Yet another friend/student/acquaintance (does it matter? if you're reading this and think I'm talking about you, I'm probably not - that's how often I hear this news) has decided to tie the knot. After far too short a time dating, in my opinion. And frequently, at far too young an age.
What is it that explains this mad rush for the altar? What makes people decide, "hey, this one is different, I love him/her, we're getting married - NOW"? It isn't so much that they all go for the ring as it is that they seem to have an urgency about it.
And so I say, "hey, that's great, I'm glad you're happy, congratulations." And I mean it, sort of. I *am* glad that they're happy, and that they've found someone they see as a soulmate. I'm glad that they feel part of someone else and that they are loved and loving.
But what I don't say, and what I also mean - and if you are planning on getting hitched at some point soon, you might want to skip this part or risk having your bubble burst or getting pissed off - is that it's damn stupid to marry someone you've only been dating for a few months or a couple of years.
I didn't used to feel this way, but I've seen a few too many divorces on the heels of marriages after short courtships (and this goes for both different- and same-sex couples). RIGHT on the heels. In fact, so soon after that part of me wonders whether or not the "happy couple" should return their wedding gifts.
I think getting married puts tremendous pressure on a relationship, and that this pressure is exponentially greater 1) the shorter the length of time the couple has been together, 2) the younger the couple is, and 3) the less the amount of shit the couple has been through together. (If you're already living together, that helps some with 3, because living together can count as going through shit.)
And I also notice that, very often, this rush to the altar occurs simultaneously with other big changes - say, graduation from college, or the recent break-up of a previous relationship (yes, they happen that quickly). It's as if these folks are thinking, "My life is uncertain now. I need to do something to make it feel more stable and less out of control."
I just don't think that marriage is the answer, at least not if what you're looking for in marriage is stability and permanency.
Or, to put it another way, I've come to feel that marriage isn't something we should look at as the preferable way for young people to "begin" their lives together. I think we should look at it as a way for people to formalize, if necessary, a connection between lives that have already been lived together for some time.