Why Are You Getting Married?

May 6th, 2010

Most of us plan to marry someday.  Ideally, we’ll all be prepared with good relationship skills for a strong, healthy, lifelong union with “the right one.”

As a Marriage & Family Therapist, I often meet in pre-marriage sessions with couples.  One of my questions for them is “Why are you getting married?” Without fail the answer is automatic: “Because we are in love!” Below the surface, however, the motivations for matrimony are often far more complex. A combination of complicated needs and situations bring couples together; some of those reasons improve the chances for success, while others work against it.

While there are a myriad of reasons to get married, the main motivation being that you love each other, there are also some reasons not to get married that are sometimes difficult to identify when they are masked by other emotions.

The book “Getting Ready for the Wedding,” by Les and Leslie Parrott identifies some of these reasons you should look out for:

  1. Love at first sight (before taking the time to get to know each other)
  2. Rebounding
  3. Rebellion
  4. Loneliness
  5. Obligation
  6. Financial advancement
  7. Sexual attraction
  8. Premarital pregnancy
  9. Escape
  10. Pressure

Do you know people who have gotten married for any of these reasons? If so, were they able to make it work, or did the marriage need to end?

A great tool to help you explore your readiness for marriage is the RELATE questionnaire.  There’s a version for singles (READY) as well as one for engaged or cohabiting couples and couples considering re-marriage.  You can find more information and a link on http://www.strongermarriage.org under “marriage readiness.”

~Dr. Liz