Recently there's been a trending article circulating Facebook called "23 Things to Do Rather Than Get Engaged Before 23", and it's generated lots of heated responses; both positive and negative. I read the article and a couple angry response articles, and I'm wondering (if you've read them} what your take on the whole deal is? I know you and Cam plan to marry young, but the article also discusses the importance of traveling, making crucial mistakes, discovering yourself, etc. How do you feel?
(I’ve read the original article - but none of the response articles that you alluded to)
honestly - I think in a lot of ways it’s a positive article. it encourages you to live a full life. it encourages you to avoid making a casual decision when it comes to picking who to marry. all positive things which I support. I can easily see how this article could help A LOT of people if they really took it in and absorbed it. I really can.
but, it has not changed my views of marriage in the slightest and here is a little bit of why:
1. the message that this article is depending on is the belief that all young people lack experience, wisdom, and stability. while that is true for an enormous number of young adults, it isn’t applicable to all of them. it just isn’t. there is no way that a statement which covers such a huge number of humans can be accurate in every case. I personally know that I have experienced a huge number of literally life altering events in my 19 years of life. both good and bad - I have lived so many things. so many experiences. so many tragedies and triumphs. so so so much. and living through these things has equipped me with wisdom and knowledge and experience and humanity and individuality and skills and confidence and intelligence and conviction. and I could definitely say the same for Cam. while I will not go into detail about the things that Cam and I have experienced (both together, and separately), they happened, and we grew because of them. along with tons of other young adults. in no way am I arguing that this applies to the majority of 20 - somethings (it probably doesn’t). BUT it definitely applies to some of us, thus making this article less powerful.
2. the article assumes that all young adults are inexperienced when it comes to sexuality, relationships, dating, break ups, depending on others, and being completely and entirely alone. which also just can not be said of ALL young people. do I think that it would be smart for most people to marry the first person they dated or had sex with or even loved? hell no. I know it wouldn’t be good for me to do any of that. no fuckin’ way. but sometimes it works. and even more often than that, there are young people who ARE experienced in these areas. there are young people who have slept around and around and around and are ready to leave that behind. there are young people who have loved and lost and who have learned because of it. there are young people who have experimented with their sexuality, and who are confident in committing to their current partner. there are young people who have taken time away from relationships and who have invested in themselves for long periods of time, and who are more well-rounded and self-knowing because of it. there are young people who know what the’re doing.
3. there is no reason on earth that a person would be unable to do most of the things on this list AND be engaged/married. you can be in a serious committed relationship/engagement/marriage WHILE you get a passport, find your thing, adopt a pet, start a band, make a cake, get a tattoo, explore a new religion, start a small business, cut your hair, build something with your hands, accomplish a pinterest project, join the peace corps, disappoint your parents, watch girls, ear a jar of nutella, make strangers feel uncomfortable in public places, sign up for crossfit, hangout naked in front of a window, write down your feelings on a blog, be selfish, go to the philippines for chinese new year, etc. I think it would make a lot more sense to call this “a list of things to do when you’re bored, when you’re depressed, when you feel disconnected, when you feel unproductive, when you want to feel alive, or when you want excitement in your life”. the problem with calling this a “list of things to do before getting engaged” is that it promotes the idea that when you get married your life is over. the idea that your individuality is finished, that you can never do anything for yourself again, that you can’t see the world, that you can’t live life to the fullest, that you can’t be yourself. this concept is so toxic and dangerous. the fact that we allow people to believe that marriage is the end of one’s ability to live their dream life and to live in a way that they desire is seriously terrible and depressing and horrid. why do we let people believe that? why can’t we put marriage in a healthier light? why do we let people expect that they will be unhappy when they commit to another human? I don’t know how that happened, but I think it’s so sick and so wrong and definitely something that needs to be thought of differently.
4. this article is cynical as hell. yeah, I get it, cynicism is trendy and (often) super practical. but “get a tattoo: it’s more permanent than a marriage”…really? people remove/cover up/change tattoos every damn day. yeah marriages end. all the time. but that doesn’t mean that marriage can’t be permanent. it can be. it’s a choice. every couple in the universe is capable of choosing to have a permanent marriage, and sticking to it. is that a really hard thing to do? almost always. but is it impossible? hell no.
5. the word choice in some areas of this article is just…immature.
“those friends are going to get knocked up and fat soon sssoooo in retrospect, who really is winning here?”
come on. the article is generally really well written, but this kind of pointed language is offensive and childish. why is does this have to be about “winning” ? and who gives a shit if your pregnant friends gain weight? why should that mean that their life is worse than yours?
6. the piece also implies that the ONLY reason that young people get married is because they’re terrified of breaking up. the whole “why the rush” concept. if a couple is getting married in a year because they’re afraid that if they wait 5 more they will break up - they shouldn’t be getting married. duh. but implying that couples are afraid of being apart so they feel they must get married ASAP isn’t something you can accuse all young people of. it’s just not fair to paint these people as being so painfully insecure and unsure and co-depenent and impulsive and irresponsible. I’m not saying that there aren’t couples who are guilty of being some or all of those things - surely, there are. but being young doesn’t mean that you have no other choice but to be insecure, unsure, co-dependent, impulsive, and irresponsible. some young couples get married for the same reasons that other adult couples marry for. they’re in love, they want to share their lives together, they want to buy a house and start a family, they want to have the rights that married couples have, they want to act like the stable adults that they are. they want to be allowed to make their own choices and live with them.
so basically what I’m saying is although TONS of young marriages are unhealthy, unstable, immature, unnecessary, doomed to fail -
not all of them are, and it is cruel and irresponsible to encourage people to believe that EVERY union between young people is a mistake that deserves to be bashed and thought of poorly.