I’m nearing that age where the talk of marriage looms indefinitely in the air. My friends and family ask if this is a thing that will ever come to fruition. I tell them no, that marriage is not in the future for me; not because I don’t want it, but because my relationship does not warrant it. My partner does not desire to be married and we’ve had long talks about it, but it is not something he would like to do. I’ve pestered him to the point where he has said, “if you really want to get married, I guess I’ll marry you.” And that was when I realized that I don’t want to marry someone just for the idea of getting married. I had to re-evaluate what my needs were and gauge it against the needs of my partner.
I asked myself what was really in a marriage. Some people think a marriage will tie a neat bow on a present and that is the end of it. I get it. They want me to be ‘settled’ and happy, but even those who are married are not guaranteed happiness. No one is. As a child, I’ve always had plans of being married in a beautiful, white gown. Being proposed to. Taking engagement photos. Having a wedding song to dance to. I’ve had to acknowledge that it is incredibly sad to let those dreams go, but at the same time, I’ve seen that it was simply that: an idea. The idea of marriage is to bond two people romantically and legally, but it does not guarantee that that marriage will work out.
I know that he will not leave me. I know that he would not cheat on me to the best of his abilities. I know he would stay by my side if I got sick. I know he would stay by deathbed and hold my hand when I am old and fragile like the dreams I hold on to. These are tangible things that I know will happen. Being married does not necessarily grant that these things will happen, but we all like to hope that it does. In my case, I would not want to force someone to marry me just because I thought it was socially appropriate to do so. If marriage was important enough for me, I would simply leave, but I would never press that person into an entanglement they did not desire.
There are more and more people who are staying unmarried in committed relationships. Perhaps it is because of the economy. A telling sign of the times. Or the changing morals and values they carry. Or lastly, I want to believe it is because the notion of marriage is changing. When you are looking at a 50% divorce rate, do you blindly put on that ring, or do you search out if you truly have a solid foundation to stand on? It seems many people whose relationships are faltering are buying into the idea of marriage, but they have not investigated if they are truly ready for the commitment or even try to invest time in trying to build the relationship from the ground up. Often enough, they are broken individuals who are searching for something to make them whole, and finding it never does until they are whole themselves. For me, I have a solid base from which to build on, and if a marriage happens, I would be happy, but if it does not, I will be just fine. So you don’t have to ask anymore.