Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Marriage Isn’t For You

By Seth Adam Smith on Tuesday August 30th, 2016

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

What You Need to Know Before Getting Married

Having been married only a year and a half, I’ve recently come to the conclusion that marriage isn’t for me.

Now before you start making assumptions, keep reading.

I met my wife in high school when we were 15 years old. We were friends for ten years until…until we decided no longer wanted to be just friends. I strongly recommend that best friends fall in love. Good times will be had by all.

Nevertheless, falling in love with my best friend did not prevent me from having certain fears and anxieties about getting married. The nearer Kim and I approached the decision to marry, the more I was filled with a paralyzing fear. Was I ready? Was I making the right choice? Was Kim the right person to marry? Would she make me happy?

Then, one fateful night, I shared these thoughts and concerns with my dad.

Was I ready? Was I making the right choice?Was I ready? Was I making the right choice?

A Powerful Moment

Perhaps each of us have moments in our lives when it feels like time slows down, or the air becomes still and everything around us seems to draw in, marking that moment as one we will never forget.

My dad giving his response to my concerns was such a moment for me. With a knowing smile he said, “Seth, you’re being totally selfish. So I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”

It was in that very moment that I knew that Kim was the right person to marry. I realized that I wanted to make her happy; to see her smile every day, to make her laugh every day. I wanted to be a part of her family, and my family wanted her to be a part of ours. And thinking back on all the times I had seen her play with my nieces, I knew that she was the one with whom I wanted to build our own family.

You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy.You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy.

Defying the “Walmart philosophy”

My father’s advice was both shocking and revelatory. It went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one.

No, a true marriage (and true love) is never about you. It’s about the person you love—their wants, their needs, their hopes, and their dreams. Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Some time ago, my wife showed me what it means to love selflessly. For many months, my heart had been hardening with a mixture of fear and resentment. Then, after the pressure had built up to where neither of us could stand it, emotions erupted. I was callous. I was selfish.

But instead of matching my selfishness, Kim did something beyond wonderful—she showed an outpouring of love. Laying aside all of the pain and anguish I had caused her, she lovingly took me in her arms and soothed my soul.

Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”Selfishness demands, “What’s in it for me?”, while Love asks, “What can I give?”

Don’t Forget

I realised that I had forgotten my dad’s advice. While Kim’s side of the marriage had been to love me, my side of the marriage had become all about me. This awful realisation brought me to tears, and I promised my wife that I would try to be better.

To all who are reading this article—married, almost married, single, or even the sworn bachelor or bachelorette—I want you to know that marriage isn’t for you. No true relationship of love is for you. Love is about the person you love.

And, paradoxically, the more you truly love that person, the more love you receive. And not just from your significant other, but from their friends and their family and thousands of others you never would have met had your love remained self-centered.

Truly, love and marriage isn’t for you. It’s for others.

Feature Image: Artwork by Android Jones

Read Next: 12 Rights Women Have in Intimate Relationships

How do you feel about this article? Join the conversation.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Email this to someone

Words By Seth Adam Smith

Originally posted on Seth Adam Smith



12 Rights Women Have in Intimate Relationships

As I Began to Love Myself

What it Really Means to Hold Space for a Woman


Hello, PropellerAds!

I’m Dreaming About a World That Doesn’t Erase Indigenous Intelligence

Alan Watts Breaks Down What’s Wrong with the World


Subscribe to UPLIFT

UPLIFT is dedicated to telling the new story of inspired co-creation.

Get free updates and news about UPLIFT events and films.




the yoga channel


follow UPLIFT on   



Join the Conversation

9 Comments on "Marriage Isn’t For You"

newest oldest most voted
i really love this. thank you. i recently had a reverse situation. i was unhappy in my relationship, and the responses to my opening up was either dismissal or desperation. i had the intense feeling that i was no more than an accessory to his identity. so i asked myself, was i being selfish for wanting to break things up, or was it because i was not capable of truly giving my love to this person anymore? i examined that question for months while i went through the motions of selfless love. the best take away for me from this… Read more »

The picture on the top. Where did you get it? May I?

Hatim Alami
Hatim Alami

from ANDROID JONES Art works

Olisa Maduka
Olisa Maduka

Great article, really enlightening. I’m single but I find this information to be very helpful in all relationships (romantic or otherwise) not just in marriage.

That last image though might be considered NSFW for some, just saying 🙂



David McBride
David McBride
Nice article. I’m currently reading a book titled “Sacred Marriage” which has a similar premise, except it goes further. The purpose of marriage is not to make your spouse happy, it’s so much more. Happiness is only a lit bit of it. The purpose of marriage is to help refine one another in every aspect of life. To be there in the best and worst of times and to learn to love unconditionally. “Sacred Marriage” has a strong Biblical emphasis, and I’ve found it to be the true ticket to a lasting marriage, a marriage so brilliant that the world… Read more »

I disagree. You cannot make another person happy.

This article puts a lot of stress upon an individual to make someone else happy. The raising of children, I can see the desire for marriage. However, “marriage” does not guarantee commitment, love, fidelity, or financial stability and most of all, happiness.

We need to quit equating the institution of marriage with anything other than a legal and religious contracts.

I agree but mostly disagree. marriage is for both of you. There is a difference between selfishness and fulfillment. Everyone has different needs. Yes it’s about giving, but also about taking so it is about sharing, and if you want to share different things then what you want to give may be too much. What you get may be too little. It is largely a matter of compatibility. Loneliness and resentment may follow if your needs are very different. If you have tried to give what He does’t want, and wanted what He doesn’t want to give then it might… Read more »