This is an article from The College Crush, a really fun blog about relationships for those of us in our college years. Yet another one of my friends has gotten engaged and even though I know that I do not want to be in a relationship I cannot help but feel a pang of jealousy whenever another girl announces her engagement on facebook or the like. I once thought that I was going to marry someone. He brought up marrying me often and even wrote his vows to me. But that relationship did not end well.
I think that more than anything this article plays the role of the big sister that I have never had. It gives me hope and courage to keep on waiting. Most importantly, it inspires me to go after all of the things that I want in the world because I am not tied down to one person. I think this is God’s way of telling me that while He does have someone for me to marry, that right now, He needs me to accomplish something else. Something much bigger. I love that notion. It’s like freedom, but better. There is probably not a correct word to describe it. All I know is that when you feel it, if you are ever blessed enough to do so, you will know.
Sometimes I think that I do not have the best picture of what marriage is. I have seen a lot of heartache come from marriage, from having children, from having a union which literally binds you to another until death. Divorce is so popular these days. I still hold onto a very romanticized notion of marriage, one in which a handsome man who is a good six inches taller than me, asks me not to be his wife, but join our lives together or simply put: to build a library.
I think that would be the most romantic marriage proposal ever. If a man knelt down on one knee as the two of you are sharing hot cocoa on a crisp fall day, the burnt colors of the leaves creating a warm glow over the earth. He will be wearing plaid, or maybe I will be. My hair will not look good, that’s for sure. When he kneels down in front of me and looks up to meet my eye I just know that my sentimental heart will palpitate wildly. And he will grin and say “Build a library with me?”.
Happily ever after.
I realize you just got a pedicure and everything, but I’m about to step on some toes here. Sorry.
There’s a peculiar phenomenon that happens toward the end of college. Engagements start popping up everywhere, and before you know it, all the girls have wedding binder blinders on. And then all their friends put them on. And eventually there is a giant army of entranced girls marching around and talking about flowers and favors and seating charts, while starving themselves to fit into that size 2 wedding dress.
Now that I’ve got a garage full of dusty bridesmaid dresses and I’ve finally made it safely through this phenomenon and moved on to the latter part of my twenties, I want to tell you ladies to be wary of getting caught up in the wedding cluster. But first, let me preface this by saying that I 100% agree with marriage, when it comes at the right time for both individuals. Unfortunately, I often feel that marriage occurs as the result of pressure, whether it be from societal norms, family or even worse – a significant other.
Ladies, I know we got it rough. Am I right? We don’t want to end up an Old Maid. We’ve got to beat the Biological Clock. We’ve got to snag a guy while we’re still young and wrinkle-free and perky. So so many reasons to lock down the ole ball and chain right?
My dear, you’ve never been so beautiful and so wrong all the same time. A great deal of my friends got married in or right after college, during the cluster phase. Some are happy, most are not. And based on my own observations as well as my conversations with them, I have some things for you to munch on.
1. What you want right now will be completely different from what you want in five years. In other words, once you get on your own and out of the college bubble, pursue your career, meet new and interesting people and date around – you will inevitably change as a person. You will grow. You will mature. The same things will not appeal to you that did when you were 21. Believe it or not, partying all night will even lose it’s luster. The problem with marrying someone during or right out of college is that you are both going to change SO MUCH throughout your twenties that it is hard for many marriages to last because the couples often grow apart.
2. Having an instant family means instant responsibility.During my twenties, I did whatever I wanted. I got my own house, tried out a lot of different careers, studied abroad, traveled the world. These are things I never could have done if I’d of been married or had a child. That is not to say that those things are negative because I very much want my own family when I’m ready – but I know that I’d have always been restless had I not gotten the chance to explore life a bit. Everyone is different and some people don’t need to go through this, but I did. And maybe you do too.
3. The excitement is exciting, but that’s about it. Part of the wedding cluster phenomenon is that everyone gets wrapped up in the excitement.I mean, what could be better than trying on wedding dresses with your best friend? I know, trying them with your best friend who is also engaged! Right, right. I get it. Wedding planning is fun – of course, now that I’ve been a part of about twenty weddings I might beg to differ. But does anyone ever stop to think what it is they are so excited about? I’ve rarely ever heard a girl say, “I’m stoked about spending the rest of my life with Tim and cleaning his underwear up off the floor cus he insists on using the hamper as a basketball hoop.” The answer is always something to do with having a perfectly coordinated day that results in awesome pictures to hang on the mantle. I feel that wedding excitement can be a bit deceiving because it distracts from the real focus of starting a life together. And that is serious business.
4. Feeling left out can lead to tragic mistakes. It’s easy for girls to feel left out when all of their friends are getting married. I think this can result in pushing a marriage on their partner, who might not be ready, or settling for someone. These are two tragic mistakes. Trust me when I say that a marriage will never work if someone is pushed into it, whether that be by guilt or ultimatum. It took me a lot of guts to back out of my previous engagement, but I knew I wasn’t ready and it would end in disaster. And settling for someone who might not be the best fit for you is essentially setting yourself up for lifelong misery. Why do that to yourself? Just so you can have a ring like your friends? What does it matter if you’re unhappy?
And don’t wave your finger at me and tell me that I don’t understand. I’m almost 30 and all of my friends are not only married, but they also have kids. And I’m just fine. And I never settled. And I experienced a lot of life. It was my choice, and they all respect me for it – because they want me to make the right decision in the right timing.
Not the wrong decision in everyone elses timing.
Toss the wedding binder – it’s weighing you down,