Happily Un-Married and Ever After

September 7, 2016

IMG_5929Image by Stephanie Drenka

“We are complete with or without a mate, with or without a child. We don’t need to be married or mothers to be complete. We get to determine our own ‘happily ever after’ for ourselves.” – Jennifer Anniston

We’re going to try something a little different on the blog today. Today I’m letting you in on a little secret… I don’t understand why anyone would want to get married. Before I get rocks thrown at me and told what a horrible woman I may be, I encourage you to read on with an open mind.

I’m 29. About two years older than the median age for women getting married in 2016, and yet I still don’t have “that feeling”. I’ve never been the girl to dream about her future wedding. It’s not that I never wanted to get married, it was more so that I just didn’t think about it. I never fantasized being walked down the aisle or my future husband crying when he saw me. Truth is, I’ve never really been that kind of girl.

When I met Steven, things were different. I had already been through several relationships, dated other guys and had already had so many jobs I’m embarrassed to admit it on this blog. And where was I? Well, it definitely wasn’t New York City like I had originally dreamed. I was living at home… with my parents. Steven was also living at home at the time, so we were both in a similar situation. I won’t go into the details of how Steven and I met – we’ll save that for another time.

Steven and I just immediately clicked. I’ve never been a believer in “the one” or “soulmate”, but if I did, this would be the closest feeling. I felt it pretty early on and I still do to this day. Last month (I think?) marked mine and Steven’s fifth anniversary. He would tell you it’s in December, but I’m more than positive it’s in August.

IMG_5822Image by Stephanie Drenka

The longer we’re together, the more the marriage question comes up. And the more I get asked, the more confused I get. Am I supposed to have this unwavering want to get married? Does my lack of interest in marriage reflect my relationship? This is a relationship built on trust and support, and sure the occasional debacle but most importantly, love. Does marriage reinforce that? Or even more concerning, does marriage change that?

Steven and I have now lived together for more than 3 years. We adopted our sweet Charlie Boy together and we moved to Texas. What’s missing? Over and over I ask myself, how is a marriage different than what we already have? I don’t need him to wear a ring to make me trust him. And vice versa. Marriage is also a tradition based on reasoning that I don’t necessarily abide by. Religion? Nope. Economic benefits? I have student loan debt – there’s no benefit for Steven here! We don’t have kids, and I don’t believe that you need to be married to even have kids.

Traditions are just that, traditions. There’s no real rhyme or reason to it anymore. Sure, traditions are important to some. But I’ve never been one to follow anything blindly. And the tradition of marriage is not something I can totally get behind. It’s all novelty to me. The party, the planning… sounds more like an expensive and stress-filled nightmare than a fantasy. I love Steven. But I don’t feel we need to get married to reinforce that love. Nor do we need to spend thousands of dollars on a wedding to make us or everyone around us feel better about our relationship. Because at the end of the day, it’s just that: our relationship.

I never wanted to be the girl, or woman technically, waiting to get engaged. I hear a lot of women declaring their desire to get engaged (some not even in a relationship) and I can’t help but ask, why? What do you get out of it? A pretty piece of jewelry? Love? Shouldn’t the relationship already be built on love? And isn’t that the most romantic and important part of it all?

When you don’t need marriage to make the relationship real – now that… that is love. Nothing to prove, nothing to show off. Just pure and real love. So what happens when you know you have that? You look up rings! Totally kidding.

This is my advice to women, especially young women, to focus on your own self confidence, love, and a strong relationship instead of obsessing over a ring and feeling the societal pressure or need to be married. Build a platform for a confident you and a fulfilling life. The rest will eventually fall into place.

  • Allison Sosebee
    September 19, 2016 at 7:17 PM

    Absolutely love this, Jaclyn. I could not have said it better myself.