When taking a good look around at my friends and people I socialize with, I noticed a completely split camp. People either fell into one of two categories with no in between. The first and more traditional group are people who got married when they were between 25 and 30ish. The second group is breaking the mold and are about 28 to 40, not married, and don’t really seem in a hurry to check this off their list of lifetime milestones. I proudly identify with this second group.
What’s the rush?!
Why isn’t the second group in a hurry? What are we waiting for? Well, for starters, we’d answer that question by countering with what we find to be a better question: “What’s the rush?!”
I know so many guys and girls alike who have been happily single for years. We are used to being on our own schedules, making our own money, and getting what we want out of life to make us happy other than a relationship. After a certain amount of time, you become so content with this style of life, you don’t feel the overwhelming need or urge to go settle down.
As a generation, we are capable of living extremely vibrant and fulfilling lives without marriage or long-term relationships. As single young adults with great jobs and great friends, we can provide ourselves with everything that we could ever want. Therefore, we aren’t going to be inclined to settle down in a relationship that we know won’t provide additional value to our lives. Relationships, whether they be friendships or romantic relationships, should add value to our lives.
I’m afraid to admit it, but, I think my fellow “happy and single for maybe ever” friends and I are refusing to ask ourselves one crucial question. Are we so happy being single because we don’t believe we will find anyone who can provide some kind of benefit to our life that we can’t live without? Have we become so independent that we convince ourselves that no one in the world can provide us with something that we can’t provide ourselves?
When we look at marriage through the limited lens of “how does this relationship serve me on x, y, and z levels?” we forget what the word relationship actually means. What about friendship? How many of us cannot live without our best friends? My friends who are married or in blissful long-term relationships are undoubtedly best friends with their significant other. The respect that goes into a best friendship can propel and strengthen a romantic relationship to last through all of the hard things that life throws your way. It always helps to have a best friend by your side, even when you feel like you’re invincible on your own.
People may marry for money, convenience, or obligation, but I think that the people who are waiting to get married are over all of that. I think the people who wait to get married or are actually OK with not getting married at all are just waiting for that one person they cannot live without. That best friend, that literal soulmate, who actually does provide their life with some value and purpose that it didn’t have before.
Sometimes, we just get lost in our overly superficial world to remember that the value we will get from our spouse or long-term relationship isn’t tangible. It’s not the shiny new car they bought us on Christmas, it’s not the fancy vacation spent posting pictures from the most beautiful reaches of the earth, it’s not the 90 photos you post together. It’s behind closed doors, two people who simply cannot live without each other. THAT is worth waiting for.
We wait to get married or settle down because we’ve solved the superficial stuff all on our own. We go on our own vacations, we buy our own cars, we have taken care of all of that. We wait for the thing we don’t have and are willing to wait a lifetime for it, even if it doesn’t ever actually come.