Remember a time when being unmarried by twenty-four was considered spinsterhood? Girls were engaged at sixteen and had their first child shortly after.
Remember a time when being unmarried by twenty-four was considered spinsterhood? Girls were engaged at sixteen and had their first child shortly after. It seemed as though there was a profound urgency for a woman to settle down and create a family earlier on in life. Flash forward to the twenty-first century, and it seems as though the bracket for settling down is becoming wider. Crazy, right?
I’ve never given marriage much thought. I was never the girl who fantasied about my wedding dress, nor did I spend time imagining which flavor wedding cake I would choose. It’s not that I don’t believe in marriage. I just never envisioned that life for myself. But now that I’m heading into my mid-20’s, it seems as though I cannot escape the topic.
Most of my friends are either engaged or married, and some have already had their first child. Then there are the couples that are breaching the scope of marriage, gradually making their way towards the horizon. But don’t think that I’m among the percentage of individuals who feels bad about this particular truth, merely because I am unattached, and have no prospects of getting married. If anything, I was simply intrigued by the extreme demand in marriage amongst my friends. Especially at a time where female independence is greatly admired, if not encouraged.
One in five adults (that’s a total of 42 million for all of you non-mathematicians) by the age of twenty-five have never been married. Statistics show that number increasing annually. In 1960, merely a quarter of that number (9%) in that age range had never been married. Glancing at the numbers, it’s a slightly eerie percentage. But perhaps my insecurities don’t lie within the percentage but rather the notion of the topic.
Many individuals have this image of how the quintessential life should be, with marriage and children being the epicenter of the illustration. I wasn’t raised on those beliefs, which is probably why I do not feel the need to obtain them. My mother married when she was twenty-six and gave birth to my brother two years later. Her marriage didn’t last long, resulting in separation merely four years after I was born. For the majority of my life, I grew up without a father.
Perhaps that has clouded my outlook on marriage ever-so-slightly, which is why I never found any interest in the notion of marriage. Then again, maybe it has nothing to do with that. There seems to be an extreme desperation for woman to hurry and marry. As children, we’re taught to believe that your twenties are for marriage, and your thirties are for raising children. But not every individual fits into that five-by-five conception.
It appears to be perfectly normal for a man to remain unmarried by his forties but unnatural for woman to do so. She is considered a spinster and therefore unwanted. The issue with that particular theory is that it’s absolutely ludicrous. Everyone, especially women, are entitled to the life they want. Whether that includes marriage and children, that’s entirely up to them.
You shouldn’t feel pressured into something merely because it’s considered right. I would much rather be single in my twenties than divorced in my thirties. Maybe I’ll meet someone and settle down, and maybe I won’t. But I’m not going to dive headfirst into a situation merely because it’s required of me.
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