The problem with existing in a community that is so hyper-sexualised and obsessed with marriage is that when you start to feel the pressures trickle down, you have literally no idea what to do. You’re told to be a mature person your whole life and hold off on pursuing the opposite sex because ‘what will people say’ and humans are (apparently) ‘inherently sexual beings’, but the moment you start to enter the twenties milestone, the questions start coming at you left, right, and centre. Over the past 2/3 years I’ve heard variations of the following:
- So your brothers are married now, you’re next!
- Did you not meet anyone yet?
- Is there nobody at university/work?
- Have you tried joining the isoc?
- I literally do not pay thousands of pounds a year to go and find a guy to court under the guise of religious/spiritual activities
- Maybe you could just not be yourself and say hello to someone.
- this one is just plain rude
- If you don’t learn to cook, how will you feed your husband!
- if my husband doesn’t learn how to cook, how ever will he feed me?? looks like no -ism will feed you when you’re hungry
- What will your future mother in law say if you’re so stubborn?!
- really need people to start understanding that humans do exist independently of one another
- Oh wow, 22, your dad must be looking really hard now!
- yeah, at the asos deliveries that keep coming through the door
- But if you don’t get married before 25, how will you have children before 30??
- have people ever considered the fact that maybe not all of us are dying to overflow the population???
- Haha, get married and then you can go wherever you want.
- I mean, I do have a passport of my own…
- You want to study more? But what’s the point, you’re gonna get married anyway.
- yeah okay because marriage is somehow going to stop me from having a life of my own?
You get the gist, I’m sure. It’s like all of a sudden, once you’ve reached a specific age, you’re marriage material. But folks, I have news for you. I can barely find matching socks in the morning, let alone remember to care for another person in what is probably the most formative few years of my life. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am still very much a hopeless romantic at heart, but you have to be realistic about yourself. You have to remind yourself that you don’t have just five more years of life to get everything done in. You have so much living left to do and it is not a race. Life is not a race.
We are all moving at different timelines and just because society has this preconceived notion of what our life will be doesn’t mean that we have to live up to it. You are well within your rights to stay firm in your decisions because it’s you that has to live the rest of this life. Everyone will always have their two pence to add to the conversation but take it with a pinch of salt because you are the only person you have to worry about taking care of.
Marriage isn’t the be all end all for everyone. You can choose the life you need for your own happiness, even if that means standing up to people when your voice shakes. Let’s be real, if you don’t stand up for yourself, who will?
That been said, some people are totally cool with marriage very early on in life because they want their soul mate to be the one they spend their formative years with, and I get that, I do. But, remember that it’s a 50/50 partnership. Life is such a delicate balancing act and it is so important that we are all physically, emotionally, spiritually and financially stable enough to stand our own in a partnership. Build up the best version of yourself before you are ready to share that with someone else.
And on that note, I want to leave you guys with one of my favouite bits of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. It really is everything I hope to embody in my own relationship someday:
Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts. And stand together, yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.