Marriage is not mandatory

After many talks with many different people, I have decided that marriage doesn’t have to be that one thing that makes me happy. (Mind you, I’m not talking about anyone else. I am talking about me, baby!) I truly believe, even if you do desire to get married someday, that you need to know how to be happy single first. Then you will have the tools you need to deal with whatever comes next. If you don’t do happy single first and you go straight to coupling up, you will have roadblocks or wasted time. The person you thought would be the answer to your happiness will disappoint you, the relationship will crumble and you will be onto the next relationship before you’ve had time to evaluate what happened. Then you find yourself on a merry-go-round you can’t get off of.

Now I understand that some people get lucky and meet that one person who may not have all the answers (because who really does, anyway?), but is willing to work with them on happiness, flaws, insecurities and everything in between, blah, blah, blah. That’s great. I just don’t believe it for me. It took me a long time to figure out what I wanted as far as coupling up was concerned, but once I did, I came to this conclusion: if I can’t get married to someone who will only generally increase my happiness, then I want to be happy single. Marriage should be something that adds to my happiness, not complete it, and certainly not decrease it. So, being a straight girl, I want a man, but I don’t need one. So if I don’t meet the right one, I will learn to be happy on my own. And it will take learning what makes me happy as a single straight girl first before I go down either one of those paths.

I met a high school girl once who imagined what her wedding dress would look like, down to all the dirty details. I’m not sure, but it makes me feel that younger girls all dream about their wedding day, before they dream about who they will be when they grow up. It’s like a “thing” for teenaged girls to get boyfriends, to hurry up and get that first relationship experience before getting dropped off at Jaded City. That is simply not true. When I was a teenaged girl, I didn’t think about weddings really, let alone what mine would be like. I was thinking about school mostly. But beyond that, I wasn’t doing much thinking about the future. I was doing a lot of doing, if that makes sense, to prepare for a future I couldn’t really see except for what was expected of me. I was never one of those girls, who on her free time, thought about her wedding dress, her wedding cake, her bridesmaids’ dresses, her groom, how the proposal should go, what the ring will look like, and so on and so forth. (I’m not even sure back then I knew what all those things were, to be honest.) Because I didn’t think about these things, I got used to being single and doing what was expected of me.

I have an older friend who not only knows a lot about relationships because of the one she is in, but also from the stories her friends tell her. Over the years she’s spilled numerous stories about single girls, married women and those who have it in between—relationships that don’t seem to be headed anywhere solid. I think after hearing all these stories I finally understood that marriage is not the answer to happiness. What’s the point of being married to someone who is basically still living a bachelor lifestyle and doesn’t spend time with you? Don’t you end up feeling more lonely than you ever did single? You really have to find happiness within yourself. After all, besides God and maybe your parents if they are still around, who else knows you better than you? I’m sure there are some things even your closest bestie doesn’t know about you.

On the other hand, I know part of the appeal to coupling up is having a plus one on hand for certain occasions that it seems more appropriate to go as a twosome as opposed to attending solo. But then that specific idea messes with my head and sense of individualism. If we feel like we cannot attend an event alone, what does that say about us? That we care about what other people think? Or that we are clingy and can’t go to any event by ourselves?

Then there’s the fear of dying alone or ending up lonely. If you have a healthy happy marriage, you can probably prolong your life. However, if you’re like me and don’t see yourself meeting someone suitable and not caring what the world thinks of that, then there are some things you should do if you want to live a long happy life. I think the most important one is to have a social life. Sure, you can get a cat or a plant, but it’s just not the same as having some sort of regular human interaction. Plus if you have no amount of human interaction at all, you risk dying alone in your apartment and nobody finding out until your corpse started to reek and your cat ate half your face. No one wants that much paperwork!

Even if you do get married, don’t you want the person to love you for you? How are you going to know who the real you is without being single first? After all, a relationship with yourself is the only one you can’t break up with and isn’t that the best kind of relationship to invest in?

Bottom line? Be free to choose your own happiness. You don’t have to get married. It’s not a requirement. They don’t actually shoot single people.

7 thoughts on “Marriage is not mandatory

  1. I was married at a young age of 21 and I wish that I lived my life single a lot longer than I did, because there are tons of things I want to do. Not to say that I still cannot do them, it’s just with marriage comes a lot of responsibilities. So good for you!

    • Even though I have never been married, I hear ya! I think it’s great to have dreams, and I hope you will still get to do everything you want. You never know!

  2. It’s interesting to see how the concept of marriage has changed over the years. Historically, marriage was a cornerstone of adulthood. Folks married young and then went on to figure out life together as a couple. That worked well at a time with well-defined gender roles. But now, the institution of marriage has trouble keeping up with less defined gender roles, more opportunities for women work, not to mention the changes in sexuality, child-bearing/rearing, and so much more. You make a good point of needing to be happy as a single person first, but historically, that was not a priority, especially not for women. Hence, there are now more single people in the US than married people, so singles are in the majority!

    Marriage as an institution will likely need to evolve with the times before it comes obsolete. Having said that, marriage, historical or modern, still takes a great deal of work. Choosing your own happiness is great, single or not.

    Oh and btw, it’s a boy!

    • You make some good points as well. Marriage has definitely evolved over the years and that is also why I made a point that this is a personal post specific to me. But now that you bring it up, I want to read more on the history of marriage. I took a class on marriage and literature and it touched on some of these points.

      I’m happy for you that it’s a boy! Your son will be very lucky to have wise and caring parents. Keep me posted!

  3. Pingback: At The Outset

  4. I agree that we need to be a whole person within ourselves to be happy. Something I am currently working on after becoming recently single after 13 years if marriage. I think you might like this book: “The missing piece meets the big O” by Shel Silverstein. It’s an amazing book on relationships and self fulfillment.

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