When you grow up in a small town in Indiana, you start seeing a checklist form to plan out your life. Everyone has different lengths of checklists, some are more similar than others, but they all have the same key points:
- Graduate from high school
- Find a job that allows you to make enough money to support yourself
- Meet the person you are willing to spend the rest of your life with
- Marry said person
- Have babies
Now, for some, you might sprinkle in college or a divorce, but for the most part; it’s the same checklist. So when I completed my undergrad and started dating a nice boy, I should not have been shocked when I started getting this question:
“So… do you think you two will get married?!” Always combined with twinkly eyes and a big smile. The first few times I was actually taken aback. “Married?? I’m basically a child!” (I was 22). Suddenly this relationship that still felt fresh and exciting began forming a checklist. One moment, I hadn’t even given marriage a thought, and the next it was barricading through my thoughts. Hairdressers, doctors, and teachers all asked with that same hopeful expression: “do you think he’s the one?!”
Of course, I had talked to my closest friends and relatives about these feelings; they knew how excited I was about this new “adult” relationship. But the person handing me my coffee? What am I supposed to say? “Gosh, I’m not sure. He’s cool and all but there’s still a slim chance that he might be a murderer. Better safe than sorry!” No. You blush and you resist the urge to roll your eyes and shrug “I hope so” so that they don’t get offended.
Let’s end the checklist. Let’s stop putting pressure on individuals to move in a direction they might not be sure about. When that relationship ended, I felt devastated. But you know what? Maybe I wouldn’t feel so sad if I hadn’t been shoved into the idea of marriage so fast. Maybe I wouldn’t feel so sad if I didn’t feel like 23 was too old to be starting all over again in the single world. Because it’s not too old, and neither is 35 or 55 or whatever age you are that makes dating seem impossible.
I know that weddings are fun to talk about, and being a newly engaged person is an exciting time! I’m just saying let’s not rush into anything. Let’s throw out the checklist and just enjoy each step; whatever order it comes in.