I’m planting my flag as the marriage expert of 2022 and beyond. I am CDR Cool, after all!
So I’m answering as many questions as I can from one of them SEO sites as quick as I can. I know this stuff well, this shouldn’t be hard. That being said, I do not know who married Harry Potter. I think it was a younger Weasley. Definitely a ginger in the movies. But I only ever watched those movies because I love my wife. So I really don’t know.
On to what I do know! (I’ll update if needed in the future.)
Why marriage is important: Easy! You need commitment to build a life with another person. If you don’t have commitment, you can’t get as close emotionally and you can’t take full advantage of the economic benefits of marriage. A permanent relationship is the only one that allows for this. Cohabitation (as in, when not married) necessitates being ready to leave or be left. So you don’t get to have the stay-at-home mom. Boyfriends and girlfriends can be a little more of their authentic, goofy selves, but they can’t be nearly as emotionally vulnerable as needed to really build a great, loving relationship.
Why marriage is not important: You can live together without being married. You can have sex without being married. You can even have children without being married. There is literally nothing that marriage actually does in a culture that doesn’t demand you stay married, aside from making a bunch of powers-of-attorney automatic, if it even does that.
Why marriage is bad: Authentic marriage destroys optionality. This means that you don’t get to bang other women. And you will spend less time with your friends and really need to curtail spending time with your opposite-sexed friends.
Why marriage is outdated: See why is marriage bad above. It’s outdated because society has abandoned it. If marriage isn’t permanent, then it isn’t marriage. Now that we have no fault divorce, most non-catholic religions don’t prohibit it, and your social circle doesn’t frown on it; it is only as real as you and your spouse believe it to be.
Why marriage requires amnesia: This is a dumb article (NYT). Marriage doesn’t require any disability to work. Yeah, your spouse won’t be perfect. Neither are you. Demand improvement from both of you, be gracious in the mean time, and get over what can’t be fixed.
Why marriage is not important today: See why is marriage bad and why is marriage outdated above. You can use contracts to cover a lot of what used to be marriage only. The law no longer allows marital status to be a factor in things like mortgages. Also, let’s face it. It used to be the only way a man could have sex was in marriage, with a very expensive prostitute, or maybe with a goat, if he lived in Peru. Sluts are relatively available. Prostitutes are now significantly cheaper. Goats are probably still not desirable nor accessible to most Americans. But yeah, if men can get sex outside of marriage and if women can’t count on marital permanence, then marriage no longer, in effect, exists. All we can do these days is form a relationship that we call marriage and treat as marriage with a spouse that we trust to do the same.
Where marriage originated: I hear from evolutionary biologists that monogamy was the dominant social structure until societies became sedentary, at which point, some men became rich enough to hog a few extra women. Jewish, Roman, and Christian societies all placed arbitrary monogamy requirements. Thank God.
Where marriage certificate is required: I have no idea what this means. I got married in New York. I have a marriage certificate from there. I used it for the Navy to give my wife a dependent ID and get her on my insurance. It’s probably needed for insurance for everyone. Otherwise, I don’t think I’ve ever used it. She probably needed it to justify changing her name for stuff like driver’s licenses and her passport.
Where marriage is registered: The parish you get married at will register it. Probably the same for orthodox Christianity and Judaism. If you’re not getting married in one of these venues (and I don’t mean to exclude the amish or islam, they seem to take this seriously, but I’m ignorant of them), who cares? Your marriage is only as good as you say it is.
Where marriage license: I went to my town hall. Definitely start with your local government. Even if you don’t get the license from them, they’ll tell you where to go.
Does a marriage have to be registered: See where marriage is registered above. I guess for insurance and for name changes, but otherwise, legally, your marriage is only as good as you want it to be. So, in short, yes. Get the license before. Make sure you have the officiant and the witnesses sign everything immediately after the ceremony.
Which marriage is best: catholic. Probably orthodox christianity and Judaism is just as good. I guess the real take away is it needs to be done publicly. Preferably in front of the God you sincerely believe in, but there are other forms of public. You need to have a bunch of loved ones involved so that you can’t just give up, divorce, and next year say, “hey, I know I got married last year, but that one was a mistake. I didn’t really feel it after we settled down. Now I’m marrying this lady.” The best marriage is a marriage that is actually till death parts you. Anything less is just cohabitation.
Which marriage is more successful: The marriage that takes itself seriously. If you have lax attitudes towards divorce, you’re much more likely to divorce. BUT! You’re also much more likely to be dissatisfied in your marriage. You need to emotionally commit to make the most of marriage and to be the happiest in it.
Which marriage is a sacrament: All Christian marriages are sacramental. Even if you aren’t christian, your natural marriage probably mirrors a sacramental marriage so much so that it is sacramental. If you come to the church later on, you’re probably already good.
Which marriage is more successful in the world (sic): My father-in-law’s parents. They were sincerely catholic so they were 100% married for life. She died of dimensia. He was a committed husband till the end. They tied for first place for best marriage. I hope they tied for first with billions, but they probably only tied with tens of millions.
Are marriage vows legally binding: HA! They should be. But no. Marriage vows are binding in that you need to hire a lawyer and go to a judge and say, “I don’t mean it anymore.” The other spouse doesn’t even have to agree.
Are marriage rates declining: Yes. And divorce rates still suck. I’ll take this opportunity, however, to point out that when they say half of all marriages end in divorce, that is wrong. 41% of first marriages end in divorce. Second and beyond aren’t real marriages and therefore shouldn’t count.
When marriage loses spark: Deal with it. By which, I don’t mean accept it. But actually, actively, deal with it. The vast majority, like, 80%, of people that don’t like their marriage now, will like it in five years. Plus, think about this. If your marriage sucks, either you are the problem, you are part of the problem, or you weren’t able to identify the problem ahead of time or correct the problem after the fact. If you didn’t get it right this time, you probably won’t get it right next time. Give this a really good try. Then another and another. The odds of you getting divorced and being in a successful relationship in five years is way way less than the 80% chance at being in a successful relationship if you stick through this.
When marriage feels lonely: That really sucks and will lead to some of my most practical answers. First, tell your spouse that you feel lonely. If they are a good person, they’ll do what they can. There is almost certainly something that they can do to help. Unless they are evil, they will want to help you, if not as a spouse, then just as a fellow human. Two, evaluate how much pressure you’re putting on your marriage. They better not be your only friend. My wife, for example, does a lot of daily things alone, has professional peers, friends, fellow moms, and me. I have my wife, my gym friends, my children’s friends’ parents, and my college friends. It isn’t uncommon today to have your spouse as all of your relationships. Don’t do that!
When marriage counseling doesn’t work: Make the counselor the common enemy? Try a different counselor. I really don’t know. Sorry. I had friends that did catholic marriage counseling and that worked. I think that probably has more promise because I’d assume that it assumes you will succeed and they are just there to help you get there.
When marriage breaks down: NO! Don’t let it. As stated before, if you stick through it, you’re probably going to succeed. Most divorce is a result of people quitting in temporary moments of dissatisfaction. Divorce is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
When marriage becomes boring: Have you tried the butt? I don’t know. What are YOU doing to make it not boring? My wife compelled us to take turns arranging dates. First her, then me. Alternating from there. And how about that? When she demanded that we both do this, she did it first. She was the first to implement the solution that she thought was needed.
However, sometimes you must just wait it out. Thanks to the Navy, there were long bouts of boredom in our marriage because that’s just the way it went. And please, a boring marriage is better than no marriage, especially if you have kids. If your marriage is boring, fix that yourself. If that doesn’t take, like, if your spouse won’t go on dates with you, then go on your own fun by yourself or with friends.
When marriage is hard: Hmm… Well, it’s going to be hard at the beginning. You’re going to have to resolve a bunch of stuff when you move in together and are settling down. Just deal with that part patiently. Now that I think of it, it’s going to be hard probably all the times that things change and have to be settled. After the birth of our first child, same deal, it was a lot of work for the little lady and I was unable to help as much as we expected thanks to Navy stuff. But the second child wasn’t hard at all, in this regard, because the expectations and how to implement them were more or less settled. So I suppose most times that marriage is hard are when things are new. And if you find it is hard in one of those times, please just deal with it patiently. You need to work through it. My wife and I fought more than ever in the first few months of marriage. Even that wasn’t that bad. But it only got better after that. On the other hand, the time I still remember as the time our marriage felt the shakiest was the time that we fought and she wouldn’t hear me out. Maybe give time as needed. But always hear each other out. You can’t resolve disputes if you aren’t talking.
In summary: YOU ARE ON THE SAME SIDE. Remember that first and always. In any dispute, you are teammates figuring out how to win together, not adversaries figuring out how to defeat each other.
When marriage is over: When your husband is unrepentantly banging his secretary. Sorry. But yeah, it’s over. That isn’t fair to you. And doesn’t it suck that she is so dumb? I mean, if he will cheat on you with her, won’t he cheat on her with someone else? If I made the laws, there’s a lot you’d be able to do to both of them, but I don’t. So please, be as malicious as possible in the divorce settlement. You deserve everything he has. That being said, it would be in everyone’s interest if you keep him involved with the kids.
What marriage means to me: A monogamous commitment to my wife, till death parts us.
What marriage means to a man: That you get to have butt loads of sex with your wife. That she will maintain your home and will keep your children safe and educated.
What marriage means to a woman: These days, not much. But here’s what it should mean: That your man will support you until he is dead. It should mean that you can sacrifice a career (not that you can’t ever work outside the home, but you need not develop a career) for the sake of maintaining the home and raising your children.
What marriage means: A monogamous commitment to your spouse, till death does you part.
How marriage affects taxes: That depends on a lot. If you have comparable incomes, it probably raises them. If one of you doesn’t make a whole lot of taxable income, it’s probably good.
How marriage started: Societies all over recognized that everything is better for everyone if couples are forced into monogamy. Maybe some societies realized this and then were stronger than their neighbors that didn’t so they trounced them. I don’t know. But somehow, all the dominant places practiced forced monogamy.
How marriage affects finances: Depends. Married men earn much more on average than single men. This effect goes away as traditional marriage norms go away. But I cannot tell you how much more success I’ve had in my life thanks to my wife’s non-expert opinion. I can’t tell you how much professional help I’ve given my wife despite my lack of expertise in her field. Additionally, married men don’t have anywhere near the same drug problems, behavior problems, or absentee problems that single men have. That is better for careers.
Married couples, even with children, are able to consolidate a lot of costs. One roof, one bathroom, one kitchen, one bedroom. Going on vacation? One hotel and one rental car. Social life costs less since you do less of it, unless you want to do the same, in which case it costs the same as before.
Don’t necessarily fall into the daycare stuff. Two incomes are nice, but make sure it is worth it. Paying for a nanny or daycare can eat up a lot of aftertax income and next thing you know, you’re working full time for $2 an hour instead of raising your own kids.
How marriage changes over time: This is a good question. They say that passion goes down and is replaced by a more sustainable, even love. It can go that way. But really, it’s going to go how you make it go. I’ve been married 13 years and my wife (I don’t know a non-gross way to say this) arouses me now more than ever before. That is not uncommon. Here’s the thing: we’ve become more of what each other finds attractive. My wife is more physically fit, she is more in command of her emotions and passions, she is more mature. I love her more. She is now the mother of my children. Our values and goals are more aligned than ever before. And I guess I please her more too.
So how does marriage change over time? It goes where circumstances make it and where the spouses direct it. Don’t let a few hours pass without you thinking about why you are attracted to your spouse more than anyone else. And TELL THEM! (Not in comparison to others, I mean, tell them why you love them. Why you are attracted to them. Why you are glad to be with them.) I literally hump my wife when she dazzles me. The kids are getting old enough that I need to do that discreetly, but still. I literally hump her when she does something that makes me respect her. It lets her know what I like and it provides a sexual feedback to remind my body that it wants her.
How marriage works: UGH! I’m sorry. Society has let you down. So, it only works as much as you make it work. Here’s what you need to do. You need to tell yourself that it is forever. And you need to tell your spouse that the same better be true for them. My wife has been given explicit permission to cut my balls off if I cheat or divorce her. Because here’s the thing; we’ve gotten weird over the years. Goofy. We have inside jokes, x 10 in quantity over my next best friend and x 100 in depth over my next best friend. I see her naked. How many women would let me see them naked? And even not at her best. You need it to be permanent. Oh, yeah, and you need to take the sexual exclusivity very seriously. We’re catholic, so our vows, I’m pretty sure that the only actual promise I made was to not bang anyone else. But that’s a good vow. You need to only bang each other. And that doesn’t mean don’t bang anyone; you need to bang each other. People have oxytocin. It gets released if you bang. Basically, mothers and children and those who bang, have hormonal bonds. Use that feature on your spouse. Don’t undermine it by using it on anyone else.
Can marriage counseling work: Probably not. Here’s the thing. You better have a counselor that thinks marriage is for life. I guess if they are there to help you be married, then it could. I know some catholics that went to specific catholic counseling. And it worked. But if the counselor thinks marriage can end, then don’t use them. Please, just keep trying and stick it out. Almost all marriages get better after a few years. Yes that’s a while. But divorce is a while anyway. If you divorce, you’re not going to have a better relationship in a few years anyway.
Can marriage be annulled: Don’t count on it. An annulment is a judgement that the marriage wasn’t valid to begin with. Your marriage probably was valid. But yeah, maybe you didn’t know what you were supposed to be getting in to. And if that is the case, I guess you can still get married for a first, proper time. But please don’t count on it.
Can marriage work: Absolutely! It has been the most rewarding relationship of my life, and the lives of the majority of people that have done it, especially those who tried for real. You cannot have the best relationship possible without marriage.
Can marriage survive an affair: Yes. Please don’t do this. But if you find yourself here, I think that it’s possible to fix. Persistent cheating is trouble. May as well be persistently beating.
Can marriage survive without sex: Ugh. Maybe? Why would you do that? Sex is the best part. It’s tied with other best parts, but it is the best part. Let’s say this: if you are not having sex in your marriage, your spouse might be having sex somewhere else, in which case, your marriage is failing. On the other hand, to some extent, I actually like the NFP parts of the month. I’d rather be having sex, but the break makes me want my wife more. And the fact that every time I have sex with my wife is real sex and not some hobbled or buggered form is much more satisfying. Now, it is the case that we have less sex than we’d have if we were using birth control, but we’re still having sex 25 times out of every 30 days. That seems pretty good for mid thirties, don’t you think? If you’re using birth control and are having less sex than me with my NFP, what’s wrong with your dick? Or maybe one of you is cheating or gay or both.
Will marriage counseling help: Probably not. But if you want to try, please try someone that believes in marriage for life, like a catholic counselor or whatever.
Will marriage die out: No. But, a majority of westerners won’t marry, or won’t marry for real. However, no one can make those of us that actually believe in marriage not practice it. And we’ll have 4+ kids per couple while everyone else has 1- kids per couple or throuple or whatever and in a few generations the marriage people will be all that’s left.
Will marriage exist in the future: See the last question. But yes. Marriage, when done right, is awesome. Of course something so great will continue on.
Will marriage work in today’s world: It is unfortunate that society isn’t going to help you. But on the other hand, the more messed up society is, the more valuable a good marriage is to the spouses. Get married! It is the greatest thing you’ll ever do, if you do it right.