You Can't Spell "Matrimony" Without "Y"

Recently, a reader emailed me some wedding trivia they thought would interest me. Would it surprise you to learn that 4,153,237 people were married last year? It certainly surprised me—particularly since I thought it would have been an even number.

But something else struck me about that figure: the fact that so many people continue to get married, year after year. And it's not like we have to. Not like the '40s and '50s, when you had to prove you were married to get a hotel room and getting pregnant out of wedlock meant being shipped off to "boarding school" (which was another way of saying your aunt's house in Wisconsin). Now, of course, you get a reality show.

Even in the '60s and '70s, marriage had its advantages. A single woman couldn't buy property easily or adopt a child. And my own mother, who was very progressive and modern, tried to buy a car once and was told to bring her husband down to the lot.

Those of us considering marriage today find ourselves with even fewer practical benefits. Sure, you can file your taxes differently, and you can manage your spouse's estate. But that probably doesn't get you all starry-eyed unless you're an accountant.

So you would think, with our modern attitudes about co-habitation and equality of the sexes that we would be over this whole "I-take-thee" business by now. But according to the CDC, six people out of every thousand get married every year, and the number keeps going up.

I guess my question is…why? What is it that keeps people coming back to the altar for more?

I know what you're going to say, and you're wrong. It's not about love. I mean, love is great and everything, but it's not exclusive to married people. Many people in this world cannot legally marry the person of their choosing, and yet they are still in devoted, committed, loving relationships. Conversely, I have seen couples in restaurants go the entire meal without speaking, secretly wishing the other would choke on their Never-Ending Pasta Bowl.

If we agree that love exists outside of marriage and remove it from the equation, I can see only one advantage to marriage that no other state of your union can offer. And it's a monster. A perk so huge, that many women jump at the chance to be married without fully appreciating what they're jumping into.

What is this fantastic and exclusive bonus?

A wedding.

I honestly believe that for most women, the marriage is not as hotly desired nor as well planned as the wedding itself. Women can research and deliberate for a year about what feels right to wear and never really ask themselves what feels right to do.

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April Winchell
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