… and focus on yourself instead.
Sure, we’ve all done it: dreaming of that perfect wedding, that happy life with a strong devoted man by our side. Most of us still do and turn a blind eye to all red flags or brush aside any (strongly advised) conversation about expectations to make that fantasy a reality.
But then we eventually wake up to realize: he’s still a slob, has very questionable morals, runs from anything resembling responsibility and has recently avoided any conversation about that pony he promised you for your birthday. Or baby. Both works in this scenario and happens more often than we care to admit.
So what is it that we’re willing to sacrifice our sanity and take on a life as a caretaker instead of reigning over our own kingdom? It can’t be security because, as we all know, nothing is secure — not even a bank. Yes, I knew you’re gonna throw that whole wedding dream back at me but let me just say I’ve lost all respect for its sanctity when a friend’s husband made out with a bridesmaid. I mean, come on!
Is marriage really fulfilling or are we just fulfilling expectations?
Guilty of defining my self-worth as “Married by the time I’m 30” my whole life, I should have stepped on the brakes when storm related circumstances (yep, the definition of an act of God) delayed my wedding to, you’ve guessed it, one day after my 31st birthday. So, a messy divorce and tons of research later, it still amazes me how much judgment me gotta ditch when I stand firm against marriage for me now.
And yes, the first time I faced this prejudice I immediately fell into that pit of supposedly unlovable, rejected people, vegetating on the hopeless bottom. You know… where most independent women — unwilling to bend or conform — can be found.
It made me take a long hard look at how we still consider autonomous, unmarried women as failures.
Sure, during that time when I made my life goal to lock a man into marriage with me, that was exactly what I did. Now I know that this be-all and end-all solution is the greatest illusion we still choose to believe — for obvious reasons like companionship, cheaper cost of living, emotional support and a regular satisfied sex life (so we think). Just throwing out there that you don’t really need to be married to get all of that, technically.
But it’s a choice to ignore stories about frustration, monotony, ongoing compromises, mundane daily grind, habituation, lack of communication, insecurities, secrets, betrayal and impotence, darn it!
Basically, it left me with the sobering truth most marriages neither work nor enrich our lives and, to top it off, usually leaves the wife with picking up the pieces. And socks, groceries, chores, cooking, and sexual duties. By default.
So what started out as a supportive wifey (me), soon became a resentful she-dragon (also me) and subsequently a full fledged medusa (that never happened, nah ah, nope). Most of us women had plans too but unfortunately, there was never a time for them and hubby now has a flourishing career, vital for the conservation of his manhood, that‘s not up for debate.
Now, you might be yelling at the screen: “But I’m happily married! How dare you question my picture perfect family, worshipped all over the land!” Just a quick reminder we can’t hear you but congratulations on not feeling trapped or disappointed by your choices. We’re happy to plan a field trip to witness your marital bliss.
That being said, it almost always requires the woman to step back and willingly manage the household on top of everything else. And that should make it harder to paint as an ideal, is my point.
The amazing news: I hereby give you permission to dare to dream beyond becoming someone’s wife. Say what?!
There, I said it. What a concept, right? How could she! Telling me I can have time to focus on me. Could you imagine that? Not that commitment or creating a family is a bad thing. Of course it’s not. But all I’m saying is, maybe we can consider, for just a second, that marriage is not for everyone and can be extremely detrimental to our own growth.
Overall, it’s not marriage itself but how it‘s still defined. And why, more often than not, it leads to a lethargic or burdening trap, leaving wives barely motivated to achieve things too.
And changing the opportunities for us women, challenging ourselves, showing what we’re capable of, can only change if more of us go for it.
I know that looking beyond finding a provider sounds terrifying. It’s what we’re conditioned to think. But then there are women like Oprah — who has openly stated she might have never done what she did if she had accepted Stedman’s proposal. And no, that does not mean we’re all supposed to go out and build a billion dollar empire now. It doesn’t even mean we’re not supposed to tie the knot.
What it means is that Oprah chose to do her thing and knew that saying yes would hold her back. Another humdinger: recent studies have shown unmarried couples living apart have the highest level of sexual satisfaction. Sign. Me. Up!
What do you mean your grandparents, and parents, and non-Millennials refuse to consider you a successful female, unwed? We know! We all do.
It’s not their fault. Forever committed relationships were considered a very admirable feat and stood for stability. Yet, it just doesn’t automatically make one perfect because all one does is making a life choice. That’s all it is. No “She must be pure love to be blessed with a husband” or “Relationship crowning may commence!” Times have changed.
We’re more aware of fulfillment, self-realization and healthy environments than ever. The work on us is — simply put — much more important and spiritually valuable than any man-made construct that makes us think we have arrived.
And just because I choose me, I can still have a wonderful relationship with a man. One that’s balanced, flexible, empowering, honoring our individual needs and allowing us to take time alone when necessary. So, after I overcame that first phase of sheer panic, having to stand on my own feet, I feel much more content now. Defining my boundaries and holding myself accountable made me more efficient, stronger and successful.
Besides, and yes that’s important to note, I can just buy my own pony.
If I want. So, ask yourself if marriage is for you and why you decided to do it or plan to go there. Consider all cultural, societal, convenience, romantic, illogical reasons that could’ve convinced you it’s a good thing. Talk to friends about it. Bringing this up in my circle, as research for my next script around marriage, created the most surprising and enlightening conversations!