Starting the second I graduated from college, it seemed that people were getting engaged by the day. Facebook friends who I forgot about would suddenly post pictures of big shiny rocks – some of which were gorgeous while a few others made me feel better about not being engaged yet – but to each her own. When Lans and I lived together last year, I would, on the reg, storm into her room with my open laptop in tow, freaking out about the latest couple that ‘can’t wait to spend the rest of their lives together’. Listen, if anyone believes that romance still exists, it’s me. I want the amazing husband and a house with a nice backyard for my (preferably) 3 children to play in with a dog that (preferably) looks like this:
Anyway, I am a traditional girl at heart but also recognize that we are currently living in 2013 and not 1950.
If two people love each other and know that they are going to eventually get married and spend the rest of their lives together, I guess I can see why they would just get engaged and start the rest of their lives sooner. But what’s the real point? If it’s going to happen eventually, why not push each other to explore new things, mature, and grow as a person before jumping into adulthood? As my mom is a family lawyer (aka divorce lawyer to most) and my parents went though a decade-long, grueling divorce, I have seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to marriages and what can come after. Marriages that fall apart due to mental illness, cheating, gambling, abuse, criminal acts…the list goes on and on. Although these youngin’s are currently on the romantic cloud 9 and feel that they have an unshakeable and unbreakable bond, rarely are the important things discussed (i.e.: how the children will be raised, religion, etc.) and the possibility of divorce considered (it’s depressing because no one gets married planning to get divorced). Everyone’s personality, wants, and needs are constantly changing, and I always wonder how others can know themselves well enough and be comfortable enough with themselves to jump into ‘I do’, when they do.
I came across two articles this morning relating to engagements. One is written by a fellow sorority sister The Things I Learned From – All My Friends Are Engaged and the other is from one of my favorite websites, www.thoughtcatalog.com.
Here is the thought catalog article “10 Reasons I Don’t Want To Get Married Right Now” along with my own personal commentary which I felt compelled to add (in italics):
1. I’m 24.
Back in the day, I realize that there was enormous pressure to get married early, because you could die of malnutrition, the bubonic plague or a peasant uprising, so you needed to get it in while you still could. However, I’m lucky enough to live in a day and age where I’m not being politely forced into matrimonial slavery by my imperious mother, Mrs. Bennett, and sold off to the highest bidder. I have the right and the privilege of being picky.
Also, there are things I want to accomplish in my life before I tie the knot and have a bun in the oven. I want to start (and finish) Business School, travel the world, and make a few more bad life decisions (see #2 below), all of which could probably not be done (or as easily) if I had other commitments such as a husband, children, and a dog.
2. Let me reiterate: I’m young, and not dying.
As a twenty-something human person, I’m at that age where I don’t even know if I want to get into a relationship, as I relish my ability to make mistakes and get messy. I like being able to go out and do something totally stupid with a stranger — that I will definitely regret next week — and trying to find myself and getting hurt. I like being the only person who is accountable for my mistakes and being able to take pride in them. This is the time where I’m supposed to find out who I am, with all the misery and joy that entails.
I definitely do not believe that I have fully grown into the woman I am going to be for the rest of my life. Who, at 24 (or younger), knows this? Also, not only do I like being the only person who is accountable for my mistakes, but I also like to be the only human I am responsible for in general.
3. I want a better marriage than my parents.
My parents got married when they were 18 and 19, not because they were pregnant, but because they were in love. They were young and dumb enough to think that they’d each met the love of their life — instead of “the person who will spend the next decade driving me insane.” Most kids of divorce nostalgize their parents’ marriage, hoping that they will get back together. (The Parent Trap ruined a lot of childhoods.) I don’t think my parents should have ever gotten married. Because my mother got married and had kids so young, she never had a chance to figure out her own identity as an adult. She always had to live vicariously through her husband and her children and it took her until she was in her forties to even figure out who she was. I don’t think that’s a life anyone wants.
My parents were engaged after about six weeks…see statement above regarding their 10 year divorce. I do have to give them credit for making it through 15 years of marriage though!
4. I want to have a better marriage than Britney Spears and Jason Alexander.
You know that thing about gays ruining the sanctity of marriage? I think Vegas already beat us to it. I don’t care if my marriage meets the socially agreed upon sanctity benchmark (because what does that word even really mean?), but I have standards for godsakes. However, if Joseph Gordon-Levitt wants to get married for 55 hours, I’m okay with that. I know exactly what we would be doing for all 55 of those hours. Playing Scrabble.
Or in my previous article, Kim Kardashian and Kanye West (although they’re not married yet)…better yet, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. I also have to say that I LOVE Joseph Gordon-Levitt…and scrabble. Marry me?
5. I don’t want to be one of those people who just marries anyone.
Everyone has that friend who seems like they will go out with almost anyone who will have them — who values being in a relationship more than the specific person they’re in it with. God love her, my mother was like that in high school, looking for validation and comfort more than an actual relationship. And I don’t want that. I’m not going to be some Bridezilla who is looking for their SoUlMaTe and all that Hallmark garbage, but goddamn it, I want to have spent enough time to know I don’t want to be with anyone else. When I say my vows, I want to spontaneously burst into tears, knowing just how much those words mean. You can’t give them to whoever happens to show up.
I’ve learned to become more picky about who I date, so I sure as hell will be more picky about who I marry!
6. I can barely take care of myself.
Most days I find it difficult to get out of bed and dress myself appropriately. I’m still not totally sure how to work my stove, and just the other day, I found out it has AN ENTIRE OTHER OVEN. I can’t even own a fern without killing it, so how the hell am I going to be responsible enough to handle a marriage?
I have literally come to work with my underwear on backwards…enough said.
7. Great relationships are work.
When I look at all the great couples I know, the ones whose relationships I want, I think about how much work it takes to stay together. Sure, relationships are happiness and joy and sunshine, but they are also struggle and toil. They take the head-on commitment of two people who are able and willing to give all they have to making it work. And you have to be ready for that, for the load you have to carry when you say you’re in it for the long haul.
8. Because marriage is about love (or something) and not societal pressure.
I know a strange amount of people who got married right out of high school not out of a need to be with this person, but because it was “the thing to do.” They’d been dating for a certain amount of time and were happy enough, so why not? I don’t think there’s anything wrong with marrying young (technically), but you should have a better reason for it than “just ’cause.” We think we have to get married, because it’s what expected of us (and for us Catholics and Jews, sometimes at gunpoint), but all that’s expected of you is to lead a life you love. If your family and friends love you and truly want the best for you, they’ll understand that you decide what that is.
Couples should be able to come up with reasons why they SHOULD get married as opposed to ‘why not just get married’?
9. My exes have given me high standards for relationships.
Everyone has those exes they complain about, but I feel like I’ve been really lucky to date some of the people I’ve gotten to spend time with, ones who have set the bar pretty high for my future mates. If I’m going to get married to someone, I think that they should be better match for me than all of my exes. My exes taught me what it was to have high standards — which I feel are a must when getting into something as crucial as marriage. I came pretty close to marrying my college boyfriend — who it felt right with, until it wasn’t — and I know how important those feelings are. I wouldn’t settle for anything less.
Although this is semi questionable for me, I would say that ex boyfriends have shown me what I like and don’t like in relationships, as well as what I deserve. In my next relationship, I will accept nothing less.
10. I already have a husband. His name is Netflix.
And I swear, baby, the first moment they make human-technology matrimony legal, I’m making it official. This love is the realest.
My husband could be white wine, or froyo, or Nicholas Brody from Homeland…he’s not actually a terrorist in real life! Hmm I wonder if the equal marriage rights in Massachusetts apply to Sauvignon Blanc and coffee hazelnut froyo with melted crunch bar?