The 8 Worst Reasons People Marry

The failure to consider the future of your relationship

Posted May 07, 2018

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Over the years, I have treated countless couples, most of whom thought they were marrying for the right reasons. The most authentic couples proved initially to be in love, physically attracted, well-suited emotionally and intellectually, and to possess similar values. They had their share of problems, but gave themselves a fighting chance at negotiating the hardest task we are charged with in our lives — sustaining a reasonably happy, healthy, long-term relationship. Think about it: How many courses in high school or college did you have on relationship theory? Probably none, but I will bet you had at least three math courses.

When will we learn? When will we focus on fixing the things that really destroy us instead of numbing our pain with food, medication, music, or sports? I love all of these things, but when used to escape the reality of addressing what is most important — your relationship and your family — they simply serve as a tire patch.

I have argued for years that most people do not take relationships and marriage seriously enough, and neither does society. We reduce it to something as easy as learning to ride a bicycle. In the most bizarre examples, some couples marry for the flimsiest reasons. Here just a few that I have encountered in my work:

1. I chose not to hurt my partner’s feelings.

If you married someone because you were concerned about their feelings, how do you think they are going to feel after you have an affair, get bored of them and stop having sex, or leave them after a year or two?

2. I could not say no.

OK, you are a nice person with few boundaries. Perhaps you were parentified as a child and never learned to separate your needs from the needs of others. Trust me, you will eventually say “no” to the marriage if this is the major reason you acquiesced.

3. My parents loved my partner.

Then have your partner move in with them while you get your own place. It is nice to have your parents take to your mate — it is one fewer complication in a relationship. But some parents are not attuned to what is truly appropriate for you or what will work. They might be thinking about financial security or grandchildren. It is great to have input when you are considering a major life decision, but ultimately, you should make up your own mind.

4. I was not attracted to my partner, but he/she treated me well.

You mean that you could not find a good fit who would value you and treat you with respect? My question is: How will you treat this person in time?

5. I was not physically attracted to my partner, but we shared a strong religious belief.

Well, it had better be otherworldly, because once you are exposed to attraction and passion outside of this relationship, you will need all the spiritual help you can get.

6. I needed the money.

When we put survival ahead of attraction, passion, and shared interests, then, once we achieve a sense of security, the honeymoon might end abruptly.

7.  My biological clock was running.

Yes, but your child will need a solid foundation to thrive. Perhaps co-habitation would have been a better idea until this relationship stabilized.

8. My partner had most of the items on my relationship checklist.

The extent that this will cause a problem will depend on which items on the list were left unchecked: For example, if sex was not that important to you, the lack of it would obviously not be a deal-breaker. Simply put, you will have to admit to yourself what is and is not vital to your relationship health. If you leave out those qualities that you cannot be without, trouble will ensue.

The moral of the story is: Be true to who you are; to what you feel and think. Or, as Oscar Wilde wrote, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”