Marriage is an old institution created primarily for young people. In previous centuries, many women got married out of necessity. They needed protection, food and shelter, all things they were unable to provide for themselves. Today, women have independence and protection under the law, but marriage is still popular. Romantic love replaced marriages of convenience or strategy, but the reasons some women want to marry are not necessarily romantic in nature.
Religion and Procreation
Marriage is a necessary first step for starting a family for many women and a belated second step for some others. Religions such as the Catholic Church view procreation as a primary purpose for marriage and list extramarital sex as a sin. Non-religious women may still want to bring children up in a traditional two-parent family, though, and view marriage as the best way to ensure kids a stable environment.
Although increasing numbers of women are financially independent, some want to marry to ensure themselves a comfortable standard of living. Long-term relationships might not rely on a contract to survive, but without one, a woman might be in financial trouble when a lover leaves. Marriage provides legal remedies when “ever after” becomes “never again.”
Some women want to get married because others do. Social pressure and status weigh heavily on status-conscious women, and gaining a place in the social group gives marriage importance, according to Nancy F. Cott, author of “Public Vows: A History of Marriage and the Nation.” Families also sometimes urge women to marry and start a family. For some, getting married is more about pleasing other people than herself and her spouse.
Some women view their wedding day as a lifelong dream come true. The tradition of white wedding dresses started when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in a white gown in 1840, explains Amy Leiser, Executive Director of the Monroe County Historical Association in Pennsylvania. Elaborate white gowns and marriages hold their appeal today. Certain families pass down wedding dresses from one generation to the next, and planning a wedding takes months and a sizable budget. Just as in the middles ages, when “bans” of marriage publicized the union, marriage ceremonies today serve as proof to family and friends that the union in fact took place.
What’s Love Got to Do With it?
Despite all the cynicism regarding marriage, some women want to get married because they are deeply in love with their partner and want to spend their lives side by side. Bonding with another human takes patience and adaptability, but some are adept at it. Wanting to get married and knowing why you marry do not always go together.