This Essay Will Terrify You Into Never Turning Down a Marriage Proposalby Chiara Atik on June 25, 2012
Oy, I don’t know how to take all these articles on the state of the modern woman that have been coming out in the past few years. “All The Single Ladies” (women are happy being single!), “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All” (women can’t have happy marriages, happy kids, and good careers!), “I Don’t: The Case Against Marriage” (women don’t even want to get married!).
How am I supposed to feel right now? Am I supposed to want a series of fulfilling relationships, but no life-long love? Am I supposed to prioritize family before it’s too late? Am I supposed to just not worry about finding a husband now, and instead concentrate on career, on friends, on life experience? And am I going to regret doing that?
It’s very difficult to know how to feel on these issues, and each new essay that gets published confuses me further.
This week’s Modern Love essay didn’t help. The essay is called “Missing The Boat: A Case for Marriage,” which along was enough to set in a dull feeling of panic in the pit of my stomach. (I thought we were all ok with not getting married? Are we switching stances here again? Should I get cracking?)
In the essay, Jessica Bennet, one of the authors of Newsweek’s 2010 article, “I Don’t: The Case Against Marriage,” talks about turning down a proposal at the age of 24, and ends up regretting it 6 years later.
“So maybe, we should get married?” The article seems to say.
It would be great if there was a simple answer to this. If “get married if you want, don’t get married if you don’t want” could magically ease the anxiety of a generation of women. But the problem with marriage is that sometimes you think you do want it, and sometimes you think you don’t. What if you get married now, and 6 years later you don’t want to be? And what if you stay single, but 6 years from now prefer to be married?
In some ways, it would be nice to be forced to either get married or not get married: then we could just accept it, and spend the rest of our lives dealing with other things. But to figure out whether to get married at all, to figure out whether to have children, whether to stay at home to raise them, whether to concentrate on career….
Well, it’s all very difficult, isn’t it? Making sure we make all of the boats.