Words For Women Who Aren’t Sure Marriage Is For Them
I, personally, am unsure as to where I stand on getting married. I’m not saying I am unsure that anybody should be married. I have plenty of married friends and I can see that marriage is right for them. I’ve attended many weddings where I’ve been genuinely moved to tears by the ceremony, and the vows my friends exchanged. I can see marriage’s place in society, and in a relationship. But just because I see the merit in a tradition does not mean I automatically believe that tradition has a place in my life. Every person is different, so how could I possibly believe marriage is right for every person? I don’t. And I, personally, fall into a category of people for whom I am not sure marriage is right. Taking this stance (or lack of a stance) has led me to some frustrating and confusing conversations with friends and family that I’ve had to learn to navigate. Here are some words for women who aren’t sure if marriage is for them.
People think it’s his idea
Often when I tell people that I’m unsure about marriage, they’ll make some snide comment to my boyfriend like, “Lucky guy” or “How’d you brainwash her into thinking that?” Because of the stereotype that women chase commitment and men run from it, a lot of people just assume that I’ve convinced myself I don’t want to get married, all because my partner doesn’t want to or isn’t ready to. But, in fact, this idea came from my brain and my brain alone.
Or that you’re bitter
It makes me sad when people who know I’m unsure about my own wedding come up to me at weddings and say things like, “This must be boring for you” or “You must hate this.” Just because I don’t know if I want a wedding doesn’t mean that I don’t enjoy weddings, and am not truly happy for my friends who made the decision to get married. My uncertainty about getting married has nothing to do with any animosity or negativity around love and commitment. I think those are beautiful things. To insist I must be a bitter person because I don’t want to get married is very close-minded.
“You must have divorced parents”
As a matter of fact, I do. But I’m not only uncertain about marriage because of my divorced parents. I am uncertain about it because of the staggering divorce rates across the country. I’ve actually done a pretty good job assessing what went wrong in my own parent’s marriage, and mindfully selecting a partner with whom those issues likely won’t arise. My parents’ divorce, if anything, has taught me how to be a better partner and have a healthier relationship than my parents did. But that doesn’t change the fact that thousands of people get divorced every year for reasons I cannot possibly predict, guess or prevent.
You’re told you’ll change your mind
First off, I haven’t yet made up my mind. Hence the words in the title of this post “aren’t sure.” Second, I don’t love the implication that I, as an adult, am incapable of making educated, well-thought-out decisions. Third, when people tell me, “You’ll change your mind” it’s usually their way of dismissing my opinions on marriage and closing the discussion entirely. That’s a bit rude.
If you change your mind, you’ll hear, “I told you so”
The truly frustrating thing is that even though I am stating I am unsure about getting married—meaning I am not for or against it at this point—if I ever do decide to get married, people will say, “I told you so!” They will say that as if, at some point in life, I told them they were absolutely wrong about something. I didn’t do that.
You hate the lectures
If someone asks if I want to get married, and I answer honestly, “I don’t know” then I’m subjected to a half-hour lecture on the value of marriage. I didn’t ask for this lecture and what makes this person the authority figure on the matter? Of course, if I just lie and say, “Sure, I want to get married” to avoid the lecture, I feel dishonest.
You are still loving and affectionate
People often make jokes about my being cold or unloving, all because I don’t want to get married. I’m very loving and affectionate. I can hardly be in the same room as my boyfriend without touching him or telling him how much I love him every ten minutes. The desire to marry and the ability to love don’t only exist together.
“You don’t know how to commit”
I also don’t like the suggestions that I’m a commitment-phobe or that the only reason I am unsure about marriage is that I am unsure about my partner. I have been with my partner for nearly five years. We live together. We went through the hassle of apartment hunting, packing up all of our things and moving to cohabitate. We take care of a dog together. I’ve formed relationships with his family. We only feel closer every day. I know how to commit. It’s actually funny to me when couples who have, in fact, been together for less time than my partner and I have been, suggest they’re better at commitment because they’re married. Saying, “I do” takes a minute. Staying together for five years takes five years.
You can have a party without a wedding
If you’re out there thinking you know you’ll spend your life with your partner and you would love to have a party celebrating your relationship, even if you don’t get married, you should! People will come! People are always down for a good party. You may find throwing a party to celebrate your relationship scratches your wedding itch.
Don’t let a man pressure you into marriage
It’s quite common for two people to love each other, for only one of those people to want to get married, and for the other person to give in because they feel it makes no difference to them. But if you ever get married for any reason other than the fact that you truly want to get married, that marriage will almost certainly fail. Marriage is a big deal, and shouldn’t be entered into with the mindset of, “It makes no difference to me either way.”
It’s good that you ask yourself what marriage means
Don’t let people make you feel that you’re flaky or indecisive because you’re unsure you want to get married. It is actually very responsible of you to take all the time you need to decide where you come out on this significant concept. The real shame is the millions of people who get married, all because they’re told they should, but never put any thought into what marriage means to them. It’s better to over-think it than under-think it.
Going to weddings can feel odd and sad and great
Weddings bring up confusing emotions in me. It’s actually quite common for me to think, during a wedding, “I want a wedding. That’s it. I want this.” But then I wake up the next day, and those thoughts are gone. They were just a result of the great music and the champagne. Weddings, with all their glamor, can be quite persuasive. But marriage isn’t just a wedding, and I remember that the following day.
People who judge you are wrong for you
Don’t care what other people think about your stance on marriage. I don’t care. Anyone who assumes there is something wrong with me for not leaping at the idea of marriage isn’t someone I want in my life. If I do not judge people for being 100 percent certain about marriage, I deserve the same respect in return if I am uncertain.
You don’t need a ring to have kids
Walk into a kindergarten today and you’ll find all manners of families. You’ll find children of gay parents. You’ll find children of a couple in which the woman is 20 years older than her husband. You’ll find a child with a father in his 60s because this child is from his third marriage. You’ll find single parents, blended families, adoptive parents and nannies because the real parents are too busy to hang with their kids. It’s all happening so don’t feel insecure about having kids without a wedding ring when the apparently “upstanding” married parents next to you are on their second marriage.
There is no deadline to decide
If you feel a deadline to make up your mind about marriage, that deadline isn’t real. It’s all in your head. Let the urge to be married come to you…or not come to you. Maybe you and your partner will decide at the age of 45 to finally tie the knot. The only way to reach a natural, genuine decision on marriage is to not put a timeline on it.