Sometimes, I Want to Get Married. Sometimes, I Don’t.
An acquaintance of mine recently got engaged. My Facebook news feed is flooded with messages of “Congratulations!”, “Burgundy-colored napkin rings, or mahogany?” status updates, and photos of the actual engagement, shot through the lens of a covert photographer hired by her fiancé. I volley between feelings of “Awwwww, too cute! I’m so happy for them, I can’t WAIT to get married!” and “I am going to throw up if I see one more g’damn Pinterest post of your wedding gown inspiration.” Why am I so bipolar when it comes to marriage? It’s so weird because sometimes, I want to get married. But then sometimes, I don’t.
I don’t want to get married because I don’t want to deal with a wedding. I’m not ready to turn into a controlling, hurtful Bridezilla, my actions guided by an idea of consumeristic perfection. Dealing with vendors is stressful, dealing with my mother’s opinion is even worse. I’d elope, but that takes a lot of work as well. You have to be good at keeping secrets, which I’m not, and you have to steel yourself after the onslaught of disappointed commentary from relatives who felt left out of your special day (the guilt is MADDENING).
But weddings are super fun too. Really, have you ever had a terrible time at a wedding? Even if you got so drunk you threw up inside of the limo, there’s still a moment when you thought “I LOVE FREE BOOZE AND ELEGANT FOOD AND DJ DANCING!” I know if I had the time to plan a wedding, it’d be freakin’ awesome. I’m talking aerial ropes dancers, a cake made out Cadbury creme eggs, some kind of funky theme like Indiana Jones or masquerade or something. Think about how great your birthday is, when all of your friends get together to celebrate your life and how cool you are. Amplify that by 100+ guests and man, it must feel out of this world. Throwing the party of the year to commemorate the success of my relationship is pretty appealing.
And I don’t know about guys, but part of the excitement of a wedding is getting fancy with the clothes. Little girls grow up flipping through bridal magazines, circling their favourite dresses or conjuring up designs in their heads. When else do you get to dress like a princess and have your picture taken like you’re a super model or something? The last time I looked like a giant cupcake was for senior prom, and that sucked. But a wedding, that can be my chance at formalwear redemption.
Sometimes though, I feel like there is a sort of “status” attached to the idea of marriage. Like, your relationship isn’t valid if you’re not married. I have friends that believe there is no point in dating someone if you’re not going to marry them. Personally, I don’t believe any of that. Actually, one of the reasons I don’t really want to get married is because the word “marriage” means nothing to me. What actually changes when you get married? Your last name (if you’re female, or new age), your tax information, and, if you were living at home beforehand, your residence. I guess some people also get that warm, fuzzy feeling, but I get that feeling with my boyfriend now, every day, and we’ve been dating for the past three years.
And then I have some friends who think that marriage is like a security deposit, that since their husband or wife took a vow they automatically will love them forever and always. So why is the divorce rate about 50%? People still cheat even when they’re married because marriage is not some sort of lifetime guarantee about a person’s feelings. People change, and people are also terrible at communicating their problems/needs. I don’t believe you should get married just because you think the word “marriage” will keep your significant other on a short leash.
But how wonderful must it feel, to wake up and say to yourself, “Hot damn, I’m spoken for!” You look down at your wedding band and feel proud to have completed one of the most significant milestones in Western society. Your grandmother finally approves of you sleeping in the same bed as the opposite sex, and now fills your mind with thoughts of child rearing. Having a family with someone I love is important to me, and I hate that there is still a social stigma against couples who have kids out of wedlock. There are a lot of people who think that if you’re serious enough to have kids, but not married, your relationship isn’t very serious at all.
My boyfriend and I have a solid relationship and there is no doubt we want to be together for the rest of our lives. But like, do we HAVE to get married? I know it’s totally what people do and everything, and I’m not opposed to the idea, but it freaks me out when my relatives or friends badger me with “EVERYONE ELSE HAS GOTTEN HITCHED WHEN DO YOU PLAN ON JOINING THE REAL WORLD?!” Like, chill out dude.
We’re taking our time on this one.
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It started with a right swipe, a little green heart. Tinder of course.
Though I acknowledge and appreciate the differences in human experiences, and while your heartbreak is (and always will be) uniquely and completely your own, I must urge you to consider that I have been where you are.
With his hat cocked back, body tilted away from his cane, and right forefinger pointing directly at his audience, Joseph Ducreux commands the attention of those viewing his self-portrait.
I was born in 1990; he was born in 1973. I’m 23; he just turned 40.