Are Marriages Outdated and Overrated?

Guest Writer: Ana Vidosavljevic; Serbia, Indonesia

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Doesn’t almost every girl dream of a perfect wedding, marriage and kids? Isn’t it every woman’s goal to  find a prince charming, a soul mate, the best man in the world, the one and only and crown their happiness by a ring and a piece of paper that says “happily married ever after”?

Once upon a time, the marriage was the opportunity for women to have economic stability and security. In the age of workforce discrimination, men were providers and women housewives, and only marriage offered possibility for women to live more or less happy lives. Therefore, they cherished the marriage as a sacred union until death. 

In modern society, thanks to women’s empowerment movements, fight for gender equality and independence, the institution of marriage has lost its power and importance. It doesn’t mean that marriage is not important anymore. It is, but not as much as it used to be. Women do not depend on men anymore and they earn if not equally, at least enough to provide for their families.

However, many girls still believe that the institution of marriage means the seriousness of union between two people who love each other and are ready to spend at least some time living together and sharing everything. While a boyfriend can be here today and not anymore here tomorrow, many girls believe that a role of a husband brings more commitment and responsibility. And even though the increasing number of divorces in the last two decades has proven that marriage loses the meaning of “until death do us part”, marriage seems to be still relevant in today’s society.

Attitudes towards marriage have changed over the last couple of decades. Many people with divorced parents or who have been divorced themselves and have experienced the negative sides of marriage have a negative view of the institution of marriage. And it contributes to the unpopularity of marriage.

More and more people decide to live together without getting married. There are also many couples who have children but they are not married. A domestic partnership seems to be overtaking the institution of marriage. However, even though a domestic partnership has become popular, there are some downsides of it comparing to marriage. At least, marriages usually come with more benefits and protections than a domestic partnership does. Marriages are recognized in all countries, while domestic partnerships aren’t. Partners are not considered “family” by law, while a husband and a wife are. 

Anyway, since the institution of marriage has changed a lot over the time, marriages today are far different than the ones of our parents and grandparents. Marriage doesn’t necessarily mean a happy life. Even if you marry a love of your life, there is no guarantee that you will be happy forever. The young nowadays seem to feel trapped if married. On the other hand, if you live in a domestic partnership you can always leave without all the bureaucratic and legal issues involved when things start getting wrong or you realize it is time to move on. Being married and getting divorced brings certain complications and costs money. Marriage seems to be a lot of work. 

You become a part of something that is recognized by law and everything is shared and divided. Therefore, many people in today’s society think that marriage is overrated and that we don’t need it. Since both men and women are very independent and can take care of themselves, it seems unnecessary to continue with tradition and obligation of getting married.

Call me old-fashioned but I still believe in marriage. I have nothing against a domestic partnership, but the term “family” is still for me related to people who are married and possibly have children. And families keep people together. They support their members and help them put efforts into achieving something they value as well as help them remain focused on priorities. Families usually cherish and promote values such as honesty, empathy, love, togetherness, support, forgiveness, respect, responsibility, patience and generosity. Therefore, if possible, children need to grow up with both of their parents within a family which would prioritize the mentioned values. Very often, unfortunately, children who grow up out of the family structure suffer from isolation, loneliness, mental problems, and they struggle to maintain relationships. They grow up in fear of commitment and responsibility and easily give up on anything they undertake. 

And while a domestic partnership is a great and comfortable union between two people which promotes freedom and easiness, marriage still teaches us the most important life values and life lessons. There will be good and bad times, ups and downs, but together you will be able to overcome challenges with a lot of love and patience. There should be an effort to seek understanding, respect and to learn to live with each other’s differences, and sometimes, it is not an easy journey, but the one you and your husband or wife decided to take, and it is entirely up to you two how the storyline will develop. There are no perfect husbands or wives and conflicts and differences are unavoidable, but the main goal of marriage is to manage them happily and discuss everything that bothers you and your spouse. And in the end, those magic words such as “I love you” and “I am sorry” are necessary ingredients to every marriage. Often we overlook them and consider them cliché. And since we generally take our husband or wife’s love for granted, we forget that these simple words can melt people’s hearts and initiate the conversation which will lead to more understanding and resolving a disagreement. Therefore, they should be said to our loved ones on daily basis. They are the reminder of love and the value of your relationship.

Marriage is not a fairy tale. It requests a lot of work and compromises, but if partners love each other and are ready to venture onto this journey called “marriage”, they will put efforts to maintain this still relevant institution and share all those happy moments they create and are responsible of. Like all things in life, you will learn that you get what you put in. And there will be always a lot more to learn.


About Ana Vidosavljevic: 

Ana Vidosavljevic from Serbia currently living in Indonesia. She has her work published or forthcoming in Down in the Dirt (Scar Publications), Literary Yard, RYL (Refresh Your Life), The Caterpillar, The Curlew, Eskimo Pie, Coldnoon, Perspectives, Indiana Voice Journal, The Raven Chronicles, Setu Bilingual Journal, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Madcap Review, The Bookends Review, Gimmick Press, (mac)ro(mic), Scarlet Leaf Review, Adelaide Literary Magazine, A New Ulster and many others. Her collection of short stories Mermaids will be published by Adelaide Books in September 2019, and a memoir Flower Thieves will be published by the same publishing house in April 2020.