It’s summer, which can mean a lot of different things for different people – no school, beach time, vacations, etc. It can also mean wedding season! A lot of people choose this time of the year to take the next step in their relationship and make the ultimate vow to each other. In life, the general format for marriages involves several steps. You start out with a simple interest in someone, they catch your eye somehow and you develop a “crush” on them. If the interest is reciprocated, this is normally followed by a period of time that my generation refers to as “talking.” You go on dates, constantly text, maybe FaceTime, etc. If the interest continues to grow, eventually one of you takes the initiative to ask the other to be your SO. As time goes on and your relationship continues to do well, maybe you move in together. Finally, a proposal comes along and, hopefully, a life you live happily ever after. But how do you know if you are ready to get married?
I am only 22 years-old and although I am in a very happy relationship, I am far, far, far, far from this experience and feel way to young to even think about marriage for myself. Please keep in mind that I am writing based off life observations! Having said that, many people my age are getting engaged left and right, or even getting married. I have seen that as time goes along and the original excitement slowly wanes, the anxiety starts up. People start to second guess if they are making the right decision, which can bring great stress to the self and to the relationship.
Some fears people have about marriage are lack of freedom, being tied down, and making the ultimate commitment. They say “Why ruin a good thing?” They say “We live together, we do everything together, it’s basically like we’re married already.” They say “Why do we need a certificate to prove we love each other?”
Marriage is a special ceremony that should not be jumped into without thinking it through carefully first. Just because it seems like the next step for your relationship, does not mean you need to do it. Just because everyone around you is getting married, does not mean you need to too. Humans have an innate trait for competition and social acceptance. We naturally want to feel like we belong. For generations, marriage and starting families has been the end goal to relationships and to life. But society has evolved. We have become more ambitious and are embracing new gender and socioeconomic roles. Although marriage is something many of us still strive for, other dreams are being realized as well.
Let’s go back to the fears of marriage I brought up earlier. These thoughts have come from the evolution of society. We no longer feel the need to be married because we find satisfaction in the established bond we have with our SO. To some, just having someone to love and be with everyday is enough. To others, that ring and symbol is needed to fully satisfy them. Each couple is different, so we cannot compare ourselves to each other. It gets hard to do, what with the #relationshipgoals trend going on nowadays when couples are spotlighted for being cute, talented, etc, but it needs to be realized that the relationship you should be dreaming for is your own. The relationships you should be in should be based off of what you want out of another person, not based off of couples you want to be like. Marriage should be something YOU want and not based off of others’ expectations.
Proposals can be expected, or they can be a complete surprise. One thing that should be established before a proposal ever happens is what each person wants out of the relationship and out of life. At this point in relationships, you and your SO should have spent hours and hours talking and getting to know each other. Some may think that talking about marriage and the future can jinx relationships, but this information can be collected through casual conversation. The best thing for entering marriage is knowing that you both want it. This will eliminate all of the fears that I mentioned before. Marriage is beautiful and should not be something to fear, but it is a decision that should definitely be something to be completely sure of.