“Dating for me in my twenties was like this musical-chairs thing. Everybody was running around and having fun. Then I hit thirty and it was like the music stopped and everybody started sitting down. I didn’t want to be the only one without a chair. Sometimes I think I married my husband just because he was the closest chair to me at thirty. Sometimes I think I should have waited for someone who might be a better partner, and maybe I should have, but that seemed risky. What I really wish I’d done is thought more about marriage sooner. Like when I was in my twenties.” – Alex, Meg Jay’s patient as discussed in The Defining Decade
I’ve talked to many girls throughout the years, some married, some not. The recurring theme in all of our late night, post Netflix and Nutella chats, comes down to boys. Who to date, who to ditch and who to dream over. Married people always encourage waiting while the singles can’t wait to “get hitched”. I’ve heard people say very similar things to the situation above and 9 out of 10 people I talk to always warn about the high divorce rates.
But if you ask me, divorce rates wouldn’t be so high if people were careful and thought twice before walking down the aisle. I’m not saying wait, because I wouldn’t listen to my own advice either. I have been dating the love of my life for only 7 months now, but we’ve known each other for 5 years, and when you know, you know. I am confident in making him my partner.
Could you say the same about the person sitting across from you at dinner? If the answer is yes, go ahead. If it’s no, I would think twice about saying “I Do”.
“When my supervisor pushed me to take up Alex’s current relationship, I protested. ‘Sure she’s dating down but it’s not like she’s marrying the guy.’ Then my supervisor said ‘Not yet. But she might marry the next one. Regardless, the best time to work on Alex’s marriage is before she has one.’ She had me there.” – Meg Jay
Doing something later is not necessarily the same as doing something better. I encourage you to get to know who you are, what you want/need in a partner and not be influenced by your surroundings. Whether you get married at 20 or 30, it should be done on your time, not your friends’, parents or coworkers.
Take your time choosing your partner. Marriage is (should be) a once-in-a-lifetime decision. Be wise about it.
Inspired by Chapters’ campaign #30Days30Ways to Enrich Your Life, I’ve come up with my own spin – 30 Days, 30 Ways to Define your Decade. As twentysomethings we sometimes get carried away thinking we have lots of time ahead to get a career, get married, get our finances together and so on. But Meg Jay explains this in her book The Defining Decade, “As a clinical psychologist who specializes in adult development, I have seen countless twentysomethings spend too many years living without perspective. What is worse are the tears shed by thirtysomethings and fortysomethings because they are now paying a steep price – professionally, romantically, economically, reproductively – for a lack of vision in their twenties.”
The time is now. Join me in making our decade matter.