Are you dying to get married? Better yet, are you actually getting married soon? That's wonderful! Wonderful except if you have a sneaking suspicion that something isn't right. And I don't mean there's something not right with your fiance, but you. You said yes, you maybe even begged a little bit. How could it be possible you're reading an article about whether or you might be getting married for the wrong reasons? The truth is, we're human. Sometimes humans get married for the wrong reasons. That's not to say we don't love who we're going to walk down the aisle to. We just have a few other reasons other than love as to why we go through with something we shouldn't have, or at least, sooner than would be best for us.
Now, how do I know if you should take a minute or two before you go through with it? I don't really. I can only give you some signs to look for because, well, I married once for the wrong reasons myself. My best friend also did. The thing was, she wasn't my best friend at the time. We had just met and she knew I had just gotten married a few months prior. The first exchange we ever had after our initial introduction was her asking me if I had cold feet. I told her it wasn't too late to back out. She said it was.
Needless to say, the marriage and relationship fell apart right away and they were officially divorced two years later. Even though I didn't have cold feet, I had gotten divorced too. Perhaps I would have backed out if I had been lucky enough to have cold feet but that wasn't how it happened for me.
Coming to grips with how you truly feel, who you are, what everyone around you thinks you should do, social and cultural pressures, and simply wanting to belong or fill a void isn't an easy thing to navigate. We often do things for our own personal reasons and it's hard for anyone on the outside to tell us what we want, need, or should/shouldn't do. Sometimes the best thing we can do is ask questions, or better yet, evoke someone asking themselves questions because all that really matters is if a) you know what you're doing and b) why you're doing it. At the end of the day, we have to live with ourselves, even if we're living with others.
These 10 signs that you may be getting married for the wrong reasons are not an inclusive, end-all, be-all list. Again, I'm not a psychiatrist or counselor. It is just a way to get you thinking about what you are doing and looking into yourself whatever you choose to do, like a friend might do. Like I tried to doing for someone having second thoughts who soon would become my best friend.
1. You think it will make your relationship better
Whoever your boyfriend is, that is who your husband will be. If you think that becoming a husband will turn a frog into a prince, you are in a different reality. That is not to say that people can't grow and we all (hopefully) get better with age. However, if he is disrespectful, arrogant, unkind, or abusive, the likelihood of him changing simply when there is a ring on his finger is nil to none. A few years ago, a beautiful, smart, funny friend of mine was involved with a cheater and she thought if they married, he wouldn't cheat anymore. She told me he never cheated on any of his wives. I said that may be true, but why would you take that chance? It didn't make sense to me, she had so much love to offer. Luckily, what most likely would have been a divorce, was just a break-up. When someone shows you who they are, believe them. Marriage isn't a magic bullet to someone's personality changing overnight.
2. You think it will make you feel better/important/loved
I fell into this trap. A lot of it was of my own twisted thinking that I wasn't as important, valid, or loved as a "girlfriend." Some of it was others around me at the time not realizing that what they were asking or saying was hurting me. You may know what I'm talking about. You know those people who ask when he is going to marry you, making you feel that until he does, he doesn't love you enough. That is not true. What I've learned is, often the best men take their time. They want to be sure because they don't want to hurt you. They don't want to scare you away by rushing you. With marriage, men are very patient creatures. If you're with someone, they treat you well, and you have a happy time together, know and trust that you are loved. After some time, talk about marriage. Now if he says never or it really is taking an exorbitantly long time, reconsider things if that is important to you. Perhaps it's not a matter of love, but preferences and different goals. But don't look at marriage as the ultimate litmus test of love. There are people who aren't married that are better couples than most married people and people that are married that cheat, lie, are unkind, and even abusive to each other. Trust what you know your relationship is, good or bad.
3. Your family wants you to
This is a big one. Although I didn't personally have this pressure, a lot of people do. You dread the holidays because well-intended family keeps asking and wishing you will just get married already and have babies. While a lot of us roll our eyes and quietly sob in the bathroom after Christmas dinner after being hit with such demands, some of us may take it to heart. It may be subconscious but we don't like to disappoint people we love. Do what is right for you. Other people will survive just fine. No one has ever passed away from someone in their family not getting married. Relax!
4. You feel it's your ticket out of your current situation
I have a friend who felt like she couldn't move out of the town she grew up in to pursue her dream unless she got married. Needless to say, she was divorced shortly after. The fact of the matter is, you can confront something now or later but you will have to confront it. She could have just told her parents "I'm moving to pursue my dream now that I am a young woman". Instead, she went through with what she thought they wanted and it didn't work, it hardly ever does. Sometimes people get married to get out an abusive parental household and often end up with abusers. It sometimes goes from terrible to even more terrible. Don't use marriage as an escape from something. Confront it, fix it, and go into a relationship and marriage as the best version of yourself you possibly can be at whatever stage in your life it happens for you.
5. You feel like everyone else is and you don't want to be left out
With Facebook and Instagram, we have everyone's wedding plans and pictures shoved down our throats on a daily, almost hourly, basis. It's easy to feel left out. Don't pressure your boyfriend to get married so you can participate. It's not easy to admit we sometimes feel this way if we're single. By now we all know that social media is often an outlet for the highlights in people's lives. Don't let it make you feel bad about your whole existence.
6. Afraid of being alone
I have several friends that don't like being alone. The funny (or not so funny) thing is that, a lot of them are in steady relationships or even married. They tend to hang around people they don't much care to be around when they are going to have to spend time alone. I personally can't understand it but I know it is real. Don't get married (or even into a sub par relationship) simply because you're lonely. If you marry for the wrong reasons, you risk still feeling very lonely even with someone by your side.
7. You want a ring/wedding
Admit it, we have all lusted over a beautiful engagement ring. We have been enamored with people's weddings and receptions and those photos plastered all over social media. You have been dreaming of it since you were a little girl and you just can't wait. Don't forget that when the wedding is over, there is a marriage. Calling off a wedding is not fun or easy, I'm sure. Neither is a divorce. Neither one is a decision to make lightly.
8. You're trying to fill a void
We all have some kind of a void that we will try to fill at some point in our life. Some people will use substances, some will shop, and some will go into relationships and marriages. If you suspect you may be getting married to fill a void in your life, you are getting married for the wrong reasons. People can't complete who we are. Marriages should be two people, although imperfect, who come together without the intention of the other filling a void.
9. You had a baby
This a tough one too because a baby is the ultimate commitment between two people. If you're not together, it means that you will need to find a way to make things work as co-parents one way or another for the well-being of that child, in a perfect world anyways. This is where you may feel a lot of pressure from family to marry the father of your child. You may know deep down, even though you have a child, you don't think a marriage can work. Then there are religious pressures. Do what is best for you and your child. It may break your family's heart but if you know it can't work, it is inevitable that it won't. I'm not saying don't try if you think it could. But we often lie to ourselves. Deep down, we know that truth.
10. You think you can just divorce if it doesn't work out
If you are thinking of divorce before you get married, that is a huge red flag. While it is true that we can divorce, I can personally assure you it is difficult. I had the most friendly, amiable divorce one person can hope to have (with no children involved.) Even though it was absolutely the right decision and I have been though some pretty heartbreaking events since (estrangement from parents, family drug issues, job loss), it still is one of the hardest things I have done. Go into marriage with forever, not divorce in mind. As heartbreaking as calling off a wedding seems, a divorce is the same thing, just delayed.
Share your thoughts!
Have you married for the wrong reasons? Share your story!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2019 Jess B
Jess B (author) from United States on August 31, 2019:
Thank you for sharing your story Kathy. So many of us find ourselves in a similar boat. It's not an easy thing to say the least and pressures around us and expectation take something that is already so hard and makes it almost impossible. Thank you so much for reading and I wish you the best!
Kathy Wheeler Jouini on August 27, 2019:
My 1st marriage I was going to back out. I was living with my grandmother & just got my own apartment. My grandmother told me I wasn’t living with him until I was married. So I was young & stupid @ the time so we bumped the wedding up 4 months earlier & tied the knot. It only lasted 2 years ...
been married twice since then
This will be my last
Jess B (author) from United States on June 17, 2019:
That's a good one and so true! There is this need to feel like something is "going somewhere", but like you said so well, every relationship will come to a stand still and it's not necessarily a bad thing. Maybe that is something couples that have been married for a long time have figured out. Maybe that's the secret?! ;) Thank you for reading!
dashingscorpio from Chicago on June 16, 2019:
I would probably add one more...
You've been together for a long time.... "Why the hell not?"
Some couples get married just because "It's the next step.." They may have been dating since high school or they've been living together for years and suddenly decide to have "the big party" with the hope that it might give their relationship some (new life).
It's a sort of psychological promotion going from being known as the (girlfriend) to being someone's (wife). Oftentimes women in particular have felt the need to end relationships when they felt they weren't "going anywhere" meaning the couple isn't married.
The irony is eventually relationships come to stand still!
You go from meeting someone new, to dating, to courtship and becoming exclusive, to possibly cohabitating, and then marriage. However after the couple becomes married the only other "steps" to climb if you want to call them that is parents, grandparents, and possibly great-grandparents but the relationship itself doesn't get a new title. Eventually every couple stops going "anywhere".