Marriage is Not an Achievement
Reflection allows you to think about a lot of things that, otherwise, may not have received any attention. The most prominent part of this self-love/self-discovery journey is figuring out who I am. How can I love myself if I don’t honestly know who I am? It’s not possible.
And, you may be thinking, how could you possibly not know yourself. The answer is simple: most of us only know our representative. Sound familiar?
In dating, we’re told that we meet people’s representative. You know, the version of them they want you to see so they gain your interest. Then, as time passes, they begin to peel back the mask, and you see the things we aren’t so quick to share. That’s not to say that they are two completely different people, but none of us walk around exposing our baggage to strangers.
We don’t introduce ourselves by saying, “Hi, I’m *fill in your name here*, and I have a lot of toxic behavior, unresolved issues from childhood, and a lot of trauma I haven’t yet dealt with.” No, we put our best foot forward, and over time, those other realities are revealed.
As I began to reflect on different parts of my life, I realized that part of learning about myself is also unlearning things that I have been taught that don’t necessarily align with who I am as a person. In addition, challenging the beliefs I have to determine whether they’re actually mine is necessary.
In talking to people, it seems most of us have held ideas and beliefs that were never ours, to begin with. Either our parents, friends, culture, or community embedded these ideas into our mind and, for whatever reason, we adopted them as our own. Whether it’s ideas about marriage, children, relationships, friendships, careers, religion, or sexual orientation, even as adults, the beliefs we hold our only ours because it’s all we’ve ever known, and we’ve never taken the time to challenge them.
One of the topics of discussion for me lately has been marriage. Having been engaged, naturally, getting married was something I wanted to do, but when I really thought about it, I didn’t have a real reason why I wanted to be married other than that’s what I believed was supposed to happen. That’s not to say that I didn’t want to spend my life with this person—I did—but I could do that without being married. Marriage has always been the end goal when it came to relationships, and it still is for many people. However, my question to others has been why they want to get married. Most gave reasons like wanting stability, support, a bond, true love, longevity, insurance that if something happened to their partner, they would be covered financially, and wanting to provide a family for their kids. All of which, are valid reasons for wanting to get married. But, these same people agreed that you could get these things in a relationship, so, if that’s the case, why are you getting married?
Decades ago, a woman was supposed to be married and to be unwed almost decreased your value as a woman. Being married was an accomplishment, and women depended on men for support—all support. That’s no longer the case. Women don’t rely on men for financial support, and many are doing well for themselves without the help of a partner. That’s not to say they don’t desire one, but it’s not a requirement for them to take care of themselves and their children anymore.
Marriage does not guarantee stability, support, a bond, true love, longevity, financial security, care, or a healthy family structure for your children. This is evident by the divorce rate. So, my question is, if you are married, why did you choose to get married versus staying in a relationship, and, if you aspire to be married, why do you want to get married?
There’s no right or wrong answer here, but I urge you to challenge the beliefs you hold to determine whether they’re your beliefs, or whether you’ve adopted someone else’s belief as your own.