There has been a blog post floating around Facebook in the past couple months about when you should or should not get married and what you should be doing instead. Most of the responses to this particular blog have been quite direct and just about as argumentative, aggressive, and demanding as the first which I think is not quite the way to go about things. That’s not at all to say that I (Alaina) have the answers… I most certainly do not.
[Plus, I do not in any way feel the need to justify myself to anyone in regards to a list of things I was supposed to do before getting married.]
I just feel as though this kind of discussion needs to be handled with love, care and understanding to the opposite side as opposed to sassy or sarcastic.
This is not a blog post to say why getting married at 21-years-old was the best thing ever and why everyone should be doing it. Because, while I truly do believe that there is nothing else that means more to me than our past two years of marriage, it’s NOT for everyone.
Marriage in general is not for everyone and marriage before 23 (that is the age that was in the original blog post) is certainly not for everyone. I went to a women’s college and loved EVERY bit of it. However, I am well aware that a women’s college is not for everyone. I was unaware of how somewhat closed my mind was until I went there and I was among those who allowed my mind to broaden. The smallness of the school as well as the challenge of traditional views (about anything, actually) really are what make the college not for everyone. So when my seniors-in-high-school sisters began looking at colleges, I did not push Wesleyan on them. Likewise, I would not push getting married early on anyone.
I believe it all comes down to what the true desires and passions and goals in your life are.
To be completely honest, since middle school I have known that after I finished school I would be a stay-at-home mom. My mom stayed at home with the four of us kids, even though she had her teaching degree. It was fantastic and it really had a huge impact on me. She set aside any future or personal desires for herself and focused on us. When my sisters go off to college in August, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mom went back to school to get her Masters in Counseling and becoming a licensed marriage and family counselor. She’d be incredible at that.
Anyways, that’s always been my biggest desire: to be a wife and a mom. Anything else I get to do with my life is icing on a sweet, sweet cake. This desire seems to be not so well looked upon in society, but it is what it is unfortunately. SO many times I am asked why on earth I completed my bachelor’s and am pursuing a masters if “all I want to do” is stay at home. People insinuate that I went to college to get my M.R.S. degree, which clearly isn’t true considering I can’t find a husband at a women’s college. My desires are simply misunderstood I think, “outdated.”
I think one of the major arguments I get in response to marrying early and wanting to be a stay-at-home mom is that women have fought for so long (and are still fighting) for us to be able to do something other than stay-at-home. But I don’t think that’s true, not exactly.
I think we’ve been fighting for the ability to make a choice.
The beauty of Wesleyan is the diverse population. I loved it tremendously because I got to hear so many different experiences and desires that I would never have imagined myself. I have plenty of friends from college who had different ideas of what they wanted life post-graduation than I did. One friend in particular really stands out in my mind, Devyn. Devyn and I had lots of classes together because we shared a major and we had lots of discussions with one another about marriage and children and our futures. She heard me out when I talked about wanting to get married and stay at home and I listened to her when she expressed a desire to travel and go into fashion and all these fantastic plans. She said that, sure, she wanted to get married eventually and maybe have kids (or maybe just be the awesome aunt).
And you know what was so incredible about this conversation and friendship?
We listened to one another and respected one another despite our different future plans.
I personally have never had the “travel bug” to go around and visit places. I mean, yeah, I’d LOVE to go to Europe and Australia. But they weren’t things I cared about doing before settling down. I tend to be more of a homebody, honestly. But that’s something Devyn LOVES! So of course that’s something she would want to do before getting settled in! It just makes sense. Even beyond the travel bug, there are SO many women who have fantastic gifts in the work force and sometimes those jobs don’t really let you settle down for a while. And that’s fine too! We are all made with different skills and abilities and passions. Lord knows the world would be insane if there were a bunch of Alainas running around. There need to be all of these different needs and wants!
I suppose this is more of a plea than anything. I’m just tired of reading these blogs that tell a certain group of people how they should or should not live (often with a condescending or aggressive tone) and with the beauty of blogging, there are a thousand equally condescending and aggressive responses. All we’re doing is tearing each other down and trying to “one-up” each other.
My plea is that we listen to one another.
That we respect one another and not belittle each other because of their choices (whatever those may be).
That we LOVE one another. Truly love. Not just “tolerate.”
That each of us would do whatever we were created and purposed to do and that we encourage one another in whatever that may be.
[That's all for now. I just really needed to get all that off my chest, I suppose.]