From a young age, we’re taught that getting married is just a part of life.
Everyone does it.
And it is supposed to occur in a sequence of events that are associated with ‘maturing’ and ‘growing up’.
But, if you’re like me, you’ve seriously questioned this thought process.
Why is it just assumed that everyone should get married? Why does society believe it should happen by a certain age? And why the hell are so many people obsessed with weddings?
I’ve asked myself countless questions like these about marriage. Not only that, but I’ve observed other people’s marriages…..the good the bad and the ugly.
I’ve always been the type of person who really wants to make my own opinions. I’m too stubborn to let others tell me what to think or feel (ha!)
Can you relate?
It’s pretty unpopular to be apathetic about marriage. In fact, marriage is a pretty tricky topic to talk about when you’re not all for it.
And my god– what’s the rush?!
WHEN I WAS YOUNG…
When I was a little girl, I used to envision what my life would be like as an adult…
I would dream of things like living in a cute little house in a friendly neighborhood with a front lawn and backyard. My outdoor areas would have plenty of room for my beloved dog to run around and play. And I would get to decorate my home however I pleased.
I also wanted children in my home. And I wanted my children’s friends over all the time too; the more the merrier.
Basically, I wanted my house, and my life, to be filled with love.
When it comes down to it— this is what I really want.
I now refer to this wish list as my values. They sound pretty traditional don’t they? A house, a dog, and some kids in suburbia….
For most people, this might sound exactly like what married life would look like. But here’s what I would say to that: you don’t have to be married to achieve this.
Kids without marriage? I know, I am talking about living in sin here people!
No but really, you don’t have to be married. The happiness police will not stop by your house and take everything away because you’re not somebody’s wife.
WHAT’S “A WIFE”?
Have you ever thought about what the difference is between a girlfriend and a wife?
No really, how would you describe it? Besides the obvious difference in title, does a wife have different duties than a girlfriend?
If you were to get a call that your boyfriend or girlfriend was hurt and in the hospital, you would still go right? If they were feeling under the weather, you’d still fix them a cup of tea, give them some medicine or soup, right?
I’ve heard of some women waiting to do the other half’s laundry until they have a ring on their finger, but that’s about it.
Honestly, I’m still not 100% sure what the true definition of “a wife” would look like spelled out on paper. All I know for sure, is that it’s a title that a lot of people strive for.
But titles have never meant very much to me.
In some cases, I understand the need for titles.
At work, we need titles to understand who reports to who, and to decipher who is in charge of what. I imagine the reason some people strive for the title of “wife” is to let others know they have moved up the social ladder so to speak.
It’s socially acceptable, more so encouraged, to get married. I guess it means that you two are more committed to each other now as husband and wife rather than girlfriend and boyfriend. (Or husband and husband or wife and wife and so forth.)
But I can’t help but ask myself, REALLY what’s the difference?
The practical side to me has to wonder…. are you really more committed or is it just harder to get out of now? I hate to be cynical, but think of how many stories we hear about spouses cheating on each other? Or breaking other vows for that matter.
For example, the infamous “dating” site, Ashley Madison, designed for married adults to partake in extramarital affairs has 39 million members in 53 countries.
Jesus. Take that in for a moment.
That’s 39 million people who like to show the world that they are decent and married, when really, they just want their cake and to eat it too.
Some studies estimate that the average wedding costs about $30,000. The average divorce rate is between $15,000-$30,000. That doesn’t even account for the financially devastating aftermath which includes: the separation of assets, alimony and or child support that can add up.
Now, I know what some of you might be thinking right now….
You might be saying to yourself that I can’t base my thoughts on marriage based off of scary statistics, or out of fear of betrayal.
And If you are thinking this, I totally agree with you. So hang in there and bear with me….
WHAT’S YOUR MOTIVE?
I only use examples from above to further my point that some people use marriage solely as a status symbol, and that’s when you are setting yourself up for failure. People who do this don’t have any intention of following through with their promises or responsibilities that come along with the title.
Haven’t we all experienced being blatantly hit on by someone who was wearing a ring at least once in our lives? Couldn’t you smell the desperation on them? Sadly, in my experience, it’s not uncommon.
It makes me think to myself…did these people find themselves rushing into marriage early in life to “fit in”, only to find themselves incredibly unhappy later down the line?
I mean, think about how common it is for people to joke and complain about married life? Have you ever noticed that those are the kind of jokes get the deep-gutted laughs where it’s so funny because it’s true?
Sometimes, I can’t help but think when I hear people talking about weddings if they’ve given any thought to what will happen after the wedding? You know, once that beautiful, expensive day is over, and you’ve now signed up to split your livelihood, and income, with someone for as long as you can bear?
So why everyone is so quick to jump?….
Simply put, I believe that marriage should be perceived more as a choice, rather than a right of passage. Perhaps then people wouldn’t feel so much pressure to rush into a legally binding business deal that has the potential to haunt them for the rest of their life.
EVERYONE’S JOURNEY IS DIFFERENT!
I always say that I don’t care what people do behind closed doors, as long as everyone is consenting and happy.
Basically, live and let live!
So with that being said, it is never my intention to judge someone who loves the idea of marriage. I think that’s great if in your truths of all truths you can’t wait to be a wife!
I just feel like there needs to be more support for those of us who don’t feel the same way! If you’re not married, you aren’t weird, you aren’t an outcast, you are perfectly lovely.
The notion that if you’re not married by 30, you’re late, is bonkers.
Well, I believe that’s the farthest thing from the truth.
Getting married after 30 is still beautiful. Having children and not being married is perfectly acceptable. Deciding you don’t want to ever get married or have children is great too!
My point is, these things are beautiful because they are based on your timeline, and it is your decision. Nobody else’s.
We should all be making decisions based on what feels right for ourselves. As hard as it, sometimes, we need to put our blinders on and stop paying attention to what everyone else seems to be doing.
When we make decisions based on our clock, and what’s right for us, it’s moving us in the right direction to leading a purposeful and fulfilling life. It allows us to be the best versions of ourself, and in turn, help others around us lead their best life possible as well.
So, in case you don’t hear it enough, you are doing amazing!
In case all you see on your social media feed is talk about engagements, babies, or buying a home… you are not behind. And just in case you feel like you are the only person feeling this way, I want to remind you that you’re not alone.
Whatever you’re seeing “out there” is someone else’s journey, and it has nothing to do with you!
Be gentle with yourself, and live boldly. Create a timeline that makes sense for you, and don’t worry about where you think everyone else at your age is at.