Marriage as a Goal: Aren’t There Other Things To Celebrate In Life?
Community, achievements, modern world. Status. My life.
I’m going to put a few themes in here, snapshots, because I believe a deeper discussion will become more than my typical post size.
I shared an article recently on something that caught my nerve and later, over 10 other strong ambitious women as well. They all had similar opinions – and in the meantime, so did my guy friends; lots of themes came up.
Article: Marriage is not an accomplishment.
This in itself is funny because she commented, perhaps marriage was the only thing the wider community could relate to. I deeply relate to that.
I volunteered to write this in honour of changing times and the challenges we all present to the daily status quo.
So these themes were relationship management, degree management, career management. My girls and guys remarked that usually community themed milestones like getting married were most relatable things to people, a celebration of commitment and social status is a big deal.
But so was going to another country, learning a language, earning a diploma or degree, achieving a project or successfully completing something.
You know why? Because of the degree of the exact same labour and commitment.
The only difference with couples is the level of emotional intelligence involved.
Giving and receiving as I wrote before (Coping Mechanisms And Carrying Hurt Into Future Relationships #divorce) is a HUGE ask for many people.
With ambition we have people challenging what should be ‘perceived’ as a milestone in their life.
I think people intuitively know that takes a lot ‘to make a step’ towards being committed with another person and surrender some portion of independence for a harmonious coupling. That’s my impression. But people don’t get the level of focus and hard work and persistence to say – create a successful start-up. Be promoted in a big company. Go to another country all by yourself and establish a life management system. Learn a language.
You know what, all of these take time.
I would know!
But that sacred thing called a functioning family unit that gives, receives, teaches and flows with love remains sacred – and is almost rare, for people with ambitious lives (ie. Work a lot, travel a lot, hook up a lot but keeping the eye on the prize). And that is why such people choose to overlook the hyped significance (while beautiful) of a wedding… or marriage.
Sometimes I believe we confuse the two because celebrations are popular, and actual working partnerships seem to be out of the picture unless you dig.
Here’s a curious story:
Late 2017, something was wrong. I felt it. I thought about my top 2 goals for my 20s, how I had smashed them and suddenly next “goal’ was “marriage” and because it involved people and relationships…. it felt strange to say yep this is my new thing. This is my new project. The idea of marriage being a goal and a project helps some like my eastern friends: networking for a wife or a girlfriend. Their communities expect by a deadline, a unity whether shallow or not.
And I did that —-
But then so many questions got put on the table!
Like, what do I actually want: Visas, marriage certificate, the event, being taken, a husband, a boyfriend, a good community, an entry gate to staying with family, a superficial way of fixing some problems?
I asked for mum’s support, asking if my approach was strange because I felt it was strange.
The skills that get you the job, the promotion, the hunger that lets you open an account, a business or get through government hoops – doesn’t work the same way on human relationships. And I felt that.
It’s consistency and resilience and learning but a smidge different. It’s care, awareness, communication, some emotional IQ.
And as one woman protested that her marriage shouldn’t be celebrated more than her degrees and work because EVERY GOAL demanded a level of commitment, focus and strategy, another friend spoke up. She agreed, her marriage while also important, was somehow making her feel like that was her only value in the community.
She is smart, hardworking, outgoing and sweet and one helluva role model. She has achieved 2 degrees and a top job at a large company, for the moment on maternity leave. Even the decision of taking the leave was a big one for her – job, success vs. baby quality time and working on the family.
Some people can’t manage both. She decided you only live life once with your family – and her family supported that.
I felt a strong vibe of Bridget Jones Diary/corporate look/family pressures.
Little do people know how bad the dating market has become. Women AND men try and try again against odds to find a connection, trust and progress with a relationship.
AN ANGLE FROM MY LIFE
Little do people know how much intelligent and ambitious millennials like their space and lack of drama. I am 28 going on 35 as I write this. I attribute my maturity on my crazy 20s and family dramas; I have decided to end my 20s on a great note, by 30 I’m getting a puppy. Time for some joy. I call it project happiness.
I manage job hunting, property management and keeping my love life low key or non existent. It is not easy, although I am grateful for the deal.
That alone, is celebrated by my close friends.
The family waits for the next big tick: stable job and my own family.
I can barely promise either in this economy.
But as the coaches preach, what is the promise you make to yourself?
The wider community doesn’t actually care. They want validation for someone ‘following the social script: ie. ‘Steps to a midlife crisis’ and entertainment. Champagne, cake, see people you don`t have to organize, a chance to get dressed and party all day –
Just go to south Europe, they party whether or not they’re engaged.
I think the flip side of the coin, lack of support to achieve an individual goal, is felt hardcore by my friends.
Therefore, when something faintly unrealistic and a little irrelevant to our present lifestyle like a wedding takes place, the significance of it as the communal holy grail of social status (this reeks of Jane Austen don’t you think) is kind of resented by my friends. This is despite the numerous other accomplishments where we don’t get as many celebrations. It’s a ‘ok so what’ mood. Something tells me my Eastern friends are either yelling by this stage of the post or flat out loving the remark.
Truthfully, I took three big components of life and analysed the themes and tried to find the difference with the idea of getting married.
Trying to get scientific on irrational crowd psychology here, you know I’m ambitious. (joking).
Relationship management: can we separate love and business?
Business career management: can we focus, know the goal, network and perform at our jobs?
Academic career management: can you surf through the politics of research faculties, write a lot, analyse a lot, grill some teachers on what’s expected?
And the only conclusion I got to was… we can’t divide everything. It makes it easier to attack our goals (competitive men are good at this), but people can’t be attacked with anything other than patience, communication, ability to give and receive and do stuff together. Trust each other.
And at some brilliant point, two people can come to an agreement and that’s it.
Saying congratulations about something involves courtesy, happiness, relatability and wanting to be a part of the joy.
Not everyone has education, travel experience (a big issue with one of my girls when trying to hook up) or a vision (as one lab ninja male friend remarked). Or the drive to do something more with themselves. The wider community wants something that feels safe and comfortable.
Although it’s widely accepted and assumed that the women have the pressure of getting married, both men and women are highly celebrated for choosing to commit to being a family – over other milestones.
Thanks a lot for reading!
Here’s other posts related to partnerships: