Do we need to get married?

My flatmate got engaged yesterday. After 6 years of dating this guy, he “finally put a ring on it” as she so eloquently put it. Not just any ring either – a platinum diamond encrusted whopper of an engagement ring that must have cost the guy $30,000, if not more. I must admit I was a little jealous at first. Everyone was paying attention to her, and cooing over her engagement ring, and asking about when the wedding will be. And inevitably, she will be a “Mrs” as opposed to a “Miss”. It got me to thinking, “when will we get engaged?” We live together, after all, and in the government’s eyes we are already married “by de facto”. So why not? Yes, why not? But then another question hit me. Why? Why do we feel the need, in the modern day, to get married?

I am not religious. Neither is my partner. He was brought up entirely secular, I had some religious upbringing, but that stopped around aged 10. We both consider religion pointless, and we never attend church. Marriage is an entirely religious concept. Since we are not religious it doesn’t make sense to have a religious wedding. Therefore it would be a secular wedding. Well, a secular wedding is just a very expensive party. Any wedding, in fact, is a very expensive party. Traditionally, a wedding and a marriage are meant to symbolise the beginning of your life as a couple, the time in which you live together, consummate your relationship with sex and plan for children. To me, and many other people like me, this idea is futile. I already live with my partner, we already have sex and we know we don’t want children for another 5 years at least. A modern couple you might say. Well, most couples are in our situation, and a lot have already got children. Why this need to get married?

Weddings are expensive. Really, really expensive. According to Event Planner Lisa Hill, the average New Zealand wedding costs $30,000. $30,000??!! That’s 10% of a house deposit for a $600,000 home (which still would only buy you an apartment in Auckland). That’s a full holiday and tour package to Europe. That’s the majority of my student loan! $30,000 spent on one day. To me, that is absurd. A dress you will wear once, food for awkward relatives you don’t really like, the hassle of choosing colour schemes, flowers, and a bridal party… not to mention the pressure. And for what? For people like me… it’s to literally go on living together like you did before.. only now, you’re in debt and you share the same last name. As Sherlock said, “two people who currently live together are going to attend church, have a party, go on a short holiday and live together again”. Well, that pretty much sums it up for me! Sure it would be nice to have a wedding, to feel pretty and express my love for Duncan. But I don’t need it to know we are going to be together. We are together. We make all our big choices together, we share finances and we have great sex. We also scream and fight like an old married couple! We have plans to travel and build a house. We want to see the world and have kids. Marriage may be on the cards one day. Maybe not. But we are happy either way.

Do we really need to get married in the modern day? All it is, is a big expense, for something we already know to be true. That we love each other. Ladies and Gentlemen, my dear readers. Do not feel societal or family pressure to get married. Live together, enjoy your life. But if marriage is not important to you, don’t do it! It isn’t the be all and end all anymore. This is modern life. Do whatever you want. But don’t get married or have an extravagant wedding, just because you feel “it’s the done thing”.

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