Lately, I have seen some blogs going around that fall into one of two camps: A list of several things one should do before they get married or engaged, and the other, almost in retaliation and defense, stating the positives and perks to getting married young. Both are getting hundreds and thousands of likes and shares, and at the same time, very negative and in some cases, down-right rude comments and responses.
Okay. Enough is enough. I worked in a bridal shop for way too long, have a closet of way too many bridesmaid dresses, have read way too many of these blogs and their consequential comments- I have to say something.
(Warning: As much as I will try to be objective and fair, I know I will wind up offending someone. Just know that going in. These are my personal opinions, so take that with a grain of salt.)
Okay, *deep breath*, here it goes…
Who Actually Is Right?
My honest response? Both sides are. Both sides aren’t. They are both right and wrong, simultaneously. Both sides make compelling arguments, and at the same time both sides make compelling rebuttals to said arguments. Both sides also have various individuals that aren’t being respectful or nice about this debate, and both sides have individuals not listening to what the other side is saying. That’s where it starts to unravel into one hot mess of things sensible people try to avoid (and weirdos like me like to analyze and dissect and write blog posts five people in the whole world read regarding the subject).
Why the ‘Getting Married Young Camp’ Is Right…
I will say this flat out: I am not married. Yet. And I honestly want to hold off for a little while still. That’s for me. That is a decision for my personal self and my significant other only, a decision that changed over the years like many thoughts and feelings we possess can change over the years. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a teacher, and be married by age 22 and start having kids soon after.
There’s nothing wrong with wanting that.
No really, there isn’t.
Here’s why: Some people meet the love of their life in high school and stay married (and happily at that!) for over 50 years, and have three kids and the wife fulfills the traditional role of housewife and stay-at-home-mom and the husband fulfills the traditional role of financial provider for the family. For some individuals, that is their ultimate dream/goal in life: to find love and have a family of their own to love and grow with. And it’s not a bad dream. If we can encourage young girls (and boys too) to be astronauts, ballerinas, doctors, actors, artists, lawyers, construction workers, police officers, marine biologists-than we can certainly encourage young girls (and boys too) to want to strive for a lifelong partner/friend/lover/confidant and having kids with them. Some moms (and dads too)-being the stay-at-home parent or “soccer mom/dad” is there calling-they are crafty to a level no Pinterest or Etsy stalker can ever master, they just have a way with their kids, and they enjoy their job (because in essence, what they do is a job of sorts, and hard work at times) in a world where a lot of grown ups don’t.
And that is pretty awesome, if I do say so.
…and Why the ‘Getting Married Young Camp’ is Wrong.
As stated above, when I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, get married at age 22 right after college and start having kids. And, like a lot of people, I grew and changed with the seasons. My hatred for onions went away one day, and I found myself ordering them on my pizza. My adamant statement about never shaving my legs disappeared when I had to wear a dress in the school play and realized my hairy legs were sort of distracting in the short skirted costume. And, like both of those instances, my ideal job changed after the first year in college and my aspirations regarding marriage changed when I actually fell in love.
Some people know what they want at a very young age and stick to it like glue their whole life. Others, like me, went through wishy-washy phases and changed their mind.
And that’s why sometimes (note: sometimes) getting married young can be…dangerous…or risky. At the wise age of ten, my simple definition of marriage had been fabricated by Disney movies (the concept of true love) and “that’s what grown ups do-they fall in love and get married and have babies”. When you break it down, that is what happens-but I didn’t full comprehend all of what goes into a marriage.
Definitions regarding marriage vary with everyone, which is part of the problem with this “feud” that is going on. In my opinion (that I view as fact), marriage is a lifelong commitment to one person, that no matter what, for better or worse, you will stand by them and choose them repeatedly time and time again to be the one you share and go through life with. Even that run on sentence doesn’t seem to do justice to the definition of marriage. In short, marriage is a big deal.
A big deal not everyone gets, at say, the age of 20.
A big deal that some people get confused with the word “wedding.”
A big deal that results in an even bigger deal: divorce.
I have many friends that got married at a younger age (before age 25), and they are happy. They love their life and they love their kids. I can honestly say they knew what they were getting into, and marriage made them a better people individually and collectively. On the flip side, I have had quite a few friends rush into marriage/engagement, regret their decision, and ultimately break up or break it off. Now, I won’t claim to be an expert at why said marriages/engagements ended, because very situation is different, but some of them might have ended for a few different reasons.
1) They didn’t think of what their definition of marriage was.
2) Their definition of what a marriage was changed.
3) They both changed, or both started to see the real person they married.
4) Other (meaning every situation is different, and I will not claim to know every reason why a marriage ends, because I don’t)
Sometimes (not all) when people get married young, they haven’t come to the conclusion of what their definition of marriage is. Some (not all) are not emotionally ready or mature enough to handle what can come with marriage (whether it be at 18, 28, 38, or 78!) Some (not all) did a great job of concealing all their crazy and true personality from their spouse until after the marriage…or some (not all) ignored all the signs while they were dating.
Some (not all) proclaimed they could change their spouse and that love was more than enough. Some (not all) have other reasons why it didn’t work out after they married young.
So, in conclusion the “getting married young camp” is right. And wrong.
Why the ‘Do Really Cool Things And Get Married Later Camp’ Is Right…
Recently, I just started a new job (which saying I really am enjoying it is quite the understatement ;), have taken the first steps to moving out of my childhood bedroom and into my first non-campus apartment, and making more time for my writing. I am really happy with where I am right now and really excited for future adventures…
Future adventures that will hopefully someday include marriage…but not just yet. There are a few other places I would ideally like to visit before getting married, a few more dreams and goals I would like to achieve (or at least attempt) before settling down, and preferably I would like to be in a better place financially (mainly getting rid of some debt I have accrued) before taking on the additional responsibility (and expense) children could bring to the equation. Because, for me (and my boyfriend), we want to be able to 100% focus on each other and our children when it’s time to get married. We both don’t want to look back wistfully at these years and regret not taking a chance on our dreams.
And that’s where the get married later camp is right. They encourage knowing yourself before you commit to someone for life, they encourage traveling and additional school, because while not impossible once married or once a parent, it can be harder to schedule in with everything else and financially not as feasible. Not everyone needs to go on adventures before they settle down, and some people know who they are at a younger age than others. But some don’t, and need that extra time. And I honestly think it is wise to take their time than rush into something they might regret or will negatively affect another person or persons in ten years.
In a way, taking the time to be selfish now is better than deciding to be selfish later, once you should (at least in my opinion) be putting your spouse and children before yourself.
So there is nothing wrong with waiting, and putting career, education, and travel before marriage for awhile.
No, really, there is nothing wrong with it.
…and Why the ‘Do Really Cool Things And Get Married Later Camp’ Is Wrong.
As stated above, some people want to get married young, and understand what marriage is and isn’t. Some are financially set sooner, some want to have kids younger as opposed to older, and some meet the right person at the right time ten years sooner than others.
Sometimes this camp doesn’t factor in things like the changes a woman’s body goes through in her twenties and early thirties, and that the biological clock is a real thing, despite the advancements made in modern medicine. Not everyone wants kids, but some people do, and even if you want to have a career and have a family (which, it is possible to do both), you have to keep these things in mind. Others view getting married and being a stay-at-home-parent as weakness, which isn’t right either-the same way some women from the other camp might view being a successful career leader “not as rewarding” as being a parent.
And sometimes the people in this camp are just bitter single unmarried women that haven’t met the right person yet, and are just trying to make themselves better. A spade is a spade. (I say this as an unmarried woman that has gone through a phase..or two of this).
In conclusion, the get married later camp is right. And wrong.
What Bugs Me the Most About This Debate
Honestly, what bugs me the most about these two different camps feuding, is how downright rude and disrespectful some women can be to other women on the other side. One woman claims to not be judgmental, but starts name-calling and border line bullying a women who commented with a different opinion. Other women went out of their way to say “Well, I MARRIED YOUNG AND MY MARRIAGE IS PERFECT” only to be greeted with other women exclaiming “YOU ARE COVERING UP AND LYING AND PROBABLY ARE MISERABLE AND FAT”. (Alternative: “WELL I’M SINGLE AND TRAVELING AND LOVING IT SO THERE!” and in response to that “YOU ARE LONELY AND PROBABLY UGLY AND THAT’S WHY YOU CAN’T LAND A MAN)
Knock. It. Off.
Come on, people. Life is hard enough. Do we really need to break someone down so we can build ourselves up? Do we really need to throw it in people’s faces that we are happy, or are we doing it to make ourselves feel better, as someone claimed? Why do we feel the need to judge? Why are we insecure about the paths we choose? Why can’t we just be happy for each other? Why do we have to pick a side? Why are we “stupid and naive” for wanting to marry young? Why are we “unhappy and immature” for choosing a career? Why, why, why…
Why Does This Debate Matter In the First Place?
Because really, when a person gets married (or doesn’t get married) is their business. It’s between them and God as far as I’m concerned. Heck, honestly someone could look at this extremely long blog post and wonder why I wasted the time even writing this thing (and if someone calls me out on that-go right ahead. Because you’re right-I shouldn’t feel the need to have to address this and spend my Sunday afternoon writing about this) People marry young. People marry old. Some people are happy in their marriages. Some aren’t. Some are happy single. Some aren’t. But that is their business, and name calling and just being downright awful to each other isn’t helping.
Finally, Life Is…
Last year, I wrote a post about why people waste so much of their time worrying about things, from the petty to the past and the future-why do we worry? Because if you remember that life will eventually end…because we will all die…it makes all these petty internet squabbles (and even these ranty, drawn out, blog posts)…kind of pointless. So, really, we should just stop and be nice to each other, you know? 🙂
On that note, end note.