No Wonder People Want to Avoid Marriage

I’ve written many times about the many ways that marriage has gotten a bad reputation.  Whether it’s stories about celebrities caught in cheating scandals, or watching the couples around them filing for divorce, many people are questioning just how desirable it is to be married.  So forget about the bleak statistics for modern day marriage, today’s post will strictly take a light examine several of the negative terms that are used to describe various aspects of  marriage.

Wedlock- Maybe it’s because it sounds so similar to headlock or maybe it’s just the inclusion of the word “lock” that makes this term sound so unappealing.  Either way, it sounds likes something that is meant to trap you against your will, and does not conjure up happy images.

Tying the Knot- I’ve read varying accounts of how this expression came to refer to marriage and most have to do with stories about wedding ceremonies where the bride and groom would be tied together to symbolize being “bound together.”  Most people don’t relish in the idea of marriage being the equivalent of a physical restriction.  When people talk about “being tied down” by marriage, it is certainly not meant to express their happiness with marriage.

I did find one romantic legend regarding this term that tells a tale of sailors proposing be sending their sweetheart a length of rope and knowing that the proposal was accepted if the rope was return to them with a knot tied in it.  Despite that sweet tale, knots are more often used to describe a situation that involves a tangle or a hindrance, rather than the more romantic notion of two things being intertwined as one.

Institution of Marriage- Most people don’t view the word “institution” in a very favorable way.  School, prison and mental hospitals some of the most common places that are referred to as institutions, and we tend to view them as places that are mandatory under certain circumstances, not something that we would freely choose.

Marriage License- Yes, this little piece of paper makes it official that you are married in the eyes of the law.  Many states have started to refer to this document as a marriage certificate, and that really isn’t surprising.  There is something about a certificate that we associate with achievement, while there is something about obtaining a license that we associate with standing in long lines and perhaps taking a test.  Obtaining any type of license is not usually something that we get all excited about.

Bridegroom- For centuries this was the official term for a man about to be married, but for the most part this term has been replaced with the word “groom.”  This isn’t surprising, because bridegroom sounds eerily like a man has gone from being a man to being a strange hybrid that is part bride and part groom.  Marriage is a merging in many ways, but most men don’t want to feel that they have gone from being a man to being part man and part woman.

So there you have some of the most common negative terms that are associated with marriage, courtesy of our own research and suggestion from our loyal Twitter followers.  Marriage has changed in many ways since the days when women wore corsets and a proper gentleman didn’t go out in public without a hat.  The terms that we associate with marriage could also use a little updating, especially when it comes to giving marriage a positive sound.  It would nice to have more words that make marriage sound like something that should be celebrated rather than words that make it sound like a punishment.

What do you think? What are your thoughts about these terms?  Any terms you’d like to add?  Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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  1. hmm..let’s try to come up with some great terms for marriage. How about “smelling the roses” or”hitting the jackpot”
    Kevin Thompson´s last blog ..Is My Ex Over Me Is My Ex Thinking About Me Does My Ex Still Love MeMy ComLuv Profile

  2. Aplus says:

    You know what it comes down to in the end is what you make of it. If that makes you feel happy then why not.

  3. Kai says:

    The terminology is pretty apt, really. Marriage is something people do out of inertia, because it’s expected, with a certain fatalistic attitude. Men hope to put it off as long as possible, like losing hair, but have tended to accept it as inevitable (just not this year, please!).

    However, happily that’s changing. A lot of young people are looking at what marriage does to others and are wisely saying “no thanks, not now, not ever”. There’s reason to be optimistic about this, since low-marriage countries like Denmark and Sweden have populations that are measurably healthier and *happier* than here.

  4. Leah says:

    I don’t like when priests say “Man and wife” That makes the bride sound like property, which is how we used to be viewed. They should say “Husband and wife” instead.

  5. God created marriage for a special purpose..It is just the people who ruined the great purpose by not respecting the sacredness of it..

  6. Fatima says:

    Very interesting post and I have never really thought of any of those terminologies as expressed here….I only hope people will also see the other side of the coin too…
    Fatima´s last blog ..How to Handle Sarcastic RemarksMy ComLuv Profile

  7. In my experience, people who use these expressions are typically happy in their marriages, but like throwing them around for fun. Like “Ball and Chain.”

    But I like your take on it. I never really thought about it before, but it seems many of the expressions connote a trapped feeling, or a stuck feeling. Something typically guys worry about.

  8. Ray says:

    I don’t think there is much wrong with marriage, It’s that it’s abused by so many people that bring it into disrepute.
    I do think a lot of couples are ignorant about the implications of getting married,and exactly what is expected of them when they do marry.

    Maybe there should be a training course, followed up by an exam. Much like learning to drive, so that you have to part with a certain amount of money, to get your theory of marriage certificate.

    I know it’ll never happen, much like my idea of politicians having to pass a similar competence test.

    Great post by the way.

    Ray´s last blog ..No Contact Rule- Does It WorkMy ComLuv Profile

  9. What you are saying is true, these expressions show how some people experience marriage but it would be nice to make marriage sound like something that should be celebrated rather sounding like a punishment.

  10. i think a lot of people today are too selfish/self centered that’s why they don’t want to get married and get divorced so easily…when you get married its not all about u anymore some people can’t deal with that.

  11. Terez W. says:

    Even though it’s not used in popular vernacular as much as it once was (thank goodness!), I never liked married men referring to their wives as “the ball and chain.”

    It always seemed to me that men who used that term were speaking of being sentenced to doing hard time in prison, rather than speaking of their wives. Not a good comparion at all. If you think marriage equates to a prison term, then Houston, we have a problem.

    • Editor@Luvem says:

      Yes Terez, this is one of my least favorite terms too. I’ve even heard men refer to their wives with this term on their wedding day! Not a big surprise that these couples subsequently divorced.

  12. Anne says:

    I guess I never gave much thought to the terminology around marriage. It makes sense that people might want to avoid it with the negative terminology. Especially if they had a negative experience growing up.

  13. Jack says:

    What you say here is true, these expressions show the way some people experience marriage. And ‘institution’ is the worse one I think… it’s like changing something so intimate into… something institutional.. like there was possible to order someone to love somebody..


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