With the New Year clocks in, a lot of proposals have been made — some on New Year’s Day; others came into the New Year as newly engaged. Getting hitched to one’s lover can be the second most fulfilling thing in a relationship, except of course you’re doing it for the wrong reasons — which a lot of people do. So before you take that bold step and jump the broom, check to see you don’t have a niggling doubt by considering these worst reasons to get married.

“Someone else taking my finished product.” Also known as, “If I don’t marry him, someone else will.” A lot of women — even independent ones who don’t really need a man to carter to their needs — are of this opinion. The need to hold on to what one considers a suitable catch and the fear of being alone works hand in hand as knowing the man you’re currently dating poses as a potential husband thereby saying ‘yes’ to a future incompatible marriage. It also affects the guys when they realise their girlfriends are considering potential suitors, they end up succumbing to a marriage their heart isn’t really into.

The fear of being single. I had a friend once who kept nagging that everyone around her was getting married. What broke the camel’s back for her was when her younger cousin called to notify her of her engagement. My dear friend called up an old fling who had shown little interest in her and rekindled the relationship. Months later, they got hitched. The fear of not wanting to be left out in the singledom has led many to accept a proposal, forgetting that one can be married and still be alone as hundreds of couples are stuck in unhappy marriages.

Ultimatum from your partner. I hear a lot of stories about women especially threatening the end the relationship if their better half doesn’t take it a notch higher by proposing. Some even indirectly tell their spouse that they have to get married before a certain age. If there is anything worse than being pressurised into getting married other than one’s fears and insecurities, it is being pressurized by one’s partner. The reason alone that your better half has to use emotional blackmail to get you to sign the commitment contract is a huge sign that the marriage isn’t going to be a happy one but will be filled with regret.

Settling. This is the ‘This is the best I can do’ syndrome. The moment you realise this is a life-long affair and not leave room to experiment with series of unsuitable partners, the better for you when you eventually wait and find that one right person. Your life and heart are too fragile to compromise hence you must be careful and sure of whom you choose to spend the rest of your life with. Doesn’t mean you should become picky or have unrealistic expectations from your relationship but just a simple call to think twice before you plunge.

For financial reasons. Saying ‘yes’ with a list of pending bills for your spouse to take over is one of the worst reasons to get married because obviously your heart isn’t into the relationship. You are just considering how easy life would become when the bills of taking care of parents and sibling fees are shared between two people. House rents, school fees and whatnot overshadowing your thoughts on what is best for you. Likewise, a lot of people marry because they don’t want to be the poor wreck their parent’s were or to have a better spending life — one they can live lavishly. These set of people are likely to end up miserable at the end. Because over time you will start evaluating everything little thing you do for the marriage in terms of financial or material returns and this can lead to a torturous marital existence.

Acceptance of responsibilities. The general consensus is that once one gets married, they automatically drop the baby boy life and become more serious and responsible. As true as this is, just being married isn’t enough to change one’s entire behavior psychologically. It is like saying you would marry someone hoping to change them in the relationship. Ask those who have tried, it never works out- at least not a hundred percent.

Pressure from family and friends. Most times it is easier to succumb to the pressure by announcing your impending marriage than have family, relatives and friends remind you yearly that you aren’t getting any younger and they need new generational offspring. And from survey and general opinions, this still isn’t enough to get them off your back as once that announcement is made, there would be a terrible scrutiny of what your partner’s family is like, do they meet up to standard? Are they comfortable enough to bear the responsibilities? Etc. and this gets worse when your heart isn’t into it in the first place. Most importantly however, it would be unfair to put your partner through something neither of you really want.

Pregnancy blues. A couple I know had been tagged incompatible from the get go by their friends but were unrelenting — more from the lady’s part — because age wasn’t on their side. To make matters worse, they got pregnant and the next item was to get married. An unplanned pregnancy is not even the worse part, using it to get married is just below the belt. It might seem right at the time by your partner as to what to do next — even for the unborn child — but the very fact that it is unplanned means that you are not even ready to become spouses, much less parents. And even if you do get married, the immense responsibilities of parenthood coming even before you have fully learnt what it means to be married may prove too stressful for your relationship. So even if a baby is on the way, there are several options you can look at, which a trained therapist or social worker can guide you and your partner through.

That time in my life. Choosing to get married because biological clock is ticking away and you must have a family is a problem albeit being a norm. It only means you are getting married for an egg/sperm provider to be a caregiver of and not for love and companionship which are the basic requirements of a marriage. As much as the society doesn’t condone single parenting, options such as adoption is still a welcome idea if you really have to have a child, if not wait it out and block your ears to what the society says. It is about your life and not theirs.

It feels like the next step to take. So you have been dating for so long- say 10 years- and you feel a sense of logic to propose because that is just the right thing and the next step to take, I mean what else is there to do? Being in an exclusive relationship for a while doesn’t exactly equate to Googling wedding rings. Marriage is complex relationship with its specific responsibilities and privileges and unless you feel that you and your partner are not completely ready for those, it is much better to bide your time.

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