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Why You Should Wait to Get Married

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why you should wait to get married

Now that the drinks have been poured, the black-eyed peas and cabbage have been eaten, the midnight prayers sent to heaven, and the hangovers are fully nursed, 2014 has officially begun along with a new set of challenges to tackle. The most pressing one being to stop writing 2013 when it should be ’14; that -ish is annoying as hell. I especially have to remember that change in years because it directly correlates with how long I’ve been in my current relationship. My lady and I met shortly before the end of ’09 and had our first date after the year turned to 2010, which means that that nice big 4 at the end of the year stands for the number of years we’ve been together. In fact, as of today (the day I’m writing this) it’s the anniversary of our first date.

Being with someone four years comes with its challenges, but none as big as the marriage question. Fortunately, I have one of those awesome girlfriends that think along the same lines as I do; and when I say along the same lines, those lines represent the “We’re not ready, yet” ethos. Unfortunately, we also have some pushy friends and family who feel like we’ve been together long enough to figure out if we want to take it to the next level. However, we’ve made the decision to wait together.



Oftentimes, when dealing with friends, family, and nosy co-workers, the default opinion is that I’m the one holding up the wedding because I’m a man, and everybody knows that the men are always the one’s holding up the party. Nope, it’s not because we believe that there are still more issues we need to discuss amongst ourselves as far as expectations are concerned. And it certainly isn’t because we need to mature as a couple. It’s because in every story you’ve ever heard about a long-term relationship dying, it’s usually the man’s fault because of his lack of commitment…except when it isn’t.

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It’s totally become a pop culture cliche that marriage plans fall apart because of some no good man, who refuses to stop sowing his royal oats or whatever; and because of that cliche, I have to bear the brunt of everyone playing Judge Mabliene, telling me that I “better put a ring on it or lose a good thing.” Granted, at 31 years young, I admit that I would like to be married with a kid by the time I’m 35, but right now, the time just isn’t right.

Societal norms say that after three or four years, you should at least be planning a wedding; but if you think about it, that time frame is minuscule compared to the time that a marriage should last. Four years out of forever is not a long time. It’s long enough to feel like you’ve made a good choice, but it’s not long enough to determine if forever is right for both of you. With that said, I believe that the rush to get married is based on a desire to keep up with others in your circle, and the main contributor to the 50% divorce rate. If the 50% of divorcees had taken the time to really iron out any expectations and problems during the dating phase, maybe they would have determined that they weren’t right for each other; or maybe they would have worked out certain issues early so they didn’t fester like a cancer in the relationship — ultimately leading to the loss of half your ish “no fault” divorce.

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I blame this epidemic on the fairy tale happy ending that’s force fed down our throats for our entire lives from the terrible twos all the way up to wherever you are now. That’s not to say that some couples enter marriage after discussing all the issues and concerns that they have at the time. People change over time and people grow apart. That’s a part of being human and nothing is going to change that; but if it were only those couples that contributed to the divorce rate, I’m pretty sure that the divorce rate wouldn’t even come close to 50%.

Ultimately, marriage is an extremely intimate institution that should be decided by the two people involved. Not by friends. Not by family. Not by co-workers, and especially, not by pop culture. Nobody wants to die alone, but I’m a firm believer that dying alone is much better than dying bitter because you wasted a huge chunk of your life with a person you only agreed to be with because of pressure from outside sources.

Let me know what you think and I wish everyone out there a very successful, blessed happy new year! Now let the church say Amen!

Calvin Sellers is an aspiring writer from Hampton, Virginia who’s earned a Bachelor of Arts from Old Dominion University. He’s currently working on building DrunkCouple.com and you can reach him on Instagram @Calous or Twitter @BlaqVegeta. You can also read about his early days on blogspot.

Comment(33)

  1. Good article .

    2 reasons men get blamed / are the ones assumed to be ” holding things up ”

    1) ultimately men are the choosers to an extent. You ask us on dates, you ask us to be girlfriends, you ask us to be wives. People assume since you hold that ” power” that if you and your significant other haven’t made the next step, it’s because you haven’t opened the door for the next step to be taken.

    2) Society still assumes that every woman is dying to be married with kids by 30. While there are women who see 30 getting close and freak out , others are fine with waiting until they meet the right person , or never being married with children at all.

    There’s a difference between 2 partners mutually agreeing to wait because they want to work on things before making a bigger commitment; and one partner pushing marriage off because that’s not what they want but aren’t communicating that to the other person or even both partners wanting to take the next step but not communicating to each other what needs to be fixed in order to do so .

    I think family and friends assume the worse when it comes to the examples above.

  2. I’m over 30 and realize being married ain’t all what its cracked up to be. I don’t want to have kids, its enough father less kids in the world.

  3. I agree. I do feel the pressure to get married. My fiancé and I have been together for 5 years. I want to wait another 5 years to get married. People have said that 10 years is too long…we should know long before if we are meant for each other. Women have mentioned scenarios in which my “just boyfriend” could die and I receive nothing or have no say with the funeral. He can just walk away. But if a person wants to leave you, a piece of paper won’t stop them. Either way you still end up right back single. I guess waiting 10 years will show me that he is in it for the long run, before I humiliate myself with marriage. Idk lol.

  4. Kudos to y’all

    That piece of paper ain’t gonna add 1/10 of a gram to what y’all already have with each other. You two (outside of a social construct) choose each other every day, with the full knowledge that either of you could walk away clean. That’s commendable and ultimately what’s important.

    “I’m a firm believer that dying alone is much better than dying bitter because you wasted a huge chunk of your life with a person you only agreed to be with because of pressure from outside sources.”

    Great quote.

    Though I’ve never understood why “dying alone” is the favorite tale of (non- marriage) woe. Is there a “you died alone” section of heaven or hell? It’s as if dying alone can’t happen after having had a long shared life with someone. IJS

  5. I think this is all an excuse. The person will never be perfect. First you have to know yourself well enough to know what actually works for you, and after spending 1-2 years with that person and you guys align in most ways then you should make the commitment to fight for one another. I think many times people miss their blessing in teetering with the commitment. Many times you just have to take the leap of faith and it will work out. I think people start to act out when they feel uncertain and do things they wouldn't otherwise do if they knew it was forever.

    1. I completely agree with you. Most things that have a lasting effect only give you a fraction of the entirety to decide upon. And after 4 consistent years at the age of 30+ you really don't know if she's "the one" yet?

    2. I think you both miss the point of the article. Not one time does he question if she's "the one" or if either is uncomfortable with the other. This post points to the idea that you MUST marry within a certain time period based on outside circumstances. They've made a decision to postpone engagement and marriage until their circumstances become ideal, not the person. What I'm getting from you is totally different than what this topic is about. Not saying you're wrong, just saying it's not germane to the post.

  6. Excellent post. You guys made the choice together, forget everyone else. Issues should be handled before getting married.

  7. Marriage should happen when you are ready and it is right. Not because you are tired of "living in sin". Not because you are tired of being single. It should happen when no one else matters and you are ready to accept that higher level of commitment. People want to marry based on outside views and opinions but tend to jump quicker than they are supposed to.

  8. My most important takeaway from this post (great by the way) is two people have to communicate what it is they want, don’t want, and all that comes along with that. Unfortunately, it’s something so many people in relationships don’t do enough.

  9. I "get" this post, but Currently it's not Majority of Men wanting to Wait for marriage- Women are; they are More Educated and More Likely to be Breadwinners in their relationships/households (regardless if Kids exist or not). The whole "Lean In" and 'Can Women Have it All" drama is correlation to Women thinking Twice before saying I Do.

    Overall, I do agree that BOTH partins in the relationship should decide when They are Ready, not Family, Friends or Society as a Whole. ALSO, Marriage-like College and Being a Parent- isn't for Everyone, last I checked Oprah and Stedman aren't Married OR parents and they seem to be Just Fine……

  10. Hmm.

    I believe in longer courtships for younger people or those in life transitions, as emotions run high when people have too many balls in the air. But after a certain age you have a firm enough grasp on yourself to know what you can and cannot deal with. I'm not knocking anyone, as what works for one won't necessarily work for the other. Shoot, I was in a relationship for 7 years and at the end I still could not tell you if I could concretely be married to him. However…I also realized that maybe, probably, likely that also may be the reason we aren't together.
    My recent post Moda por Menos-the Lupita Edition!!!

    1. At some point I had to ask what was the ONE thing exactly that was keeping me from making the leap. There was clearly nothing I had left to find out about him. We'd lived together 4 of the 7 years. But in the end, it was comfort. It was like the dog that sat crying on the nail that wouldn't move because it didn't hurt enough. There was nothing propelling us forward OR backward. No reason to leave, no reason to further committ. I think sometimes we just get really comfy and change isn't fun all the time.
      My recent post Moda por Menos-the Lupita Edition!!!

  11. I am a female in a relationship going on 4 years and more often than not, I seem to be the hold in past conversations about marriage. I agree with the author that your relationship is a small fraction of the lifetime ahead of you so the rush is not necessary. Marriage is a milestone in a lifelong journey of love. A lot of my single girlfriends don't understand why I haven't gotten married to my significant other, but I think their perspective prevents them from understanding the nuances of a relationship at times. When you're thirsty and you see other people with bottled water drinking it leisurely, they look crazy not gulping that water down. But the person with the water bottle knows to pace themselves and not choke trying to rapidly drink the water. Hope that analogy was helpful. The readiness for marriage is a mutual decision between the couple. The people coaxing you to get a ring aren't the ones who will be dealing with the marriage and it's inevitable issues. I want more than a rang. I want a great partner to propel me forward and make new memories with. If we are doing that now without an engagement, I count myself blessed. Not many people can say that with or without a ring.

  12. that's very obvious, No one and I mean NO ONE should rush into marriage. I don't mean procrastinate on it for years either, but it's easy to waut 2-3 years after engagement to get yourself settled for your big day, and if you do the 2-3 years and things don't work out, you can part your separate ways, it's easier to do so. Yes, it may be a waste of 2 years or so, but it's a hell of a lot better than getting married and then realizing "Oops this isn't working, let's divorce now"………..
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  13. A couple can "wait" for marriage as long as they remain on the same page i.e they don't drift into different comfort zones/mindsets, whereby one gets too comfortable and complacent. I've heard/seen too many relationships wait too long for the next step, then end. The challenge, mystery and novelty must never be lost, that is how to maintain the desire for the next level of commitment and whole package, marriage. (reference @amaris79 second comment) – May I rephrase the title to 'Why you should be patient to get married', I feel the word 'wait' implies something different here. It sounds restless and unproductive.

  14. Great article. I'm 30, live with my girlfriend, am sure she's the one I want to spend my life with. At this point in our lives we'd have to decide between a 30k + formality (ie a party, er, a wedding) or live the best years of our lives together spending our cash on golfing more, traveling more, going out for expensive romantic dinners whenever we please etc. I'm not saying we'll never go through the expensive formality of a wedding, but now is not that time, as you say.

    One could argue that not getting married, but simply deciding to spend your lives together and trusting each other that your love is true enough is an even more intimate and loving commitment as opposed to putting shackles on each other with an official marriage. If it wasn't for social programming marriage could be viewed as a good strategy for less secure relationships to try and force them to last. As everyone knows that doesn't work out just over 50% of the time. If you play long enough the house always wins. Why isn't anyone changing up the strategy?

    Food for thought?

    1. …why do you have to spend $30K +?It's not like the options are spending that much or not getting married. There is a middle ground.

      Our plan is probably going to be to get hitched and have a party say 5 years down the road when we can do what we want. What's 5 years if we plan to stay together forever? But being married means a lot to both of us emotionally (and financially for a variety of reasons)

  15. If both parties are putting off marriage, cool, whatever. But after a few years, if a man (or woman) still doesn't know if their partner is the one, I feel that there are doubts that still exist. And in that case, yes he (or she) should not get married. But I, being the partner, am not going to wait for 10 years to maybe see if "I'm the one."

  16. What's the point of getting married? I ask that question not to sound cynical or bitter, but to get folks to really consider whether the institution is relevant in our progressive, modern, single society. Look at the divorce rate, kids born out-of-wedlock rate, and the fact that singles are now the social majority in our society. Women now have better (not equal) access to jobs, substantial income, etc. and can lead secure lives without a life partner. Men have easier access to sex without being legally bound to a woman, so there's not much motivation there. I like testing people on this subject, especially ladies. I like to ask: If your mate asked you to get married and that's what you really wanted, would it matter if you went to the courthouse/justice of the peace? See I have a theory that a lot of "so-called" ready to be married women are excited about the idea of a wedding rather than the reality of a marriage. I base that on the amount of work some people nowadays put into a wedding, but not a fraction of that effort into the actual marriage, thus the rising divorce rate. *shrugs*

  17. I always figured the point of marriage was to find lasting companionship with love, loyalty and legacy. Basically to find those things you can only get from a relationship and not from being single. I don’t know many people who don’t aspire to find that with someone. Marriage is supposed to be the practice of those ideas (to me) but modernity has turned it into a joke.

    Counter question: what’s the point of being single?

    1. “what's the point of being single?”

      There are as many points to being single as there are to being married. I’m sure that you can compile a list of negatives to being single. Go right ahead. But, that would miss the point.
      In this society, the end-game seems to be to get married. If you don’t, you’re stigmatized. So, (right or wrong), those who don’t subscribe to that pressure of marriage offer the (“why get married” question). It’s not a slam; it’s a question of façade over substance.

      I’m all for substance, which seems to be what the couple in the article display. If you can do that without the bru-ha-ha of marriage,….so be it.

  18. That was a very well written article. I guess the concept of marriage for the younger folks has changed drastically from my time. I decided after three months that I wanted to make the woman I was with, my wife. 33 years later we are still enjoying the commitments and investment we made in each other. Sure it hasn't been always perfect, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything else. When there is no real commitment it is very easy to just go your separate ways when times get a little tough. Being married sometimes forces you to at least attempt to work it out. My two cents 🙂

  19. Wow, okay. I don't get the point of 'living in sin' but obviously everyone doesn't subscribe to the same theory. To the question at hand – Why on earth date for so long without getting married? That's the whole point of dating. You want companionship, hire an escort. You want someone special that has your back – make some friends. Marriage is that everlasting, we're-gonna-work-it-out-no-matter-what type of deal. If you're not ready for that then just stop wasting her youth by dating. Women are on a timetable & if you're not ready (as the man) you NEED to let her go. She probably really does want marriage but doesn't want to seem like the "pushy type". No woman wants to seem like it's her idea.

    I still can't grasp why someone wouldn't want to get married if they already know that's the person they want to be with. People say that marriage is just a piece of paper, but would you allow your kid to have surgery by a doctor that went to medical school but didn't graduate? After all, he has all of the medical training, he just doesn't have that "piece of paper". Of course you wouldn't! Because IT MEANS MORE THAN JUST A PIECE OF PAPER!
    My recent post 7 Things That Wouldn’t Exist Without Black People

  20. @Chocolate Vent, my question to you is, why should anyone subscribe to YOUR idea of dating and marriage. You asked a question earlier, why have a fancy wedding when you can just go to the courthouse? While a courthouse wedding may be your dream (and nothing is wrong with that) some people want a nice, albeit “fancy” wedding where their friends and family can see their love become a union under God… Also, you speak as if you know the couple in the article. How can you tell someone, who has been with this woman four years, that they don’t really know her and she probably doesn’t want to be the “pushy” type. It’s clear from the article that both adults are on the same page and are trying to better themselves before being a better them, together. What’s wrong with achieving individual goals before become one. And do not speak for all women… You may be on a timetable but some women DON’T want to be married, some do and don’t want children, and still others don’t believe in the institution at all. I think that is the point of the article. Not everyone fits into this neat little box of courtship, dating, marriage, and kids. I know people who have married after knowing each other a few months, and they are still together. I also know people who didn’t marry until 40 years after creating a life together, and they are together, to this day. And what about arranged marriages? Where does that fall in your end all, be all scale. IJS, the author seems to know more about His relationship than you (as he should) so assuming he’s- what was it-wasting her youth is ludicrous. You would be one of the pushy friends and family he speaks of…

  21. First off, I want to thank all those who took the time out to comment on my article. Never did I think that my words would generate such a rich conversation. I don't have much to add to what I've already said in the piece, but I do want to reemphasize that everyone's relationship is different and everyone is entitled to do what works best for them. My relationship is different from my neighbors, and my neighbors relationship is different from his coworkers. The point is to find someone who is equally yoked with you and your beliefs. If you believe that 4 years is long enough to get married, then date someone who feels the same. If your not in a rush, then date someone who also is not in a rush. It's pretty simple. I just wanted to draw attention to the fact that societal norms should not dictate how you make decisions in your life. This is America, so you should feel free to do what you want within the law as long as it works for you!

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