It’s been a busy year for weddings. My partner and I are at that mid-late-twenties age when every couple around us seems to be rushing to the altar and starting families by their thirties. And that’s okay.
But my partner and I aren’t among them. Sure, we’ve talked about marriage. We’ve talked about timelines, about buying a house. We decided that we’d rather be the crazy aunt and uncle than parents. We’ve agreed that there are some issues between us that we’d like to work out before saying “I do,” and that even if we were ready, right this instant, there would still be monumental monetary considerations that we’d have to address.
That decision is a comfortable one for us. It feels right. We live together, and we’re building our lives together one brick at a time, climbing over our own personal hurdles as we do so. We’re learning what we want from life, and we’re doing it together. We don’t need to be married right now.
Despite our best efforts, however, that conviction does little to dispel the outside pressure that has been building around us.
This month, two of our drinking buddies are getting hitched. We’ve been dating for longer than the two of them have known each other. In a month, we’ll be attending the wedding of a couple that we set up. I feel like everyone in that ballroom will be judging us: Wondering why we haven’t gotten at least engaged yet. Wondering if something might be going wrong in our relationship. Every social gathering, even D&D, is (and has been) dominated by talk of centerpieces, dress styles, and venue prices. It’s hard not to feel left out.
And that’s just the end of this year. There’s already a whole slew of Save the Dates on our bulletin board for Spring of next year.
The social pressure is enormous, though we do realize that we’re placing most of it upon our own shoulders. To that end, the boy and I have been trying to work out the pieces of the puzzle that have been bugging us the most:
Will we be able to throw the giant, children-free, drinking-and-dancing reception party that we’ve both pictured if we wait until all of our friends are starting families? Probably not. Is an awesome party reason enough to make a life commitment? No.
Will it be easier to work through our respective issues if we got married? No. In fact, it might even be more difficult. We’re very, very different people, and sometimes finding a point where we would be comfortable making a forever commitment seems out of reach. Doing so before we were ready would be beyond detrimental.
Will the people in our lives look at us oddly if we don’t get married before 30? Probably. Does it matter? Not one bit.
Does any of this mean we should rush forward instead of sticking to the commitment we made to build our relationship right now? Hell, no.
The fact of the matter is that it does not matter what other couples are doing (or have done). Our relationship is not dependent on the views of others, nor do we feel that it should ever be. It’s about us, about what we want from our lives, and about the slow process of integrating those ideas into one whole.
So what if we’re going about building our relationship in a different manner than our friends? We’re just not ready to get married right now. And that’s okay.
Anyone else feeling the pressure? How are you handling it? What advice would you give to other couples feeling the same thing?