When I was a little girl I always dreamed of falling in love and getting married. I don't think I understood what marriage really was, but I knew I wanted to wear a wedding dress and have the ring. The odd part was that all through my teens I was convinced that I did not want children, and being an only child I really put my mom through the ringer with that. Now in my mid 20's my views have almost flipped completely. I want children, and a family but perhaps not the whole marriage part? Getting married is a confusing topic in my little coconut, especially when divorce is almost guaranteed and costs a flipping fortune.
I worked with a woman who would joke that her husband and her signed a 25 year contract when they got married. At the end of the 25 years they could renew for an additional 25 years or they could both go their separate ways. Thinking outside the box like that really makes a lot of sense in this day and age. 25 years together would ensure that their children grow up with stability and security, but that the adults could still be adults when all was said and done.
I was engaged for 4 months, and my personal experience was that the fairy tale of getting married was much more pleasant than the reality. And of course the amount of work and money involved in the whole process seemed unnecessary. The cards are stacked against marriage, a small fortune to get in, and a large fortune to get out. The moral, in plain black and white, don't get married.
But there is that fairy tale aspect, that little girls dream to be a princess for one day, and get carried off by prince charming and live happily ever after. From an emotional standpoint I know first hand how frustrating it was living my teen years with unmarried parents. It felt like our house was less secure and stable somehow. Also I had the last name of my biological father and not that of my step dad which I think played towards the lost sense of belonging at times. That sense of what family meant for my friends versus what I had seemed different especially on paper.
The idea of marriage is one that I am very curious what I will end up deciding in a few years. I know the emotional ties to it, and I am well aware of the black and white reality for the institution. Also I vividly know that trapped feeling when I was planning my own and I am not sure I can entirely rule out that it was not for more reasons than just the wrong man. Perhaps the only answer is small little contracts of time, with agreed upon renewal dates where ever children come into play. If no children, just live and enjoy who you are with for as long as it works for both parties then end things regret free with a mind full of knowledge and memories.