With marriage season just around the corner, fiancées everywhere are stumbling about in an attempt to pull together the ‘perfect’ wedding. Marriage is a tradition that’s centuries old, and has always been about celebrating life and love. We’ve carried those traditions forward, despite how rapidly our lifestyles have changed from the days of old. I don’t think celebrating and partying will ever go out of style, but the concept of marriage itself has had a rocky road up until the modern day.
For a start, the way we perceive and practice sex has become far more liberal: withholding your virginity before marriage is increasingly considered ‘out of date’. It’s a noble sentiment, but it’s not necessary like it used to be. With general experimentation with our sex lives on the rise, marriage sometimes takes a bit of a back seat. Is that alright? Absolutely.
We’re not in the 18th century anymore: you’re allowed to co-exist with somebody without having to say vows. Nobody should feel pressured into marrying someone unless it’s truly what they desire. A legitimate relationship doesn’t need a ring on it, no matter how many years it’s been. Yes, marriage is a proclamation of love, romantic as hell and makes a lot of people happy.
On the other hand, marriage can make people incredibly miserable. A lot of people marry young, before they really know what they want from this life. They’re then left with the daunting prospect of shattering the ‘sanctity of marriage’, which leads to a lot of men and women feeling trapped. There’s also the financial and legal sides to consider, which I won’t discuss in-depth because those two words make me grimace enough already. Simply put, marriage can be a gamble, and it’s a decision that a lot of people make without really thinking it through.
In today’s world, we’re exposed to so many more people thanks to advanced travel and the internet. A few hundred years ago, your community circle consisted of those in your village or town, and not far beyond. Chances were you’d marry someone in your vicinity, unless you fancied saddling a horse and traipsing around in search of love. The prospect of finding somebody else was minute in comparison to our choices today (thanks, Tinder). There is nothing to say that you have to settle up with the first person you commit to for the rest of your life. Things happen and people change, including you. Falling out of love is not a crime.
However, you shouldn’t be so quick to give up on somebody if you have married them. This is less about the rules and more about your word: your promised to stick with your spouse. Just because something newer and shinier has come along, that’s not an excuse to jump ship. People that aren’t married have that choice, but if you’ve sworn yourself to somebody, you shouldn’t be considering it unless your partner is doing things terribly wrong.
Marriage seems like a ‘happily ever after’, but in reality, it isn’t. No person or relationship is perfect, and that applies to marriage too. You can’t just tie the knot and expect everything to be okay: it’s still a relationship, and it needs work and maintenance in order to survive. If you’re giving up at the first bump in the road, the problem might not be with your partner.
We don’t impulsively buy cars that we know we’re going to be driving for five or more years: we test them out, take some time to think and consider whether it’s a good fit. Marriage should never be rushed, and if you feel pressured to say yes, don’t be afraid to lay things off for a while. It doesn’t matter how romantic the proposal was, you can decline. Don’t let yourself, or anyone else think that saying no means you don’t love your partner. For the right reasons, postponing an engagement is thoughtful and considerate.
Don’t be a stereotypical millennial and rush into something so life-shaping. Take your time and really think about what marriage means.