Here in Illinois, we are right on the cusp of letting everybody get married — even George Clooney, if he’s finally into that sort of thing. While that’s obviously great and everybody and their liberal grandma is pre-over the moon about it, this also means that my family members and certain acquaintances have been asking when I plan on getting hitched. Of course, because I’m allowed to get married now, that means I will obviously rush right out and do that. All that was stopping me from relationshipping was Johnny Law, who is on my side now.
As theoretically great as it would be to have someone else at the dinner table whose plate I can eat off of (because its considered gauche to order two meals at a restaurant), I’m not so into that idea right now. I could probably write a hundred reasons that I’m not ready to put a ring on it, and why you might not be either. Here’s 10% of those reasons.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.