Dating : 5 Things More Romantic Than Marriage

h2>Dating : 5 Things More Romantic Than Marriage

Or even red roses or fancy restaurants

Kris Gage

I’m not outright opposed to marriage per se… I just think people often get married for (what I perceive to be) the wrong reasons. And while maybe there aren’t any “right” reasons to get married — is it “right” to do it for “tax reasons?” For stability? For social status (“it’s what people do”)? — I also wonder: with everything else that’s bundled into it (see: above, and also this) is marriage even the best way to show our love?

This is most people’s first line of defense when it comes to supporting marriage as a show of “love.” It’s a testament of commitment; it’s a statement. You stand up in front of all your friends and family and declare yourself to each — publicly; legally — and that means something.

The problem with the commitment arguement is twofold:

  • As we all know, marriage has a “take-backsies clause;” i.e., divorce. And while nobody (well, hardly anybody, I would hope) goes into marriage with their eyes set on divorce, and many couples who have been married a long time say that this formal commitment (and the work and cost of divorce) helped keep them together in rough times.
  • Commitment isn’t about a one-and-done deal. It’s not about standing up once and declaring your love. Just because you showed up and said words on your wedding day doesn’t mean you continue to make the necessary investments to make a marriage work.

So. In that light, here are five things that I think are more romantic than marriage:

Especially aging parents.

Like, that scene from He’s Just Not That Into You guts me every time (which makes sense, because it’s supposed to.)

In short [spoiler!]: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Aniston’s characters break up because she wants to get married and he doesn’t (not just to her, but in general.) Then her dad has a heart attack (and survives), and she’s overwhelmed with trying to take care of him — with no help from her siblings or their spouses, who are all content to use Dad’s health as a free holiday of sorts. And just as we see her nearing her limit, she walks into the kitchen to see (ex) Affleck doing the dishes (and laundry, and grocery shopping.) And my god, MY HEART. That’s love. (And, that’s the entire point of the scene.)

Or bone marrow, or whatever. Because I mean, damn — that is love.

I knew I was still a little hung up with an ex when I realized, a year after we broke up, that I would still give a kidney for him. (That’s changed now — especially since he’s married. He can procure his own organs.)

But this is a true test of love — whether it’s between a couple, siblings, or friends. And, unlike marriage, there are no take-backsies or un-do’s. This is truly forever (or, more accurately: actually til death do you part.)

Too often, in relationships, we get into codependent models: we think we should “complete” each other, or see them as “our everything,” our “better half” — all statements that imply that neither of us are not whole on our own. This isn’t romantic; it is unhealthy. And while that high may feel good, it’s not where we want to be for a strong relationship.

Much more romantic than harboring them and holding them close, expecting them to fulfill spouse duties, many of which mean “staying the same” (since marriage has no many emotional connotations of “stability”) is to let them develop as a full individual and treat them accordingly — and doing the same.

You want to know one of my (many) reasons for not wanting to get married? I hate the jokes (“jokes?”) that people make about their spouses, pretending they’re stuck in some bullshit situation they can’t fix. It’s not cute, and I don’t want it.

I would never want someone to feel “stuck” with me, or like they’re with me because they said a few words a few years ago and now it’s too costly or too big of a hassle to change your mind. Fuck. That.

I want to know that my partner is with me because they want to be. I want to give them the same reassurance.

So, yeah, when people ask if “freedom” is my reason for not wanting to get married, my answer is “it’s part of it,” but it’s just as much about my partner’s freedom as it is mine.

This is really a repetition of the above, but it’s worth calling it out because it’s also the inverse: because you know your partner could, in theory, walk (much more easily than if you were married), there may be more incentive to make it work.

Put another way: I think a lot of people sort of “kick back” once they’re married — get lazy, have less sex, let themselves go, whatever. And if that’s true, then it only makes sense that the opposite is true too.

Bonus points for learning their love language (and using it.) Study up, butter cup: there are only five: physical touch, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and words of affirmation. Figure out your partners, forget the rest, and double down on the efforts that matter.

ACTUALLY putting in the actual effort is way more romantic — and sexier — than any piece of paper will ever be. At least for me.

Read also  Dating : Birds of a Feather

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