It seems like today people cannot wait to get married and have kids. I grew up in a small town and witnessed this first hand. Maybe it was because there weren’t many things to do in that town. But teens would find a partner and began their life together right after high school. They would get married, the women would have kids and become housewives. The husband would become the breadwinner, bringing in money to take care of his family. Then they would live happily ever after.
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I got pregnant when I was twenty. My boyfriend and I were not married, but I was determined to work it out for my son. I would read statistics on children from a broken home and it would absolutely terrify me. I will not put my son through that, I would tell myself. So we got married two years later when I was twenty three. Things were rough for us at first, maybe it was our youth but we argued a lot. Neither of us were ready for the married life.
Marriage. The sacred matrimony between two people, committing to God and loved ones to be faithful to each other for the rest of their lives. It is a monogamous union, performed with ritual. In the end each person has a promise from their husband or wife to be each other’s life partner thru thick and thin.
Marriages were done in history to ensure that women would be taken care of. Her parents would arrange a marriage to a good suitor to obtain a good future for her. Sometimes, parents would even get paid for her marriage. It was a business venture for everyone involved. Then later, when business and consumerism began to rule the world, women were not able to work or take care of themselves because they had no rights. Men had rights for employment and property ownership. And so even then, women had to marry to take care of herself.
Things began changing for women however. In Russia, 1718 gender segregation was banned, this was the first move done for the benefit of women. That same year Pennsylvania declared that married women were allowed to own and manage properties in their name if their husband was incapacitated. Then in 1720 Sweden passed the Guild of Regulation which secured women’s rights to apply for a permit to work within all guild professions. These events would begin series of future events that would secure women’s right all over the world. Sweden would take the lead in the slow progress of women’s rights from 1720 to 1811. Followed by Russia, then Spain, and France. The United States continued their progress for women’s rights in 1821 when Maine became the second state that allowed women to own and manage properties if their husband’s were incapacitated. Then in 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed the famous Equal Pay act of 1963, ensuring women equal pay for better lives.
The evolution of women’s rights have forever changed society and changed the family dynamic. Women can work now, bringing in more money per household and businesses are booming. People work to live, and to buy things. All of our lives are filled with consuming things. It feels good to have the best, nicest items. It tells people about our financial standing, with just one glimpse of the possessions we own. So we continue on this path of wanting and owning, never ending. We tell ourselves we deserve the best. And this mentality seeps into every area of our lives including our spouses. Once we tire or our spouse, we wonder if we could get better. We suddenly need something better for ourselves because we all have become spoiled and selfish.
The cost of living has increased and daily life demands are a lot for people to handle. And everyone feels it because men are expected to help out with all of it since women work too now. Life, kids, and work cause stress on marriages and it was found that 75% of marriages are unhappy.
Marriage is looked up to by most people, and we all strive for it as if some promised land. It promises we are not alone when we get old and die. It promises a good financial future, with two people working. It promises that our kids will turn out to be whole, complete, and enriched by having both parents. Marriage has become the status quo, everyone is doing it. But many times, young men and women look at marriage as a savior. They do not look at the possible outcomes or the difficulties that come with it.
So we all follow along like mindless monkeys. And then end up unhappy, questioning our every past decision. Wondering what life would be like being single. So when our spouse irritates us, we want out. We don’t care about making it work, it is all too easy to get divorced and quit, moving onto the next person to sweep us off our feet and make us totally happy. Marriages are not forever like in back in the day. Divorce is done so more easily and more often today. Because today, marriages have many more things working against it than it did in history.
Rarely do people tell others about the struggles and misery of marriage. I bet if people got real and honest with other people, we can get down to the honest truth about marriage. Which is that, all couples end up tired and disgusted with each other in marriage. It doesn’t matter how attractive your spouse is, how much money they make. You still have to deal with each other day in and day out. The same person, for the rest of your life. It is enough to drive anyone mad.
Perhaps if people got real and honest about marriage, the young ones won’t be so eager to get into it. But no one talks about the struggles and misery of marriage. It is taboo to discuss marriages with others. Because it seems like an invasion of privacy.
Love yourself, and be happy. Don’t stay in marriage for the kids, don’t stay to not cause pain to anyone, and definitely don’t stay because of embarrassment. This is your life, and you control how it goes. In the end, you are going to reflect back on your life and hope that you lived your best, most happy life. Don’t fall into the trap that being with someone for the rest of your life will make you happy because it won’t. Following your own path in life will make you happy no matter whether you’re single or married.