Time Magazine recently published an article by John Cloud entitled “Americans Love Marriage. But Why?” Citing and debunking a bunch of statistics, the author’s conclusion was “we feel worse, mentally and physically, when we can’t find a mate or when we are trapped by a bad one. There is good evidence that it is freedom that makes us healthy and happy, not the bonds of marriage.”

Uh. Okay. Try telling that to romance writers when their every book ends with the promise of marriage, if not the actual ceremony. And I’m a sucker for those epilogues that let us peek at the blissfully happy future and bouncing babies, too.

But Cloud has a point. 51 percent of American women are now living without a spouse, including widows and those whose jobs necessitate residing in a different city, state, or continent. I can’t believe more than half of my sisters are miserable, stroking their cats and watching Mary Tyler Moore re-runs for pointers.

Before America was really America, marriage was considered a desirable, even necessary state. Women were lured to Virginia by this advertisement:

If any Maid or single Woman have a desire to go over, they will think themselves in the Golden Age, when Men paid a Dowry for their Wives; for if they be but civil, and under 50 years of age, some honest Man or other will purchase them for their Wives.

So even then guys were looking for grateful young things who weren’t mouthy.

90 percent of American women marry at least once in their lifetime. But we all know there is no guarantee of happily ever after. The trend to test drive before buying—living together—is, I think, a wise decision for many couples. Though I bet they, like Brad and Angelina, get sick of hearing, “So, when are you kids gonna get married?”

Romance novels don’t portray real life accurately —that’s why we love them. I believe marriage is the required outcome for historical romances in order to stay true to the mores of the time, but what about contemporary romantic fiction? Lots of people don’t get married now, but just “live in sin.” How would you feel about a book not ending in the obligatory marriage? Can you think of any you’ve read that reflect Kurt and Goldie’s choice? Is that gold band the gold standard for writing THE END?

Love: a temporary insanity, curable by marriage. ~ Ambrose Bierce

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence. ~Oscar Wilde

Marriage is not a word; it is a sentence. ~ King Vidor

Keep your eyes wide open before marriage, half shut afterwards. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out. ~ Michel de Montaigne

My maternal grandparents Franziska and Stefan Maniero on their wedding day. Don’t you love these Trivaholic lifestyle products?