"Every marriage I have ever witnessed has gone down in flames. Why do people continue to perpetuate the idea that marriage is essential to happiness when both people usually end up hating each other in the end? Why bother getting married?"
- Question submitted by Anonymous
I mean, life is what you make it. Which is a statement that I believe applies to every tiny piece of life. School is what you make it. Your career is what you make it. Marriage is what you make it.
It’s funny because I know multiple people who were divorced at least once before the age of 25 and I also know a countless number of people who have been married for 15+ years. I chose to focus on the successful marriages because I think marriage is cool and it’s something I eventually want. HOWEVER, I have no interest in trying to convince others to get married because I think it’s a totally personal thing and something that is COMPLETELY okay to NOT want. If that makes sense.
There are certain (very ridiculous) things that go along with marriage socially/politically that are important to me, personally. I don’t want my partner to be in the hospital and I can’t get to her because we don’t have one piece of paper that says we’re together. I don’t want to have a child that isn’t recognized as my child in some states/countries. I don’t want to be in a position where a decision has to be made about my life and my partner doesn’t even get to weigh in. Those things terrify me. PLUS I really want a fun party with cute rings where people give speeches about my deep passionate love and tell stories about dumb things I did when I was 22.
Whatever you wanna do is right, and keep in mind that you are not the people around you, you are a product of your own decisions. Make the right ones for the right reasons and you’re good to go. The decision to get married does not make anyone better or worse, it’s optional for a reason, you know?
TO EACH HIS OWN – Hillary Duff
You are really asking a lot of things in this question… so I am going to try to break them down to their simplest pieces (though this is anything but simple):
First: Since all the marriages you witnessed have not lasted, does this mean that, should you choose to marry, you will also fail? No. It certainly does not. What determines the trajectory of your marriage is you and the human you marry, your communication, your patience, your faith (just as Dannielle said up there in her very wise words). My parents have been married for over thirty years, and some of those years were fucking horrible. They chose to continue working – which for them was the right decision. Marriages are like snowflakes. No two are alike. Not even close.
Second: Does marriage equate to happiness? Fuck no. Again, Dannielle speaks total truth. Marriage is important for some of us for a whole bunch of varying reasons, but that doesn’t determine happiness. Your choices, your actions, your knowledge of yourself and the world around you – those things determine happiness.
Third: Why, then, do people think that marriage = happiness? Well… have you noticed any themes in, say, Disney movies, magazine articles, news stories, popular music, romantic comedies, and on and on and on? Most places we look tell us that happiness means two rings, two kids and a minivan. Bravo on you for seeing through the crap and looking for the truth. (PS: That doesn’t mean your truth won’t include the rings, kids, and minivan.)
Fourth: Why bother? You don’t have to bother if you don’t want to bother! Get married if that makes sense to you. Get married if you want to have a monogamous relationship with someone that also carries with it a legal or spiritual component which you can find through marriage. Marriage doesn’t equate with happiness, and it doesn’t equate with hatred. Marriage is just one particular form of commitment. There are many others.
For me, marriage was spiritual and symbolic. It wasn’t full of glittery-love and fairytales… it meant that I was ready to be a witness to my own life and the life of someone I loved. It meant I was ready to work, every day, to try to become a better person for myself, and for someone else. It meant I saw my future, and this person was there with me in that future. That’s me, though.
You have to find you.
"My girlfriend of almost two years wants to get married, like, next year. She’s serious; she even wants to buy rings, etc. I want to be with her too and marry her some day, but I think it’s too early for me to get married (I’m 23, she’s 26), and I think it’s too early in our relationship to get married. So I keep telling her that it’s too early blah blah, but she thinks I’m rejecting her! What do I do? Please help."
-Question submitted by Anonymous
ALMOST TWO YEARS. That’s it?!!? You guys, that’s like 1/40th of your lifespan.
Okay, I’m being dramatic, that’s a fine amount of time to talk about marriage and get rings etc. But here’s my feeling on the situation… What’s the rush? The two of you want to be together forever, right? You’ve had the conversation, you feel the same feels, you don’t want anyone else, THAT’S AWESOME… Why do you have to put a ring on it right this second?
Also, it’s really hard to explain to someone “I want to be with you forever and ever and ever and I want to wear a ring but like i don’t want that ring right now because… ” I DONT KNOW.
I would ask your boo why she’s in such a rush. SERIOUSLY ask her, though. Don’t just say it in a backhanded way and then stomp off to your room with a box of cap’n crunch. Ask her and listen to her. Acknowledge what she’s saying and tell her why you’re uncomfortable.
I had no fucking clue who I was when I was 23 years old. I mean, I thought I knew everything and I felt okay about where I was, but I’ve changed so much. I’ve grown so much. I would feel WAY more comfortable sharing my life with someone as I am now. Getting married isn’t just about saying ‘hey i love this human’ you can do that with a necklace and a trip to Florida. Getting married is about so much more and if you’re not there, you’re just not. It doesn’t mean you love her any less.
I know I just quoted Dannielle yesterday but, you guys, remember how you can tell someone you love them with “a necklace and a trip to Florida”? Dannielle is my favorite person.
ON TO ADVICE.
Getting married really is a totally huge deal. I am 32 years old and only within the last handful of years did it start to feel like, “Okay, this life thing is still pretty nuts, but I know myself and I know this person, and I am ready to take this step.” That didn’t mean I didn’t love the people I was with before being able to take that step, it meant that I respected myself and my relationship enough to know what we were ready for, and what we were not. You are making the right decision by waiting until you feel more comfortable.
I would say something like, “I love you and I want to be with you, and I want to be with you forever. The thing about forever, though, is that it can start now without us getting married, and that the journey we are going to go on together is going to have a lot of dips and bends and curves… I want to be able to grow more before we take that step, so that I can feel more prepared for those things. I want to work to prepare for our marriage, and I want to work together to be able to communicate that to you in a way that lets you know I love you, always.”
Be patient with her frustrations, and be reassuring. The bottom line is that, if she is able to be patient with you and work to understand where you are coming from, then you will be able to grow with her to a place where you are both ready to take those steps together, at the right time for you both.
ALSO TELL HER PLANNING A WEDDING IS RIDICULOUS AND SHE DOESN’T KNOW WHAT SHE’S GETTING INTO AND SHE SHOULD THANK YOU FOR MAKING HER WAIT.
"My girlfriend doesn’t keep her grades up and I’m worried about our future. Am I being prematurely concerned? My girlfriend and I just moved in together. We’re both in grad school and we’re planning on getting jobs and having a family. If she doesn’t get her grades up she can’t succeed in her field. I know there are always other options, but at this stage I am concerned she won’t get a job that pays well enough. Am I premature? She doesn’t seem concerned and blows off schoolwork."
-Question submitted by Anonymous
Here’s the thing, I get what you’re saying. I TOTALLY understand from the point of view that’s like, “hey we’ve talked about this future and you’re sort of abandoning it” or SIMILAR FEELINGS. However, I do want to state FOR THE RECORD that some of the most successful people I know never went to college. OR dropped out halfway through. OR went to college and ended up succeeding in a field that had NOTHING to do with what they went to school for, you know?
I think education is super important, but I also think our education system is a little weird and there are about a million ways to learn and grow and succeed without necessarily paying thousands of dollars to read some books, write some papers, and take some tests. ON THE OTHER HAND, I totally think college is/was the best and you can learn a ton. I had a great time and I would never give up my college experience NEVER. FOR ANYTHING. EVER. I’m just saying there are multiple sides to any sitch and you should talk to your boo.
It’s one thing if she feels like grad school isn’t her thing SLASH she doesn’t belong there SLASH she wants to be doing more. It’s a completely different thing if she’s totally unmotivated and one of the things that attracted you to her the most was her tenacity and love of what she does.
Does that make sense, though?! Talk to her. Ask her about her goals and why she hasn’t been into school lately. Figure out if the two of you are still on the same page with your relationship and your ideas for your future together. There is literally ALWAYS a way to compromise and understand one another, if there isn’t, the relationship isn’t working.
Listen, I totally, totally, TOTALLY get this, and I think that if this were just about “her not keeping her grades up and you therefore not having money to pay for your future children’s dentist appointment,” then yes, you’d be over-thinking and overreacting. However, chances are that all these “future” thoughts are tied into what you need to feel attracted to your boo. That isn’t overdramatic in the least.
You know how there’s that thing called Darwinism where, like, really strong eagles will have sex with other really strong eagles because they want to make sure that all the eagles are really strong and stuff? Well, it’s like… you have certain things that make you feel attracted to another human and one of those things (for you, and for a lot of us) is knowing that the other human can take care of themselves, has motivation, and has drive.
So the issue isn’t OMG MY FUTURE BILLS AND STUFF. The issue is right now, in this moment. You need to talk to her, and you need to ask her why she is feeling unmotivated. As her partner, you should work, at first (and for as long as you can), to help her find the motivation and inspiration that she needs. Let her know that you believe in her. Explore different possibilites. Those are the ways to empower another person.
Chances are, with your faith in her, she will be able to find faith in herself. Then, you won’t be as worried about the future because you will be with someone who believes in their abilities and who is able to work and achieve. There is a small chance that she is too lost for you to help, and if that is what you find after your efforts, then it is time to re-evaluate. You needs for drive and ambition in a partner are reasonable and completely, totally understandable.
(But also, you guys, how about my definition of Darwinism?)