Marriage is on the decline.
This isn’t the failure of Hollywood to produce more romcoms starring Jennifer Lopez, or Kate Hudson. Or the fault of HBO for glorifying single life, a la Sex and the City. The single adult population is on the rise around the world. From Japan, to India, to the United States – men and women alike – are delaying marriage, or never marrying.
We have seen the number of marriages drop at an alarming rate, while the divorce rate slowly climbs. As new adults get ushered into the population, the data shifts, and weights the scale for the unmarried population. There are no 18-year-olds getting married in droves. Not even in the good ole’ South. With each generation since the 1980’s, the allure of marriage has waned, and with good reason.
As many people seem to be in denial, the cause of the marriage decline is clear. At least to me. People aren’t avoiding marriage. The process of coupling has gotten too overwhelming. You need someone else to agree to the process, and finding that person takes work.
It’s hard. Like, really hard. Leaving many single adults wonder, if marriage is worth the investment?
As the age of newlyweds increases, and the total number of marriages does not, it’s clear that single adults really don’t think marriage is worth it at all.
But not you.
You are not in that cohort.
You want to get married. Right?
Love is your right, and it’s powerful. Every human being deserves to be loved, and desires to love deeply. It’s to our benefit not to align marriage and love too closely together, as we might sacrifice one for the other. But if you want to get married, the secret isn’t to date more, or swipe more.
First, you must ignore the years of nonsensical rhetoric; being single is NOT a choice. You are born single, technically, physically, categorically, and by definition. If you want to be single, do nothing. Done. Voilá, you’re single.
If you want to be married, and this is the secret, you have to do something. And the most critical thing that you MUST do in order to be married, is decide.
Love is not luck, it is not chance, and it is not circumstantial. If you don’t decide to get married, then you won’t. Have you ever wondered why they call it, ‘popping the question’? Because it is a question. One that until the ring slips onto your finger, you must keep asking. Do you want to be married, forever; for ever, ever?
“You, do.” The moment you make the decision, you are well on your way.
Don’t think of the who, or the when, just that you do.
Even if you have been trying for most of your adult life, to meet the right person, fall in love, and settle down, that does not count as a decision to marry. Once you make the decision that you want to get married, you must then commit to that decision.
If you don’t, then you won’t.
Marriage, unlike being single, is a willful act. While society might try to paint the picture, of every man and woman falling into marriage like it’s a puddle off the curb, getting married is not that easy. And if you’re single right now, then you know that first hand.
If you want a loving partner, and you want to be in love, and most importantly married, then this is what you need to do: get professional help.
To be married, you must first choose a partner. This is VERY difficult. So much so, for centuries societies thought it too important of a decision to leave to the individuals. If you’ve spent the majority of your love life, choosing the wrong partners, then you understand. There is nothing wrong with you if you find yourself attracted to less than ideal life partners. It’s normal.
But take a look around. So many people are failing to choose the right partners too. We are not worse at relationships, we are just choosing on our own for the first time. We were never meant to make the choice.
From the inception of marriage, men and women relied on their parents, trusted elders, their religious community, and family members to find a spouse. In the age of arranged marriages, and matchmakers, no one swiped right on their significant other. They were introduced through sources who knew them best, and felt qualified to assist. Not only did they meet partners through their network, they vetted partners through their community as well. They dated under the watched eye of their parents, and their partner’s parents, friends and co-workers.
Few people two decades ago were meeting and marrying strangers from Internet.
So, who can help you?
We carry a lot of childhood trauma with us into adulthood. Alain de Botton writes: It was as children that we first came to know and understand what love meant. But unfortunately, the lessons we picked up may not have been straightforward. The love we knew as children may have come entwined with other, less pleasant dynamics: being controlled, feeling humiliated, being abandoned, never communicating, in short: suffering.
A therapist can help you heal past pain, and rediscover your confidence, so that you’re choosing from a healthy point of view. A therapist can help you uncover patterns and professionally help you undo any bad habits that you might have that disrupt your relationships.
The only thing you need to look for in another person, is their willingness to get married. Matchmakers connect you with marriage minded people. Who fundamentally believe in commitment. It is very difficult to convince someone else to want a relationship, much less to want one with you. Working with a matchmaker gives you access to potential partners that want a committed relationship as much as you do.
World renowned dating coach Matthew Hussey advises: “Every interaction with another human being is a possible gateway to some new world or experience, which could, in turn, introduce you to the love of your life.” He has helped thousands of women get into, and out of relationships.
A good dating coach will teach you how to meet the right people, and get into the relationships that will lead to lifelong commitment. They will also help you walk away from the ones that won’t. We are not single because we are unlovable, or undesirable, but single because we haven’t done anything not to be single. Including the inner work and self-reflection to identify what we want, and successfully pursue it.
The choice to get married is yours but it won’t happen by default or accident. Only by first making the decision, committing to the outcome, and seeking help along the way.