Why Do People Get Married?

Michael Bold
Written by Michael Bold · Posted in Advice Last Updated May 30, 2023 · minute read

It’s fair to say that marriage is seen as the pinnacle of any relationship. Heck, here at Story Amour we’ve got a whole website dedicated to the subject of weddings for goodness sake.

There are many reasons for a couple to say “I do”. Whether they are surrounded by all their friends and family or choose a simple elopement. But why do people get married? That’s what we hope to answer in this article.

bride cheers as she walks down the aisle with groom

Why Do People Get Married? Photo By David Lindsley Photography

A marriage is much more than the coming together of two people, it involves whole families and is a tradition that dates back centuries. 

At the same time, a wedding allows for a celebration that hundreds of people can enjoy, it’s a great excuse for a party and should be one of the best days of your life.

The answer isn’t as simple as you may first think. There are lots of different scenarios that may lead you to get married. We’ll discuss 20 of them in this post. At the same time, we’ll also touch on some terrible reasons to get married and why marriage isn’t for everyone. 

What is Marriage?

Britannica describes marriage as a “legally and socially sanctioned union, usually between a man and a woman, that is regulated by laws, rules, customs, beliefs, and attitudes that prescribe the rights and duties of the partners and accords status to their offspring” [1] It all sounds very formal doesn’t it!

Marriage of course also has other meanings and will be different for some people than it is for others. Whilst it can be declaring your unwavering love for another person it can also be arranged so that you don’t have a choice in the matter. 

For most people in Western cultures, it’s seen as the end goal of a relationship. To quote Cat Stevens “Find a girl settle down, if you want, you can marry” It’s essentially a choice and only you can judge if it’s wholly necessary for you and your partner.

That being said, the same rules don’t apply to everyone in the world. Same-sex marriage for instance in the U.S. has only been legal since 2015. 

Equally, same-sex marriage is legal in just 34 of the 195 countries around the world so there is a long way to go before marriage is accessible to all.

According to Cornell Law School [2] there are three basic elements of a marriage

  • The parties’ legal ability to marry each other
  • Mutual consent of the parties
  • A marriage contract

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? And it can be. Where it gets complicated and time-consuming isn’t in the organization of the actual marriage. It’s the planning, preparation, and actualization of the wedding. That takes a long time. The marriage ceremony on the other hand is usually done and dusted within 30 minutes tops. 

When do people get married?

Marriage is seen as a right of passage for most people. However, there is no right or wrong time to say “I do” to the person you love.

There will be various things that influence when you get married including things like cultural norms, religion, and your own personal circumstances.

Let’s discuss the stages of life that most people commit to one another as well as how that affects why people get married.

Early Adulthood

Whilst there will likely be skepticism from some who say you’re getting married too young you’ll have to ignore this. If it feels right for you then you need to go with it. Chances are if you’re getting married at this age you’re either childhood sweethearts or met each other in higher education or at the start of your careers.

Late Twenties – Early Thirties

Arguably this is the most common age range to get married in. It’s when the pressure to get married will also be at its highest. This is an age that society views as being a time to have your affairs in order. Whether that’s your career or a roof over your head. People in this age bracket will generally feel more stable in where they are at in life and ready to commit their future to their partner.


For other people their early 40s up until 60 might be the time they choose to say “I do”. They may have been with their partners all their life but have chosen now to get married. We’ll touch on some of the reasons for this later on in our list. Equally, this could be someone’s second or even third marriage, it all comes down to personal circumstances.

Older Age

As we’ve said marriage can come at any age and there are many reasons you might get married when you’re older. Perhaps someone is looking for companionship after the loss of their first wife or husband. Or it could be to sort out the legalities of their estate. 

Our advice is always to do things at your own pace and when you feel ready. With that being said we know that the pressures can be immense, whether that’s from family and friends or society as a whole.

If you’re in a relationship everyone wants to know when you’re getting married and when you’re having children. The truth of the matter is it’s none of their business. You and your partner should try not to feel pressured. However, we understand that can be difficult, particularly with cultural and religious expectations.

Why Do People Get Married? Our List of 20 Reasons 

There are many reasons why people commit their futures to one another. So many in fact that we’ve compiled a list of 20 reasons why people get married.

1. It’s Tradition, isn’t it?

People may get married because it’s a tradition that dates back thousands of years. They may have parents that are married and grandparents that have been happily married for years. Therefore it’s just seen as the norm and what you do when you find a partner that is the perfect match.

Traditions have changed quite a bit over the years though. In the past marriages may have been arranged for political or economic reasons. They’d be seen as benefiting couples, their parents, and the extended family. They’d give little consideration to the couple who were actually getting married and whether or not they were in love. 

Nowadays it’s much more likely that the “L” word is a determining factor. Although the tradition of arranged marriages is still upheld in many cultures.

2. You Have Similar World Views

Do you and your partner share the same goals, aspirations? Do you have the same vision for your future?

Or, is this where some conflict lies within your relationship? Perhaps one of you dreams of living in the hustle and bustle of New York City while the other longs for the peace and quiet of rural home life. 

Being on the same page when it comes to all these things is a great reason why people get married. You can hold each other accountable to ensure you both achieve the best possible versions of yourselves.

3. Because You’re Really Good Friends

No, don’t just marry your best friend for the sake of it! 

What we mean is it’s a great foundation for your relationship if you’ve already been friends for many years. You’ll know each other inside and out and it’s then the logical next step to get married. This will cement your friendship even further.

There needs to be more than just physical attraction or visions of romance. You should marry someone who you also consider to be your best friend. Who you can be completely yourself with and where nothing is off the table to be discussed.

4. Because Your Arguments Are Healthy

Never going to bed on an argument is something you’ll need to uphold when you get married. However, that’s not to say that all arguments are a bad thing.

In fact, they can be healthy for your relationship. If you have arguments but come to some sort of resolution that’s a good thing and probably a surefire reason to get married. 

However, if you’re constantly bickering with one another and hold resentment for days, weeks, or even years after the argument, marriage might not be the best option.

Healthy discussion leads to open communication which will only benefit your relationship long term. So if this sounds like you and your partner this could be a great reason to say “I do”.

5. You Want a Celebration

Let’s make no bones about it, weddings are freaking awesome! People get married so they can throw one heck of a celebration with all the people they love the most in the world.

You can invite as many or as few people as you like and simply have a fantastic day. It’s one big celebration of the love you share for one another and also a day to remember for the rest of your life.

6. To Bring Your Families Together

Another reason people get married is to officially bring their families together. Once again a wedding is the perfect opportunity for this to happen. 

The nearest and dearest of the couple getting married will all be there to celebrate. People can often meet their new family for the first time at the wedding. Marriage increases that family bond and can be particularly poignant if you already have children together.

7. To Start a Family

Whilst it’s not as frowned upon as it once was to have children out of wedlock it still is in some cultures.

A couple might get married first just to appease their elders or because that’s what feels right for them. 

Marriage gives both parties a sense of security and helps out legally. These are the perfect foundations to then build your family.

8. Love

Some people simply get married for love and who can blame them? Once you’ve found someone you can see yourself spending the rest of your life with, why not make it official?

This should really be the most important factor for couples in deciding whether marriage is right for them. It should be the thing you come back to when you have tough days in your marriage (they will happen). If you love each other unconditionally it can be a great motivation to get married and stay that way. 

9. Financial Benefits

Being married vs being in a relationship can have significant financial perks. They’re especially good for couples with large differences in their income.

For example, a couple’s combined income can put them in a lower tax bracket rather than what a highly-paid spouse would pay as an individual.

Equally, a married couple may be eligible for a higher mortgage than if they’re just in a relationship. 

There’s a great article on Investopedia that delves into why marriage makes financial sense.

10. Health Insurance

Similarly to the financial benefits of marriage, it is also true for health insurance. 

If both spouses are employed by different companies they can choose the better of the two health insurance plans. 

Once again this is great if one partner is a high earner whilst the other brings in less. You can both receive the same levels of care from good health insurance should you need it.

11. Legal Reasons

There are lots of legal reasons why people get married. All of these give you a level of protection that you might not otherwise have in a relationship. 

Some of the top legal benefits we found are as follows:

  • Receiving adoption or fostering rights
  • Social security benefits
  • The right to inherit your spouse’s estate without paying estate tax
  • The marital tax deduction
  • The right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated spouse
  • The right to make decisions about funerals

All these are benefits that couples who aren’t married will not receive. Get Legal’s article on the legal benefits of marriage [3] is an interesting read. There are definitely lots of advantages that many people have perhaps not even considered, especially if they’re young.

12. Religion

Lots of people all around the world from different cultures get married because of their religion. 

The act of getting married may be one that holds particular spiritual significance to some people. Whereas others may be non practicing but still enjoy and respect their faith when it comes to getting hitched. 

All religions have their own different ways of celebrating a marriage. Trust us, we’ve captured them all from Hindu weddings in India, traditional Chinese weddings in Hong Kong, Jewish weddings in the U.K. as well as Catholic and Christian weddings throughout the world. 

13. Societal Expectations

People get married because they feel that it’s the next logical step in their relationship. These values may be adopted because their parents got married. Or because it’s been shown on TV and in films for years.

Once people know you’re in a relationship the typical question you’ll get is “Oh have they popped the question yet?” or “When are you thinking of having children?”.

Getting married shows a level of maturity in your relationship and amongst your peer group. On the other hand, if all your friends around you are getting married it can feel like the right thing to do for you as well.

14. Defines the Relationship

Two becoming one (a cheeky spice girls reference) is really the ultimate expression of your commitment to one another. 

This is why people get married. From the initial engagement, your partner is showing that they want to spend the rest of their life with you.

By getting married you put the labels of wife or husband on your significant other. You’re off the table for anyone else (unless of course, you have a particular arrangement). 

Being married defines where your relationship is at. That you trust one another implicitly and will be with them for richer or poorer and in sickness and in health.

15. Lifelong Companionship

Getting married gives you lifelong companionship. All being well there will be someone there to wake up to each day, to talk to, and explore the world with.

Having someone there day in and day out to listen to your problems and celebrate the wins is what marriage is all about.

16. Longevity & Health

Married people live longer! Yeh that’s a pretty convincing reason to get married, isn’t it!?

According to Fortune being married can add as much as 2 years to your life expectancy. That’s because being married promotes a healthier lifestyle. You’re more likely to eat healthily, be a non-smoker and drink responsibly if you’re married.

You’re also more likely to stay active and stimulate positive mental health than those that are unmarried. At the same time being happily married will give you emotional support and lift you in the dark days. These things all have a positive impact on you as an individual and are great reasons to tie the knot.

17. Citizenship

Sometimes the person you love might not be allowed citizenship in the country you live in unless you’re married. This can sometimes seem a less romantic reason to say “I do” but can actually be the ultimate display of love.

By getting married the partner will gain citizenship. They can then benefit from the same rights and privileges afforded to the person already from that country.

18. Family Pressure

Listening to people around you may play a role in your decision whether you get married or not. If your parents are constantly asking if you’re going to marry your partner you might decide enough is enough just to silence them.

Whilst we don’t think this is a healthy reason to get married it’s definitely a reason why some people will pop the question. 

Once again it can be because of cultural traditions passed down through generations that exacerbate this pressure. If for example your parents got married when they were 19 and 20 they may be confused why you’re 24 and you still haven’t married your partner.

19. It makes it More Difficult to Walk Away

People get married to cement their relationship and with that some legal credence.

By doing so it can be much harder to walk away from these responsibilities. This will help to make you work through any difficulties you face as a couple. 

Whether that’s by seeking counseling or simply finding their own resolutions. Breaking up a marriage is a long drawn-out process that can be very problematic and is best avoided if possible. 

20. You Already Live Together Anyway

If you already live with your partner then by getting married not much will change. Other than the benefits we’ve already outlined of course. 

You’ll already know each other’s behaviors, what you love about your partner, and what gets on your nerves. 

This is healthy. 

In our opinion, people should live with each other first so they know what they’re letting themselves in for haha. 

Already living together can be a great reason to get married. You’ve essentially had an extended trial period of each other’s company for years. All you’re doing is adding a label to it.

Terrible Reasons Why People Get Married

So, whilst not all the reasons we’ve mentioned so far are glowingly positive we can at least see why people choose to get married because of them.

However, there is a darker side to why people get married. Let’s take a look at some bad reasons for tying the knot.

You Think It’ll Fix Your Relationship

If you think that getting married will be this magical healing potion to a broken relationship we’re sorry but you’re wrong. If you don’t address the underlying frictions between you and your partner then it’s destined to end one way, in divorce.

Getting married may have a short-term benefit as you’re busy planning and organizing your wedding. This gives you something to do and takes attention away from any niggling problems in your relationship. 

However, this can soon fade once the “I do’s” are out of the way and you’re back to bickering with one another.

As we mentioned earlier, healthy arguments are great for a relationship. However, if you can never see each other’s point of view you’ll always be full of resentment for one another. In this instance, it’s best to sort out your problems before you even think about getting married. 

You’re Scared of Being Lonely

Another terrible reason why people get married is a fear of being lonely. This may force you to rush into marriage without fully weighing up whether this person is right for you or not.

What may seem like cute quirks initially may really grate on you in the future? This may lead to resentment and ultimately end in a separation.

In our opinion, you should aim to find happiness with yourself before seeking out a life partner. That way you know that you’re content no matter what. Bringing someone else on board can then enhance your life even further if required.

It’s the Practical Option

As we discussed earlier there are some huge financial and practical benefits to saying “I do”. 

However, in our opinion that shouldn’t be the sole basis for getting married. You still need to love your partner unconditionally and they need to excite and challenge you.

If a marriage is built purely on the practical element then it will soon run out of steam. If you don’t love, trust and appreciate each other it can never last.

It’s What Everyone Does, Right?

Just because everyone else around you is sending you their perfect invites to their weddings doesn’t mean you have to follow suit.

We understand that the pressure can be immense, particularly from outside influences. 

However, this is your life and you should do what feels right for you when you meet the person of your dreams.

You’re Pregnant

People who are pregnant may feel that they need to get married as quickly as possible. 

Whilst it’s understandable that they may want to settle down and have a stable family unit it may not always be the best option.

Even with a baby on the way you need to assess whether you and your partner are the right fit for each other. It may seem damaging to the child but in the long run, they should be raised with a much better relationship with each parent.

Only you and your partner can decide whether you’re 100% committed to your relationship.

Why Some People Avoid Marriage Altogether

Some people avoid marriage altogether. Whilst we’ve talked in this article about why people get married we have to look at the other end of the spectrum.

So, what are some of the reasons people avoid marriage? 

You Avoid Commitment

Let’s get real for a second marriage is a pretty big commitment. If you marry someone at age 20 you could be with them for the next 60-80 years of your life. That’s a long time and just the thought of it will scare some people.

At the same time, many people like the freedom that comes with being unmarried. They can do what they want when they want without the fear of upsetting their wife or husband. Of course, they can still have all the usual arguments and fun times that a happily married couple has. 

However, they may feel more free to pursue their own goals without feeling tied down to a particular place or environment.

Family History

If you’ve grown up in a broken home then marriage could be the last thing on your agenda. You may have seen how it tore your family apart and how your parents still argue and resent each other to this day. 

This can scar people mentally and really influence people’s decision on whether marriage is as good as everyone says it is.

Fear of Making a Mistake

In a similar vein to a fear of commitment, a fear of making a mistake can be a reason people don’t get married. 

You shouldn’t have to second guess whether or not the person you’re with is right for marriage. If you know you know. 

Some people however will constantly be questioning their decisions. Do I want to spend the rest of my life with this person? Ultimately people can either remain single or in a relationship but unmarried. 

Scared of Divorce and What That Brings

The divorce rate in the USA is 50% [4] so it’s understandable that this is a concern for many couples. 

At the same time, the average divorce will cost a whopping $7,000 [5] and that’s before the division of assets.

These facts alone are enough to put a lot of people off marriage. However, it can also be a physically and mentally draining undertaking. Particularly so if you have children together.

Cost of Wedding

The national average cost of a wedding in 2022 was $30,000 [6] that’s a lot of money, isn’t it? 

That’s why some people choose to get married without having a wedding but it also explains why some couples forgo it altogether. If you’re not lucky enough that your parents will pay for your wedding you’ve got to find that money yourself. 

This can be a hard-fought luxury if you’re paying off your student loan, mortgage, bills, and the day-to-day running of your life. It can simply be too much money to pay out for some couples and a reason they don’t get married.

How to Tell If Your Partner Wants to Marry You

After reading all that you might have a clearer understanding of why people do and don’t get married. However, you might also be thinking how can I tell if my partner wants to marry me?

Here are some telltale signs that they’re the right person to commit your life to. 

You Both Discuss Big Decisions

Having consistent discussions about the big decisions in life is essential. This needs to come from both sides. 

Where are your heads at in regard to having children? Do you both want to move to the countryside and settle down? Equally, what are your career aspirations and financial situations? 

These sorts of questions shouldn’t be off the table. If you’re on the same page or can have healthy discussions then chances are you’re both right for marriage. 

You Communicate About Your Relationship

Communication is key to any successful relationship but especially if you’re thinking of committing to marriage. 

You should be able to talk openly and honestly about your relationship. Perhaps you want emotional support or your partner to handle certain situations differently. This should all be up for discussion without necessarily causing an argument between the two of you. 

As we’ve said throughout this article healthy arguments are just that, healthy for your relationship. A good level of communication is essential particularly if your marriage is going to go the distance.

You’ve Met Each Other’s Families

If you have met each other’s parents or families this can be a pretty big step. 

Nowadays it’s not uncommon to do this if you are just partners. However, if everyone gets along it could be a nice precursor to marriage. It shows that your partner is accepting of your family and your family is accepting of your partner. 


Choosing to get married to your partner is one of life’s biggest decisions. You’re committing to this person for the rest of your life that you’ll be there through the happy times as well as the sad ones.

Hopefully, from reading our article you have a better understanding of some of the reasons why people get married.

From the financial and legal benefits that marriage brings to the more romantic motivations such as pure love or starting a family.

If you’re wondering whether marriage is the right call for you then it’s only you who can decide that. We hope that our section on some of the terrible reasons people get married will help you to avoid any of those pitfalls.

Ultimately there’s no rush to get married by a certain age. You’ll know when the time is right and whether you choose to get married or not, know this. You can still be happy!


[1] – https://www.britannica.com/topic/marriage

[2] – https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/marriage#:~:text=The%20basic%20elements%20of%20a,See%20also%20Common%2DLaw%20Marriage

[3] – https://www.getlegal.com/legal-info-center/family-law-divorce/marriage/

[4] – https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/divorce/divorce-statistics/

[5] – https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/divorce/how-much-does-divorce-cost/

[6] – https://www.forbes.com/advisor/legal/divorce/how-much-does-divorce-cost/