Rather, marriage shouldn’t be expected to make them better. Assuming that marriage will make your relationship better is a dangerous game to play, especially because it implies that there is already something that needs to be fixed. While no relationship is perfect, you should be ready and willing to continue the relationship as-is once you enter your nuptials.
Sure, there are changes that are made. Whether it be changing your name or moving in together, and those changes may end up bringing you more happiness, but you shouldn’t count on it. To protect yourself, and your relationship, you need to be able to accept things as they are before signing the marriage contract. No “they will change after we get married” or “things will be better after the wedding.”
In the grand scheme of things, marriage itself does not change the relationship. Marriage is, per definition: the state of being united as spouses in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law; it is a binding contract that generally offers financial and other legal benefits. While some people view marriage as a union blessed by God (or another deity) in “holy matrimony,” the literal sense of it is the government recognizing your relationship as a legal partnership.
Not very romantic when you put it like that, I know. My point is there is nothing about the state of being married that should have an effect on the quality of your relationship.
Don’t get me wrong, I myself am happily married. I love being “husband and wife,” having the piece of paper that legally binds us together; being able to share tax benefits… but we’re not necessarily happier now than we were before we got married. Any improvements we have seen in our relationship are because we continue to grow closer the longer we have been together. Which would happen organically regardless of our relationship’s legality.
Getting married under the assumption that things will change for the better is a fast track to unhappiness, and potentially divorce, in the future. According to the Wall Street Journal, divorce rates in 2019 hit a 40-year low, which has been directly linked to the Millennial and Gen-Z generations waiting longer to get married. Technology has also changed how marriage and divorce works. The advent of online divorce platforms makes getting a divorce easier than ever.
It can be inferred that divorce rates are down and marriages are generally happier because people are taking more time to consider if marriage with a particular person is what they truly want. Rather than jumping into the marriage and hoping to smooth out the wrinkles later.
If you feel like you or your partner will change for the better after getting married, think again. Changes after marriage are inevitable, but changes happen in any stage of a relationship—or life in general for that matter.
Similarly, marriage isn’t necessarily easy, but is any relationship perfectly effortless? No. As each individual grows, they change, therefore changing the dynamics of the relationship. Regardless of marital status, a partnership needs to be consistently maintained as it evolves.
Once again, I am by no means against marriage. What I am against is choosing to bind yourself to someone you haven’t already 100% accepted. If you are not satisfied with your relationship, you will not be satisfied with your marriage. For a marriage to be successful, appreciate and respect them for who they are and how your relationship already is—rather than expecting your partner and/or relationship to change just because you signed the papers. Never expect your relationship to get better without actually putting in the work to improve things.
Marriage does take work, but it is worth it if you find a person you fully accept, and who fully accepts you. Your relationship may even get better after getting married, but that’s just the cherry on top of what should already be a solid foundation.
Marriage does not mean you get to stop working toward each other every single day. It does not mean you should expect to be happier once you tie the knot. What it does mean, however, is signing a contract that binds you to another person for life. It potentially means moving in together, changing your name, having children, bickering about what to make for dinner and who gets to do the dishes, and being fully dedicated and loyal to your other half.
If you are not ready for those commitments outside of marriage or find yourself uncomfortable with some other aspect of your relationship, I urge you to address those insecurities before you get married, because they won’t go away as soon as the ink dries.