It started the week after graduation, and it hasn’t stopped since. What I am talking about is the steady stream of proposals, engagements and big, sappy getting down on one knee pouring your heart out “forever and ever” nonsense.
All of these engagements threw me into a blind panic — my newly engaged friends are also newly graduated as well.
With my own graduation being a year away and having nobody in my life that I’d like to marry, I kept wondering if something was wrong with me. That’s until a little research calmed me down and made me realize that no one should have to feel pressured into getting married.
It seems that pressures from media and social values are giving us all mixed signals at the moment. On one hand, you’re supposed to get married, build a life and have kids, but media also dishes out the idea that sex is really all that matters.
In fact, premarital sex rates are on the rise nowadays, due to contraception preventing accidental pregnancies, and thereby decreasing the social stigma on having sex before you’re married. Somehow, someway, this has led to the idea of marriage as being outdated.
Furthermore, the other day while in the car, I heard Tove Lo’s song “Talking Body”, and just listening to the radio version, I thought it was really nice that not all songs prioritized emotionless sex.
Then I went to look up the lyrics, and then realized the words I thought were “love for life”were actually “f*** for life”. It appears that in popular culture, “f*** for life” is becoming the new marriage, with marriage rates having dropped since 2004.
On the other hand, romantic comedies generally push us into believing there is some perfect formulaic way of how love is supposed to be “born”: Boy meets girl, boy and girl go through crazy ordeals, they make up, get married and live happily ever after.
Advertisements aren’t much better either, pushing us into contradicting directions. Either a product is so sexy that you MUST buy it or so family-friendly that you are obliged to have that perfect family unit to be happy. This leaves us with the general impression that it’s life is “till death do us part” or participate in a lifetime of sex-filled debauchery.
However, despite all younger married couples shown on screen, the average age of marriage in U.S. is actually 28. Most millennials are opting out of vows and deciding to be more settled in life and careers before they permanently commit, according to CNN.
In the end, don’t let social pressures or the media make one of the biggest decisions of your life for you. Whether you choose to get married right out of college, or you think that marriage is not for you, it takes a lot of soul searching to determine which route is the one you want to take.
Also, realize that it’s not entirely up to you. Whether you believe in fate or some ultimate destiny, when it comes to marriage remember that it does include another human being as well. Both of you must decide if “forever and ever” is what you want.