Why I'm In No Rush to Get Married
I get asked "so, when will you get married?" quite often.
By friends, family, strangers, patients, acquaintances...whoever, really.
It's only recently that I've even given this question more thought. Why the heck does it matter when I get married? Sure, sometimes the question is innocent small talk. Other times however, it feels as if there's an implication of a goal I should be striving toward. That the question is really "so, when will you achieve marriage???" And to be honest, I resent that notion.
My slow-stepping toward the aisle is partially due to my past experiences. We all have baggage, yeah?
My longest relationship to date was with my high school sweetheart. I loved him. I was in love with him. But it was also 10+ years of crazy, chaotic, super-duper messy life. Toward the end, we did marry, a year later we separated, and several weeks after that, he committed suicide. So, that was kind of a lot.
Prior to that, I’d witnessed the messiness of my parent’s marriage. I know from what I lived through that they were head-over-heels in love with each other. I know that they still care for one another. But I also know that their marriage didn’t work.
Despite my personal history, I view marriage as a beautiful thing. Both of my parents remarried, and are by all accounts living happier, more fulfilling lives with their respective partners (They're amazing. Read more about that here).
So, what's the hold up?
I'm 28 years old- an age at which most of my friends are engaged, recently married, or even having children. I've been in long term relationships. I've done things; I can check the stable career and sown-oats boxes with confidence. So, I should be antsy to go ahead and join the married club, right?
I met my former boyfriend, Rob, in the summer of 2016. A friend encouraged me to try out the Bumble app. Unlike the experience of my peers, Bumble was a one'n'done deal for me. Rob was the first and only guy I went on an actual date with from Bumble and we hit it off right away. It was quite the whirlwind romance, resulting in my subletting my apartment, so I could move in with Rob just 3 months after we met.
Our relationship started out obnoxiously well. We never fought- and guys, I’m here to tell you that, that’s kind of a problem. Or it was for us at least. We got swept up in infatuation and I think we were both reluctant to be truly honest and vulnerable with one another. Eventually we hit road blocks. Big ones.
Our issues prompted us to seek counseling- something that in hindsight could have been constructive even before problems arose. We bolstered our relationship via radical honesty and transparency. We became more open about our feelings and we worked together to create solutions when we encountered differences. Ultimately, our relationship didn't pan out as "the one" and that's OK. We didn't fail, we did our due diligence, and we succeeded in finding out what works and what doesn't.
It's one thing to commit when life is all rainbows and unicorns, but what about when the shit hits the fan? What about how my partner and I interact when we're at our worst? When we're under duress, stressed, and busy as all get out. I want to let my hair down, allow the niceties to fade, and see what happens.
Had I rushed into marriage with Rob after moving in together, who knows how things would have played out. Would we have been convinced that our marriage was a mistake? Would we resent the feeling of being "stuck" together by legal binds? Alternatively, if we were different people, perhaps we would have spent years trying to force a marriage to work that was a poor match from the start. A million "wha-ifs," but ultimately I'm thankful that we didn't make a mad dash down the aisle.
Yes, I want to be married to my life partner someday. I want to unite under one roof and I want to start a family together. But marriage will never improve our status as individuals or as a couple. A wedding simply can't do the hard work for you.
I guess I see marriage a little like building a home. You don't just drive past a random piece of grassy land and say "hey, I'm gonna build a house there today." No, you shop for land. You compare prices, survey the property, consult with experts, save your pennies, and maybe then purchase the parcel.
Next, there's the planning stages of building the house. As any homeowner knows, houses aren't a one-time expense- things will break, renovations will be needed, you might have an unexpected flood or two. Should you decide that you no longer want the home, you can't just "return it to the store" and it's never so simple as just walking away. Like a marriage, homes are a long term investment and deserve their due diligence.
I'm still shopping around, but you better believe that when I finally build this thing, it's going to be spec-freaking-tacular.