Thursday, February 17, 2011

All the Single Ladies (and Gents)

This post is for those young gals & guys who are constantly being faced with the idea they need to be dating followed by marriage in their early twenties. It seems to be the accepted norm (particularly in the Christian communities) and leaves single, young people feeling alone and isolated. Unfortunately, this leads to dating for the sake of dating just to be “in” with the popular crowd.

Well, there are plenty of reasons to wait for Mr. or Mrs. Right. I read in Time Magazine that “according to research at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, one of the clearest predictors of whether wedding vows will stick is the age of the people saying them. Take the '80s: a full 81% of college graduates who got hitched in that decade at age 26 or older were still married 20 years later. Only 65% of college grads who said I do before their 26th birthday made it that far.”

Many people are putting off getting married until they are established in their careers and still others are opting to not marry at all if they aren’t able to find the right spouse for them. Boy, I think this is admirable. I can’t imagine rushing into this type of commitment without being absolutely sure it’s the right thing to do.

I think back on my life and I am a much different person today than I was in my early twenties and I’m eternally grateful I married a very patient man who was willing walk with me (or, should I say muddle with me) into adulthood. I was an unripe 21 year old when we tied the knot and though I thought I knew what I was doing at the time, I had no idea the magnitude of the decision I had just made. I’m convinced our marriage would have ended in divorce had my husband not been committed to us for the long haul. Twenty-five years later, we are very content with one another and are best friends. We can’t imagine being married to anyone else… we are of the minority I’m sure of those who married very young.

This post is not intended to discourage young couples, who truly believe they’ve found their soul mates, from spending a lifetime together… but, rather to encourage others who are on a different marital timetable.

Marriage in no way shape or form should be included on the college “hip list,” or ANY “hip list” for that matter. I understand that birds of a feather flock together and when we are blissfully in love, we tend to gravitate to others who are too. It’s fun to double date and to share stories we have in common. But, when we exclude (even if it’s unintentional) the single folks from our repertoire of friendships, we miss out on some of the best relationships.

Some of my most treasured friends are single. I wouldn’t trade them for anything and I certainly would never question their “status.” They are my friends because we have a mutual love and appreciation for one another and not because they have or don’t have a significant other.

The moral here (according to me): It’s okay to delay dating and marriage until someone comes along who is dating/marriage material (or forever for that matter). There’s nothing magical about the early twenties that indicate marriage is essential to hipness or happiness. Let’s not contribute to making singles feel less than adequate because they don’t have a partner. Instead, let’s admire them for who they are and open our hearts to a potential lifelong friendship… let’s not put ourselves in a position to be the losers here!

Here’s to all the single ladies (and gents),

Marisa


2 comments:

Scott said...

Please don't let the fact that I have been married twice and divorced twice taint what I am saying here. This is based on what I have read as well as experienced.

Isaac Asimov, author of over 400 books, died a few years ago. He wrote on many subjects: science, science fiction, math, and sociology to name but a few. When I was, I believe, in my second marriage, I remember reading part of a sociology book in which Mr. Asimov wrote a chapter introduction. In it he posited his theory that, the reason the divorce rate was so much higher today than 150 years ago was not because family values are so messed up, but because 150 years ago, at 18, a person had met 90+% of the people he/she would ever meet in his/her lifetime and simply had picked 1 of those. Today, at 18, a person has met only about 20% of the people he/she will meet, yet still seem to pick as if he/she had met them all already. He felt it understandable then why a person would meet someone today 10-15 years later who was so much better suited to him/her than the spouse was. He wasn't saying getting a divorce was valid because of that; he simply was saying that the conflict would be there. It makes sense to me. I had dated before I got married. I dated between marriages, and I have dated since my last marriage. I am still meeting different types of people. With all of that going on, I am still not certain what type of person I would be best married to. I know people don't want to wait forever, and I know there is outward pressure to get married quickly; however, only you can truly have any idea if the person you are seeing is someone you want to spend the rest of your life with. Because, if you don't want to be with them forever when you get married...you won't be married forever. Don't be pressured into hurrying. You can make it on your own if you decide to. I have adjusted. You can, too. Do I want to get married again? That will, I guess, depend on who I meet... :-)

Marisa and Brittany said...

Scott,

You bring up some interesting insight. I hadn't thought about the social differences of people many years ago vs. today. The statistics you posted are fascinating and make perfect sense. We have open lines of communication all over the world with different modalities with which to socialize today. Is it any wonder the divorce rate is so high. My husband always says if we put ourselves in a position to fail day in and day out, there's a good chance we'll fail.

I find it very interesting that 150 years ago, at 18, a person had met 90% of the people s/he would meet in his or her lifetime and today that percentage is only 20%. What you're saying affirms the studies that indicate the chances of divorce decreases every year a person delays marriage up to their early 30s.

I love how you ended your response... to open your heart to the possibilities of marriage depending upon who you meet. You're not closed minded, but at the same time you've set parameters for yourself to not settle for just anyone who comes along.

Ron and I just watched "What Happens in Vegas" and the lead character played by Cameron Diaz said to her boss that she'd rather have nothing and be happy than to have everything and be miserable.

Marriage is wonderful... with the RIGHT person, but can be horrifying with the WRONG person.

When we wait upon the Lord for His timetable, we live a much more fulfilled and happy life!!

Marisa