I feel like I’ve written this post before, but I attended a wedding recently and read this post by The Daily Tay today that both made me think again, long and hard about why I’m not married. And frankly, why I’m in no hurry to be married.
Beyond the typical, I’m still young, I’m not religious – so I’m not waiting, cost of a wedding, shit – cost of the rings before the wedding planning event starts, and so on – beyond these things, there are tons of reasons, personal reasons that I’m not yet married.
Why do you think it’s any of your business?
Taylor wrote about how she was at a wedding recently and an older woman asked her how long she and her boyfriend had been together. When Taylor answered “around 7 years” the older woman’s face went from shock and awe to sympathy in a split second. And let me tell you, I know this look all too well. The older woman told Taylor “you hang in there” – like being in a long term relationship without a ring and a wedding and a piece of paper solidifying your relationship clearly meant you must be miserable. But why would someone stay in a relationship they were miserable in, why would they “wait around” to someday get that ring, wedding and slip of paper if they were miserable? They wouldn’t, any self-respecting person would leave that relationship.
So why, why is the consistent and regular and accepted response to “I’ve been in a loving and fulfilling relationship for seven years” pity and sympathy?
We’re going to get all crazy factual here for a minute, because you, all you old ladies who are showing pity to those of us not yet married, you’re in the minority these days. The Pew Research Center released a study earlier this year that talked a little bit about how Millennial’s feel about marriage. Only 26% of Millennial’s are married (ages 18-33 currently). 69% of us want to get married but are in no hurry. Why is there still this stigma that not married at 25, 28, 30, the dreaded 30, is unacceptable?
I mentioned that I attended a wedding a bit ago. It was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous (I adore her and she’s always gorgeous so this was no surprise), the weather was perfect, the food was delicious and plentiful and love was in the air.
This was a wedding for a religious couple.
Disclaimer: I do not think there is anything wrong with being religious, getting married for religious reasons or in part because of your religion or anything of the sort – go for it! end disclaimer.
With this being a religious couple there were a lot of people in attendance who had very similar beliefs as the couple – again, no problem, do your thang. But I have to say, I was a little out of place and I felt the way I imagine Taylor felt when that lady told her to “hang in there” – aca-scuse me? I had several relatives and friends of the family ask me how long J and I had been together, my response was similar to Taylors – “about six and a half years” – cue the dropped jaws, intuitive glances and immediate responses of “oh wow, and you aren’t married yet? 7 years is a long time, you must want to get married”.
Why thank you – I realize 7 years is a long time, believe me I realize how long seven years is, I’ve been present for those seven years! I’m used to it, I really am, I started getting it from family and family friends about 4 years ago, so really, I’m used to it. But sometimes people say things and I have this moment of I don’t even know you – who do you think you are – do you really think you’re helping – you’re married, you don’t seem very happy, should I be more like you – why do you think you can tell me where I should be in my life or relationship? Is it normal to have these thoughts when people are placing judgement on your life choices – abso-freaking-lutely it is! (In my humble opinion)
So here I am, 10 days after the fact and I’m still running through the scenario that most shocked me on that day. There are a lot of reasons I’m not married but the reason I do someday want to get married, the only reason I will someday take that plunge, is because I want a marriage, I want that person, I want my person, I want to be with someone and have someone want to be with me for the rest of our days. So this comment that came from a wedding-goer is not why I will someday get married:
“Don’t you want all of this? A wedding with beautiful flowers and a pretty white dress and guests all showering you with love and gifts. Isn’t this something that you want for yourself?“
Really, is that what getting married is all about? Then no, I don’t want all of this.
If you aren’t married, or even if you are, what are some things that people have said that have utterly shocked you? I know that couples who are married very young (in societies view, very young) get a lot of comments that most of us wouldn’t exactly view as supportive or kind – so what have you experienced personally.