By Shannon Ullman
We’ve been together for 13 years and we have no intention of getting married. Ever. While many of our friends are tying the knot, we’ve been busy making other life plans.
Marriage isn’t something that we’re putting off. It’s just something that we’ve decided not to participate in. Here’s why.
1. It doesn’t add anything useful to our lives.
When I think about marriage, I can’t think of anything useful that it brings to my life. After 13 years together, Josh and I are already committed to each other. It wouldn’t serve as a barrier against breaking up because... divorce. It won’t make our future children’s lives easier to understand because we don’t plan on having any. It won’t help either one of us become more financially stable, because we both have jobs and have been splitting costs 50/50 since our teens.
2. A wedding would be a waste of our money and time.
It only costs $80 to get legally married in Philadelphia where we live. No big deal. A wedding, though? Prices can get pretty outrageous. And neither of us have parents who could help pay for the event. Sure, we could have our moms make the food, brew our own beer, and thrift all the decorations. But even a wedding on an extreme budget costs money and time.
Josh and I are both trying to advance our careers, build businesses, pay off debt, make smart investments, save money, and still have the time and capital left over to enjoy ourselves. I can’t think of any worthwhile reason to have a wedding, even if it somehow only cost $100. Our friends and family know that we love each other. We can celebrate it with a house party if we wanted to.
Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the insane cost of engagement rings. The price of most rings could probably pay off my student loans or put a down payment on a new rental property. And, to me, that seems way more romantic than a stone on my finger.
3. It would be a burden for our loved ones.
Have you ever played an important role in someone else’s wedding? If you have, you may have found it to be a lot of work. Maybe you like that kind of thing. That’s totally fine. But, from my experience, other peoples’ weddings cost a lot of money and time.
Our friends are paying off student debt and trying to build lives for themselves. Our parents barely have enough money to cover their own bills. The last thing we want to ask them is to buy dresses, suits, and give us gifts. Sure, it would be awesome to party with all of our friends and family, but we could just as easily invite everyone over for a BBQ in our backyard.
4. We both come from divorced families.
Our parents’ divorces didn’t make us lose faith in love. If anything, it taught us what NOT to do in a relationship. What divorce did do was show us that marriage doesn’t mean much when divorce is such an accessible option. It also showed us that marriage doesn’t make a relationship happy or better. In fact, we learned that marriage was pretty insignificant when it came to whether our parents were happy or unhappy in their relationships.
My aunt and uncle have been together longer than anyone I know and they were never married. My dad has been with his girlfriend for five years and is happier than he ever was while married. My mom was with her boyfriend for thirteen years and was miserable. There are all kinds of situations with relationships, but marriage, from my experience, doesn’t seem to play any role in whether they are good ones or not.
5. We don’t care about social norms.
Get married just because that’s what I’m supposed to do? No thanks. It doesn’t matter to me what everyone else does when it comes to marriage. I try to live my life based on my own beliefs and goals. I’m not getting married, no matter how disappointed or uncomfortable it makes someone else.
Let’s be clear, we don’t hate marriage or people who get married. I mean, Josh is a wedding photographer who SERIOUSLY loves his job. Whatever meaning or value that you personally put on marriage is your business. If you think marriage is the most sacred and beautiful thing in the world, then it is. It’s a concept that is yours to define.
All I can say is that I hope you’ve given your stance on marriage some thought before you invest your money, time, and emotions into the process.
Shannon is a writer, traveler, and experience junkie. When she's not writing or off on an adventure, she probably has her head buried in a book. You can read more about her travels and find resources to travel more yourself on her blog, Lives Abroad.