Ever since I can remember, my younger sister dreamed of her wedding day. Me? Not so much. It’s not because I didn’t believe in marriage, weddings, fairy tales and unicorns, but because it was something that I knew should last forever, and therefore required the utmost thought and care. But some women (and men) romanticize the notion of marriage. Not that bridesmaids, flowers, veils and wedding cakes aren’t dreamy, but many studies have shown that so many couples are SO in love with the idea of being married that they’ve walked down the aisle even though their hearts were filled with dread.
Your inner voice is powerful, yet so many of us fail to listen to it. If you’re considering marriage, but are on the fence, save yourself some time and heartache and really ask yourself if you’re getting married for all the right reasons. If you’re unsure, here are some reasons you SHOULDN’T be getting married just for the hell of it.
1. Because He Asked
It’s hard to say no when a man is on bended knee flashing a shiny diamond in your face. The more carats the ring has, the more you’re inclined to say “yes” before you’ve had a chance to ask yourself if he’s really someone you love enough to commit to for the rest of your life. You may love him, but are not ready for the next step, or there may be some outstanding issues you need to resolve before you make that decision. If you didn’t see the proposal coming and you feel blindsided, simply tell him that although you love him very much, you feel that you need to take your time and strengthen your relationship before you talk marriage. If you don’t love him, then tell him that, or that you’re not there yet. You shouldn’t feel obligated to get married simply because someone asks you to be his wife. If he truly means it, he’ll ask again – or you can ask HIM next time if you’re non-traditional. And if he’s not the one, then the right man WILL ask one day.
2. You’re Head Over Heels in Love
We’ve all been there – the “honeymoon” stage of a relationship where everything is bubble gum raindrops. He can do no wrong in your eyes, you’re glued to each other’s hip and you’ve never had one argument. And it’s only been 3 months.
Even if you two can finish each other’s sentences, if you two have never had a disagreement, then something is off. Not to say that you should be fighting day in and day out, but if a couple agrees on EVERYTHING, then either someone is lying or you haven’t been dating long enough to get to the point where you have something to disagree on. If you believe that marriage is forever, then you have to go through a few trials and arguments to see how you resolve conflict and if you can stand the test of time. Relationships will inevitably hit a rough patch, and if you haven’t had any challenges in your relationship so far, then you’ll never know if you have a strong enough relationship to weather the storms. Love is great, but love isn’t enough.
3. You Think It’ll Fix Him or the Relationship
How many times have you heard a girlfriend say that she can “train” or change her man once she (traps) marries him? Sorry boo-boo, but if you think you can change anyone, you’re sadly mistaken – and marriage is the wrong time to test that crazy thought out. Who he is now is who he’ll be after you two jump the broom, and chances are whatever you hate about him or your relationship will only get worse or more glaring once you get married. If you can’t marry him the way he is, faults and all, or your relationship still needs work – then wait. Iron out your issues first, THEN make a lifelong commitment. You may find that a lifelong commitment is not in the cards after all.
4. You Hate Dating
Personally, I think dating and meeting new people is fun. But for some men and women, dating is a chore. They just want to get it over with already so they can settle down, relax, and have some babies. Maybe the dating scene isn’t for you anymore, or you feel like the old woman or guy in the club. Maybe you’re lonely. But trust me, single and searching is better than married and miserable any day…and you can still feel lonely in a bad marriage. Change your ideas about dating, or stop dating for a while and focus on yourself. You may find that when you take care of yourself and live your life, the right one magically appears when you least expect it, and it’ll be easy, not exhausting.
5. You’re Settling
So you’ve kissed a few frogs and suddenly you meet a good guy. He doesn’t make your heart go pitter patter, the sex is…eh…and your parents think he’s a nice guy – so you might as well marry him. Sounds romantic right? Wrong.
Just because he’s the best boyfriend you’ve had so far doesn’t mean he’s the one for you. Not that you should continue to date jerks and jump-offs instead of the nice guy, but you have to be honest with yourself and your true feelings about him. The guy who is meant for you truly exists, so wait for him to find you instead of settling for “Mr. Good Enough.”
6. You’re Knocked Up
It’s honorable of him to want to make an “honest woman” out of you if you should become pregnant out of wedlock, but having a baby doesn’t necessarily mean marriage should follow…at least not right away. If you both were planning to get married anyway and the pregnancy just happened to come first, then proceed and be happy with your baby’s daddy. But if marriage wasn’t even a thought, let alone discussed, then hold off until maybe after the baby is born to see how you both cope with parenthood first. Just because you aren’t married doesn’t mean you can’t be great co-parents. Your child deserves to be in a happy home, even if both parents aren’t under one roof. A stable home doesn’t have to mean marriage, you just have to be mature.
7. Your Biological Clock is A Ticking Time Bomb
Okay, so you may not be pregnant yet, but you want to be…just not out of wedlock. So rather than wait to see if the guy you’re dating is even marriage material, you agree to get married so that you can start your family before Mother Nature says you can no longer procreate. It’s great that some women want to be married FIRST before having a child, but if you rush a marriage just because you want to hurry up and have a baby, you may get that baby…and a divorce along with it. Take your time to make sure you choose the right father for your child, because choosing the wrong man simply because you’re in a rush not only isn’t fair to you, but it’s really unfair to your child. Don’t be selfish. There are ways to be a parent that don’t involve marriage, like deciding to have a child on your own via a sperm donor or adoption. Yes, it’s helpful to have a good man around to help you, but if you choose the wrong one, you’ll be raising that child alone…whether you’re married or not.
Marrying a man with means sounds wonderful, but eventually the lack of love and affection may lead you to divorce court…or a miserably lonely life. There are some women who are that materialistic, so good luck to them. But if you’re marrying someone because they have a great government job with great government benefits, that’s another form of settling. Also, you’re taking a risk with someone else’s money. These days, jobs aren’t secure and benefits aren’t a given. And if you don’t have these available to you on your own, then the foundation you thought your marriage was built on could crumble under your feet. Financial dependence is tricky because there are no guarantees. Handle your own business and marry him because you love him, not because you depend on him to pay your bills.
9. Peer Pressure
You’re the last of your friends to get married and everyone is wondering why you’re single and haven’t settled down yet…does this sound like you? If so…so what!
Just because all of your friends were married by age 30, and you’re 34 with no man in sight, doesn’t mean you have to run out and find a man to marry just so you can keep up with them. If your siblings are married with kids, your parents may be pressuring you to catch up so that they can be grandparents to YOUR children as well. But you don’t have to give in to the pressure. Kindly explain to your friends and family that you love being single and not having to answer to anyone. Or tell them that the perfect guy for you simply hasn’t found you yet, so you’re enjoying your singlehood until that magical day happens. Or better yet…tell them to mind their own business and worry about their own spouses. For every married friend we have, we know one who is unhappily married – and who wants you to join in their misery. Not that marriage is a death sentence, but make sure you get married because the time is right for YOU, not for them.
10. You Want a Wedding
Most women I know dream about the wedding, not the marriage. They’ve had their dress picked out since they were 16 years old, have all their bridesmaids chosen and have planned out their wedding day to the very last detail. Now all they need is a man…any man…to marry. So the first guy who proposes gets an automatic “yes” just so she can put her wedding plan into motion, only to find out that once the honeymoon is over, she has no idea who this man is. Keep that dress stored in the back of your closet until the right man comes along, because the perfect accessory to the perfect dress is TRUE love and commitment. If you’d still marry your Prince Charming at City Hall or a drive-thru chapel in Vegas, then that is still considered a fairytale wedding.