Story by Callie Cherry, Reporter
Photo courtesy of Hello Giggles
Not so long ago, it was expected that undergraduate students, especially women, would marry almost immediately after finishing their studies. While this trend may be declining, it still stands true in places like Grand Rapids, where conservative culture still reigns. I, for one, am rejecting the thought that I need to get married after graduation – or in my twenties at all.
It’s not that I don’t love my partner, or that I dread the end of those wild and crazy bachelorette years. My decision comes down to a few main arguments, the first of which is that marriage is not a solution to a problem. It is a stage in the evolution of love and trust. Too often, I’ve seen couples that I care about jump the broom because they believe a ring and a contract suddenly erase issues such as arguments, maturity levels, cheating, and even abuse, and that’s a very dangerous fantasy to follow. Marriage should be the logical next step in a strong relationship where both partners communicate effectively and respect each other equally.
Another relationship should also be considered when questioning whether or not to get married: your relationship with yourself. Self-growth does not stop after Juan hands you your diploma, it continues, and you didn’t get that diploma for nothing. There are a wealth of career opportunities ahead of you, some that may take you to incredible places all over the world. Your personal development and your dreams don’t disappear when you get married, and it can be hard to make decisions that are best for you when there is another person in the equation.
The last, but likely most important, argument to ponder is whether or not you are settling. This could be in terms of your relationship, or in terms of your wedding ceremony (which matters more to some than others). At 22, I can hardly decide which chips to buy at The Corner, let alone whether I want to spend the rest of my life with my partner. While I love our relationship, I can also realistically acknowledge that, just like there are millions of chip flavors I’m not aware of, there are billions of people I haven’t yet met. Why cap out so early in my life? Similarly, I can’t even buy brand-new shoes because the price tag scares me – how am I supposed to fund a wedding? Some people are very fortunate to have families that are able and willing to help pay for a ceremony, and others are not – I refuse to settle for a wedding that is less than what I’ve always dreamed it would be, because like most people, I only want to do it once.
To some, my opinion may seem calloused and rude, and that is not my intention. I know many young married couples who are what I dream for my relationship to be, and I am eternally happy for them. Yet there are many other young people who should at least hear my subjective argument and reflect on it in the context of their own relationships. Marriage is not just a legal contract, or a contract of faith, it is a commitment to a single person for the rest of your life – and my hope is that your life will be pretty long. So take your time to make the right choice.