No wedding? That’s no problem

Pressuring people into marriage can force them into a life they wouldn’t choose for themselves.

Alia Jeraj

Between now and 2022, at least one person among my four cousins and I will be graduating from college or high school every year. We shared this discovery with our parents, who looked at us, eyes twinkling, and said, “And then the weddings start.”
As the oldest child in my family, I always feel a special twinge of discomfort when the conversation turns to weddings. Along with a capital-C Career, many people seem to view marriage as the next step in the linear trajectory that leads from high school to college and then “adulthood” — whatever that word really means. 
For many people, marriage really is the next step. They live perfectly happy, fulfilled lives, and I’m in no way criticizing this.
However, many others choose to prioritize experiences besides marriage, or they’re drawn to alternative options such as cohabitation. According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 25 percent of millennials are likely never to marry. 
And that’s OK. Nearly 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in divorce. Many things contribute to this, but one main factor could be the pressure to marry young, which can cause people to rush into what then become unhappy marriages. 
By implying that marriage is the next step after graduating, we place unnecessary pressure on graduates who might still be trying to navigate their individual lives post-college.
They’re not always ready to consider a life with anyone else. 
Let’s embrace the twists and turns in life, allowing ourselves to create our own road marks and destinations rather than following a predetermined path toward marriage.
Alia Jeraj welcomes comments at [email protected].