Marriage isn’t the be all and end all… it’s fine to wait

Nov 13 2016 BY Sherifa Benjamin

What is supposed to be a joyous journey, that begins with an incredible day has become a bit of a looming cloud over the heads of many.

Funnily enough growing up I never felt any pressure from my family to get married. Their focus is children. If I hear my mum tell me one more time that I’m not getting any younger, you’ll be able to hear my screams nationwide.

The pressure that I feel to get married has always come from myself. I want to get married. I have always wanted to meet someone that loves me so much, he wants to make our love legally binding. I in no way think that marriage is a necessary step for everyone, and I don’t think that everyone should want to do it for that reason, but those are my reasons.

However, as soon as you get into a relationship, that changes slightly. Once you cross the 1-year mark (or the 6-month mark in my case), people start talking about it a lot. I’m at that age now. I call it the 2nd wind of marriages. I had quite a lot of wedding invitations when I was in my mid-twenties and then it died down a bit. But when you and your social circle start hitting that 30 mark, the weddings amp up considerably. If I go to all of the weddings that I have in my diary next year, along with the weddings that my partner has been invited to, I will be attending 7 weddings next year, 7!!! Inevitably whilst present at least one of the weddings that we attend together, the statement “you’re next” will come up. It always does, even if you are not at a wedding. And you may laugh and shrug it off, but it makes you think. Actually, it makes me panic if I’m totally honest.

I remember when I heard about nothing but my friends and family getting engaged and it genuinely sent me crazy. I started talking to my boyfriend about marriage at any given opportunity. We could be talking about the 5p charge on carrier bags and I would find a way to work marriage into the conversation. My colleagues at work even noticed stating that if he values his life, he will propose. I was a bridezilla with no ring and no groom. Insane!

I could see it myself of course, but I couldn’t stop it. I want to get married and I had to make sure that he knew that. And if he didn’t get the message when we spoke about it over breakfast, I’d have to ensure that he got the message over dinner. The poor boy looked exasperated every time the subject came up. I felt so sorry for him, I honestly did, but I just couldn’t stop it. We’d been together 5 minutes and I was pressuring him to propose. I’m surprised he didn’t dump me!

The pressure to get married, in my opinion, comes from all directions for both men and women. From partners, from parents, and from friends. Society has a way of making you think that there are a number of steps that you have to take in order for you to have lived a ‘successful’ life and those are included in them.

I find it interesting that in so many areas, as a society we have come so far, however, the tradition of marriage and a family are still very present on our to-do lists and sometimes it’s because it’s what we think we have to do. I’m increasingly meeting people in their early 30s that are going through or have been through a divorce because they married for the wrong reasons. They married because they felt that they had to and not because they wanted to grow old together and that is the problem.

Marriage isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. Other people’s view of your relationship should never be of any interest to you. You have to make sure that you make the right decision for your relationship at a time that is right for you.

For those people who are single and are feeling the pressure to get married, even from yourself, do not rush it. If marriage is supposed to come to you, it will. Don’t make the mistake of some of the people that I have met and married the wrong person just for the sake of it.

Nothing happens before it’s time, or before we are ready for it.