Should We Put Off Getting Married?
You think you found the right person, and you feel happy and connected. You have discussed marriage and your future goals. Now you may ponder, “Should we put off getting married or decide to get married?
Why Do People Get Married?
There are many reasons why people get married; most are about bringing two lives together to share in a meaningful manner. You may be looking for a companion and partner who has similar interests. You may want to have children and have a partner with whom to share those experiences and responsibilities or you may decide to get married because you want to share the household expenses and chores.
Dr. Tatkin, founder of PACT, discusses the purpose of marriage and how to achieve a secure and happy marriage. He gave the following advice before getting married: “Being able to reassure one another that we aren’t alone, and that we’re tethered together emotionally, is a critical step in ensuring a successful marriage before entering this sacred covenant.”
Is It Okay To Have Doubts About Getting Married?
Most people hesitate at the thought of marriage and wonder whether they should get married or should put off getting married. You might think, “What if I am unhappy?” “Is this the right person?” “What are real issues to discuss, and what are just differences between partners?” “Does having different opinions matter?” The list goes on.
Doubts are fairly normal, and you might not know 100% if your partner is “the One”. However, when doubts and questions turn into fears and feeling stuck, that is when you might need to talk to a professional. Counselors are trained to help you clarify if your doubts are “wedding jitters” or real issues that should be addressed.
The Top 5 Reasons We Put Off Getting Married
- Financial security-You may believe that you should have “X” dollars saved or that you should pay off any and all loans before getting married. Some people believe that they should graduate college or have a secure job with benefits before discussing marriage.
- Individual insecurities-Some people feel a need to be perfect before getting married, thinking that otherwise, their partner will leave them. Other people fear that they will end up getting divorced, so they avoid the question altogether by putting off marriage.
- Dating for how long? Some people worry that they have not been in the relationship long enough to make a commitment to marriage. Actually, the statistics support this; researchers found that couples who dated for 3 or more years had 50% less likelihood of divorce.
- Live together?-Some people believe that they must do something – such as live together – before getting married, but research does not show that this will help the couple prevent divorce.
- Someone Else?-Some people are concerned that they might not have found their “soulmate.” They want to meet “Mr./Mrs. Right.” No one is perfect and will have all the qualities you are looking for, but if you are uncertain, take the time to explore if it’s your insecurities, your partner, or not wanting to miss out on the next possibility that is causing you to hesitate.
You may want to wait or put off getting married in certain circumstances or situations.
You should wait to get married if your reason for marriage is that:
- All of your friends are getting married, and you don’t want to be left out.
- You feel lonely and want someone with whom to share fun times.
- You are in an unhealthy relationship and fight constantly, and you hope that marriage will succeed where other strategies have failed.
- You are being pressured by your family.
- You’re tired of dating and want to get married to the next person who will go out with you.
Marriage will impact your future, so consider the reasons and purpose for getting married. You may think the reason for getting married is because we “love each other.” However, research found that successful couples’ purpose for marriage is not usually love, but rather ideas like growth, respect, happiness, working towards common goals, and commitment.
COVID-19 and Marriage
Some people have decided to put off getting married until COVID-19 is over, while other people have chosen the opposite. There is no right answer about how to handle the pandemic and marriage. You should sit down with your partner and weigh out the pros and cons of waiting versus getting married now. Some of the issues you may want to consider are: Do we want our family and friends to attend and how many of them could feasibly come? How will we feel if a lockdown occurs? How do we feel about having a backyard wedding with each other and a couple of immediate family members? How will we feel if we cannot dance or have pictures or if these things are limited? Will we have a meal? If it’s outside, and it rains, snows, or is cold, what will we do? Do we require mask wearing?
COVID-19 has changed the way we celebrate marriage and may impact your decision-making. Whatever you decide, make sure it’s best the choice for your partner and you.
Marriage is one of the biggest decisions you will make in your life. Take time to contemplate the timing, person and situation because this choice will impact your future. Consider if you need to put off getting married or if you are ready to tie the knot.
Lisa Rabinowitz, LCPC is a licensed counselor in the state of Maryland. She is a Certified Gottman Couples Therapist and PACT Level 3 Candidate. If you are looking to explore whether or not you should put off marriage, reach out for a 30 minute free private consultation today.