To My 24-Year-Old Friends Who Are Engaged: Why Are You Really Getting Married?

istockphoto.comSbytovaMN
istockphoto.comSbytovaMN

Something has been happening recently. It could be the holiday season, it could be the fact that I am just getting older, but everywhere I go people are getting engaged.

Whether I am scrolling through my news feed or getting a text from a friend about another friend, I find myself passing out more congratulations than I can count. And it’s not that I don’t want to offer people warm wishes on what is arguably one of the biggest moments of their life – an elaborate proposal – but sometimes I find myself asking in the back of my head…why?

Why are you getting married? Why do you feel the need to get married? I’m sorry (but I am not sorry I am saying it), why are you being so complacent?

First off I don’t mean to be rude. And I don’t want to come across as jealous or even as someone who believes that getting married young means an automatic divorce in less than a year. Just because you choose to wait until you are thirty does not mean that you are mature enough to share your life with someone else. Some people reach huge milestones at different ages.

But here is an unfortunate truth I have found: too often, when people my age are getting married, they are setting wedding dates because they realize that they have reached a point in their life when they should get married.

Not so much that they are reaching the age where it is socially unacceptable to be single anymore but rather that they have reached the time in their relationships where it is unacceptable to not be engaged yet.

What I mean by this is people are getting married because they reached the “three year mark” or even the “five year mark” of their partnership, a time when they look around and think to themselves “this seems like the time when I should buy a ring” or “we both just graduated from college and we need to figure out our life plans sooner rather than later.”

Sure there is absolutely nothing wrong with contemplating the next step of a long relationship or getting married if it what you truly want. But for most couples I know who find themselves getting engaged, I really do want to go up to them and ask, no hint of malice in me, do you actually want to marry this person? Or do you feel as if you should marry them? Do you feel that you are so far into the relationship that backing out of it almost feels as if you wasted all those years with them? Do you feel like you are settling?

And honestly I don’t think that would be too crazy of a question to ask. I’ve had plenty of friends in relationships my age admit this to me. They have thought to themselves whether or not the person they are dating is not the best fit for them. Whether that be they are not attracted enough to them, their personalities are too different (or even too similar). Some felt as if they had grown apart. Some simply felt that there was not enough of the “spark” there. Of course quickly after letting me know this they tried convincing themselves that they should indeed be with their partner because that person was at the end of the day a nice part of their life and committed to them.

We’re young though. We’re just starting the best part of our lives. So why the hell are we doing this?

Staying with these people? Why are we getting married simply for the sake of getting married? Why aren’t we getting married because we’ve reached a point in our life where we are established and we are crazy in love with the other person? When we have found that one person who doesn’t make us think that getting married is checking off a box on some list. When we come to the realization that we could not go another day without being their husband or wife.

If you find yourself worrying about getting married young it should be because the act of pledging your life to someone is a huge deal. But worrying about if you are marrying the right person should not be part of that decision.

So if you are contemplating whether or not you should be engaged by now, or you are telling yourself you should marry them because you already have a Christmas stocking at their parents’ house, or because you’re not sure that you will be able to do better than them and don’t want to risk it, have some courage. Choose to stay with them longer to find out. Or stop the relationship that is holding you back.

Travel. Go find an amazing career. Go find someone else who will ignite that spark in you. For God’s sake you haven’t even hit your quarter life crisis yet. Why are you settling?TC mark

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