Marriage Shouldn’t Be Your Goal, Happiness Should

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It is no surprise to anyone who has read my articles before that I tend to be a bit old fashioned in some of my values – but it’s also important to note that I am very much not in many others. One of which has come into conversation many times with my grandparents.

“So, when are you going to get married?”

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The truth is, I don’t know. I am equally as open to the possibility of meeting the love of my life and eloping tomorrow as I am to never getting married. This surprises a lot of people, especially those in the older generations. “Well, you have to get married.”

No, no I don’t. And neither do you.

We live in a culture where essentially 50% of all marriages end in divorceHalf. Why? I have discussed the evolution of monogamy in previous articles, but there are obviously many factors at play. Lack of values in younger generations, socioeconomic issues, financial struggles within couples, infidelity, the list goes on.

Now, many of you are probably starting to cringe a bit because my talk of chivalry and courtship “should” lead to the “goal” of marriage, but I think we start getting ourselves into trouble if we put a goal or a destination on an intimate journey with another person. We start to feel pressure, and put pressure on our partner as well.

When is it finally going to happen? Shouldn’t he have proposed by now? Is she expecting me to propose? I want one kid but she wants three. I don’t know, is my job secure enough? Speaking of having children, that is a whole other can of worms for a different article, so forgive me for not addressing it here.

But with marriage, the entire process loses the enjoyment it’s meant to bring and it becomes more of a science experiment to see if all of the variables yield the result you want in order to sign the contract legally binding you together. Under those circumstances it doesn’t sound very romantic, does it? But then, why do so many plow through this red tape and still go through with it when they’re not completely sure, or ready?

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I can name more than one example of couples who have been together for years, gotten married, and then ended up divorced no more than a year later.

But that’s what was expected of them. It was the goal they’d been working towards the whole time. It’s what they always wanted. Isn’t it?

When we put too much focus on the destination, we lose sight of the journey. I know more than a few couples who have been together for decades and have never gotten married! Why? Because they are happy and don’t need a piece of paper to prove it to people. I also know people who have been married for decades, many in my own family, who are equally as happy. Why? Because that’s what they wanted for themselves.

But neither of these examples are the ones we hear about the most. The ones we hear about the most are the people who have gotten married too early or for the wrong reasons, and ended up divorced. Is this to say that marriage itself as an institution is flawed or unrealistic? That depends on who you ask, but I don’t necessarily think so.

I think it is a beautiful profession of love and commitment when it is made between the right people, at the right time, for the right reasons. When there is desire in place of pressure. When there is want in place of necessity. When it is something you do because it is what you feel in your heart, not because it is an obligation.

Do you and your partner want to get married because that will make you happy? Do it! Do you and your partner want to stay together forever but would rather not get married? Go for it! Do you want to stay single for your own personal reasons? Fantastic!

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We should be instilling the goal of happiness in each other because everyone has a different vision for it. We cannot fit a round peg in a square hole just as we cannot fit the wrong person into a successful marriage.

The one thing we should do, though, is stop making people feel bad for their personal choices and instead start loving and accepting them for who they are, regardless.

Be married if you want. Be single if you want. It’s your choice. Just be happy.

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13 Comments

  1. rlcarterrn on September 3, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I love this! My husband & I chose to get married, at a fairly young age too (22 & 23), partly to appease our families. We knew we planned to be together forever whether we were married or not, so we went ahead with it. Three years later we’re happier than ever. But I can honestly say nothing has changed between us simply b/c we’re married. If things have changed it’s been b/c we’ve grown up & LIFE has changed; in other words we’ve moved to a new state, gotten new jobs, etc. Marriage in & of itself has changed nothing. Which is exactly what we wanted b/c we were already happy! I think it’s truly noble to realize that marriage does not have to be & perhaps should not be the “end goal,” as you’ve stated. Great post!

  2. Matt on September 3, 2014 at 7:30 pm

    Ive had to remind myself time and time again that happiness to me is the end result….with social pressures from friends these days (the whole ‘are you seeing anyone now?’ questions), and the fact that two of my good friends proposed within days of each other, I can definitely feel the rush of ‘needing to be married’.

    Its been a year since my last relationship ended (time flies), finally have a stable career I can go really far and retire in, and its time I straightened myself out and went after the goals I set for myself some 8 years ago, that I continually put off for the sake of whatever relationship I was in. That means getting a condo/house, a 911 and a Harley. Buying stock in my company. Investing and saving for retirement. Going out and seeing the world. I figure once Im fully happy with me again and happy with where my life is going, I can look into a relationship with someone. Or you never know, it might just fall in my lap. I never believed that saying but Ive seen it happen with my own eyes, and even set up two friends who are in a wonderful relationship…and both saw it as unexpected.

    Also James, I was a little confused by youre wording, but you are still in a relationship, right? Lol

  3. Little Miss Menopause on September 4, 2014 at 2:02 am

    And STAY divorced if you want to, as well! 😉

  4. MeAndDating on September 4, 2014 at 6:56 am

    Excellent piece, Michael. I feel the urge to put a link to it on my dating profile to ward off all the over-40 cougars with marriage on the brain that I am catnip for…

  5. angelhouse007 on September 5, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Happiness is definetly what I want for my children and something I’ve achieved with my husband . But there’s a lot to be said for someone to be committed to making that happen for you as a couple that only marriage can do. It says that there has definetly been a decision made that working on being better people and being together through hard and easy times is what you and your chosen will do. No matter how wonderful a boyfriend is it can never reach the level of commitment that a husband and wife have to one another.The security this brings to each other is unmeasurable and a huge security for children involved.

  6. […] A woman’s life choices are nobody’s business except her own. If she is happy, that is what counts the most. […]

  7. […] A woman’s life choices are nobody’s business except her own. If she is happy, that is what counts the most. […]

  8. vintage72pam on September 9, 2014 at 7:00 pm

    “I am equally as open to the possibility of meeting the love of my life and eloping tomorrow as I am to never getting married.”

    What happened to your girlfriend, the one who had cancer? I thought she was the love of your life.

    • James Michael Sama on September 9, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      She ended the relationship a couple of months ago. Nothing I could do unfortunately. Such is life, as they say.

      • vintage72pam on September 9, 2014 at 9:04 pm

        I’m sorry.



  9. […] A woman’s life choices are nobody’s business except her own. If she is happy, that is what counts the most. […]

  10. […] A woman’s life choices are nobody’s business except her own. If she is happy, that is what counts the most. […]

  11. Pokemon X Y Gratuit on May 6, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Great post.

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