Every day, as I inch closer to 30, more and more people in my age group seem to be on a runaway freight train down the aisle. Prime example: a guy I play hockey with started a relationship with a girl who has a four-year-old with another guy, started an online MBA (for profit school I’ve never heard of) moved in with them, got a puppy, proposed and is getting married, all in 13 months’ time. I say played because he can’t come up with the cash money to play this season because you guessed it, “I have a wedding to pay for.” He’s a nice guy, but the worst part is, there are many more like him that share his sense of urgency.
We all know these kind of people. Serial daters with one thing on their mind: getting a ring or putting a ring on someone’s finger. Where’s the fucking fire? It’s like having someone “commit” to them is the crux of their existence, the pinnacle of human achievement and the crowning glory to their life.
What I don’t understand about this entire process is why people are in such a rush in the first place. Unlike our grandparents, parents and some of our high school friends that still wear their letterman jacket, getting married to your high school sweetheart is outdated and a disservice to yourself. There’s a whole world of people out there.
Part of the enjoyment of dating is taking your time to get to know someone. Some people are skilled concealers of red flags. It takes some time to read them. For the gross majority, having fun, traveling and enjoying experiences before the inevitable little fuckers that come out of one of you are moments to cherish. Known as “the good times,” people can reminisce about these while your wrist deep in green baby shit or your kid’s principal calls you telling you your son is tripping on acid, firing a crossbow into a crowd. It will remind you there is a light at the end of the tunnel, unless our generation fucks it up even worse and they live in the basement for life.
I propose a modest timeline of two years before getting super serious. It gives you enough time to get through the honeymoon phase. From there, you can move in with them if you choose (which I highly recommend) and see where it goes. Better to learn someone’s shitty habits and lifestyle before you are legally bound to them. After all of this, if you can see yourself with someone after two years, great. Get engaged, wait it out at least a year, and go for it. Statistically, you’re much more likely to make it last and it’s way easier to move out than it is to divorce.
“But Madoff, you know when you find love. You wouldn’t understand US!”
This exact phrase was said to me the other day, which spawned this article. Another friend who was about to get engaged, broke up, and is now engaged to another person within a year. He bought a puppy and is thinking about getting another. I gave him the cold hard, “fuck no, you idiot.”
Marriage isn’t a bad thing. It’s a social construct dated way back to basically make sure there is family stability, children and that giving your shit out when you’re dead goes smoothly. While for some, like several of my older friends in their mid-30s, “’til death do us part” is more of a metaphorical timeline rather than literal. Jumping from post grad life right smack into adulthood makes you miss out on that seminal timeframe where you figure out HOW to be an adult. There’s a reason for the correlation between getting married young and divorce.
There’s no reason anyone should rush getting married. If someone is giving you deadlines and/or ultimatums, run as far away as possible from them. It breeds resentment and you will never forgive that person. Two years is a suggestion; take longer if you wish. That person should be there for you unconditionally until you’re ready. I’ve been engaged for over a year (together four and a half) and nothing has changed. We probably won’t be married for several more years. Marriage really only changes for tax purposes (which is where this institution came from), and if you’re a woman and choose to change your name, enjoy the DMV visit(s).
So unless you have a mail order bride or groom that needs a green card, take your damn time getting hitched. You’re gambling half your shit and a ton of time on something that may not work out, might as well have the best idea of what you’re getting into and some fond memories before the stress of parenthood crushes your will to exist..