I like to think that I'm a pretty realistic person in all aspects of my life, including relationships. Getting married is super serious and scary, so since I started dating in my youth, relationships wouldn't last much more than five months because I would ask myself if I could see getting serious with that person. I also had to take into account that an oboe career is important to me, I want kids, I want my partner to be of the same religious beliefs, and I want to be physically attracted to my partner. I found him! Justin! Yay!
The thing is, it always seemed that marriage was the goal. I'm from a small and conservative Lutheran church body where people get married young. When I graduated from undergrad at 23 without a boyfriend, I think people were honestly considering me an old maid. This starts out early on in life. Your social status in middle school and high school is determined by if you have a boyfriend and what your boyfriend does. The feminists may take it too far to say that you don't need a man at all (Hey! They are excellent companions, which is a great reason for marriage!), but it was important to be attached at the hip with somebody. In undergrad, there was a push for marriage right after graduation (at my church, not at the UW), unless you want to go to graduate school, which isn't very wife-like it seemed. That messed with my head. In reality, you can do whatever you want! Women can be in school and have a serious relationship or marriage, and same with a career. Silly people.
Now, there is a new competition. Are you engaged? Are you married? If you are married, do you have kids? If you have kids, are they getting married? If your kids are married, do you have grandkids? It seems that the next step is a competition. I need to beat you to the next relationship level!
I am honestly content at where I am in life, but I am starting to understand why people get sad and frustrated when they can't quite make it to the next "level," especially when a conservative culture dictates needing to have children, etc. I would/will be devastated if I found/find out that I can't have children on my own. Truly, but, Justin and I already discussed this and we are totally in agreement that adoption would be amazing!
Within each step, there is competition. While planning a wedding, I have been guilty of criticizing wasteful weddings, but then again, you can find "waste" at my wedding, which makes me a hypocrit. What I value is different than other people. I've read blog entries about competitions within pregnancy. How natural can you go in the birthing process? You see competition with kids on the Facebook with people posting pictures, milestones, videos, etc. This is great for keeping up, but sometimes, it is just annoying, pushy, and braggy. And creepy when you think about how the government follows our lives and can kill us with drones without any due process now.
The question is: are you really happy where you are? Do you need to get to the next level to be happy or are you content where you are? The most important thing from marriage is that I will have Justin to weather every storm with me.
I need to always remember to stay true to us, to respect him as the head of the house, to give him opportunities to be loving and compassionate to me (yes, this will be hard because I'm a do-it-yourself type of woman), and to let God handle our lives and determine what and when new events take place :)