Why it Doesn’t Bother Me if our Kids Never Get Married

Marriage is not a final destination.

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My current husband and I weren’t planning on getting married right away or even at all.

We already knew we were committed to one another and that we’d be together for many years to come.

We had both been married before and those partnerships didn’t turn out so great. So when we did finally decide to get married, we did it quite simply at city hall, kids in tow.

A big part of why we ended up sealing the deal officially was for my husband’s son — my stepson — as a way to show that we were truly bonded as a family. My stepson signed as our witness. It was awesome.

We got married after moving in together and after having a baby together which isn’t exactly many people’s gold standard for the way things “should” go.

And that got me thinking about the attitude we will pass down to our kids regarding marriage.

Honestly, I really don’t expect, want, or even necessarily care if our kids end up getting married when they grow up.

Why?

I want to focus more on showing our children what real romantic relationships are like rather than waiting to cheer them on walking down the aisle. The reality of love and relationships is often quite different than the sparkly diamond commercials or lavish wedding ceremonies.

Don’t get me wrong — wedding ceremonies can be beautiful and full of joy — but the ceremony means nothing without two people who know what they’re getting into afterward.

This is not to say that those who celebrate marriage in an extravagant way don’t know anything about relationships. I just think the whole business has gotten a bit out of control.

Every Disney fairytale ends with the wedding. And that’s it. The end. But what happens after that?

Marriage is not a final destination. It’s simply another element we may or may not choose in the larger journey of a relationship.

That said, I’m certainly not going to deter our kids from getting married simply because I made mistakes in my own past. But I’m not going to highlight marriage as a life goal either.

Although I’m very lucky to have found my current husband and our partnership works well, I don’t think marriage is necessarily the key to happiness. I don’t want our children to grow up thinking marriage is the proverbial light at the end of the relationship tunnel.

My husband and I got married after we had lived together for a good period of time and we were already raising two kids together. Marriage was not something we needed to allow the relationship to continue.

I believe that moving in together before even thinking about marriage is key to any relationship. I don’t preach to our kids about not living together until after marriage. I would always recommend moving in with your partner before you vow to be with them forever for better or for worse.

The right for every adult to be able to marry whom they want to is important — no question. But that’s much different than marrying someone with the belief that marriage will somehow erase serious incompatibility issues.

When I refer to my relationship with my husband around the kids, I talk about partnership. We love each other. We also struggle to like each other sometimes. We need space on occasion. We’re human.

Marriage will not change a relationship at its core. The most decadent wedding ceremony imaginable won’t change anything if problems exist already.

The expectation of a relationship changing after marriage is probably the biggest misconception out there. This is exactly why I want to be honest with our kids. It’s not that easy.

I don’t ever want my kids to feel as though they have to get married to prove anything or to be socially accepted. There doesn’t need to be a ring on it to make things right.

Diamond rings won’t create a stronger love or protect you from betrayal.

Ultimately, our children will grow up and do what they will. If they want to get married, I’ll support them 100%. If not — same thing. I just think the option of not subscribing to the idea of marriage should be part of the conversation as well.

More from Michelle: Who’s To Blame For an Affair?

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Top Writer, Partner, Lover, Mother & Stepmother. Ponderings on sex, love, parenting, step-parenting & the journey of life. Meet me there.

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