I am a bit unnerved by Slate’s article urging young people to get married. It seems like it’s written as if marriage is a choice that you make unilaterally. The reality is, you have to agree to be with another person, and that other person has to agree to be with you. I feel personally a bit upset by this because I, personally, have always been open to relationships, but nothing has worked out. And all the better!! Had I married at 23, I wouldn’t have developed into who I am, I wouldn’t have traveled as I have, gotten to make the (sometimes) crazy decisions about moving to New York City and really getting to know myself and what I want in my life. I’m still on that path. I’ve never been opposed to someone else fitting into that, but they haven’t. And now, at this point, I’m doubtful that the sacrament of marriage is even something I’m terribly interested in. It has such a shitty history, beginning as something that was pretty much just passing “property” from one man to another, and many parts of that tradition still hold (rings, father walking his daughter down the aisle to “give her away,” asking a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage, etc). I have always been a bit feisty. And never have I been more proud of that than I am today. I am not, by any stretch, opposed to finding a partner to share my life with, and theirs with me, but I feel like I have a much better idea of what that means, a much more realistic and mature idea, than I did at 23. Thank goodness I didn’t marry then!
But that is me.
I’m sure the author is perfectly happy as well, and I’m sure many of my married friends are content in their married lives. And I’m so so happy for them! I’m happy they’ve found what works for them! But no one should feel like they can’t do what is right for themselves (including marrying young). And the tone of Shaw’s piece is just so…judgmental. As if young men and women have perfect marrying-ready situations ready to go and should just go with it. Maybe other people are just more effed up than Shaw? I recognize the social pressure issues and societal norms, but maybe a lot of people are better off (read: happier) being single than in shitty relationships. And many relationships are shitty. Definitely not all, but pretty much all of the ones I’ve been in. So I’ve chosen to no longer be in those. And believe me, I’ve looked at my own part. I’ve done my work. And I’m better for it. But that didn’t make any of the relationships less wrong. It didn’t make anything fit. I suppose I should say yet. But my point is, I believe that because of all that, I will ultimately end up having a more fulfilling life and if I do have a lasting relationship, then it will be enhanced by the work I’ve done. The bottom line is, no one has been the right fit. It’s not about being perfect. But there are some standards, particularly regarding someone’s commitment to the relationship. Shaw is lucky (if she’s really as happy as she says). And that’s great for her. I’ve been lucky in many many many ways. Romantic relationships that last has not been one of them. It’s pretty self-absorbed to assume that everyone’s had the opportunities you have had. So, ew. And just, stop being so judgy!!