The other day, I read an interesting article in the newspaper. According to the article, less and less young couples are getting married and instead choose to just live together.

I continued to read the article with more than just a mild sense of scepticism, because I could not believe that living together has apparently replaced getting married.

The most shocking bit of the article was why people have  apparently decided to eschew tying the knot: Instant gratification and an easy exit when things go pear-shaped.

Some people would of course agree with this article. Some people do genuinely think that marriage is an outdated tradition, thought up by some capitalist to sell flowers and wedding dresses and trips to exotic islands.

Well, I am 24 years old and I have never doubted for a second that I want to get married one day. I do want be as officially committed as possible to another person, for better or for worse.

Yes, when I was a little girl, getting married meant wearing a white dress and a veil and having flower petals thrown at me while I run off into the sunset. I don’t think I even considered that there had to be a groom to get married to. But that’s a wedding, not a marriage.

Now I realise what being married to someone really means. It means that you make a promise to completely share your life with someone. That you love them unconditionally. That there is no doubt in your mind that you want to grow old and cranky with this person.

I by no means mean to discount the value of living together with someone. That in itself is a special experience and certainly a necessary trial run if you intend to spend the rest of your life with them. But for me, the journey can’t end there. Living together is simply not the finish line when I picture where a relationship should be heading.

Not getting married because you don’t need ‘a piece of paper’ to prove your love in my book roughly translates to ‘I have my doubts about this relationship, so I’m going to save myself a lot a legal bills and not sign my life away’. Certain laws are, however, making long-term, live-in relationships just as messy to dissolve as a marriage. And I don’t even want to imagine how complicated things get once children are involved.

Committing to someone is scary. Starting a life with someone is absolutely terrifying. Forsaking all others makes you wonder if you’ve made the right decision. But all these daunting prospects vanish if you found the right person to face them with.

I might the only one who feels this way. Maybe there are people who want the convenience of a live-in partner who they are not legally bound to and a relationship that can be over with a simple “this isn’t working”. But I certainly hope that my happily ever after ends with me and my significant other signing a marriage certificate, not a lease for an apartment.