What Is Marriage? And What Kind Do You Want?
What is marriage?
Is it a contract between two people to be honored until they divorce or die?
Or is marriage more than a contract?
Why should people get married? To form a family? Financial stability? Share communal property? Reduce their income taxes? Pool their resources for trips and experiences?
Should people get married because they want companionship? Or because they don’t want to be alone or lonely as they grow old? Or to have sex whenever they want?
Is Marriage a Choice?
To complicate matters further, people don’t always choose their life partner. Sometimes the choice is made for them.
Surprisingly, it’s estimated that over half of marriages worldwide are arranged and that over 20 million of those unions exist in the world today. (https://www.brides.com/story/modern-arranged-marriages)
On the one hand, marriage is the result of two people who care about each other deeply and who’ve fallen madly in love.
On the other hand, marriage is the result of an arrangement between two families.
We have the romantic option where marriage is the result of courtship and the, well, less romantic option where marriage is the “logical” choice made by a third party.
What Is Marriage to You?
We began this article by asking, what is marriage?
But perhaps a better question is, what is marriage to you? And, if you are married, is your marriage a reflection of what you dreamed?
We Flourish When…
We flourish and thrive within healthy social connections with others. And the most important relationship of all is the one with our life partner.
Psychologists and psychiatrists have confirmed through scientific research that people who live without contact with others have a much high risk for disease and illness.
Research has also shown that married people have a lower risk of health problems than those who are single.
Marriage is the ultimate long-term relationship that provides the couple with love, security, and connection. Or at least it should be.
But marriage isn’t always healthy or safe.
The couple’s ability to communicate, their willingness to make the relationship work, and the frightening possibility that one, or both partners, might have abusive tendencies determine the health and safety of a marriage.
But putting all of that aside and everything we’ve said, what is marriage to you?
What Kind of Marriage Do You Want?
If you could wave a magic wand to create the ideal marriage, what would it look like?
What qualities would you want it to have?
What qualities would you NOT want?
Marriage is a Choice
Marriage is a choice. It’s a lifelong commitment to another person that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
But ending a marriage is also a choice.
Living in a situation where mental, verbal, emotional, or physical abuse is the norm should lead to a change in the abuser’s behavior or the end of the marriage.
The Imperfectly Perfect Marriage…
Marriage should be a place of safety for both partners. It should be a place where two people become one without losing themselves in each other.
It should be a place where two people are free to be themselves emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually and become their best selves.
Marriage should be a warm haven with an abundance of love, connection, playfulness and variety, compassion, forgiveness, grace, patience, understanding, selflessness, generosity, peace, passion, wisdom, collaboration, and joy, among so many other things.
Is marriage perfect? How can it be because it’s the union of two imperfect people.
Is it permanent? Not always.
Marriage is More Life
But hopefully, at the end of the day, marriage is a place where two people experience more love, joy, peace, and satisfaction than they ever dreamed possible and feel much more alive because of sharing two lives that have become one.