Why I Will Not Encourage You to Get Married… A Letter To My Sons

July 26, 2002


Dear Jacob and Ethan,

You guys are now 15 and 12 and have been through some big changes in your short lives.  Although we are living through the COVID 19 Pandemic at this very moment, I still think the biggest adjustment that you ever had to make was when Daddy and I decided not to be married anymore. 

Jacob you were so angry at me at first, you had heard me ask daddy to leave, just to go!  A few weeks later daddy came over and explained that he was the one that didn't want to be married anymore and that I was just asking for him to stop dragging it out.  At that moment your pain and anger shifted directly to your father.  Those wounds are yet to be fully healed between the two of you, but it is getting better each day.  I know that your anger was the biggest part of your sadness seeping out, believe me I know that my love.

Ethan you were simply heartbroken, because in your mind, you had just lost the happiest family in the world.  You were only 8 at the time and went to bed early.  You did not witness daddy and I fighting over little things like the dirty dishes in the sink. You didn't see me going to bed early and alone every night, just to escape my own resentments. Your days consisted of having your every need met, daytime hiking adventures with daddy and bedtime snuggles with mommy.   I don't know if you remember but the February after daddy left, we were filling out Valentine's for your classmates and you said "mommy do you think you and daddy will ever get back together?"  I had to walk away and cry because I had never wanted you to have to worry about such things.  All I wanted was my brave, little free spirited boy, back again.

The cracks in the foundation were mostly not visible to the two of you, your little brown eyes wouldn't exactly have been able to see them.  Daddy and I really did love each other and we were fiercely loyal , but deep inside neither of us were living the lives we had dreamt of for ourselves.  In the end Daddy did the right thing by speaking his truth.  And I did the right thing by asking him to leave.

One night recently at dinner Ethan, you asked me a question.  "Mommy should I get married someday?"  I answered "It's not something I'm going to encourage".  You asked again "but should I mommy?" and you got the same answer from me, with very little explanation.  I told you I would get back to you on this and I am.  What I want for you and Jacob, is way bigger than marriage.

I want you to selfishly follow all of your dreams.  YES ...I want you to be selfish.  I do not want you to sacrifice one single wish or goal that you have for yourself, for someone else.  I want you to see all of the places you've asked me to take you, especially Alaska.  I want you to explore all of the answers to all of the questions that you have been asking me since the days you began to speak your deepest thoughts, about God, the universe and black holes.  You've dreamt of being a brain surgeon and an artist, you are a social justice warrior.  You can be all of these things, or none at all if you so choose. Your brother is a natural born actor and director, clearly meant to make his mark in Hollywood.  You are passionate souls and I want your lights to shine brighter than any fancy wedding ever could.  I want you to chase and capture your dreams! Only to dream up some more.

If ever the day comes, when you love someone or want to have children, it will be up to you how you wish to proceed.  I will neither encourage nor discourage marriage.  To be clear, I do not believe that one needs to be married to be an amazing parent and I know that you and your brother understand what being good fathers would entail.  All I ask is that you are true to yourself and that whomever you choose to spend time with in life, understands how to be the same.  I will remind you, that love does not need to be acknowledged through the eyes of the law to be real and that that is just an idea put upon us by others.

You have always questioned what society says YOU "should" be doing.  Keep that up! Because while marriage may work for some, there are many more who it does not make any sense for.  So, to answer your question, I cannot tell you whether or not you should get married someday.   What I will say,  is that I will not encourage it.  What I will encourage, is for both of you to continue to make genuine connections with people, always with the knowledge that many of them will come and go, and a few will remain.  The most important relationship you will ever have, is the one you will have with yourself.  Nurture that one, strengthen that one.  Know your own deepest desires and live them out my darlings.  Continue to be the kind, empathetic, giving boys that you are, but not at the expense of your own happiness.

Let the VOWS you take be to yourself, promise yourself to have and to behold all that you were always meant to be.


Licensed Master Social Worker
Master of Education

Find me on: Web | Instagram


  1. Ivanna
    May 9, 2021 / 10:56 pm

    Simply beautiful. An amazing message for two young boys that are maturing and learning about life.

  2. Neil
    May 10, 2021 / 5:37 pm

    This is so perfectly said, Miss Dani! Thank you for sharing this with us, and I applaud you for such a wonderful follow through for your sons.
    I know that my life, at 52,has turned out different than I expected. And, ups & downs included, I wouldn’t change it. But like you tell your sons, I am at a point that is not what society accepts for relationships, yet I am living my true life, as are those I love. This is priceless.
    As priceless as your answer to your son.

    • May 11, 2021 / 2:28 am

      I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and so glad it spoke to you. Thank you.

  3. Ron Lunceford
    June 5, 2021 / 1:48 am

    Thank you for sharing my friend, this is an awesome thoughtful post and I honestly learned a lot…Keep up the good work and powerful messages…

  4. Will
    June 22, 2021 / 6:02 am

    Very interesting piece. Thank you for sharing this with us.

    I would like to ask: do you think this mindset about marriage came as a result of the divorce or was this mindset already present and part of what lead to the divorce? Was it the chicken or the egg?

    I personally think that marriage licences, like all other licences: driving, hunting, etc, should have an expiration date. When a couple’s marriage license expires they should have to sit with a counselor and evaluate to see if they both want to renew it for another term (5 years or so). If they do and the counselor agrees then they renew it; if they don’t then they amicably split their wealth, determine parenting responsibilities and go their separate ways. I think people would take marriage and their spouces for granted less if they knew their license was about to expire and they had to convince their spouse to renew it. Just a thought.
    Do you think expiring marriage licenses would help improve marriages? I’m interested in your perspective.
    Thank you.

    • July 11, 2021 / 2:12 am

      My perspective came from having been married and now not being married anymore. I was not living authentically and and as often is so in marriage I was a person that had to answer to someone else on a daily basis and expected him to answer to me. For most of us we choose our spouse at a time in our lives when we don’t really know who we are yet and often we choose from a place of an unhealed wound. Your idea is interesting and would make an awesome episode of Black Mirror or maybe even a weekly reality show. But truthfully involving a third party in what lies deep within, I do not believe is ever a good idea. Thank you so much for the thought provoking response. I needed it.

  5. Joe
    April 19, 2022 / 5:29 am

    This really hit home for me because I ended up being married for 15 years to a person I did not love just because we had children. I sacrificed all my dreams to play a role I grew to despise. I wish I had this advise 20+ years ago.

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