For a lot of women, the idea of marriage is very tempting.
I think part of it is status. Most women want to be married. Most women want a ring on their finger…and if they didn’t they surely do after Beyonce rocked our musical worlds. They want to plan the big day, buy that special dress, walk down the aisle and have that “dream come true“ moment.
But sometimes, we want that too fast. Sometimes the idea of marriage takes over so much that we forget that it’s not about the dress, the food, the location, what quirky cool thing your wedding has that no one has ever seen before. It’s about two people coming together and joining their lives. It’s about the love that is shared between two people who publicly want to share that love with their loved ones. The fluff is fluff and very shortly after the wedding, none of that fluff will have mattered. Well…some of it does, our cake got totally ruined for our wedding and I constantly bring people to tears of laughter when I tell the story.
But bad cakes aside…
A lot of marriages break my heart. I have too many friends and have heard too many stories about a boring marriage or a bad marriage. And 9 times out of 10 when I hear these stories and some background information it becomes clear that they simply got married because they wanted to be “married”. Not because they wanted to spend the rest of their life with their partner, not because they loved them and were willing to go through anything with them, but simply because the allure of the big white dress and that sparkly ring was too tempting.
5 months before one of my friends got married she admitted that there was no spark in their relationship…that there hadn’t ever been any spark in her relationship. Kissing was just okay and the sex was just okay. They got along fine but basically…it was bland. Having had a glass or two of wine I asked her “if that is the case, do you really want to marry him?” She responded “Oh yes! I can’t wait to pick up my dress and the flowers are going to be so pretty! Oh and we’re going to do this thing and this thing”. I didn’t have the heart or the brain power to tell her that that isn’t what it was about. She shouldn’t be getting married just to get married. She subtly admitted that being in her late 30s she thought it was time to get married because nothing else was going to come along. She is a beautiful, wonderful woman and I have no doubt that something would have come along, but she was impatient and settled.
I was a bridesmaid at the wedding and my heart was breaking through the entire thing. They each had to take a Xanax just to get married. You shouldn’t have to take a pill to get you through the ceremony. You should “WANT” to get married. Sure there might be some nerves but those are excited nerves! A couple years later they are still married, but they are both happy but not happy. Not unhappy enough to get a divorce, just kind of walking through their lives. She still complains about things to me and I listen and try to keep my mouth shut. It’s as if the word “Settled” is tattooed on her forehead sometimes.
Another friend told me that her marriage was doing fine….just fine but that she commonly wakes up, sees him next to her and thinks “oh, so I guess this is my life now”.
Cue heart breaking.
Again, a woman in her 30s who was having an okay relationship, who got excited about the idea of marriage and jumped into the wedded sack as soon as he popped the question…or rather…she got him to pop the question.
It seems that once you hit 35 a lot of women just give up. They just want to get married. The man doesn’t matter, just getting that ring on your finger and being able to have that big day. But that’s not how it should be. I know it can get frustrating waiting to meet that guy, going on date after date after date that lead to nothing, spending nights with bourbon, ice cream and the BBC.
I want to share a happy story with you, a family story. My brother and sister in law are fantastic together. My sister in law met my brother when she was 36 and he was 8 years younger than her. She had given up on marriage and kids at this point in her life. She decided she would just go out with friends and have good times and not worry about men anymore, because the chance that a guy would go for her over the younger prettier high heeled thing at the bar was small. She had thought about cashing in on that silly “if we’re both not married by the time we’re 35, we’ll get married” idea. She was smart enough not to want to marry any guy, she wanted it to be the right guy but she was also a realist and thought that women over 35 just don’t get married as often, they’ve missed their “window”. And just like the cliche, the minute she just lived her life my brother walked up to her, asked for her number and invited her to hear his band play live in a couple days. 2 years later they got married and 5 years later they have 2 girls.
When I hear her story it makes me wonder if all the women I know who jumped at the first opportunity to get married simply because they thought they had no other chance could be happier. If they could have the lives they want if they had known that they were a fantastic catch and that they would find someone in the end. If they knew that sometimes it just takes patience, sometimes more patience that we want to have but patience that is needed.
The heartbreaking stories are far too common and too many, and I suspect some of you readers might find them hitting too close to home. You deserve to be happy. You deserve to be loved and feel sparks and WANT to wake up next to the person you are married to. No matter what your age, don’t give up. There is no magic number for when you have to get married. There is no number that screams “NOT MARRIAGE MATERIAL” to men when they hear how old you are.
Don’t be the woman who settled.
If you are feeling this way, like you’ll never find that guy or that you’ve missed your chance, you haven’t. You WILL find a guy, you WILL have that happy day you want and it will be for all the RIGHT reasons. My sister in law’s story is not uncommon, and it can be yours.