I have a son and daughters. I also have my own private nightmare. It’s the moment when my wonderful daughter — who I carried in my arms, whose diapers I changed and with whom I marveled at the lights outside during the night — brings home some, pardon my French, idiot and will say: «Daddy, this one is going to live with us now.»
Meaning, live with us and sleep with her.
I am almost certain, for some reason, that this intruder will be scruffy, poor and ill-mannered, that he’ll have long disheveled hair and his attitude towards my baby girl will be not at all as chivalrous as I’ve hoped.
Oh, and he’ll have a whole bunch of disgusting habits.
In other words, he’ll be my exact copy, only younger.
So, in order to ease my anxiety, while my eldest daughter is still eight, I’m going to put off getting a gun and a huge, angry, boyfriend-eating dog, and will try to verbalize the reasons for my daughter to get married. While we’re at it, my son, who is still in his crawling and chewing with three teeth phase, may someday benefit from reading this, too.
Then again, if my daddy dearest would’ve ever tried writing something like this for me, there’s a big chance that I’d be very skeptical about it. But I’ll take this risk.
Which reasons for getting married are absolutely wrong?
Irrelevant reason number zero. Don’t get married to someone just because they want to or because you feel sorry for them or because you’re following someone else’s wishes in general. Dear children of mine, I am aware that you’re not stupid, so I won’t go into detail about why it is such a bad idea.

Physical attraction

I know quite a few couples who got into marriage on the grounds of, to put it plainly, wanting to have sex and not wanting to break any social rules, or because they were trying to please their strict parents. All those couples either broke up or, as you’d say, «are not doing great».
This is just because sex on its own gets boring pretty fast. It’s not designed to be a time-consuming pastime. More importantly, if it’s simple and natural, like having a lunch, it gets old even faster. You can be with someone for physical reasons only for some time, but it will never last. And if you two are planning on spending your lives together, then you really should start looking for more substantial reasons.

Any external circumstances

Age, peer pressure, instructions from your priest, your parents’ wishes, favorable circumstances, signs from above and other fleeting nonsense: all of these are not a good enough reason to tie the knot, because they allow newlyweds to wash their hands of the responsibility.
And down the road, when things will get rough, our lovebirds will wish to hit «rewind» or hide behind an impenetrable wall of «I never said I wanted this, it just happened». The only question is who will chicken out first. Either way, both will suffer.
By the way, so called «shotgun marriage» goes into this category as well. But now there are at least three people getting hurt.

Economical reasons

To marry a money-bag hoping to get hold of their fortune and live a life of joy is an act of sale, not love, and is not something you should do. Some things are not ours enough to sell. Such things include our souls, and if a marriage is a union of souls, not bodies, then any two people can live and sleep together, but it’s doubtful that any two friends can be spouses.
Then again, if you do go through with this deal, then it’s only fair to formalize it as such, with all the shameful details, including a prenup. Otherwise, your counterpart will have a stronger hand, both legally and morally, which will end badly for you in case of a conflict.

Loneliness and feeling of underachievement in life

Usually situations like this are sort of the opposite of the «fair deal» ones, with a person getting into it being prepared to lose. When someone is selling themselves for material comforts, they try to get the most out of it and put the highest price possible on themselves, because it’s a big, cold world out there, and you have to cash in while you still can.

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h5>But when a person gets married because of feeling lonely and scared, they are not trying to get the most out of it, they’re settling for less. «Beggars can’t be choosers. It’s better than nothing».

Don’t be fooled by this fakery. It’s not better. A marriage like this won’t do anything to fix the harsh reality of being cold, hurt and alone 24/7, but it will take away the little freedom and comfort you do have. And since the resulting union won’t be the one between free, respectful adults but rather an act of mercy from one of them to another, they will never be at the same level.
You should only get married if all of the aforementioned reasons are irrelevant; When desire has died down a bit, when both of you are not and will not be dependent financially on each other, and when both of you have something to do outside of your marriage.
To put it plainly, only get married when you don’t have to. Marriage should be a luxury and a fancy, a whim and an adventure, not a solution to your present or future problems. If two people decide to complicate their existence to the degree of not just having a good time together, but actually spending the rest of their days this way, this decision must come exceedingly from deep inside.
By the way, bear in mind that your wife or husband from now on is going to be the only person who will be their real selves with you. Everybody else will come and go as mere functions: acquaintances, colleagues, drinking buddies. Your contact with them will be limited, while in marriage, you will have to face someone as they are, in all their glory, and most likely it will not be a pretty sight.
So don’t make a final decision till the moment you realize that who you see in front of you is a person, not their body, or their cheerful prospects, or their intellect, or your own comfort in their presence.
Marriage, as it is, doesn’t have a purpose aside from togetherness — that mysterious unity that is irreplaceable and only possible between two people who became a family. Being friends or being lovers is not the same as being married. Even friends who sleep together or lovers who run a joint household are something else entirely.
So, my dear daughter or my dear son (in case you will read this), my only advice is: don’t get engaged to someone unless you are absolutely certain that you want to be with this particular someone, and unless your decision is free and clear.

Or:

Once upon a time, a woman asked her man: «Why do you love me?»
At first, he was going to say that it was because she’s beautiful. But he realized that it wouldn’t be enough; there are thousands of beautiful women out there. Then he was going to say that it was because she loved him, but that also seemed like not enough; lots of other women loved their men. Then he tried mentioning her intelligence and sense of humor and delicious home-made pies, but the pies tasted even better in a restaurant, and there was plenty of witty company to go around at that time. Even his thoughts about how he felt good just being beside her seemed not enough. I mean, there’s always a place for a bigger bliss in one’s life. It’s not the same without her? No, that wasn’t it either.
And then there was only one thing left to say.
He said: «Because you are you.»
So when you can say the same, without fooling yourself or wishing to please someone, then, probably, it’s time to get hitched. Although, dear children of mine, something tells me that in this scenario, reading my ramblings will be the last thing on your mind.
Author: Vladimir Berkhin

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