Relationships

THE PRESSURE TO GET MARRIED

You might know this already, but just in case you didn’t:

WE GOT MARRIED!

After 9 years of dating, we officially tied the knot this past July. It’s been 9 long years, but the crazy thing is, I don’t think I would have gotten married at any point before this year. However, we have been planning and prepping for marriage for a few years now. It was never something we just spontaneously decided to do right away. When we first got engaged, I wrote about “The Journey to Marriage”, specifically our journey to marriage. I’ve decided to elaborate a bit on my original post to reveal a couple more things in depth.

If you’ve been dating someone for a few years, it’s natural to start thinking about marriage. When you start seeing everyone else on your social media timeline or in your friend circle start to get engaged, it’s human nature to start feeling the pressure and wanting to get married as well. With the holidays right around the corner, the thought of proposing or getting proposed to will definitely be front of mind for a number of people. I’m not writing this post to say that everyone’s journey should imitate ours. I have to put that disclaimer out there. This post is for anyone who may be considering marriage, but you may be unsure as to whether it’s the right time. I wanted to share insights from our experience that may or may not help you in your process. 

1. DON’T USE MARRIAGE AS A SOLUTION TO A PROBLEM.

Andrel and I were doing long distance for two years. At the time, there was no expiration date to the distance: we had no idea when it would end. In the span of two years, someone would throw out the idea of just getting married already so we could live together. The distance would get to be too much at times, tempting us to use marriage as a solution to a problem. However, thank God that at least one of us would be in our right mind whenever the thought came up. We would remind each other that although it would be nice to live in the same province and in the same house, it would throw off our goals and plans. Our finances weren’t ready. Our careers weren’t ready. Our mentalities weren’t ready. Our attitudes weren’t ready. We weren’t ready. Fresh out of school, Andrel was just starting his career and I hadn’t found a job yet. We had no stable income coming in. And to be completely honest, we were both still selfish. Getting married would have solved the problem of distance, but then it would have caused other problems in more ways that one. We knew it wasn’t the right time to get married.

Let’s be real. There are people who use marriage as a solution to even bigger problems. Some get married in hopes that their significant other will stop cheating, or in hopes that they’ll stop cheating on their significant other. Some get married because they just want to have sex without feeling guilty (let’s be honest, Christian people). Some get married to numb the feeling of loneliness or pain from a previous relationship. If you’re hoping that getting married will solve a problem in your relationship, it’s probably not the right time for marriage. Marriage isn’t supposed to fix things: it’s supposed to enhance and supplement your life.

2. DON’T LOSE YOURSELF COMPLETELY FOR MARRIAGE.

I had three major personal goals for myself that I wanted to accomplish before getting married: (1) finish school completely; (2) find a permanent full-time job in my chosen career; and (3) develop some habits for personal growth and development outside of my relationship. ​I finished my undergraduate degree in 2014, then completed my master’s degree in 2015, then found a permanent full-time job in 2017, and I’ve developed some great habits in my personal life. If we had gotten married after our undergrad, I probably would have been unable to finish my master’s program in Communications (the field I’m currently building my career in) and Andrel may not have completed his diploma program in Real Estate Appraisal (the field he’s currently working in). If we had gotten married after we finished our after-university education, I would have had to move out to Edmonton with no job prospects, settling for any job just to help pay bills and support ourselves. If we had gotten married after I found a job, I probably would have delved right into being a wife without really knowing who I was by myself outside of my relationship.

The moment you get married, you’re obligated to stop solely thinking about yourself and start thinking about someone else. Don’t get me wrong: In the last nine years, Andrel and I have played a significant role in each other’s decisions and each other’s lives. But like King Solomon said, there’s a time for everything under the sun. And honestly, there’s a time to grow and develop on your own.  ​Before you freak out, I do believe that for any marriage to work, there needs to be compromise. A lot of marriages fall apart because both parties refuse to give up selfishness. But I also believe that you shouldn’t completely lose yourself for marriage. I know that although there’s a long list of things about me that Andrel loves (haha), there are some core things about me that he fell in love with. Imagine giving up all of those things that make me who I am. That’s when you start to hear the phrase, “You’re not the same person I fell in love with.” 

3. DON’T USE LOVE AS THE ONLY INDICATOR FOR MARRIAGE.

We get it: You love each other. But marriage isn’t just about being in love. It’s about commitment; it’s about sacrifice. It’s more than just a feeling of rainbows and butterflies in your stomach. Yes, love is a big part of a successful marriage. But there are so many other factors. Being in love is just the first step of a long process. You’re in love? Great, let’s start building towards marriage. It’s a strong foundation, but it’s not the whole house. If being in love means you’re ready to get married, then I would have married Andrel in grade 12. While that may work for some, I already know it would have been a disaster for us. We would have made things ten times harder on ourselves and on our marriage. For any couple considering marriage, I strongly recommend going for pre-marital counselling. We did it before we got married. We went through it with one of the pastors from our denomination. We also went through it with a trained therapist from a professional clinic. There’s so many things to delve into that will play a big role in a successful marriage. Andrel and I have continued to go to counselling once a month until we’ve hit our one year mark, then we plan to go once a quarter moving forward.

Take your time. There’s no rush. I can only imagine how hard it is to see engagement posts, wedding photos, and baby announcements at every scroll. It’s everyone else, but you. Be patient. Keep working on being the best version of you as possible. Because there is no set timeline that everyone’s supposed to follow. Don’t compare where you are in your journey to where others might be in theirs. Take control of your narrative. We took control of ours. They thought we should’ve been married years ago, but we were confident in our pace and in our plans. Now they think we should have kids right away, but we’re confident in our pace and in our plans. Don’t succumb to the pressures of people who don’t have to live with the consequences of the choices you make in your life. ✌

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