“Everyone’s goal is to be married with kid(s) by 27?”
“I have seen too many girls from my high school pregnant waddling down the aisle”,
” OK, you got pregnant you don’t have to rush into a marriage and be miserable”
Three quotes from a friend that happen to resonate with me. While I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that will disagree with me and want to throw shit my way, by all means go ahead. Doesn’t fucking bother me.
If someone were to ask me two years ago, where I pictured myself to be today, I would have given a very different answer than my current reality. I would have told you that I would be happily married with a kid and living in our own place.
Wait. Stop. Rewind.
How old are you? 27.
I’m at the age everyone I know is married, getting married, has kids, or is pregnant. Congrats to all of you. Ahem.
There is this unsaid perception about how life should be. You know…that sequence of life? The all powerful, perfect, traditional life? You know…the one everyone idolizes. The one that people say, “Look at them, been married for 50 years!” Or you see quotes flying around that, “We were born in a time when if something was broken we would fix it, not throw it away…” Good for you.
Let me add to that last quote, that social acceptance was also different 50 years ago. They might fix broken things, however, if you were a different race, interracially married, an LGBT individual, or had mental and behavioral disorders…guess what? You weren’t fucking accepted. Not only that but domestic abuse was common as it is now, and back then divorce was not accepted. Do we look down on couples who get divorced because of violence? Violence is not something that should be endured.
So let’s start there…these old celebrated couples are not interracial marriages. Mine was and if I had been born during that time where things were meant to be fixed instead of thrown away. I would have weathered a marriage, where words and hurtful insults would be hurled at us daily. But I wasn’t married during that time, I was married in the here and now. But that prejudice of interracial marriage is not gone in this day and age. It still exists and people still stare at interracial couples and they can still hear insults from others. Luckily, I never heard any insults, but there was always staring.
But that is not my point. My point is times are changing. The way people view and accept marriage is also changing. My generation is the first generation to live at home longer than any other generation due to being saddled by debt, unable to get a decent job, and the cost of living out of our reach, unless we landed that well paying job with benefits. Or we had parents who wiped our plates clean of debt by putting a second mortgage on their house without so much as a thank you from their children.
That defines a generation of us getting married later and also submitting to the pressure of society to be married by a certain age. To be bombarded by questions:
Why aren’t you married yet?
You should start looking to date someone.
Maybe if you are married you might hear this:
Do you want kids?
How come you are not pregnant yet?
When can we expect the baby?
The problem with these types of questions is they inflict pain on to an individual if you do not know what is going on in that marriage or that person’s life. Most people used to ask me about having a baby for two years. Not once, did someone ask to say, “How’s your marriage going? ” Because had they asked, they would have known there was no baby on the horizon. Why? Because our marriage was falling apart and it was being hidden from others. The question jabs more at someone’s heart if the questioner knew that the person they were asking wanted children.
I’m the type of person who dreamed of being a young mom with kids. I wanted to have my first child by the time I was 25. However, life didn’t go as planned. I was responsible enough to know that having a child does not fix a marriage. I was responsible enough to know before getting married not to have a child and get married because of that child. Why? Because having children does not fix relationship problems between two individuals.
It is a widely believed concept among individuals desperate to maintain a loved one in their lives, or to rekindle some flame, or help the relationship, I will have a child. Don’t do it. Don’t be so selfish as to want a child for your own benefit.
Some people say you fix what is broken. Sometimes what is broken can’t be fixed. Because if you sit and let yourself think, you realize it isn’t right. That moment when you knew you should have stopped and didn’t listen. You were right then, but ignored it in order to go with what family and friends expected of you. Because there is a guide to life and we should all be following that antiquated guide.
Sometimes we make decions that are hard but right. Somedays you have to ask yourself can I see myself with this person in 20 years? That number seems low to some people, but it is a very long time. When the love in your relationship fades and you become mere strangers in each other’s presence with no words exchanged or loving gestures, it is time. It is time to acknowledge that you cannot change yourself to be the person the other individual wants you to be. Because you are you. That person married you for who you are not who they want you to be. Only you can choose who you want to be.
That is a lesson that is tough to learn. It is a lesson I have learned, I have refused to change for anybody again. Take me as a I am, because if you don’t like it, I will move on. You don’t fix yourself to make a relationship work, because you are afraid of what will be said about you for your marriage failing. If the marriage is failing it is, there isn’t much to do, but acknowledge it, realize where it went wrong and how you and your partner played a part in it. Because everything is a two way street, we each have to accept our own responsibility in success and failure in life.
The part about being knocked up and waddling down the aisle might offend quite a few people. I know people who have done that. A shotgun wedding. You are pregnant, so what? I think our traditionalistic society drenched in Christianity still views everyone has a sinner who has a child before marriage. Therefore a shotgun marriage ceremony is the solution. Now when your child gets older and goes to do the math, they will know you got married because of them. You can say we planned to get married anyway, blah blah blah. You might have! But why rush it for a child? So that you can seem and appear normal and socially acceptable to society?
Is it really such a terrible thing to have a child before marriage? Are those single mothers and fathers raising their kids alone terrible people? Are those couples who can’t afford a marriage ceremony who have been raising their kids for 10 years so terrible, just because they never tied the knot? Is that how we, as a society, look at unmarried people with children?
If so, it is a shame. It is sad to know that the type of parent and person they are looked at as, is based on how they had their child. And people will refute that it isn’t true. Why hold in your own bias against it, when you will knowingly pass judgement on that person?
I’m not putting people who have shotgun marriages down, rather I would hope they realize they don’t have to have an impromptu wedding they may not be able to afford, because of a child that is on the way. The people who love you in your life, will still love you no matter the choice you make.
My only advice is that marriage is easy to get into. You don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to get married. Most people can get married for under one hundred dollars at their local city hall. Marriage is a relationship that has a piece of paper attached to it. It recognizes that you belong to each other for the rest of your lives until death or divorce, that’s what it is. Some marriages are great and some are pretty crappy. But you know it is everyone’s choice to make that decision. Having been married myself, it is a hell of a lot easier getting married than getting divorced. So before you jump in, realize that. You can raise kids without a piece of paper attached. When you are ready to do it go ahead. Don’t let family, friends, and society dictate what you should do.
I wanted to write my thoughts on this, because a lot of people dwell on this issue especially as we get closer to 30. I’m 27, divorced, and without kids. Will I marry again? Only time can tell that. Do I want kids? More than anything else, but I will wait until it is time. I won’t be a young mother like I wanted, but at that time I will have lived enough to know that I made the right choices in life and am happy to have my children when and if they come to me.