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Addressing the marriage question

Posted: June 11, 2013 10:25 a.m.
Updated: June 12, 2013 5:00 a.m.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve definitely reached the age where people often feel the need to ask the “marriage question.” And by that, I mean frequent inquiries about to whom and when I’m getting married, why I’m not attached at the moment, etc., etc., etc. Which is fine. I don’t mind answering that I’m not seeing anyone serious at the moment or that I’m not ready to settle down. I understand that it’s just a common question that people are curious to know the answer to.

I have plenty of friends who are married or engaged and settling down right now. I’m just not one of them. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that and I don’t think they think there’s anything wrong with my situation. Different individuals do different things, well, differently. I don’t think “putting a ring on it” is any indication of someone reaching a certain mark or point in any aspect of life besides the obvious fact that they now have a husband or wife that they are bound to by law.

However, a friend of mine recently sent me an article with the message attached to it “tell me this isn’t absurd, I know this will get a reaction from you.” Needless to say I was a little nervous about what I would soon be reading. It was obviously going to be something that my friend knew would start my blood boiling. She was correct. The article was written by a female who recently reached engaged status in her relationship with her boyfriend of six years. That’s not the disturbing part by any means. The part that infuriated me was that the writer claimed to finally “fit in” and that she was now “normal.” She claimed to now receive more respect in her life from work to others wanting to be her friend. She claims that this “wasn’t just because they were vying for a wedding invite.” Right. They just wanted to be your friend because you were no longer simply in a committed relationship, but because you now had a ring on your left hand.

I find her newfound epiphany to be absurd. “If a piece of paper would afford me the ability to be a real player in my career and a respected adult, I figured, why not?” Wait, hold the phone; you’re telling me that all it takes to be a respected adult is to receive an invitation from another person to spend the rest of my life with them? Why didn’t you tell me sooner?! I hope my sarcasm is obvious in this.

The writer went on to say “for the first time in my life, I don’t feel like I’m pretending to be an adult. Getting engaged has made me feel more like an adult than anything else in my life has.” Really? Not responsibilities, paying bills, living on your own, being independent? None of that made you feel like an adult? The only thing so far that has resulted in you feeling like an adult is the fact that you were able to wrangle up a husband?

To me, that is sad: that the writer hasn’t felt acceptance or a feeling of comfort in her own skin until she received the “ultimate” invite in relationship status world. There’s nothing wrong with marriage. I hope one day to eventually walk down the aisle while family and friends watch me with glossy eyes and whisper to one another how beautiful I look…. But I don’t think it’s fair for the writer to tell people that just because they haven’t met their Prince or Princess Charming yet that they’re not a real adult. She even entitled the piece “Life Before Marriage: Why You’re Not an Adult Until You Tie The Knot.” The title itself is a slap in the face to uncoupled people everywhere.

I could be wrong, though. Maybe you actually aren’t a real adult until you’re married. I wouldn’t know because I, myself, am not married. But I know plenty of unmarried people who are well into their adult years, have no plans of one day tying the knot, but are as happy and fulfilled as numerous married people are. I would never think to refer to them as not being a real adult because in my opinion having responsibilities, being happy and fulfilled with the life you have is what makes you a “real adult.” I think it’s important though to achieve that state of being yourself -- not because of your union with another individual.

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