However, her intention and my reaction hit a fork and went different ways. Let me disclaim: I agree girls should wait to get married and spend their 20s getting to know themselves. They should spend time going to school, traveling, focusing on their careers, becoming self-reliant, working on friendships, spending time with your family, figuring out who you are and what you want.
More after the jump…
But here’s the problem:
I don’t think a girl chooses the wrong guy solely because she’s young. Rather, I think it’s because she’s rushing. It’s convenient to blame it on age. And in theory that makes sense. The problem is, growing up probably didn’t change them as much as marriage itself did. When she finally realized she deserve more or her life would be better off alone, she starts to focus more on herself, and not on the guy. She starts to get to know who she is and what she wants. But she didn’t do that because she grew up in years. She did that because she stopped focusing on worrying about finding someone, and more on herself, what she wants, deserves and needs. The problem is, until a girl realizes marriage isn’t the answer to happiness, that’s where her focus is going to be. And as long as her focus is on finding a guy, she won’t focus on herself.
And I think the statistic about how if you wait until you’re 25 your likelihood of staying married doubles is hokey. Sure, simply look at the numbers, and that’s what you see. But it’s more accurate to look at the people who got married before 25. The ones who are rushing to get married are the ones who make bad decisions. The problem isn’t so much getting married young as it is the rush to get married, the rush to prove you’re wanted, the rush to have someone all your own, the rush to start a family. Once you knock out the people who rush to the altar, the ones who don’t decide as quickly will of course have made better choices.
Does this mean I think everyone who gets married young will fail? Absolutely not. In fact, I think my sisters (who got married young) have some of the best relationships of any of my friends or family members. I think you CAN find someone when you’re young. And I also think people over 25 can be hasty in choosing a mate as well. If you take the time to honestly look at yourself, look at the life you want, look at the life your potential mate wants, and be honest with each other about the compromises you’re willing and unwilling to make, you can choose a good partner, even if you are 21. Or, on the other hand, say you reach 28 and realize you want to get married before you’re 30, you can choose just as bad of a partner as the girl who’s 21, is looking for unconditional love in her life, so she goes with the first guy who proposes.
The problem isn’t age. The problem is that marriage is a damn accomplishment. It’s NOT an accomplishment. I’m sorry. I mean, yay for you finding someone who will buy you a ring and say he’ll stick by you. That’s not an accomplishment. I’m sorry.
Marriage is work. Two people who love each other, are willing to work, have common ethical and moral beliefs, and all the things everyone says it takes to make a marriage work is work. Being diligent in finding someone who’s right is an accomplishment. But just getting married? Anyone can do that.
And NOT getting married is an accomplishment, too. It’s not a failure to not get married. In fact, I think society would be a lot happier if we stopped getting married and instead just had long-term relationships with each other. But that’s neither here nor there.
Oh, and on a side note, I have never been jealous of a bride. NEVER. I have never wanted a wedding. I have never wanted to pick out a dress or cake or hall or colors. I’ve never wanted to choose between roses and daisies. I’ve never wanted to be the center of attention or get a bunch of gifts I’ll probably never unpack or use. I always felt like the wedding was the work you do as part of the commitment to each other. I am always shocked when girls say they’re jealous.
Bottom line: Telling girls to wait to get married isn’t the answer. I wish more girls would go through their teens and twenties knowing they aren’t going to find the right person. Date? Sure. Seriously? Sure if you find a good guy. But we need to get better at letting the bad ones go and instead go out for drinks with our friends. Enjoy a movie alone at home, or the theater! Go to dinner alone. Travel with other single friends. Spend time with your parents, grandparents, aunts, siblings, nieces, nephews. Instead of acting like one person (a guy) is what life’s about, realize there’s so much more out there. So many experiences, so many things to learn, try and be.
The answer is getting girls to realize there’s more to life than a guy telling her what she thinks she wants to hear. And there’s more to life than taking said guy, putting him atop an overpriced wedding cake in plastic form for the whole world to see he chose you.
The answer is helping girls raise their self-worth. Help them see that a guy doesn’t define them. And a guy choosing them doesn’t give them purpose or make them worthy. They’re wonderful just as they are, alone. A girl doesn’t need a guy to take care of her. Or to make money for her. She doesn’t need him to say he loves her to make her life have meaning. She doesn’t need a guy to want her to be wanted or worthy. There’s a lot of love in the world, and it doesn’t only come in husband form.
I heard somewhere that if you have a desire in your heart to find someone, then there’s someone out there for you. And in the meantime, there’s a lot of life to live, a lot of fun things to do, a lot of laughs to be had. And you can do that without a guy. I promise.