I just read a blog post by a girl who is 22, living overseas, and proudly single…so proud, in fact, that she wrote a post about why you shouldn’t get married young. Now, she didn’t give an exact age that one should reach before she approves of marriage, but she basically took the stance that your life is over once you’re married, plus you’ll probably get divorced. Essentially, being young and carefree means not having a ring on it. I can’t pretend that I’ve never thought that getting married in your early 20s would have its challenges, but after reading this young lady’s blog, I feel the need to stand up for my friends who are already married/engaged.
Statistically, my fellow single blogger is correct: many marriages in America fail. And, yes, the age bracket with the highest rate of divorce is 20-24. That being said, why do so many single women cling to these depressing statistics and use them as a way to make themselves feel better about being single? Worse, why do they use them as a way to pass judgment on their married peers? Call me crazy, but I hope with all of my heart that my girlfriends who have said “yes” will all live long, dedicated, happy lives with their husbands. I am not in their homes, do not witness their daily interactions, hear their goofy jokes on the couch, or know their whispered words of love in the bedroom (ew, thank God). I can’t feel what they feel or comprehend their mutual trust. You’ve heard it before, but here’s a friendly reminder: You can’t understand a relationship unless you’re in it.
I’m not talking about blatantly terrible relationships where the guy is cheating and the girl is crying and they get married anyway because of the baby on the way. No, I’m talking about the average friend who gets engaged to a guy she met in a bar or on match.com or through her roommate, who seems genuinely in love and excited to hang out with her man for the rest of her life. In that case- give the girl’s ring a “like” on Facebook and maybe try not comparing your life to hers. Just because you’re having an awesome time in your singlehood doesn’t mean that someone else your age can’t be ready to kick back with a husband and a yard project. I should also point out that some married people still travel, work out, make out, and enjoy bro-time or girls nights out. Shocker- I know. Especially since we’ve been taught that being married means being tied down, letting yourself go, only being physical to procreate, and losing contact with all of your friends.
Let me touch on where I’m personally coming from. I’m 25, single, and really can’t imagine being married right now. I live in a run-down apartment, eat brie cheese every other night for dinner, and really loathe giving back rubs. The idea of having enough money or patience to pick out pretty home décor is more than I can grasp. Plus the thought of sharing counter space in the bathroom is super stressful. On the significant other front, I have dated some terrible guys and some fantastic guys. Some too nice, some too rude. Some too loud, some too quiet. Some too old, some too young. I’m kind of like Goldilocks, waiting for one that’s jusssst right.
Marriage might be a foreign concept to me right now, but I hope that someday I’ll understand why all of my friends are tying the knot (congrats to the 87 new engagements among my Facebook friends that happened while I was on vacation last week). I’m sure it’s a very exciting moment when you realize that the person you’re with could satisfy you for the rest of your days. When I think of it that way, who knows if I would’ve taken the plunge at age 23 had I met the right man? But I didn’t. Not even close. At that point in my life, I was seeing an Irishman in NYC who disappeared one night and resurfaced six months later, after I had already held for him a mental funeral and prayed that the police would find his body. It didn’t work out.
…But back to my take on being single. I love traveling and eating copious amounts of Nutella and writing a blog (all things that this blogger claimed were important things to do before you get married), but I also feel no need to make strangers uncomfortable in public places, cut my hair, or get a tattoo because “they’re more permanent than marriage” (also on her list of things I’m apparently supposed to do pre-ring). Getting married has nothing to do with missing out on a full life. In fact, many would argue that marriage makes your life even fuller. If you don’t agree, keep in mind that a full life can mean something completely different to every person- hence why blogger girl thinks you need to “hang out naked in front of a window” and I do not. To say it simply, being single can be great. And so can being married. Being single can be painful…and so can being married. No need to pass judgment on those who check a different marital status box than you on their W-4 forms. We’re all just people, living life, and enjoying the cards we’ve been dealt (hopefully).
Twenty-two-year-old single blogger girl has every right to be thrilled with the choices she’s made in life, but in my humble opinion, maybe she should add one more thing to her list of “23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23”: Overcome the immaturity of thinking that your way is the best way to live. Lord knows you’re not ready to be married if you still think your life choices are superior to others.
So go ahead, my young single ladies (and gents)- be happy for your friends who are engaged/married. Have faith that they’ve made the best decisions they could regarding the bling on their left hands. You can always unfollow certain newsfeeds or drink Pinot Noir while watching He’s Just Not That Into You if you need to get away from all of the wedding fuss. And you married people- remember that those of us who aren’t even close to creating bridal pages on Pinterest (I don’t have Pinterest, so I apologize if “pages” is the wrong lingo…Shanny the Granny strikes again!) are not to be pitied. Life would be really lame if we were all on the same track.