone who you would like to live in partnership with. My answer to the question of whether you should marry them is therefore very simple: yes. No ifs, buts or provisos (except as set out in the last paragraph below).
By marrying you are making a statement to the world: we think so much of each other that we want to spend the rest of our lives together. We are not staying together because we are afraid to confront the question of whether we should be together, or because it’s something that has just happened. It is a deliberate choice that shows that we respect and trust each other.
I am well aware that this advice flies in the face of current trends worldwide.
I should mention that the advice above is only intended for those who are in the fairly early stages of a relationship. If, on the other hand, you are in a long-standing de facto relationship, my advice is to let things keep going as they have been going. I have a suspicion, based on some limited evidence, and a vague recollection of having seen some supporting statistics, that suggests that marriages between long-standing de facto partners often do not tend to last all that long. Obviously that’s not much to base an opinion on, but I would prefer to play safe nevertheless.