09/07/2011 02:06 pm ET Updated Nov 07, 2011

5 Surprising Upsides To Getting Married

Like most of my generation, I've been soured on the concept of marriage since childhood. This was largely because pop culture showed me only three stages to love: desperately trying to stumble into it, eventually securing it with marriage and then spending the rest of your life regretting it. Even the happily wed couples on TV have no magic or mystique left to them; they constantly complain of feeling stuck, or bored, or harangued to their wit's end. If anybody tells their story at all, it's always about how the miserable married couple, via liberal application of wacky shenanigans, learned to finally love again -- never how they stayed that way from the start and everything has been pretty neat the whole time. It's obvious why that is -- contentment does not make for good storytelling -- but as a kid with divorced parents raised on a lot of television, I bought into the portrayal of marriage as a life-ruining mistake because of it.

I've only recently become convinced otherwise, but am I ever glad that I was, because there are some amazing upsides to marriage that just don't get as much play as the pitfalls.