It certainly wasn’t for my grandparents, together for nearly 60 years. They have trudged through thick and thin and still seem to like each other enough to hold hands in the grocery store, but I know that they fight. Marriage seemed logical to my parents, then when it broke they didn’t soldier through, they walked away bringing their bitter feelings with them. Now there is me. I’m a child of divorce. My mom briefly remarried, but my stepdad passed away in less than a year from cancer. My dad married a woman so she could get citizenship, as a way of paying some sort of karmic debt he thought he owed, and then he died of cancer. Everywhere I look in my family, I see failed or strained marriages, which makes me question why I even want to get married.
Let’s be real, as a child of a single mother, with no siblings, TV stepped in to raise me. TV taught me that of course you find the guy in the end, and your glorious fairy tale nuptials will be what finally brings your broken family back together. Deep inside of me, I want that to be true, but if I do get married I care more about the honeymoon than the shitshow my family will create arguing about minute details of the ceremony. What TV never talked to me about was what happens after you’re married. When the routine settles in and everyone takes it upon themselves to ask if you want children, if you’ll buy a house. It has always felt like a way of telling society that you are leveling up in maturity and life.
The concept of marriage is vague and vast in my mind; the happy fantasy gets jarred right after the honeymoon. So many questions go swimming through my mind, “ I’m with this one person forever? No one else? Is the seven-year itch a real thing? What if my loved one dies or even worse, cheats on me?” I’m nearing 30, it’s not exactly around the corner, but it’s coming and I’m worried. Wasn’t I supposed to have figured out a bunch of things by now? I’ve heard you don’t have much chance of conceiving past 35, is that even true? I’m very close to moving in with my boyfriend of close to 2 years, a man who has spent our entire relationship showing me what it’s like to be truly loved and respected by a partner. I am thrilled to live together, it will open so many more doors for us, but I am also scared. Will this lead to marriage? If it doesn’t, do I just add another failed long-term relationship to my list? I want the white wedding and happily ever after, but I also surrender to the fact that it may never happen. I think marriage has become an answer for people lacking direction in their lives.
As a hairstylist I am knee deep in the industry of marriage everyday. I know too many people, friends and clients, who got married because it was the next step, obsessing over updos and invitations. I want to say that I’m not sure. I want to be a grandparent, but do I want to be a mother? I have career goals and travel plans, and this pre-described notion of my future doesn’t fit that. As a person who lives to plan, I know I am going to struggle with this for the rest of my life. I feel that there will be many people in my life, with whom I form a bond strong enough to want to marry. I can only promise myself that I will follow my current relationship as far as it goes and choose the next step from there. That if I marry, it will be a celebration of the love I feel with my partner, not simply a gesture I feel needs to be made because I have reached a certain stage in my life.
Guest post by Steph, an introvert adventurer in an extrovert land.