My ex-husband and I dated for 5 months when we became engaged and were one week shy of dating one year when we married, so our relationship didn’t give anyone time to press us about marriage. The anniversary of my first date with WFB is this coming Sunday and the question is starting to hit us like a tsunami. Every friend and every co-worker has been grilling us like we need to get hitched and do it now! The funniest part is that neither family is pushing us. I haven’t heard a single, “when are you going to get married and start having my grandchildren?” from either side, which is greatly appreciated. I’ve been there once and, though I’m not as scared to do it again as I thought I’d be, I’m just not ready at this moment to have WFB slide a ring on my finger and claim me for the rest of forever.
That said, if he were to drop down on one knee I might be inclined to say ‘yes’ but I’m pretty sure we’re on the same page of “let’s not rock the boat yet.” For that, I love him even more. We’re both a bit selfish and I don’t believe that either one of us is ready to make a life-long commitment. I’m preparing to go back to school to work on my BSN and he has goals and aspirations for the next couple of years as well.
Why do we pressure people into marriage? Working with an older generation helps give me perspective on how things have changed in the world over the past decades. We have older patients who were high school sweethearts and the fellow wanted to take care of his lady and he’s still doing it sixty years later. We have younger patients who come in as married couples, only to have one partner come back the next year having changed her name back to her maiden name, checking the “divorced” box on the form.
I grew up with two working parents. Mom stayed home until we were school aged, then went back into the workforce full time. Both incomes were needed to get by and raise the two of us kids, who were a definite financial burden. We, as women, don’t necessarily feel that burden these days. Some of us are having children later, marrying later and focusing on our careers and establishing ourselves before we dive into serious relationships. Others, like me, marry in our early 20s before we know who we are and what we want in life. Then, when we figure out that we don’t need another person’s monetary support, or their negative attitude, we leave the relationship in search of something more fulfilling.
My parents’ 39th anniversary is next week. They don’t always get along, and they almost divorced twice when I was a teenager. They’ll tell you that they don’t like each other every day, and there are days that they don’t even speak to each other. They’ll also tell you that they love each other so much that they can’t imagine being apart. I actually saw my dad cry (one of two times I’ve witnessed) when my mom threatened to leave. He told me he was devastated and didn’t want to live without her. This is what it is to marry and be monogamous. It’s not always glamorous, but it works for them and it works for a lot of couples.
Then you see couples who are married and have a girlfriend or boyfriend together or they have an “open relationship” and freely discuss together their escapades with other people. These couples seem happy and claim to feel even closer to their partners because they’re able to enjoy a variety of people but still return to their main partner for their basic emotional needs. I don’t understand how jealousy doesn’t wreck these couples, but I’ve never been a part of one and can’t imagine being a part of one. What works for some does not work for all.
For now, I’m content in my monogamous relationship with my sweet fellow. We’ll keep on keeping on until we’re both ready to move in another direction. Whether that’s marriage or something else, only time will tell.