A Marriage Manifesto

Or something like that.

Women. Thirty-something women. Single, thirty-something women. Intelligent, single, thirty-something, women.

We hang out.

And when we hang out (to watch LOST...or whatever), at some point, we almost always end up having the marriage conversation. Seems like the older we get, the more preoccupied we become with the subject of marriage. We discuss the pros and cons, the potential pitfalls, the sacrifices, the right and wrong ways of going about this thing called marriage. Obviously we have opinions on the subject and often we are inordinately skeptical and highly cynical of the whole marriage thing. After all, we haven’t chosen to stay single for no good reason. We have our reasons. Oh yes we do. And they are varied.

But, no matter what our individual reasons are for remaining unmarried, the marriage conversation usually boils down to some universal agreements amongst Intelligent, Single, Thirty-Something women.

Obviously, finding another human being you actually envision spending the REST OF YOUR LIFE with is a challenge. Yeah, that’s a biggie. Some may say we’re too “picky”, or too independent. But look, we see friends, co-workers, acquaintances, celebrities…people who have “settled”. People who have said, “Yep, this is the one. This is the one person I want to be with forever and ever.” And then regret it, 6 months… 6 years… 16 years, later. It’s not that we don’t trust our own judgment. But, when we’ve witnessed fellow Intelligent Single women dive into marriages that don’t work, it makes us think twice, by golly. Holy hell! If it can happen to her, it can happen to me!

It’s a matter of witnessing too many divorces, surrounded by a multitude of unhappy, dysfunctional marriages. You may think we’re anti-marriage. You would be wrong. We’re realistic. We understand that things like marriage are difficult. Marriage doesn’t “fix” any thing that’s wrong in your life. Marriage isn’t a way to become someone or something you’re not. Marriage isn’t an escape and it certainly isn’t something to be entered into lightly. We take it very seriously.

We don’t want marriage for the sake of marriage. That’s a biggie too.

Sheep we are not. We understand that marriage is not a social club. It’s not something you do because all your friends are doing it. You don’t marry someone because it’s expected. You don’t marry someone in the hopes that you’ll be more accepted by society. You don’t marry a person because you are in love with the idealized daydream of being married.

Also, we’re patient. I know that’s quite laughable coming from the most impatient person on the planet! But, it’s true. We don’t want a marriage that isn’t quite right. And we’re willing to wait for one that IS quite right – not perfect (we’re not delusional after all) – but definitely quite right. We’re willing to invest the crucial time and effort it takes to really get to know a person before we make any major, life-altering decisions. Maybe we’re overly cautious. Neurotic, even. Commitment phobic. Selfish. Negative. Cowardly. We’ve been called all of these things and worse.

We also understand that marriage isn’t a Disney fairytale. Marriage isn’t a rosy whirlwind courtship followed by a romantic proposal and a big white wedding. It’s a decision based in love, respect and trust that two adults come to together. We don't feel that is something that can (or should) happen overnight.

Marriage isn’t something you commit to because you're keen on the idea of playing the wife role in your very own mini-series. We believe marriage is committing to that person who you know ALWAYS has your back. We feel that two people in a marriage should always have each other’s best interest at heart. Marriage is not for the selfish. Not for the faint of heart. Not for the fair-weather friend.

We understand that marriage is being with someone you can depend upon - no matter what. We will not settle for anything less. If that means we will never settle, that’s something we’re okay with. Again, if it's not quite right, we don't want it. Marriage is not some kind of badge of honor we’re hoping to collect so that we “fit in”. It's a decision that requires more than blind faith.

And so that is why, (as many of you already know) Daniel and I have decided to get married. Didn't see that coming, didja?!


Mars Girl said...

Congrats!! It sounds like you went about it all the right way. I too think that I'm not one to enter rashly into Marriage (with a capital M even!). You have to make sure you've chosen someone who you can weather the good and the bad with... I had that and I probably met it sooner in my life than some (but I lost it sooner too, so all's fair, I suppose). But in that absence, I'm not eager to hastily jump into another Marriage. So I'm definitely in that Intelligent, Single Thirty Something group!

I think reaching this age makes me realize that I dont NEED a Marriage to be happy. If I happen to meet another man who pairs with me the way my husband did, then that will be wonderful; if I don't, my life will still be wonderful because I can make it that way.

Alison said...

Did anyone not see that coming? Congratulations :)

Delirious said...



mom said...

you had me going.

Anonymous said...

Yippee!!! ;) I'm so excited...now we can throw a shower!!! HAHA!
just kidding.... but don't think for one second you're getting out of this without at least a little gals get-together that involves cocktails and gifts.
happy for you.

Jen said...

Terah told me you'd be writing this soon...and I've been waiting...on pins and needles...haha. I love how you describe being a 30-something single gal - to a 'T'. =) Congrats on finding the one that is 'quite right'.

Terah Lynn said...

OH Cathryn...I have been waiting for this blog and you put it into perfect perspective! I will make sure that my sister knows to read this post!
Congrats to you and Daniel!!

Gibbarella said...

I love you guys....I jumped out of my seat when I read this...even though I am married and my mom would say DONT DO IT... I am not my mom and marriage is hard, and you do take it seriously and it is not always fun or even tollerable but it is what it is and I am happy for you because at the end of the day you do marry your best friend, the one you want to spend the rest of your life with, the one who cares for you when you are sick, the one true love. awwweeewwee, sniff, sniff I am a tipsy bucket of joyful tears right now

RU said...

Congrats to you! Marriage sure won't make you "happy" but it always makes you a better person when you enter into it forever with someone who is as committed to it as you are :)

boty said...

well you do realize that if Daniel ever fails to have your back or best interest at heart, you have an over protective crazy warrior fem-nazi sister with large knives and tazers...so I think your ass is covered in that department...let us not forget about your 'strongly worded letter' writing mother...

Frank said...

I have no advice other than to say Congratulations!

schroederjt said...

Congratulations, Cathryn!