Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger. Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. John Hamm and Jennifer Westfeldt. Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham. What do these couples have in common? Besides being rich, famous and fabulous, none of them are married.
Actor John Hamm of Mad Men fame was quoted saying, “We may not have a piece of paper that says we’re husband and wife, but after 10 years, Jennifer is more than just a girlfriend. What we have is much deeper, and we both know that.”
He is absolutely right. What’s in a piece of paper anyway? Sure, there are plenty of practical reasons to tie the knot such as medical, banking and tax benefits, but those are horrible reasons for wanting to commit to someone. What’s important is how much you care about your partner, not what your government or religious institution says.
I’ve been engaged to my partner for over a year, and we have no plans to tie the knot anytime soon. After the whole humdrum of absorbing all the pressure from friends and family to get married, buying a ring, accepting the ring, and taking the first few steps to securing a wedding date and venue, we stopped midway through and slashed every plan we made.
It’s not because we don’t love each other. We simply realized that there’s no point in rushing anything. We love each other, and there’s no need for a pile of paperwork to reaffirm that. I don’t know if we will ever decide to get married, but as of right now, we’re talking about selling off the engagement ring and traveling around South East Asia with the money. The way we see it, there’s no reason why we have to conform to convention when we already lead such a beautiful life together.
Why it’s okay not to get married
If you are perched on the fence about walking down the aisle, here are 8 reasons why it’s completely fine to never get married.
#1 It’s 2015. People, we’re well into the 21st century. More couples are opting out of tying the knot, simply because it isn’t necessary. Increased spending power within dual income households and having an open mind are contributing factors. There’s no doubt that people are becoming more independent, and the prospect of getting married is more of a hindrance than a convenience.
Gone are the days of being called an old maid if you’re not married by 18, and long gone are the days where people scoff at you for wanting to be independent. I’m sure you are a fan of Game of Thrones, and even if you’re not, you must have watched movies and read books on the importance of marriage in building strong alliances between warring factions for both financial and security purposes. As mentioned, it’s now 2015, and marriage is no longer as important as it once was. All it is nowadays is a piece of paper that says, “Yeah, we’re allies.”
#2 Aren’t you traumatized enough? According to the American Psychology Association, “About 40 to 50 percent of married couples in the United States divorce.” That isn’t a very great statistic. There is a high chance that your parents are divorced or your partner’s parents are. There’s an even higher chance of you knowing multiple people who have been through a divorce.
Every one of these people will tell you that it’s no walk in the park, and that the overall experience is a traumatizing one. Why risk putting yourself through that, when you can happily live in sin with the one you love? [Read: 20 reasons for divorce that too many couples overlook]
#3 You want to protect yourself. Another reason why it’s completely fine to never get married is to legally protect yourself. You know what they say about sharing everything when you’re married. Well, they’re absolutely right. Everything from your hard-earned savings to the roof over your head to whether you should be taken off the ventilator involves your spouse.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to protect yourself through the best and worst of times, without having someone else there to contradict your every decision. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t retain your independence whilst being happily in love. [Read: 9 important habits you need to be more independent]
#4 Your partner agrees with you. Another reason why it’s completely fine to never get married is if your partner shares the same views as you. If your partner agrees that there’s no need for marriage, then good for you. However, if you’re with someone who strongly believes in it, you are going to have to decide if you want to stick to your guns or make your partner happy.
The thing about loving someone is that you want them to be happy, even if it means major sacrifices on your part, so think long and hard about what you want, before doing anything rash.
#5 You can lead a fulfilling life regardless. It’s fine to never get married, because deep down, even the biggest advocates for marriage know that you can lead a fulfilling life without tying the knot. A piece of paper doesn’t and shouldn’t measure how much you care about your life partner, because at the end of the day, that’s all it is.
Couples who are married don’t love each other any more than couples who choose not to walk down the aisle. Always remember that being married is not a measure of how much you love each other, but how hard you are willing to stick together.
#6 You have other plans. There’s more to life than being saddled down to convention. Plans to travel the world, start your own business, volunteer at a nonprofit and the millions of other life goals out there are not to be scoffed at. Not everyone was made to be tied down to one person, one goal and one future. There is a whole world out there to be conquered, and there’s nothing wrong with wanting to do that instead of getting married. [Read: 9 reasons you shouldn’t worry about being the last one to marry]
#7 There are other options. Life is full of choices, and the same applies to marriage. There are other options out there for those of you who don’t want to tie the knot. Depending on where in the world you are, partaking in a civil union is a great alternative.
For example, France has a system in place whereby those who don’t want to tie the knot can partake in a pact civil de solidarité (PACS). It’s a contractual civil union between two people who want the same rights and responsibilities as those in a conventional marriage, but on a more relaxed scale.
In Australia, they have what is known as a de facto relationship. Do your research, and you will find that there’s a whole world of options available to you and your partner. If none of them appeal to you, living in sin is just fine, and there’s absolutely no shame in being loud and proud about it.
#8 You don’t need to commit. I already harped on about this in some of the points listed above. Not getting married doesn’t mean you’re any less committed to your partner. The same rules apply, whereby infidelity shouldn’t be tolerated, loyalty is cherished and hard work is pumped into the relationship to keep it alive.
Being with someone doesn’t make it any easier if you tie the knot. In fact, it makes things more complicated in case of a breakdown. If you don’t want that sort of commitment in your life, take it easy on yourself, and don’t feel bad about it.
[Read: Do you really need to justify your life choices?]
Not getting married doesn’t mean you love your partner any less than couples who tie the knot. Look at it this way: You feel so secure in your relationship that you don’t see the need to lock your partner down using legal means. At the end of the day, it’s how much you love your partner that counts, and not what a piece of paper says.
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