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I’ve never been the girl who wanted to get married. I didn’t grow up idolizing marriage, the wedding or the dress. I come from a family of strong women who don’t get married, by their own accord- as a product of my Grandfather being a feminist and superb human being.
Adding to that, I am a child of divorce. So, marriage never seemed like the end result because I saw people, particularly women, who were happier without marriage than with it. I grew up believing that men would benefit more from marriage than women do. And, being the rebel that I am, I have never wanted to fall into something because of a male’s benefit.
So almost ten years ago, when I was 20-years-old and made the announcement that I was getting married, everyone was in shock and horror. I got a lot of questions and concerns, mostly people wondering if I was mentally okay. They didn’t know that although the man that I was set to marry was someone that I loved dearly, I was not doing it for love. I had other reasons, which will remain private for his sake.
Thankfully, no shade, I didn’t get married. But I learnt a few things and here are three of them:
1. Marriage does not equal respect.
Honestly, anyone can get married. Although you have to go through an intense judicial process when you are about to get married, a marriage certificate does not require you to be a better person. We often paint this image that marriage equals many things and, respect is one of them. Truthfully, marriage is a certificate that binds two people together by vows. Respect has to be established, aside from the certificate, to make sure that it lasts.
2. If the feeling is not there, don’t force it.
I believe this about most things but particularly with marriage. Sometimes, I think about what my life would be like if I had moved to Europe (with my prospective husband at the time) and I am grateful that I didn’t go through with it. I spent a lot of my youth forcing relationships. Looking at my partner’s potential as opposed to who they were while I was with them. I forced myself to believe an idea that wasn’t real. There is a huge difference between wanting something to work and forcing it to work out. The former will leave you at peace and the latter will leave you twisting and turning at night.
3. Do it for yourself, for no one else.
This idea seems selfish but look at it like this: you are the only one who has to live with the consequences of your actions. You need to make sure that you are happy with the decisions that you are making. Luckily for me, no one believed in my prospective marriage so I wasn’t letting anyone down when I told them that it wasn’t happening anymore. Even if it is letting others down, be okay with having people judge you for your decisions. It’s your life after all.