I've long had my doubts about marriage. It's not something I longed for as a child or feel hard done by not having experienced as an adult. Yes, I've considered what dress I'd have and who I'd invite to the reception, all the fun bits - but the idea of committing myself to one person for the rest of my life? I find it out-dated and illogical, a consequence of the ingrained fear people have of being alone and not fitting in with what society expects of them.
The statistics that 42% of of couples marrying today will end in divorce does little to sway my view and with many of them splitting up between three and six years in, I'd imagine I can't be the only one doubting how realistic the promise of love, honour and obeying until death do you part, is.
Some predict that marriage will soon be a thing of the past, and people will no longer see the need to legally bind themselves together. I find this unlikely. Most people don't marry because they fundamentally believe in the institution of marriage itself, they marry because it's the most socially acceptable way to 'keep someone' - to ensure that they are bound to you, by law at least.
Marriage is a way for people to secure themselves in knowing they are not going to be alone and that, short of a lengthy divorce, nothing can change that.
Ironically, this is rarely the case. Not only does marriage not guarantee trust and commitment, least of all for life, but it can often help towards destroying it. Once people are bound together legally the fear of entrapment creeps in and people often stray.
And what a jolly old mess we get ourselves in.
I recognise that there are, of course, other reasons for marriage too - financial reasons, social acceptance, a stable environment for children or because it feels like the natural progression after a certain amount of time in a relationship and yet I still struggle to see how our 'modern' society is still so obsessed with it. I know children from single parent families who are as, if not more, stable than those from many 'married' households, for example. Marriage does not mean automatic harmony in a family.
And who's to say two people can't offer a child a loving environment to flourish without the formality of a marriage certificate?
Second to this and for the people who would argue that couples who comprise and work at the relationship stay together 'Look my grandparents have been together for 50 years!' I'd not only say these relationships are the exceptions not the rules but also that 50 years ago there was more need for marriage, women didn't have the freedom or opportunities to choose otherwise - call me selfish but I don't want to spend my life 'compromising and working hard' aka putting up and shutting up. If I choose to share my life with someone I want it to be easy, natural and something I enjoy and that is mutually enriching.
Is it even natural to spend decades with the same person?
Indeed, we are are only three to five percent of the roughly 5,000 species of mammals who are known to form lifelong monogamous bonds (in theory at least) And yet we cheat, we lie, we deceive one another. You only have to open a daily paper to read about another celebrity cheating on his wife, or rising rates in infidelity, new online dating sites cropping up every day catering especially for those seeking out extra-marital affairs.
Naturally monogamous? I think not.
Marriage is an institution - an institution we are familiar with and with that familiarity comes apparent security.
It won't die out because people will always want to fit in, to be accepted and are programmed to fear being alone.
But for me, I'll chose to leave it, and take my chances running free.