For those who don’t don’t want to get hitched, answering “when are you getting married?” again and again can be exhausting. Here’s how to handle the non-marriage issue.
My grandmother reminded me the other day that when I was younger I had decided that my wedding was going to be a theatrical occasion. Instead of the typical walk down the aisle, my future husband and I were going to fly down from the ceiling together wearing ridiculous costumes and instead of everything being said, the entire ceremony was going to be a sing-songy rock opera.
Though my young mind did have a pretty excellent wedding planned, my actual life led me down a path to discover that marriage isn’t for me.
The whole wedding fantasy rock opera story was revived in order for my grandmother to inform me yet again that she wanted to see me get married before she died.
Even if she became a vampire, this is not going to happen.
Every time I tell her this, she just sighs and says, “maybe one day.”
But no, it will most certainly never happen. I have full intentions on meeting someone I want to spend the rest of my life with; I believe in commitment and loyalty, love and devotion. I just don’t believe that marriage is right for me and for multiple reasons (most of them political) I will not be partaking in that institution.
I am not alone in this. I know there are plenty of people out there who, for whatever personal reasons, do not want to get married either.
So, what happens when two people want to be together but do not want to get married? How do they negotiate that with each other and with the pressures from the outside world?
Here are three tips to make the non-marriage issue smoother.
1. Yakety Yak
Here’s the deal. People change their minds. I was with someone for over five years and we regularly talked about how we wanted to be together forever but never get married. Turns out, that wasn’t quite true. We did not stay together forever and he ended up getting married less than a year after we parted.
The marriage was the shocking thing to me, because we were both so politically opposed to it, I never thought it was something he believed in.
I say, it’s okay to feel one way and then later feel another, but it’s of utmost importance to communicate with one’s significant other about values, needs and desires. Without proper communication relationships can easily become disjointed and fall apart more readily. Imagine wanting to marry someone who would never want that in return? That cannot lead to anything healthy. Once the two of you are on the same page about what you want the future to hold it’s much easier to make that happen and to overcome any obstacles that could prevent it.
2. Go Ahead, Talk Back
I cannot recall the amount of times I have been asked when I am getting married. Personally, I think it’s a rude question, but it doesn’t stop it from happening. Over time I have developed several go-to responses depending on my demographic.
When not following the status quo—whether it’s marriage or children or college or the white house with the picket fence—it’s good to have replies ready that are graceful, mature and that easily shift the conversation.
For example, when old women from my rural Kansas town ask me about my hitching-up status I usually say something along the lines of, “I do not believe marriage is the right path for me and each person should have their own choice in that matter. Have you tried Ethel’s peach pie? Wow, is it delicious.”
I have learned to be calm and firm in my reply; and if they insist on continuing, I point out that we each have our own opinions and individual lives and marriage does not define happiness or contentment for everyone. Sometimes it can get rough, but I believe in sticking up for myself and my choice regardless.
3. Because You Don’t Have to Do Your Parents Chores No More
Sometimes it can get real frustrating and pretty exhausting trying to defend one’s self and one’s choices, but that doesn’t mean one should give in. It’s important to remember that we all have our own perspectives and points of view. I have to accept that my grandmother wants to see me married and she can either accept or reject the fact that I am not going to do it.
When we can see other people’s reasonings it’s easier to understand them and talk about our own. When we know what we want and we’re confident in our choices other people will respect us. If they don’t, then it’s their loss and they do not have to be a part of our lives if they cannot seem to let it go.
In the end, it all comes down to proper communication, knowing what we want and being clear and honest with our partners and those we care about. To everyone else, well, as I like to say, it’s not my problem (and it’s not theirs either).
[image: via jazbeck on flickr]