There are plenty of good reasons to get married. There are also some dumb ones. (Guess which ones we care about?)
As thousands of guys get ready to pop the question, it's worth doing the math and realizing that, well, since 50% of marriages end in divorce... um, maybe half of those guys should not be popping the question.
Now, to clarify, if one of the below reasons fits you to a T, that does not necessarily mean you should flat-out dump this girl. It's possible--likely--that you also have other, more substantive reasons. If, however, one of these is the core, primary, driving reason you're getting hitched...slow down. Take a few months. Take a year. Think things over, get to know her better, and make sure you're ready. If she's the right girl today, she'll be the right girl a year from today.
The 10 Dumbest Reasons to Get Married:
1. She's pregnant!
As always, please direct your hate mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. To clarify, we're not saying that it's always a bad idea to get married if you've had an accident. It's honorable. It's well-intentioned. And if it's coupled with real love and compatibility with your girlfriend, then you have our blessing. But. If the fundamentals are wrong--if you don't get along, if you barely know the girl, if you don't really want to be a dad, if you merely feel the tug of obligation... there are other ways you can be responsible and be a stand-up guy.
2. You found yourself a Sugar Momma.
Do you really want to have so much in common with Kevin Federline?
3. She gave you an ultimatum.
Think like Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and withdrawing troops from Afghanistan: you don't believe in a hard deadline. For much more on this, check out our article on Ultimatums.
When you purchase clothes, you don't buy the very finest silk from the very finest brand--you just need something that looks good, fits good, and won't bust your wallet. Same with your home, your car, your tv. Settling is part of life. We rarely get the best possible thing. Your choice of life partner, however, should never be a "backup." Know your standards. Stick to them. Now... is it possible that someone who was once a backup has risen to be a starter, sorta like Tom Brady replacing Drew Bledsoe? Sure.
5. She's hot.
This doesn't mean you need to marry ugly. It means that physical attraction is a necessary, but not sufficient, criteria for marriage. You need to really, really, really know this girl before you pledge the rest of your life. Sex appeal isn't forever. With apologies to Helen Mirren, no one's hot at 60.
6. Green cards.
More sensible ways of making easy money: slinging crack, prostitution, and scoring a government bailout.
7. Everybody's doing it.
Maybe all your high school buddies are now wifed-up, buying houses, and squirting out babies. You're still single. So you're starting to feel--for the first time in your life, maybe--a little behind the curve. Okay. Fine. That's a good reason to start thinking about getting serious, and maybe it's the kick-in-the-ass you need to grow up, but it's not, by itself, a reason to gamble the next 70 years of your life.
8. You're depressed.
Tough one. On the one hand, if you're a chronically moody person--and this woman lights you up, fills you with joy, blah blah--who's to argue with that? That's a pretty big selling point of the whole "love" thing: making the unhappy happy. Be honest, though. If you have some deep, fundamental psychological issues, and you're using her as a crutch to keep those demons at bay, you first need to get your own house in order.
9. Your family's pressuring you.
Ummmm... dude? You're not 14 anymore. You're allowed to stay up past 9pm. You can drink. You don't need to ask permission to drive the family station wagon. It's time to crawl out from Mommy's shadow.
10. You want a dream wedding.
Not only do you need to not get married, you need to stop being such a little bitch.
Of course, this list is incomplete. And there are plenty of serious, non-sexy, Big Issue questions and issues you need to consider. For more on that, take our quiz on Is She The One?