Friday, 16 November 2012
Now that I am in my mid-20s, I have reached the age where a large number of my peers are getting married. Most people are out of school, are utilizing their college degrees in full-time jobs, and have moved out of their parents’ home and into their own place and are therefore ready to take that next step in their lives with their significant other.
In the last two years, I have been bombarded with Facebook notifications informing me of engagements and marriages of people I knew from high school, college, and graduate school. Since social media sites allow us to instantly share information about our lives to an audience of our family, friends, and peers, once a person announces his or her engagement or marriage, everybody on that person’s list of “friends” instantly knows about it.
Of course, watching all of these engagements be announced over the Internet can fill people who are not yet engaged with a bit of jealousy. Why be jealous? Isn’t every relationship different? Unfortunately, some people are stuck in the “Everyone-else-is-doing-it,-so-why-shouldn’t-I?” mentality that some of us may remember from middle school. Why get married? Well, everyone else is doing it!
There is one woman I know who is almost 25 and has been dating her boyfriend for five years. Every time she logs into Facebook and sees that somebody else has gotten engaged, she gets infuriated because her boyfriend has not yet proposed to her. She gets extra angry when she realizes that the engaged couple has been dating for a shorter period of time than she has been dating her boyfriend.
Admittedly, I occasionally find myself becoming a little jealous when I see people getting engaged. My boyfriend and I did not finish school at the same time, since I went for a master’s degree while he is currently working on a Ph.D., and we decided to wait until we are both done with school and have jobs before we get married. Now that I’m done with school, I’m working and saving up money for when he’s done in about two years. Although it can sometimes be unsettling to see everyone around us get engaged and married, I know that waiting a couple of years is best for our situation.
What this woman and I both need to keep in mind is that each relationship is unique, and the circumstances for each couple are going to be a little bit different. Just because other people have decided that getting married right now works best for them does not mean that marriage is the best idea for all couples in our age range. After all, marriage is not a race, and if a couple gets married right now just because everybody else is doing it, that couple may wind up divorced in a short period of time.
Marriage is a large step in a relationship, and, in my opinion, is a step that is best taken not only when a relationship has matured and both people are more than ready to commit to one another for life, but also when both people involved are financially ready to live on their own and pay for the wedding. This usually means waiting at least until one or both people in the relationship have secured a full-time job. Having a financial crisis can put a massive strain on any relationship, and the last thing a couple wants is to begin a marriage with tension as a result of money – something that could have been prevented if they waited an extra year or two before getting married.
In your opinion, what are signs that show that a couple is “ready” to get married? Has seeing what your peers have been up to on social networking sites ever influenced the way that you view your own life?