It’s finally happened — you’ve met someone with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. Yet, like many people, you might ask: “Should I get married?”
Despite the common portrayal of marriage as the ultimate “happily ever after,” it takes serious commitment, trust, and effort between both parties to make your marriage a success. If you’re weighing your options, this article will highlight the pros and cons of getting married.
The Practical Benefits of Getting Married
In the U.S., marriage comes with many attractive benefits, such as:
- Government benefits: Obtaining Medicare, Social Security, disability, and military/veterans’ benefits for spouses
- Tax benefits: Having options to file joint income tax returns for lower rates
- Housing benefits: Living in single-family zoning areas
- Family benefits: Filing for adoption or joint foster care rights, receiving support after a divorce (share of marital property, alimony, child support, etc.)
- Employment benefits: Taking family leave or bereavement leave, getting insurance coverage from your spouse’s employer, receiving benefits like workers’ compensation or retirement for your deceased spouse
- Medical benefits: Visiting your spouse in a medical facility during restricted visiting hours, making medical decisions for your spouse if they’re unable to express their own wishes (if they’re incapacitated or not of sound mind)
- Estate planning benefits: Receiving exemptions from gift taxes and estate taxes for assets you leave to your spouse, inheriting part of your spouse’s estate, being the first pick for conservatorship of your spouse’s financial affairs, creating marriage-exclusive life estate trusts
- Death benefits: Making funeral or burial arrangements, consenting to post-death procedures and examinations on your spouse’s behalf
- Consumer benefits: Receiving family rates or discounts for certain purchases (insurance, tuition, etc.)
- Other benefits: Visitation rights in prison, citizenship and residency, suing a third party for the wrongful death of your spouse, and more
These perks might encourage you to get married, but make sure they’re not the only reason you’re getting married.
At its core, a lasting marriage isn’t built entirely on practical benefits. Strong marriages consist of two people who genuinely want to spend the rest of their lives together with the additional understanding that they’re making a legal and financial commitment.
The Emotional Benefits of Getting Married
Marriage can be the bedrock for a healthy, communicative, and emotionally rewarding relationship. But, ensure you have the following fundamental things in place before you tie the knot.
You’re Problem Solvers
Here’s a promising sign for marriage. When the going gets tough, you and your partner communicate clearly and empathetically to solve the issue(s) at hand.
You’re not afraid to enlist the help of therapists, counselors, or other professionals to guide you through challenging situations. When you and your partner come together to overcome an obstacle, you devise creative solutions instead of relegating to compromise.
Marriage is a great option if you’ve carefully and thoroughly examined your financial situation and future. This means you’re not afraid to have tough conversations about money and plans for the next one, two, and five years. You’re even prepared to discuss provisions in a prenup to properly plan for an unexpected end to your marriage.
As a married couple, you have to make major decisions about banner moments in your life like buying a house, having children, and maybe even starting a business. All of these things have financial implications and require thoughtful planning to successfully see them through.
You love spending time with your partner and are even willing to try new things. You respect your partner’s autonomy yet cherish it when you can collaborate. You accept each other’s flat sides and maybe even love to work on self-growth together.
Marriage is a wonderful option for two people who love to explore, laugh, and date from day one to the golden ages of their lives. If you’re friends first, your marriage can last.
Why You Shouldn’t Get Married
While marriage offers distinct advantages for some, it’s not for everyone. Some may see it as an unnecessary expense — especially if the people around them press them to have an extravagant ceremony. And remember, your marriage is more than just a wedding.
You’re Not Comfortable with Commitment
Perhaps you and your partner are content to have a relationship without the accompanying legal status or societal constructs. Or maybe you prefer the flexibility of carrying on in a relationship without a lifelong contracted commitment. That’s completely valid!
Marriage Sounds Like Too Much Work
Marriage should never be an obligation. It needs to be something you’re prepared to work for. Getting married means you’re now responsible for both yourself and your partner. Your plans for the future need to complement your spouse’s and vice versa. You need to respect their voice, space, rules, and expectations. To some, this can be stifling. If this sounds overwhelming, you may need to rethink marriage (or relationships for that matter).
You View Marriage As a Solution to Your Relationship Problems
At its core, marriage makes your relationship status official in the eyes of your state. It’s not a magical ritual that can erase your relationship problems.
If you see any red flags in your current relationship, marriage won’t change that. Getting married to solve your relationship problems just gives you a new problem to deal with instead. If your situation was bad from the outset, marriage could even make it worse.
Coming Up With the Answer
Sorry, but there’s no one definitive answer to “Should I get married?” It depends fully on you and your partner’s view on relationships and life. For starters, read this blog post together and compare notes. No matter what, you must take the time to talk to your partner about money, family, children, and your future before you decide to get married.
Also, it’s smart to ask around and connect with people living happily married and with those who have experienced failed marriages.
If you indeed decide to get married, you must have conversations about prenups so you and your partner set yourselves up for a successful marriage. If you’d like to chat through the ins and outs of kickstarting a strong marriage with a custom prenup, don’t hesitate to reach out to me — I’d be happy to help.