One thing that has recently been gnawing away at me subconsciously is the topic of marriage.

Not that I would ever admit it, but it is something of a sensitive subject for me. I am at an age now, despite still being what is socially acceptable to class as “young,” where nearly all my old school friends are married. Leaving me feeling as though I have been “left on the shelf.” Particularly when you see some of the munters and overweight people who have managed to secure themselves a husband, earning themselves the title of “Mrs.”

Snapping back to reality with a sudden jolt: hang on a minute, why on earth should I be feeling that way?

For instance, a brief lowdown on me is that I am young, ambitious, am not unattractive and have achieved a lot to be proud of. Why should I feel any less superior to other women or friends of mine merely due to the fact that they have a ring on their finger and I don’t? As at the end of the day, to the outside world, that’s mostly what marriage is? Just to be able to show other people “look, I’m married.” Well done, you have now made yourself feel important. You can show up to a dinner party knowing that you will be free from pitying, sympathetic looks  and can avoid the inevitable questions and phrases that nearly all singletons and unmarried couples face such as “time is ticking,” “better get a move on,” or “do you think you’ll ever get married?” All the while, you are sitting there, outwardly smiling politely, (albeit through gritted teeth) whilst inwardly feeling your heart ache just that little bit more, thinking to yourself, “just shut the f up!”

For example, the time when some of my work colleagues were sat at lunch discussing marriage. One lady was talking about her daughter’s upcoming nuptials, whilst another girl was reminiscing about her wedding day. Then this other girl, who constantly bores everyone silly talking about her wonderful husband and how much she loves him, noticed that I had joined the table, and so turns and says to me, perfectly innocently, “Would you ever get married?” with an excited twinkle in her eye, akin to a child who is eagerly waiting to see what Santa has left them on Christmas morning.

My response? I replied, rather abruptly, “Doesn’t interest me whatsoever. I don’t believe in marriage at all!” accompanied by a hand gesture which suggested “this conversation is over! end of!” (actions do speak louder than words so they say.) She looked so shocked, I don’t know whether that was due to my blunt response or the fact I said I don’t believe in marriage (which was not really true), she instantly got the message and carried on with her conversation with the others.

To anyone listening, it may have sounded pretty darn rude, and it was to be fair, however, my point is, whilst these may seem like perfectly innocent questions to many, you don’t know when you are hitting a raw nerve with others so to speak. You wouldn’t ask a lady over a certain age why she has never had children, so in the same respect, what makes it socially acceptable to ask unmarried women when are you going to get married? Why are people so nosy and so interested in other people’s lives more to the point?

“looking at wedding venues, table settings,”  “put down the deposit,” “honeymoon booked,” “going dress shopping”

There was another time one Christmas at the hairdressers. I was having my hair done and the stylist told me that her boyfriend had proposed and they were planning their wedding for the following year. She then proceeded to ask me, “so your one didn’t propose to you then?” As though just because her partner did, everyone else’s automatically had to as well. I replied, “no, we are saving to buy a house at the moment, that’s our priority, can’t afford a wedding as well,” to which her response was, “that’s what Mothers are for!” The cheeky four-legged creature! Again, mind your own business.

Then we have the topic of Facebook. The two seem pretty much to go hand in hand nowadays. You know the scenario: someone gets engaged. They share their good news on Facebook.  Next cue endless updates and photographs of the ring, newsflash: one picture only is enough, do we really need to see anymore, especially when it looks as though your fiancé has gotten your ring from out of a cracker?! Then after this, we have the constant posts along the lines of, “looking at wedding venues, table settings,”  “put down the deposit,” “honeymoon booked,” “going dress shopping”. This then prompts followers to comment on stories from their own weddings or how their own wedding preparation is going. Then the wedding day itself, and what usually follows this is an entire year of their Facebook profile photo being changed on a regular basis of yet a different picture on their wedding day. Throughout each one it is hard to ignore the temptation not to write on their profile, “have you not had anything else going on in your life all year??”

The point is, we gather people are getting married, just why feel the need to broadcast at every opportunity? What do they feel they need to prove to anyone? Also, in my personal experience, the most solid couples I know, and those who I aspire to be like are not married. Both couples in my extended family have been together and engaged for over twenty years and have lasted far longer than most married couples. So, therefore, in this day and age, why does it matter whether or not you get married, and heaven forbids you are one of the “naughty” ones who has had children beforehand. However, if you judge anyone who does, that is more a reflection on you as a person rather than them.

Overall, my advice is to be who you want to be, married or unmarried, be happy, don’t listen to others on the topic of marriage and live your life how you want to. There is no set time frame to be married, so do not feel pressured that time is running out, you are not left on the shelf if not married by the age of thirty, it is no longer our great grandparent’s era where everyone was married by the age of twenty after only “courting” one person. Next time you are forced to endure an awkward conversation on the topic of why you are not yet married, remember, you are a strong, independent successful person with a lot to be thankful for, and you will get married in your own time, preferably for life.

After all, nowadays, haven’t studies proven that the divorce statistics are higher than those of marriage…..?

Kate Jay

 

 

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