So You Don’t Want To Get Married Because It’s Hard Work And Sacrifice, Isn’t Everything Else In Life?

September 27, 2012  |  


If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone say “Marriage is work” well, I’d never have to work again.

It’s always said as though nothing else in life takes work. Work is defined as an “activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.” By that definition, we work all the time. Sometimes, getting out of bed in the morning takes serious effort. To me, cooking is a lot of work. I have a boatload of clothes to fold later tonight and that is work. Trying to keep up with the fast-paced dialogue on ABC’s Scandal is work. Not to mention the actual work I have to do in order to get a paycheck next week.

When people say marriage is work, they’re often saying that as a bad thing. It takes some mental and physical effort to maintain any human relationship – including marriage – but that effort isn’t necessarily undesirable considering it’s possible for work to also be fun.

We don’t talk about the good aspects of marriage though because we’re too busy talking about the negatives or ignoring the partnership completely. I’m not sure if Black people are really against marriage as much as they say or if it’s just a, “I’m not fired because I quit” sort of response to the statistics that say marriage isn’t in the cards for a substantial amount of our people.

I was thinking about this after reading the latest Ebony magazine and their list of 100 Ways to Jumpstart Your Life. Called the “Black Woman’s Guide to Having Everything You Ever Wanted”, the list is extensive. It includes basics but good reminders such as “refresh your wardrobe”, “make a vision board” and “forgive,” along with thinkers such as “begin again”, “forge your own path” and “start a movement.” However, among advice such as “go back to school” and  “become a mom” there was no suggestion to “get married.” This perplexed me.

Given an opportunity to talk about the positive impact marriage can have on a woman’s life, the topic was totally skipped. There are some women who never want to get married, sure. There are also some women who never want to be a mom (married or not). So if we can talk about the benefits of being a mom, certainly we can acknowledge the benefits of being a wife. In fact, being a mom seems to require a lot more work and sacrifice in one day than being a wife ever requires in a lifetime.

Don’t get me wrong, marriage is give and take. Sometimes, you have to compromise and make sacrifices to make the other person happy, but sometimes, sacrifices are made to make you happy. Sometimes, marriage is him converting a spare room into your own dream closet, or him watching endless Friends marathons on Nick at Nite until he’s laughing along with you. Sometimes, marriage is him picking up the bread on the way home because you don’t feel like going back out, or him having to eat weird fat -free snacks because you’re on a health kick. Sometimes, marriage is his combined income helping you to afford the new iPhone 5 while still having enough money for savings. Sometimes, marriage is him texting you a new job opportunity or reminding you where you left your keys. Sometimes, it’s him warming up your side of the bed while you’re wrapping your hair at night or listening to you tell him stories about people he’s never met. Sometimes, marriage is him dropping you off at the front door during a rainstorm or running to put gas in your car while you’re getting ready for work. Sometimes, marriage is him leaving you alone to write while he cuts the grass, straightens the bedroom and takes out the trash. Sometimes, marriage is you using every dish in the cupboard to cook a single meal and he washes the dishes afterward. Sometimes, marriage is an awesome partnership.

We always hear high-powered career women crediting their success to their single state, but marriage can help women reach their career goals (and beyond) as well. A husband can be your most enthusiastic supporter and biggest fan even when no one else is supporting you. Sure being married means having to care about someone else, but it also means having someone care about you day in and day out. If that means putting in some work, sign me up because that kind of love will certainly jumpstart a life.

Follow Alissa on Twitter @AlissaInPink or check out her blog This Cannot Be My Life  

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

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  • Real Truth

    It is very hard for us good men as it is meeting a good woman to settle down with, since many women today Don’t want to get married at all. There are many of us serious men hate going out by ourselves all the time, and i am sure many other men will agree with me since being Alone And Single really sucks for us which many women can handle it much better.

  • SoVeryTrue

    most of the women certainly don’t want to get married anymore like they did years ago, and the women back then were certainly much more BETTER EDUCATED than today. very hard nowadays for us serious guys looking for a good woman to meet, and we certainly can’t blame ourselves since the women have changed today. we need women like Donna Reed around again, and they were very committed to their men as well.

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  • davemm

    As a black man I see no reason to get married other than to start a family.


    some people don’t want to put in the work to be married to each his own- as for you dont want to die alone- unless you and your husband die on the same day- someone is going first and guess what you will die alone- and having kids aint a guarntee u wont be alone- kids grow up and move on

  • B82

    Well, if that’s the way they feel, then don’t have kids either. Just die an old, lonely maid living in a cardboard box.

  • Pivyque

    To each its own. I believe that marriage is a great thing. People want things the easy way. They just don’t seem to understand that marriage can be easy when both people think of each other instead of themselves. Children are much more of a sacrifice than being married. You usually don’t have to birth, feed, change, potty train or raise your husband lol

  • Ann

    Marriage is a wonderful thing. It does take time,effort and work just like everything else in life. IF YOU MARRY THE RIGHT PERSON and the both parties has to have the mind set to make the marriage last. Not getting married for the sake of having a wedding to show off, marry for money, convenience, playing games with it. Of course marriage is work in a positive way, it does take compromise from both parties, women especially black women we cannot always have the last word when having a disagreement, you can speak you side and leave it alone, you cannot tear the man down when he honestly make a mistake or a bad decision especially if you are married to a great hardworking man who takes care of home, (I am not taking about having an affair, that not a mistake), the man as well should not disrespect the woman, nor parties should physically abuse each other. Marriage is also if the guy wants to watch a sports once in a while, you should at least let him watch in peace not block the television while he is trying to watch it, or trying to conversate with him. If you need to speak with him you need at least be respectful if he asks you if it can wait, if can, wait. It really sad when people get married, they expect it to be fantasy the entire time and not have and challenges or disagreements. There is going to be times when you are not going to see eye to eye or agree on everything, you have to discuss it until both parties come into agreement. It cannot always be one person’s way all the time. You will have challenges just anything else. Also, you cannot base your marriage on the stupid reality shows, and celebrities. They are the worst examples. You need to base your marriage on what works for you and your partner. Marriage is having that supportive spouse who encourages you positively that can take that person to the next level.

  • chanela

    it absolutely KILLS ME how people say they aren’t ready to get married, yet they have 3 kids already. “marriage is too hard” yet they can have a BABY with no problem? honey that’s still a connection to the man what’s the difference? marriage just has a bad reputation. people act like it’s AIDS.

    • me

      tell them sister. i looooooooove u. i dont understand when ppl have kids but dont wanna marry coz kids are a bigger job than marriage. the foolishness in the black community is beyond imagination. keep it smart

      • lol

        cosign the both of you!

      • B82

        …and kids are a much bigger financial burden than marriage.

  • Negress

    Great article, I was just thinking today, “I’wn know.” My momma always said anything worth having is going to cost you beside marriage is honorable.

  • Adrina

    If you view marriage as something more negative than positive, then don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. If you go in to it with this mentality, it’ll be over before it starts. Most of the ppl I know from college are married and never viewed it like this (don’t know if it’s a Southern thing or what). They are excited about marriage and take the good with the bad. You can worship and embrace being single, but the fact of the matter is, we aren’t built to be alone. You can sleep around with different women, and women can enjoy their life with no boundaries, but deep down you’ll always have an empty spot that no alcohol, no party, no amount of sex, and no amount of money will be able to fill. Not even having children because that’s a different type of love.

    • lol

      mo’effin THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!



  • GeekMommaRants

    Geez, the success rate of starting a business is higher than avoiding a divorce. The whole marriage thing, loves to ignore the whole divorce thing.

    • L-Boogie

      Still stay single.

  • Candacey Doris

    Good article. While all things are hard, marriage is something i believe can be worth working on. As long as the person you are with feels the same way, you are good to go.

  • Kells

    Most things in life is give and take. Any kind of relationship, whether its friendship, boyfriend/girlfriend, marraige will require some work from both parties. Most time people who divorce or break up is because they didn’t work hard enough to keep the relationship in tack.

    • L-Boogie

      Words of wisdom, Kells. But there are some cases in which that does not apply.

      • Single&Free

        Exactly. I worked very hard in my last relationship (too hard) and it still blew up in my face! Sometimes people are just not right for each other. There is no law that says two people must stay together when the relationship is clearly not working. Better to just cut your losses and move on. Personally, I will never marry. I have finally realized that I am much happier alone and there’s nothing wrong with that.

        • TRUTH IS

          I believe wholeheartedly in marriage, finding a partner who views it the same is my plight!

  • L-Boogie

    Sometimes friends are the best supporters. Running low on them but nevertheless…LOL!

    • TRUTH IS