7 Reasons Why Marriage is a Joke

October 19, 2011  |  

Nearly 50 percent of all marriages in this country end in divorce, which has led many singles to wonder “What’s the point?” In fact, it has become a joke—so much so that the state of New Mexico is considering two-year renewals. You know, sort of like a driver’s license.

However, marriage in itself is not the reason it has become so trivialized. It is our approach and the unrealistic portraits we paint of what it is supposed to be. For example, more and more of us are telling ourselves it is necessary to cohabit before taking the plunge. Yet research shows that couples who live together before marriage are more likely to divorce than those who do not. On the same token, many imagine idealistic unions marked by decades of endless bliss. And, that just doesn’t happen.

Here’s why:

Romance comes and goes.

Every kiss begins with Kay…on TV! Rose petals and trips to Paris don’t happen every day. Granted, it is important to try to keep the romance alive as much as possible; but marriage isn’t one long honeymoon vacation. Every relationship goes through dry spells; even if they only last three to five days.


Emotions are unpredictable.

More than ever, many of us are making decisions based on emotion rather than rationale. It is critical to think outside of feelings because they tend to be rooted in selfishness. Most importantly, it is imperative to keep in mind that love is an action, not an emotion. Evaluate conflicts according to “us” instead “me,” and focus on finding tangible solutions to the issues stirring up negative emotions.


Bad breath is incurable.

No one is perfect and people these days expect perfection. Your spouse is guaranteed to disappoint you on more than one occasion and everyone has bad habits. Humans are imperfect and it’s vital not to sweat the petty stuff. If we did, no one would marry.


Constructive criticism is “judgmental.”

You’re not perfect, so don’t expect your spouse to bow in the presence of your self-righteousness. Like anyone else, you do and will continue to make mistakes. And, guess what? You probably have some habits one might consider annoying or nasty. An inability to see room for improvement can lead to unnecessary arguing.

Sex is, like, everything.

Marriage doesn’t mean countless hours of steamy sex seven days a week. No, most couples only get down 2-3 times a week. While you should make time for loving as much as possible, life doesn’t disappear when you walk down the aisle. The job you had as a single woman is still there. Expecting a boost in sexual activity often causes friction and, sometimes, results in adultery. Sexpectations should be discussed prior to marriage to make sure the bride and groom are on the same page.


“It’s just a piece of paper.”

Paper is worthless and so is a marriage founded in that frame of mind. Only the couples who respect their union as a covenant will survive the inevitable tough times. It is critical to be united spiritually, not just legally.


Displaced responsibility for happiness.

Individuals determine whether or not they are happy. Even in the worst circumstances, some people manage to keep their joy. Why? Life is full of hurdles and all of us would be depressed if we let every little thing affect our happiness. More concern about staged proposals and Vera Wang gowns that the actual commitment.The idea of marriage has become so commercialized that we often forget the impact of our decision. It’s important to remember the celebrations are miniscule in the grand scheme of things. If finances are a leading cause of divorce, it’s probably not a wise decision to go into a year’s salary worth of debt for the wedding. Think beyond the first dance and you’ll be dancing together for years to come.

LaShaun Williams is a Madame Noire contributor and columnist whose work has appeared in the New York Times and across several popular sites, such as HuffPost Black Voices and the Grio. Visit her blog Politically Unapologetic for more on love, life and culture, or follow her on Twitter @itsmelashaun and Facebook.

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  • Tong Chang

    But why are you having kids anyways…I can see some benefits as you stated regarding financial support that comes from marriage. Such as alimony and child support. But whatever benefit one party receives in the marriage is a detriment to the other. Its equal reason why you shouldnt get married and have kids. So you dont have to pay alimony and child support. Fifty percent of marriages fail. Why would you want to take those odds? Its a pretty risky gamble that has an equal chance of failing. The chances for second marriages to fail are even higher. Fewer and fewer people are getting married these days. And thats a good thing.

  • Tong Chang

    But why are you having kids anyways…I can see some benefits as you stated regarding financial support that comes from marriage. Such as alimony and child support. But whatever benefit one party receives in the marriage is a detriment to the other. Its equal reason why you shouldnt get married and have kids. So you dont have to pay alimony and child support.

  • Ebony

    Marriage is a joke and it’s funny how people say marriage is a blessing because if it was then people wouldn’t divorce so I agree with this article. Marriage is a joke.

  • Everyone posting claiming that this article devalues marriage or puts it in a bad light are simply wrong. If you actually took the time to read the entire article, you’d realize she’s arguing for marriage and basically how to make it work. All of these “reasons” are things that you have to manage and tolerate. You have to be willing to make sacrifices and look at you together as a union, rather than “you and I.” Love is not selfish. Do you need an outline?
    *50% of weddings end in divorce. Why?
    *Romance comes and goes. It will not be perfect.
    *Emotions are unpredictable. You should manage your life together rationally, not base decisions on emotions.
    *Your partner is imperfect. So are you. Learn to accept their imperfections.
    *Learn to communicate. “constructive criticism is judgmental.” How you handle disagreements can make or break your relationship. Be patient, try to understand.
    *Establish sexual norms prior to marriage. Don’t always expect to get it when you need it. And don’t seek it outside of marriage. Be patient with your spouse. (Self-satisfy when you have to.)
    *The marriage certificate is treated as “just a piece of paper.” But it is more to that. It represents an eternal commitment, that you will make it work. “Be United Spiritually, not just legally.”
    *Your partner is not responsible for your happiness. It is only you who can do that. “Love and cherish” but they can not frame your perspective to be happy. “Think beyond the first dance (marriage ceremony.)”

    My own tidbit of advice: You are two “whole people” coming together to create a union. You are not 2 half people coming together to form a whole. Remember to cultivate your own hobbies, have your own social life, your own passions. And most of all, prioritize time for your relationship with your spouse.

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  • cabugs

    Your calculations/reasoning are a bit off. You are counting the five that break up and move out and DON’T get married (because they broke up and moved out before that could happen right?). Now we are left with the other five who are still living together and get married. Now out of the the remaining five who get married, if three get divorced that is indeed a 60% rate. It is only 30% if you’re counting the number that broke up PRIOR to the possibility of marriage. These five which didn’t get married do not count. The article is about the ones who DID get married (and were cohabiting prior to that). Remember?

  • Jen

    Don’t want kids so don’t need a wedding. End of.