My boyfriend and I are approaching our 2 year anniversary and I just turned 30 years old. I understand why so many relatives and friends are becoming increasingly more curious about when will tie the knot. As my elder no-nonsense cousin so eloquently stated during the early stages of my boyfriend and my relationship, “You’re not 19. What are his intentions?” It’s a valid question for me to consider.
I believe people are asking from a sincere place. They genuinely want me to be happy and they believe that marriage is one way to achieve happiness. They also want to make sure that I do it fast before time runs out and I can no longer give birth to babies. Many unmarried women in their mid-forties, who were focused on their career in their early thirties, regret the fact that they did not settle down earlier. Perhaps they want to ensure that I do not make the same mistake.
I get it.
But what I don’t understand is how some people feel the need to pressure you into making such a huge decision. We all know what pressure sounds like from our loved ones:
- When are you getting married? (asked each time you see her/him)
- When will I have a grandchild?
- My son needs a playmate. Please tell me you’re going to have children next year.
- You’re not getting any younger. You don’t want a high-risk pregnancy, do you?
Marriage and family choices are sacred. For, when I get married, there will only be two individuals involved: my husband and me. If something goes terribly wrong in my marriage, those same friends and relatives who encouraged me to tie the knot will not be around to help me resolve marital conflict. Only I will be around to pick up the broken pieces if my marriage fails. So, how is pressuring someone to get married beneficial?
Who one chooses to marry is the biggest decision that she will ever make in her life. It is a decision that should not be made lightly; a myriad of factors should be considered. The goal of our loved ones should not be to push us down the aisle as quickly as possible, but it should be to ensure that we will have a happy marriage when the time comes. Questions should be centered around our readiness; our expectations for our marriage; and our mate. Our loved ones should do the following before marrying us off:
1. Consider the health of a couple’s relationship.
Just because the couple is smiling doesn’t mean they are happy. Just because you have never witnessed them arguing does not mean that they never argue. In fact, the seemingly perfect couples tend to have the most issues. Some couples should never marry. Some couples are not good for each other. Instead of rushing your loved one to an altar, try to examine the health of their current relationship. Consider whether the couple should be married.
2. Consider whether both parties want marriage.
There are some couples that do not want to get married. Maybe they don’t believe in marriage. Maybe they don’t believe that they can be monogamous. Whatever. All I know is this: fifty percent of marriages end in divorce. So, apparently, more people should have asked themselves whether marriage was intended for them before jumping the broom.
3. Consider whether the couple is ready for marriage.
Age does not guarantee that an individual is responsible enough to take care of another person until death separates them. I know women who got married in their early twenties, and are experiencing an incredible marriage in their early thirties. I also know women who were married in their mid-thirties, only be divorced by 40. I don’t know the secret to a healthy marriage, but I know the recipe for failure: getting married before you’re ready.
So, thank you, loved ones, for caring about my happiness. Thank you for serving as our conscience, making sure that we do the right thing. But, perhaps you’re not asking us the right questions. No need to rush two unhappy people to a miserable future. Perhaps you must consider whether the couples wants to be married. Nothing is wrong with a lifetime without marriage. Perhaps you must consider whether the couple wants to complete school or get a stable job before inviting someone into their life. Perhaps we must be more thoughtful. The goal is to make sure our loved ones can be satisfied with not only their relationship, but their life overall.