10 Reasons Why Marriage Isn't My PriorityThursday, February 18, 2016
Oh, what a revelation it was when she realised she didn’t need to settle.
From childhood, we’ve all been ingrained with romanticised fairytales. From Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and The Little Mermaid - they have one thing in common. These heroines are living mundane lives waiting around until Prince Charming comes along. Fate brings them together, and the moment they meet, sparks fly, they defeat evil and live happily ever after.
I believe there is a danger in the notion that finding a partner is the most important thing in the world. What if some of us never find him? Will we remain worthless and miserable all our lives? Will our lives be meaningless if we never get married?
Even Sex and the City had to tailor fit its ending to Hollywood expectations. Carrie finally married her on-again-off-again boyfriend. The last movie strayed from the original feminist vision that believed women don’t ultimately find happiness from marriage.
Sadly, too many of us succumb to society’s ideals, without really understanding the rationale behind it, without first establishing what they really want out of it. If you think you’ve got that all figured out, then stop right here. This post isn’t for meant for you. But if you’re curious and there's the slightest chance that you might be thinking the same thing, or maybe at one point have, then by all means read on.
Here is why marriage isn’t a priority for me right now:
1 There are a hundred other things that matter
What about wholeheartedly investing in our careers without worrying about someone else? Every single one of us should be able to pursue our innermost desires without always thinking about our “other-half". We must be free to fuel our passions without worrying about what our in-laws think, shouldn’t we? What about traveling and seeing the world on our own sweet time? When you are not Mrs. Someone, you are absolutely free to forge friendships with people from different backgrounds and nourish relationships that support you without the unnecessary guilt or jealousy.
2 You can have a full happy, fulfilled life without getting married
Get to know yourself first, be truly comfortable in your own skin. Be unafraid to show your true authentic self. What about living fearlessly every single day of your life? What about living unapologetically? This may sound like such a cliche to you, because it really is a huge part of being able to live a life that you love.
It’s 2016, people. We live in a time when women are voted president and relentlessly break glass ceilings like never before. Women are just as ambitious and independent as men, and it’s no longer viewed as something negative. It’s now possible and easier for us, should we choose to become single parents if we wanted to. So calm down woman, and forget about your clock ticking, you are not a bomb. You can always freeze your eggs or consider adoption if you feel like you might want a child someday.
Disregard the pathetic need to fit into someone else’s ideals. How many of us suffer and cry about men who never took us seriously in the first place? How much effort do we waste trying to make ourselves "wife material” in the hopes that someone will propose? How many of us have sacrificed our true identities in order to be the ideal bride, daughter-in-law or sister-in-law?
"There’s so much more to life than finding someone who will want you, or being sad over someone who doesn’t. There’s a lot of wonderful time to be spent discovering yourself without hoping someone will fall in love with you along the way, and it doesn’t need to be painful or empty. You need to fill yourself up with love. Not anyone else. Become a whole being on your own. Go on adventures, sit in a coffee shop on your own, dress up for yourself, give to others, smile a lot. Live for yourself and be happy on your own. It isn’t any less beautiful, I promise.” - Emery Allen
4 Marriage changes everything
Have you heard about Murphy’s Law? "Anything that can possibly go wrong, does.” You can marry your best friend and have the perfect relationship, but once the intense pressure of an awesome wedding and lifelong marriage is added, even the strongest relationships can fall apart. Living together quickly magnifies different things about our partners. After the wedding, you’ll both have bills to pay. You'll want a comfortable home and along with that comes a mortgage and taxes. Shortly after, in-laws will start looking for a grandchild, and then that child will start looking for a sibling. Before you know it, you no longer have any idea who you are, much less who your best friend has turned into.
5 You can marry a psychopath and not know it
The pressure of having a good and lasting marriage can turn us into entirely different people. A partner can either bring out the best or worst in us. Boyfriends who repeatedly lie and cheat on us can turn us into green eyed monsters, I know this from personal experience. In more masochistic cultures, women are regarded as the man’s property the moment they marry, thus having to give dowry as if buying something material. Because of this age old mindset, everyone turns a blind eye even when abuse is apparent. What's even more heartbreaking, is that many women choose to remain in these relationships even though they are being physically or mentally abused by their partners for the fear of ending their marriage. "What will people say?”, "How will I support myself or my own children?"
6 True love doesn’t need a contract
"I, ___, take you, ___, for my lawful wife/husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part."
"I, ___, take you, ___, to be my husband/wife.
I promise to be true to you in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health.
I will love and honor you all the days of my life.”
~Traditional Catholic Marriage Vows
Have you ever had a best friend? Someone you can just hang out with all day, not needing to do anything in particular and still have the best time in the world? Someone who understands your deepest emotions without judging you or wanting to change you at all? Someone who shares your love for bacon and Nutella without making you feel guilty? You can be apart for months or even years and go right back to where you left off. You may fight about men or the silliest things and make up the next day like nothing happened. Because you love each other unconditionally. How is this possible with best friends but not with marriage? You didn’t need any vows, did you?
I think having a partner should be the same way. It should feel natural. It shouldn’t feel like it’s goddamn rocket science just to maintain a reciprocal relationship. Neither of you should sacrifice your beliefs, change religion or compromise your identity just to be able to stay in love. Call me crazy but I don’t think love needs a ceremony or a contract just the same way that you and your best friend will care for each other no matter what happens. I really do believe that true love gives you freedom instead of caging you.
Newsflash: marriage doesn’t automatically equate to monogamy. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but any marriage can fall apart as quickly as a Tinder match can happen. It’s no secret that in the western world, over half of marriages end up in divorce. More and more people are admitting to being polyamorous as well. In a country like the Philippines, marriage could mean forever only because divorce is not allowed by the Catholic church. Your marriage may be annulled, but it will be more difficult for you to get married the second time around.
8 ...And when it falls apart, you’ll be broken
When you’ve grown up believing in fairy tales and have always needed boyfriends, of course you will be devastated when your relationship doesn’t end up in marriage, or when your marriage, heaven forbid, actually falls apart. Learn to stand on your own two feet, my dear. The more independent you are, the happier you'll be.
You decide how you get to live happily aver after, and not anyone else.
9 What if I simply want to change my mind?
What if we don’t hate each other but decide to go separate ways? Because 10, 20 or 30 years from now, when I've lived and loved and done everything I wanted, I should be able to change my mind if I wanted to.
Guess what ladies, you are free to write your own fairytale. A story where you can eat whatever you want without getting fat. Where you can tap your ruby shoes together and be transported to any place you like. It could have a Prince Charming, or a few of them and no crying babies at all.
But you decide how you get to live happily ever after,
and not anyone else.
10 Regardless, I am still capable of love
Just because I don’t believe in marriage doesn’t mean I’m incapable of being part of a healthy loving relationship. I fall in love quite often actually. The hard part is finding someone who’s comfortable with my core beliefs and who’s on the same journey as I am. I do open myself up to love, but if it’s not reciprocated, my self-worth and happiness don’t depend on it. So no rush, no worries.
"And when you choose a life partner, you’re choosing a lot of things, including your parenting partner and someone who will deeply influence your children, your eating companion for about 20,000 meals, your travel companion for about 100 vacations, your primary leisure time and retirement friend, your career therapist, and someone whose day you’ll hear about 18,000 times. Intense shit. ~Wait But Why
Is marriage a priority for you or not? Share your thoughts and stories in the comments!
Main photo credit: Stephanie Dandan