I Do?

This past week at work, my boyfriend of 5 years was having a conversation with one of his coworkers about me and our relationship history. When his coworker found out how many years we’ve been together, she immediately asked him if he had plans to “put a ring on it” anytime soon. Thus, prompting me to dedicate this blog post to the topic of marriage.

Let’s back up for a moment to the day I graduated from college. After a beautiful day and a successful ceremony, I did what I usually do every night, and turned to facebook to wind down. Within that evening, and the days ahead, my newsfeed was flooded with relationship status updates. Were people breaking up? Of course not, my counterparts were getting engaged.

Now, because I can be a bit of a girly-girl, my initial reaction when I saw these changes were, awww, good for them! But, as I quickly looked over a few pictures of the happy couple, my thoughts turned to, wait! Stop! You’re making the biggest mistake of your life! And of course, we all know the statistics. They say that 50% of marriages nowadays end in divorce, and marriages are predicted to be even less successful when the two individuals getting married are younger than 27. So, why this sudden rush to the alter?

One of my biggest theories is societal and peer pressure. Think about it, when you’ve heard that someone has been together for more than three years, what’s your typical reaction? I know that I’m guilty of thinking, oh, they’re probably going to get married soon. And I’m sure that that’s the case for many other individuals. Another case in point, what if the individuals have been together for 8 years and STILL aren’t engaged; then what? I think many people’s first reaction is, jeeze, what are they waiting for?

But of course, there’s always the flip side. When you see those wedding pictures of individuals in their early 20’s on facebook, a lot of people’s first reaction is, what’s the need? Is she pregnant? They’re too young, they don’t know what they’re doing! This will end in divorce.

What I’ve come to notice, especially within the 20 something market, is that the topic of marriage releases a LOT of different emotions. For example, I bet that if I decided to change my facebook status from “in a relationship” to “engaged” tomorrow, my friends would post nothing but adoring comments like, “Congratulations!” or “Good for you,” or even, “Finally!” But, behind my back, I know they would say things like, “Why are they getting married now?” or, “Jeeze, not another engagement. Wasn’t there just three last week?” Why do I know this? Because it’s what my friends and I do too!

With 20 somethings, getting engaged is seen as more of a “trend” than an actual life milestone. It’s my personal opinion that a lot of millennials see marriage as something that you have to do if you’ve been together for a long time, or, just the “next step” after college. Personally, I don’t feel that people in their early 20s are ready for it. Yes, yes, I know that there are plenty of individuals out there who have gotten married in their early 20s, and they’re fine. But, it seems to me like there aren’t many people that fit that description anymore.

Basically, you’re damned if you do, and damned if you don’t. If you don’t, people are going to think that you’re just “afraid of commitment,” or some more religious individuals might argue, that you “enjoy living in sin.” And, if you do, there are going to be plenty of people that will think that you’re just “jumping on the bandwagon” or “making another reckless decision” because you’re young.

Personally, I don’t care if I never get married. Would it be nice? Sure. But, I don’t think that I need a wedding ring and a joint bank account to prove that I love my boyfriend. I think that showing that I love him in some way every day, sticking by his side through thick and thin, and remaining faithful is enough.

I get that the topic of marriage is completely personal, just like your religious beliefs and your politics. There are plenty of people out there who have been together for years and have never married and are completely at peace, and then there are many others who have been married for 20 plus years and wouldn’t have it any other way, and unfortunately, there are some individuals who are on their fourth marriage and crossing their fingers.

All I’m saying is, when it comes to marriage, make sure that you decide to make that commitment because it’s what YOU want, not what everyone else wants for you.

Granny Smith – over and out

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14 thoughts on “I Do?

  1. Well said! As I was nearing the end of my College life in April I heard of many people that were still in 3rd year or 4th year getting engaged. I still don’t know what the rush is or why they want to walk around campus as a married couple at the age of 21.

  2. I have a year left of school and haven’t even been in a “relationship” since I started college. It’s too hard to be so committed to one person when I need to be committed to myself and all the crap I have to do for school, work and my internship. I can’t imagine what it would be like to plan a wedding and doing the whole “wife” thing, or worse, the “family” thing, on top of giving my own dreams a shot, all before the age of 22.

  3. I so agree with you. But I am a bit puzzled by 20 somethings’ (especially girls) obession on marriage. There is a long life to be lived and it doesn’t begin and end with marriage. Sure, it can be nice but not at the top of the list of every 20 something right?

  4. Thanks for your follow of Tales for Life and good job on your posts. Marriage is something I know a lot about as I am well over my 20s and well into a re-marriage. I might write a post on my trials and triumphs but until then–keep up your good thoughts!

  5. Great post. Personally, I feel marriage is valid for both the tax benefits and the legal commitment that lends to more stability if children were to enter the equation. It does seem silly to rush into so young, but to each their own? Btw, I’d keep my account separate:P

  6. I was married for 30 years, separated for two of them. Our differences, among other things, finally split us up. I am now remarried to a terrific man who is a great match in every way. This is said a lot, but I’ll say it again: it’s important to step carefully around this institution. Thanks for the follow. 🙂

  7. Very wise of you! I have been with my SO for over 12 years now and we are very happy in our relationship. We’ve talked about marriage but really don’t feel the need for a ring and a piece of paper. Both of us have had disastrous multiple marriages and we don’t want to ruin a good thing!

    No one…absolutely no one..should enter into marriage because of pressure from family, friends or peers. That’s how I ended up married straight out of high school. You will know when the time is right, and I agree with you, it might never be the right time. Some relationships seem to bloom without the wedding, some wither and die. But I believe the ones that don’t last weren’t going to last to begin with!

    Great post and great insights!

  8. 31 years and counting….married at 22 just two weeks after I graduated from college. It worked for us….fast forward to my sons wanting to get married in their early 20’s?!?! Frightful…..but as you say…it is up to the individual…not the parent, the friends, the outside pressures. (I feel the same about the pressure put on people to have children…. folks need to leave em be!) Great post! ♥ paula

  9. Well put. 🙂 I’ve dated far too many men who have tried to rush me into marriage (and/or children) after a few months, much less years. Usually because they’re afraid of people looking at their age and wondering why they haven’t tied the knot yet, or assuming they’re incapable of commitment if they don’t put a ring on someone. But I don’t want to be something on someone’s check list. Heck, I’m not even sure if I want to be married at all. Most of the time, it seems kind of pointless and expensive. So I’m happy to see that I’m not the only one who’s noticed the strange double standard a lot of people in our society have when it comes to marriage, and that I’m not the only one who views it as what it should be: a personal choice.

  10. Great post!

    “Personally, I don’t care if I never get married. Would it be nice? Sure. But, I don’t think that I need a wedding ring and a joint bank account to prove that I love my boyfriend. I think that showing that I love him in some way every day, sticking by his side through thick and thin, and remaining faithful is enough.”

    To me, that sums up the meaning of ‘marriage’, whether or not people get a ring and a dress and a preacher.

    I am 22, my husband is 27. We have been officially married for almost 5 months. We got more than a few “you’re too young” and “are you pregnant?” and “you need to finish college and do something with your life before you get into the humdrum of marriage!” comments. (Wrong, wrong, and wrong to all the above.) While I ABSOLUTELY agree that marriage is definitely a big choice and marrying young isn’t for everybody, I know that it was the right thing for us. The transplant shock was big for me, but after the nerves wore off, I realized that this new life is what I needed to spur me to grow. For sure, somebody else might be able to grow better in a single situation. But for me, the commitment has made me feel safe enough and bold enough to try my wings. Since we have been together, I have had the opportunity to pursue several long-held dreams. I don’t feel like my life is over, it is just starting.

    We met 3 years ago, and began dating 2 years ago. We both knew what kind of a relationship we wanted – stable and committed. That means marriage to me. And we had that long before the ring and the vows. (We still don’t have a joint bank account either.) Over the past 3 years, we have been through some rough seasons together – not relationship trouble, but things outside it, that could have pulled us apart, but instead drove us closer together. In hindsight, I am thankful for that silver lining.

    A good friend of mine has been with her now-husband for several years. They could only recently afford a ‘wedding’. But their commitment all this time, that means marriage to me.

    Again, great post. Glad there is room for so many different perspectives. It really made me ponder. And I like to ponder.

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