5 Reasons This Generation Isn't Getting Married In Their 20s
A few weeks ago, Susan Patton, aka “The Princeton Mom,” wrote an article called, “5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Find a Husband in Your 20s.” The post received substantial backlash, with many upset at what they perceived to be an antiquated message.
Before I state my reasons for agreeing with that sentiment, I'd like to take a moment and offer a few words in Patton's defense.
I can't deny that college was probably the most plentiful gathering of single males I'll ever be exposed to in my life. While it's not all about quantity, you can't fault Patton for advocating man hunting during the years she believes women are at a strategic advantage.
However, as we all know, the road to divorce hell is paved with good intentions. So instead of worrying about all the things you're doing wrong or opportunities you're missing out on, just relax.
You're not falling behind; it's the deadline that's off. Here are five reasons why women should not try to find a husband while in their 20s:
1) There's no rush
It used to be that people lived to be 50 years old, so it makes sense that, back in the day, everyone married early. Now, with the average life expectancy in America nearing 80 years, there's no reason to have the infamous age “30” as a ticking time bomb by which all women must be married and pregnant, or else.
If other societal deadlines, like moving out, finishing college and finding your first job, have all been pushed back, why not marriage? Many will argue that if you want to have children, your fertility decreases with age.
However, modern science has also advanced to the point where not only is it possible to preserve your eggs, but successful “geriatric” pregnancies are carried out every day, as well. Ladies, we have time to do it all -- 82.2 years, to be exact.
2) 20-somethings are constantly changing
While it would be nice to have a partner grow with you and endure the ups and downs of this life-changing decade by your side, more often than not what happens is that you grow in opposite directions and are no longer the people you each originally fell in love with.
This is fine, and a perfectly normal part of life and love, but it's one that's made it exponentially harder when you're married and seeking a divorce.
There's no reason why you can't date someone exclusively, have a long engagement or otherwise be committed without rushing to take that final leap.
3) There is a double standard for marriage
Ever notice how men don't seem to be worried about being married by 30? They can be bachelors well into their 40s without raising a brow, aside from their own mothers' gentle prodding about pending grandchildren.
Women, however, are judged not just by our mothers, but also by strangers who meet us and automatically feel compelled to refer us to online dating sites, lecture us on the dangers of the aforementioned geriatric pregnancies or assume something must be wrong with us if we're “still single.”
For some reason, our reproductive status and progress on landing a man is cause for public concern.
Do not feel pressure to conform and jump into your first chance at a marriage just because you feel it is expected of you. That's a terrible reason to get married -- right up there with being drunk and bored in Vegas.
4) Knowledge is power
Your education is the one thing no one can ever take away from you. Take advantage of your 20s to pursue your degree(s) with full fervor.
Having had a boyfriend the first year of law school, I can attest to the fact that my grades suffered because my attention was diverted. I can't even imagine if I had to run a household or raise kids on top of it all.
Your engagement, wedding and the birth of your children (if you choose to have any) are all-consuming, once-in-a-lifetime events. Some people are more disciplined than others and can juggle the demands of these events with their studies, but most will find that one takes a toll on the other.
As we've already established, there's no rush. You should feel free to indulge in every stage in life as it comes to you, including your studies and professional development, without concern for whether doing so puts you behind on the race to the altar.
5) You don't appreciate alone time until you lose it
The thing about getting married and starting a family is that it's forever. Forever ever? Forever ever.
The moment you start on that path, you're pretty much signing off on any alone time you have for the next couple of decades. That's all fine and good; we're social creatures by nature and I'm sure it's wonderful to procreate and co-habitate with the man you love, but you have the rest of your life for that.
You pretty much only have your 20s to be carefree, come and go as you please without concern for anyone else and have the ability to do whatever you want in your home, alone.
Why should women be the only ones worried about meeting an arbitrary deadline, panicking with every birthday we get closer to 30? Why shouldn't we be able to be worry solely about ourselves, our education and our girlfriends during our youth?
I say, take your time. Make sure you grow and develop in your 20s into a mature person that will be able to contribute meaningfully to a marriage later in life. Take relationships at your own pace, abide by your own deadlines and don't be concerned about the judgment of others.
After all, as the Supremes once said, you can't hurry love; no, you just got to wait.
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