What’s the rush to get yourself hitched?

MADISON, Wis., (U-WIRE) — Marriage? Are you kidding? I have friends who are wearing diamonds on their fingers, and I am still trying to prevent my fish sticks from burning in our toaster oven. I’m not even responsible enough to check my pants’ pockets for lipstick before washing them, let alone allow myself to become legally bound to another human being.
I want to know what the big rush is. Perhaps it has to do with the same emotions involved with graduating. “Real life” is beginning, so we all must feel obligated to have everything the stereotypical “real world” person has: a job and a spouse. Or perhaps we are afraid of being alone in the big, dark world once we are released from the security of college, so we figure a spouse will provide a good hand to hold in the process. Or perhaps we just have a few extra thousand bucks lying around that is waiting to be spent on elaborate dresses, flowers, cake and a honeymoon.
Now you say, “Perhaps, Dhara, all these friends of yours want to get married because they are in love.” All right, there’s some credit due there. I’m a big fan of love; I write sappy poems, I enjoy holding hands in public and I even adore Valentine’s Day. But do we really need to get married because we are in love? We can be in love without tying nuptial knots, guys. We can be in love without smearing cake on our beloved’s face and without dancing the “Funky Chicken” with Aunt Mildred.
What it all comes down to is that I think we are all too immature to be getting married. We are slowly feeling our way through the labyrinth of youth, and we just aren’t ready to be buying return address labels with “Mr. and Mrs.” printed on them yet. We are trying to grow up too fast. Marriage just has “You’re an adult now” written all over it and that makes my stomach churn. I still like playing with stickers and watching Disney movies!
Besides, we have the rest of our lives to be adults. Someday we will get to partake in the exciting tasks of paying mortgages, changing diapers, mowing lawns, hiring electricians and dusting pianos. We will get to wear business suits, get our tires rotated and buy our children birthday presents. But why on earth do we need to start doing these things now? Now it is time to live freely, subside on processed food and dance wildly in our living rooms.
Even Samuel Johnson has some words of wisdom on the topic, which I was intrigued to stumble across in one of my English class reading assignments: “A youth and maiden meeting by chance, or brought together by artifice, exchange glances, reciprocate civilities, go home and dream of one another. Having little to divert attention to diversify thought, they find themselves uneasy when they are apart, and therefore conclude that they shall be happy together. They marry, and discover what nothing but voluntary blindness had before concealed; they wear out life in altercations, and charge nature with cruelty.”
Now before you wig out and say, “Hey, read that article by the psycho opinion writer who hates marriage!,” hear me out. I don’t believe marriage is some sort of prison. But I do think that people in our age bracket are jumping into marriage at an outrageous speed because, like Johnson says, we are “blinded,” perhaps by love and as to what marriage truly entails. I don’t think that 22 years of life experiences are enough to deem one “ready” for marriage.
Now what classifies someone as “ready” for marriage? Well, that’s as enigmatic as the number of stars in the sky. If we found an answer to that question, the divorce rate wouldn’t be so absurdly high. But being “ready” means being mature, being cultured, having seen the world and having met numerous people. I don’t think anyone is even close to being fully emotionally developed when he or she leaves college; and there is, therefore, no way we could be emotionally developed enough to get married.
I have felt intense love, I have had long-term relationships and I have dreamt about my wedding day. But that doesn’t mean I want to go legally bind myself to someone else right away. Heck, I’m just figuring out how to use a toaster oven. I have people to meet, countries to see, experiences to try — and once I do those things, then I’ll be more mature, more worldly and have the ability to bring a vast, meaningful self to someone I love and choose to spend my life with.
Dhara Baiden’s column originally appeared in Friday’s University of Wisconsin Badger Herald.