If you’re currently dating as a twenty-something (especially as a twenty-something in her later twenties), you know that it can prove to be a bit awkward. If it isn’t hard enough to find a great, single guy that’ll cherish and challenge you, there’s the added pressure of an internal clock whose loud clanging could potentially scare him off. Not to mention all the well-meaning friends and family that won’t let you forget the clock’s ticking fast.
“You’re not getting any younger,” they say, as if my delicate feminine mind is easily confused by things so difficult as time sequence.
“You’re losing eggs,” they say, as if I’m a sloppy easter bunny, or worse, Kirk without an egg-map.
Ignorant, yet well-meaning people. Is there anyone in the world so dangerously unaware? From friend to acquaintance, people ask questions out of routine, genuine curiosity, or merely as a talking point.
Oh, you’re single? “Why aren’t you dating?”
So, you’re dating? “When are you getting married?”
You’re a newlywed? “How soon are you thinking kids?”
Does anyone realize that these are deeply, personal questions to ask? Especially without taking into account the many variables that would keep one from accomplishing, or even pursuing those things. Though it isn’t uncommon conversation, it can be uncomfortable in the wrong setting.
If there were one thing I would say, being completely candid with both the well-wishers and the well-intentioned, it would be stop asking me when I’m getting married.
Please stop asking me when I’m getting married, as if I am personally in control of the time table. Marriage is not a unilateral decision. It’s not even a bilateral decision. Once upon a time, the pursuit of the marriage covenant involved families, communities, and even the local church. There was accountability, responsibility and sanctity. While accountibility may seem old-fashioned in lieu of passionate excitement, it provides pertinent checks and balances. It tempers the emotions and desires, and grooms one for the long-haul that marriage is meant to be.
Please stop asking me, “What are you waiting for?” As if I’m wasting my time by biding it. There are so many details that go into planning for a life together! There are things to be worked out, and that is difficult enough without the low-key, expectant pressure of, “Why wait, if you already know?” While dating is a hope with a goal, it’s not a guarantee of marriage. It is neither wise, nor prudent to rush headlong into a lifelong commitment.
Please don’t pressure my decisions with indirect, unintended impatience. And be careful who you ask such intimate, delicate questions to.
Personally, I’m not the kind of person to overshare the more sensitive details of my life. I’m careful to craft what I let pass my lips and I’m selective of those I allow to know the more private details of my heart. That’s part of why I’m a writer.
Very few people ask questions with the intention to harm those they care about, I understand. In a culture of candor, it’s easy to overly inquire and overly divulge. I’m so guilty. But normalcy does not equate to legitimacy, friends.
Instead of asking mindless, routine questions, let’s think more about what we’re saying and engage in thoughtful conversation. Let’s be sensitive to those who aren’t ready to share, don’t care to share, or don’t know where to start in sharing.
Instead of rushing each other on from the stage of life we’re in, let’s learn to celebrate together wherever we find ourselves.
(Original post written March 23, 2017)