(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)
I’ve written a lot of posts about being single, and dating, and many related thoughts in-between. Lately I’ve been thinking about marriage — but not because it’s suddenly on my personal radar. I just think it’s interesting that, rather than becoming pro-marriage as I get older (and subsequently closer to a “marrying age”), my long-standing views on the subject just become more reinforced in my mind.
The first time I remember thinking about marriage vs. simply being in a committed relationship was back when I was a teenager. That’s when my parents got divorced. I’m not saying their divorce turned me off to marriage, but it’s the first time anyone’s marriage had ever impacted me personally. Since then, I’ve seen examples of all kinds of relationships — the good, the bad, and the ugly. And honestly, it doesn’t seem all that appealing.
A few things that come to mind when I think about marriage:
It’s not on my list of life-goals. Getting married has never been something I’ve felt like I have to do. This probably ties into the fact that I’m also completely happy being childfree. I do know that if I ever have a child, it will be quite a few years in the future. And since I’m not looking to be a mom, I don’t feel like I’m in any rush to find a dad. That being said, marriage not being on my list of life-goals doesn’t mean I have to stay single. It’s just that —
I want to be with someone who’s with me because they want to be, not because they feel like they have to be. When two unmarried people live together, they’re making the choice to be together every day. They’re not staying together just because they happened to make a vow at some point. I don’t want someone to feel like they have to stay with me if they’d rather not be there.
Marriage means different things to different people. For instance, my younger sister is getting married this fall. She very much wants to do this and I think it’s awesome she’s doing so, but when I look at her getting married, I see she’s acknowledging that for her foreseeable future, she knows this will be her life. Barring any major problems, I’m sure she can easily see herself with this guy (who I like very much, I might add) ten years from now and beyond.
They already own a house. They’re talking about having kids, one boy and one girl. It’s great for them, but it just seems foreign to me. I can’t picture that life for myself. At least not anytime soon.
Sometimes people don’t believe me when I say that. My family? Yes, they’ve always believed me because they know me. They know this is how I am, and they know the way I think, and they’ve always been supportive of me no matter what I choose to do. However, when it’s come up in conversation with a guy, I’ve had more than one of them — really, a majority of them — look at me like they don’t believe me when I say that marriage and children are far from being forefront in my mind. They usually respond by saying that any woman who feels that way now is surely going to change her mind at any minute. So inwardly I roll my eyes and think to myself, “Fine. I guess I’ll just have to prove it to you then. Let’s see where I am in five years.”
I realize many women don’t feel this way, and that’s fine. I’m not trying to change anyone’s mind. You should do what’s right for you, and so will I. It’s not like I think being married would hold me back or keep me from doing things in life that I want to do. I realize that if you find the right person, you do things together and you’re supposed to be mutually supportive. I just know I could be happy having that kind of relationship with someone I wasn’t married to.
I can see myself being one of those couples who laugh when people ask them when they’re getting married. Like, “Oh, hahahahaha…why would we want to do that?” And then we’ll go on our merry way, knowing that we’re together because we want to be.
It’s not like I’m declaring I’ll never get married — if I do end up changing my mind one day, I’m sure I’ll have a good reason for doing so. It’s just that if I don’t, I won’t feel like I’ve missed out on anything. I’ll choose commitment and honesty over vows any day.