The best technique for assuring yourself of a long lasting and fruitful marriage is to first ask yourself, “why do I want to get married?” I think this is a fundamental question that’s too often ignored. I am in my late twenties, so a lot of my (admittedly mostly female) friends seem to be getting the itch to find “the one”.
I think that getting married is a cultural expectation for us in the United States that goes without enough examination. In fact, getting married seems to be emphasized much more so than marriage itself. The American wedding industry is worth about $80 billion. However, singles have recently outnumbered married couples in this country. The reason seems to be a combination of people getting married later in life, and married couples ending their relationships in divorce.
In the age of Joe Millionaire, The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, The Littlest Groom, The Average Joe, and however many other spins and spoofs television presents to us of Marriage, it’s easy for people to consider getting married to be a feather in the cap or a milestone reached rather than an ongoing promise and commitment to another person.
If you ask many people why they want to get married, they’ll tell you that they want a partner, someone to come home to, a family, companionship, or in some cases, they’re just tired of dating.
The problem I see with each of these rationales is that they all indicate that to be alone is to be a failure. Apparently spinsterhood is the result of a failed attempt to find a mate. And if you’re a middle aged single man who’s never been married, you must either be a pedophile or the other half of a domestic partnership.
I have a suggestion. Learn to love yourself before you try to love someone else. There is so much more to life there’s so much more that can be contributed to the world than getting married and making babies for the sake of not having a partner. I believe that the reason that so many marriages fail (over 60%) is because too many of us choose to marry simply because we’re “ready to get married”. Too many of us are controlled by the passage of wedding seasons and the ticking of biological clocks that we don’t ask ourselves, “why do I want to get married?”
I am engaged and will be married in just a few weeks. And when people ask me if I’m excited about my wedding, my response often isn’t what they’d expect. I usually say that the wedding will be very nice, but that I’m not really focused on it. I am excited because I am going to marry an absolutely wonderful person. And I am excited about the future that we are going to build with each other. So although the wedding will be a very nice event, I would be equally as excited if we were to get married in a barn by a Justice of the Peace. I believe that if we, as a society, focused on comfort in our own skin, we would choose our partners based on true mutual connections rather than selecting place holders for our own insecurities. Love and can be a beautiful thing if it’s real. And the best way to truly love another person is to first lean to love yourself, by yourself.
So in conclusion, marriage isn’t about getting married. And marriage isn’t about timing. Marriage is about people and the commitment they choose to make to one another. So if wedding season makes you a little depressed, and you continue to wonder whether you’ll find your special someone, keep in mind that marriage isn’t for everybody.