The pressure to get married and have kids is something that my partner and I have felt gradually building for about the past year, particularly in the last 3 months. Don’t get me wrong, all we want to do is to get married and have kids but the constant questions and reminders have really gotten to us lately. Over the Christmas/New Years period I felt like my news feed on Facebook was filled with people getting engaged, simply because it’s a popular time of the year to do it. But every time I saw someones photo I seemed to get a little more annoyed. And that makes me sound like a selfish cow, and don’t get me wrong I am totally and completely happy for the people who got engaged during that period but it was just that reminder that poked at a sensitive part of me. And then there was the questions like “Are you guys planning on getting engaged this year?” and “Did you get a ring for Christmas?” and the answer is we’d love to get engaged this year but what happens and happens, and no I did not, you would know, trust me.
There was a period during 2016 where getting engaged was all I could think and talk about. I was constantly telling myself and others that it was going to happen soon, even though I had no idea, and still don’t, when it is going to happen. And in all honesty, I don’t want to know, I want the whole thing to be a surprise. At the beginning of our relationship everything was rushed. We started dating within two weeks of meeting each other (we met online) and we moved in with each other just over a year and a bit later. I’m not saying that I regret anything in our relationship, but in hindsight it’s interesting to look back and think, wow we did move quick. In the past 9 months since moving out we have slowed down a lot. We’ve had to get used to and also change so many things. We had to get used to seeing each other every single day and get used to sharing a small space. We’ve had to re-budget, we’ve had to communicate better and more often and we’ve had to compromise. Moving out together was a big learning curve and it has taken in excess of 6 months to learn how to live with each other comfortably, and everyday we are still learning.
As we approached our two-year anniversary last year I felt like us getting engaged was
all anyone was talking about (slight exaggeration), regardless, the topic came up a lot. I feel like that is the “norm” these days. You date for two years and then you get engaged. That’s just what people do. But once we moved past that people started thinking that it was going to happen at Christmas or New Years, which secretly I think would be amazing, because I love Christmas SO much, but do I really want our engagement to overshadow Christmas? No, I don’t. And then came along the baby talk. “Are you guys going to have a baby before or after you get married?” or “Just hurry up and have a baby already!” Once again, we’d both absolutely adore to have a baby right now but with all my health issues last year and financial circumstances it is just not feasible for us right now, it will happen when it happens. You know me, I get extremely clucky and I love nothing more than seeing my partner hold a baby, but I know just waiting that bit longer will make it even more special when I see him hold our own baby.
I just can’t seem to wrap my head around why people around my age, in their twenties, are in such a rush to get married and have kids. With advances in medicine it’s not as unheard of for a woman to be falling pregnant in their 30’s and 40’s, the biological clock has been pushed back a bit because of all the new technology we have these days. It’s like that’s the goal, get married and have kids before you’re 30, all while holding down stable jobs so you can afford to pay bills and put food on the table for you and the children you so lovingly brought into this world. But why is it like this? Why have we reverted back to the 50’s where it’s completely normal to get married at 21 or even younger. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, because I know plenty of people who are insanely happy and they got married and had kids young. But why is everyone rushing? I am hoping this doesn’t come across as me not wanting to get married because I promise you I do but at this stage in my life I’ve come to the conclusion that things will happen when they happen. Everything happens for a reason and I know in my heart everything turns out eventually. I shouldn’t worry about the things I can’t control and at the end of the day life happens.
Peer pressure is another issue that is felt by many people my age. Once one person in a group of couples gets engaged, everyone else seems to drop like flies. It’s hard to go against this peer pressure because like in any situation, going against the norm is difficult. But in this situation, giving into peer pressure can be just as difficult because it adds so much unnecessary stress. For example, as a couple you might not be ready yet, or you might not have enough money, or whatever the case may be, being pressured into something too early can be just as difficult as going against it and waiting longer. Waiting longer brings its own set of difficulties, such as the constant reminder that people around you are engaged or married and you’re not, the never-ending questions and just the fact that you feel like you’re missing out or being left behind, when really all that changes going from a relationship to marriage is a legal contract. Because at the end of the day that’s the basis of a marriage, to stay together through absolutely everything and the only reason you part is because of death. Now obviously with the high rate of divorces in current society, this ‘legal contract’ isn’t able to keep people together so why rush into something if you’re not ready.
There is nothing I regret in my relationship with my partner. In the past two years we have gone through some awful times, some tough times financially and some rough patches but we have also celebrated heaps of good things like moving out of home, finishing my study, getting a new job and maintaining a stable household. And I am so glad I have experienced all that before marrying him because we have both learnt many lessons. Lessons such as how to forgive, how to compromise, how to listen, how to communicate and I know that no matter what we’ve always got each other. So now, I am taking each day as it comes and I am not rushing anything. Things will happen when they happen and trust me, you will all know when it happens, after I’ve told Mum and Dad of course.