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Why I Do NOT Believe in Marriage

Raised within a relatively conservative European household, I have always been cognizant of certain social expectations rooted in both traditionalism and conservatism, whether or not those expectations be verbally communicated or subtly conveyed. At the forefront of the ideals our community holds dear resides the principle of marriage. Of course, the continuation of ceremonial matrimonies can be partially, if not wholly, explained through the intimate entanglement of religious and cultural traditions cemented throughout Polish history. Various Poles, including members of my own immediate family, believe that the United States somehow, as a foreign geographical entity populated by amazingly diverse persons, in some way perverts traditional Polish customs. Therefore, certain specified individuals who make atypical decisions (e.g. such as the decision not to marry) are at best, disdainfully judged and at worst, shamed, vilified, and ostracized for making an “inaccurate” and “unethical” decision. 

Of course, the degree to which various individuals vehemently believe in these traditional practices varies significantly. Nevertheless, there is, indeed, an ever-present pressure to conform. Despite these outward social coercions, I declare the following: “I am my own person with my own array of highly individualized beliefs and opinions. My household environment does not wholly dictate the ideals I hold to be true. I do not necessarily subscribe to the same ideas my fellow humans do.”

Without hyperbolic language, simply said, I do believe in long-term love, but I do NOT believe in the institutionalized construction of marriage. More importantly, I REFUSE to feel guilty about this opinion.

Here’s my rationale: 

1. Marriage, as an institution, is a constructed social invention

Marriage is to people as people is to marriage. In other words, we, as a community of social entities, give ‘marriage’ its significance and social power. Throughout the years to come, if we as a society invert the ‘virtuous’ meaning of marriage, we, in turn, relinquish its social power, deeming it unimportant and potentially, irrelevant in the context of love. “We have no good reason to suppose that marriage as an abstraction exists in some universal or ideal form” (Luke Muehlhauser).

Marriage has, indeed, become a normative social expectation, cemented by various cultural, religious, and historical practices. It is an expected behavior ingrained in the minds of millions. Conversely, however, I do NOT want my own intimate love story to be branded by a series of dogmatic beliefs—those of which we are discouraged from exploring and questioning. 

2. There are NO guarantees; the contradictory evidence is overwhelming

As the American divorce rates hover around 50%, the evidence against marriage, as a long-term social commitment, remains bleak and transparent. As much as I would like to believe my love and my relationship is the exception to the rule, perhaps, it is not. Possessing a simplified exit, if my relationship potentially turns south, may make the breakup and heartache all the more bearable. 

Of course, I refuse to characterize nor quantify the success of a relationship by whether or not it terminates in a divorce. Realistically, divorce is oftentimes a necessary tool for both affected parties.

In terms of reverse psychology, I believe that having full access to an exit actually increases my personal commitment in nurturing and fostering the relationship at hand. My partner is free to do whatever he so chooses; we will not restrict nor demean one another. Simply put, I want my partner to love me—not because he HAS to, but because he wholeheartedly wants to. 

Love is NOT a formal contract. In my mind, commitments always bear more weight and meaning if there are no attached legal obligation. 

3. No need for appeasement nor social approval—love is love

Love is beautiful. It surely cannot be defined through materialistic means nor subscribed to one general geographical location. I need no external materialistic possession (e.g. ring, legal document, gifts) to validate nor endorse my sentiments. No outward possession could every fully symbolize our love, care, passion, and devotion. Our trust will not be dependent upon a ring that decorates our lovely fingers. 

Indeed, throughout my beautiful lifetime, I have been endowed with the wonderful ability to reason, think critically, and make my own independent decisions—therefore, there is no need for excessive bureaucratic entanglement nor familial approval within the context of my love story.

4. Reinforcing LOVE and ACCEPTANCE 

I want to raise my children in a loving, accepting, and compassionate household outside of fixed gender norms. As empathetic children, I want them to respectfully recognize the beauty of diversity, including diversity of thought. The best way to enforce such principles is to lead by example.

As a mother whose love is unconditional, I want my children to pursue whatever makes them happy and self-satisfied. I want them to recognize that they can, if they so choose, to pursue whatever relationship they would like to. Marriage may not be right for me, but that does not extend past my individual self. Other individuals, alongside my own children, are not required to subscribe to those ideas.

5. FEAR

Ideally, of course, one would hope that their actions and opinions exist outside of fear. But, truthfully, fear is a huge motivational factor behind my rationale and reasoning. Although it may be easier to omit fear as a potential reason, I would be dishonestly disclosing only the partial narrative.

True love and devotion was rarely ever modeled for me. I was raised within a strained and unsettled familial dynamic. And although, I had an amazing childhood, the unfortunate memories remain withstanding. Although, I would never intentionally try to place myself in a comparable situation, perhaps, I may. Out of fear or possibly spite, I hope to avoid putting myself in a self-compromising relationship—one in which I feel that I cannot leave. 

I have grown and developed into someone I am extremely proud of, but I am sure that I still carry the psychological burden of my past. Consequently so, if my love transforms into one of toxicity, I want to leave that scenario with ease and grace and forgiveness.

6. Pressure to conform can create psychological distress. 

Of course, no one wishes to feel ostracized or vilified, but I refuse to merely follow the typical crowd, especially if their actions do not reflect my personal beliefs. Indeed, “It takes a lot of courage to release the familiar and seemingly secure, to embrace the new, but there is no real security in what is no longer meaningful. There is more security in the adventurous and exciting, for in movement there is life, and in change there is power” (Alan Cohen). 

I do not aim to follow suit.

————

Naturally, my opinions are neither fixed nor incredibly stringent. As humble humans, we are allowed to evolve, change, and adapt to new circumstances. Although, my views may change across the entirety of my life, in this current, I unapologetically do not believe in the institution of marriage.

On my personal, individualized growth journey toward happiness. Currently studying Applied Psychology and Spanish, pursuing a career in Social Work and Mental Health.  "You presume you are small entity, but within you is enfolded the entire universe" --Imam Ali ****strong opinions, weakly held****  
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