I was watching Friends the other night when this conversation happened.
Monica: Do you really think feeling sorry is the best reason to get married?
Chandler: No, pregnancy is the best reason to get married.
A question I’ve been getting a lot since I got pregnant is “Are you going to get married?”
My answer is always this: Maybe someday.
There’s always this notion that if a couple gets pregnant, they should get married because “it’s best for the baby”. I don’t believe that at all.
In fact, I know several adult couples that are in long-term, monogamous, committed relationships that have no intention to get married, some even have children. You don’t have to get married to show the world you love each other, and you don’t have to get married to be a family.
In today’s society, people believe in an order. This order to be exact:
- Graduate from high school
- Graduate from college
- Get a job
- Get married
- Have children
- Live happily ever after
This order is so heavily engraved in people’s minds from childhood that they believe any deviation will lead to inevitable demise. If someone chooses to not go to college, society looks down on them. Society believes they can’t live a successful life. If someone has children out of this order, society tells them that they can’t be top-notch parents. Society makes them believe they can’t get that happily ever after, or if they want it they have to work 50x harder than the average person. It’s not even so much an order than it is society’s “recipe for happiness”.
I think that because of this order, people that get pregnant “out of turn” get married because they need to get as close to this order as they possibly can.
I’m only 19. I don’t want to get married. Do I love my boyfriend? Yes. Do I want to be with him? Yes. Do I think we’ll make terrific parents regardless of our marital status? Hell yes.
Does being unmarried mean I’m not going to be as kind to my child? Does being unmarried mean I won’t be there for her whenever she needs me? Does being unmarried mean my boyfriend and I can’t cooperate successfully to raise her? Does being unmarried mean I can’t be a good mother?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then turn your computer off and sleep until you stop being ignorant.
Am I shaming people that choose to get married early? NO.
If you love someone so much and you’re committed to them and you want to marry them because you love each other and it would make you both indescribably happy, then I am so happy for you! I am unbelievably happy for you! I have nothing against people that choose to marry at an early age, pregnant or not.
What I have a problem with is this idea that because a couple has a child together that they should get married because it’s “what’s right”.
While I’m at it, what does it even mean to marry “early”? What defines “early”? 18? 19? Hell, even 23 is considered too young to some people. A hundred years ago or so, married at 18 was even considered late.
I’m only 19. I don’t want to get married. Maybe I’d like to someday. Who says I’ll even end up with my boyfriend? We’re only 19. Life can still happen. I would love to say we’re going to live happily ever after, but who knows. I feel ready enough to be a good mother, but not ready enough to be a wife. I don’t even think I’ll be ready to marry when I’m 24 or 25. Everyone is different.
For now, I want to enjoy my life. So maybe I won’t finish college in my society-accepted time frame. So maybe I won’t get married when people think I should. What I’m going to do is be a good mother to my daughter. What I’m going to do is be a good girlfriend to my boyfriend. What I’m going to do is live my life the way I want to, whether or not society thinks it’s right. What I’m going to do is live happily whether I follow this ridiculous order or not.
We’re all in control of our lives, whether we think we are or not. Just because I’m following a different order doesn’t mean my life won’t be as good as anyone else’s.