No one in their right mind would question the value, sanctity or virtue of marriage. That supposedly perpetual union of man and woman mandated by virtually every country, culture, and society in the world, is so embedded in our psyches that it is accepted as a given.
But wait. Stop. Let’s get a grip and take a long hard look at this “given”.
If you look at the whole marriage thing objectively and start peeling back the layers, you quickly realize that no – the emperor isn’t really wearing any new clothes at all. The whole institution of marriage in modern society is not what it’s cracked up to be.
Now before you read any further understand that I’m not talking about the religious, moral or even emotional aspects of relationships. That’s for another time, another place, and from someone that knows a lot more about these things than I do.
No, this is about the legal and practical aspects of marriage.
In that context the question is, is marriage a very good idea or deal?
The answer is absolutely not. Especially for men. There is virtually no upside for a man in America today to even think about formalizing a relationship with a woman with marriage.
Let’s consider some of the issues.
First, the pluses. Not very many. What do you gain in American society by getting married? My getting the “blessing” of your relationship by the government?
Not much it turns out. With changes in the law and social standards in the last fifty years or so, the legal marital relationship doesn’t provide much that you don’t have anyway.
- A married couple can live together. But so can an unmarried couple.
- A married couple can own property together. But so can an unmarried couple.
- A married couple has promised to care for one another. An unmarried couple can enter into the same kind of agreement. And with divorce rates as high as fifty percent, the marital obligation is no stronger than an agreement.
- A married couple can have children. But obviously so can an unmarried couple.
So by now you’re probably wondering…where’s the upside? That’s funny, because I am too!!!
So let’s look at the downsides – and wow – there are a lot!!
Contrary to popular belief a married couple seldom saves much in taxes over two unmarried individuals. Filing jointly, if both work can push you into a higher tax bracket. Married filing separately is almost always a disaster and will cost you much, much more than two unmarried people.
The government can now dictate in part what happens to your property. In many states you cannot omit a spouse from your will. An unmarried person has complete freedom to do with their property as they chose.
And of course not all marriages are made in heaven. Untangling a marriage is always more complicated and difficult than an unmarried couple deciding to go their own separate ways.
And along those lines don’t forget about your property. When you get married even property that you had before the marriage can become “marital” property…you get to see your own property divided with someone else!!
And, don’t forget alimony. Getting married could give you the pleasure of paying an ex-spouse literally for the rest of your life. Unmarried people don’t have that worry.
Then of course when you get married you get to deal with your spouse’s family, because of course, now you are part of the “family”. I’ll leave it to your imagination the potential aggravation and irritation that can result in.
When you look at the list, there are very few upsides and a lot of downsides. So please tell me again why marriage is such a great idea!!!