Alright, this blog was a long time coming, so let’s just jump right into it!
Ever been so caught up in the IDEA of something, that you don’t even take the time to see if it’s really something that you actually want or fits into your life? For me, that would be marriage. I’ve mentioned before that I never grew up envisioning my wedding day. I was never called “Princess” by my dad. I never wanted to wear a crown (or even a tiara). When I actually did go to weddings, I was more excited about eating cake and dancing than catching a bouquet. But the imagery of marriage was always there. It was that elephant in the room. The white dresses and the veils and the groom….they were all there to remind me that as a woman; you better get married.
Going to church, I began to hear words like “equally yolked” and “marriage beds aren’t defiled” and “when a man finds a wife, he find a good thing” . Whenever I would get the courage to ask a Sunday School teacher if I could live with a man instead of marry him, I would immediately be shut down; because of the whole “living in sin” bit. So marriage was what I had to strive for, you know, if I wanted to live a sin-free life and have all the sex I wanted with my husband.
In college, marriage was once again the topic of discussion. It moved from being a spiritual obligation to it being an necessity. It became a part of a “check-list” that was the basis of how successful (or lack thereof) you were. Soon, dating and relationships became a means to an end. A race against the clock to obtain this title, this ring, and this piece of paper by the time I reached 30. I even remember once during orientation, a beautiful, slender woman stand up in front of the classroom and introduced herself. She also told the class, without hesitation, that her plans for college was to find a husband and become a stay-at-home mom. A few of the guys laughed, some of the girls scoffed. I shook my head. This is kind of an expensive dating service, don’t you think? But wasn’t that why we were all there? We heard the stories about how most young adults meet their husband/wife at college…so were we any different than her? I had my serious college relationship and I just knew we were headed for marriage, even though something inside was nagging. Is marriage what I really want? We never did get married, even after I pressured him to just take us up to City Hall one day. Not because I loved him and couldn’t see myself with anyone else, but because it just seemed like the right thing to do. We were (I hope) faithful. There was no one else. I was almost 30.
So here I am, 32 and single. My ideas on marriage have changed tremendously. I wanted to believe that there is “The One” out there for me and only me and we would get married and have the happily ever after. But after I encountered my third “The One”, I stopped looking. Something about “The One” felt incomplete. Made me feel incomplete. It didn’t feel real to me; as if “The One” was some sort of fantasy I was chasing that would really make me get 100% on board with marriage and being married. Then I learned about being Present and Being. To say those two things changed my perspective on relationships is an understatement. I started to see a level of possessiveness in marriage that I wasn’t comfortable with. I’ve always resented any relationship where I felt that I couldn’t be free. Not in the “I want to date other people while seeing you” aspect, but not having the space to become the woman that I’m suppose to be.
As I watch friends around me get married or engaged, I start to wonder what’s wrong with me. What haven’t I realized that they have? This is my conclusion: I’m more focused on cultivating real, meaningful relationships. I’m not completely against getting married. Actually, I wouldn’t mind having a destination wedding. I’m just not in a rush to get married, nor do I feel that pressure to be married anymore. When it’s my time, I’ll be ready. If I never get married, that’s fine too. If I just have a rotation of great relationships, then good for me! I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m not a true cynic of marriage. Just for now, it’s not for me.