I am a woman who is ambivalent about marriage. On the one hand, I like the idea of spending the rest of my life with a partner. I like the concept of being bound by mutual love, support, and desire to bone each other a whole lot. On the other hand, I hate the idea of planning a wedding, of being expected to be at each other's family and friend functions all the time, of being the decorative and potentially codependent lady-extension to a dude, of losing my engagement ring in the toilet or something, of wearing a ring at all, and of joining my credit to a guy's, and, you know, all the other things the ancient daughter-selling ritual of marriage represents. I'm not alone in my mixed feelings about this type of union: According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, marriage is as unpopular as it's ever been here in the United States. According to Pew, "Adults are marrying later in life, and the shares of adults cohabiting and raising children outside of marriage have increased significantly." This leads me to believe that my fellow unmarrieds and I are on to something. Maybe we're just the arbiters of a hot new social trend!
Then, of course, there are the social messages surrounding marriage. As a young Sara, I absorbed this fine bit of wisdom from Seinfeld's Cosmo Kramer.
Of course, I'm well aware that some marriages can be awesome; that they can be fun and delightful and uplifting and really enhance a person's existence. I understand that some people truly feel as if they were "meant" for one another, and that their union was foretold in the stars or by fate or by Jesus riding a dinosaur. And I like the idea of just hanging out with my best friend for the rest of our lives, through thick and through thin, in sickness and in health, in feast and in famine, world without end, amen. Maybe there's some new way to do marriage that I just haven't heard of yet, some kind of cool model that actually works and actually makes room for partners to enjoy one another fully and to be independent individuals (I do not want to give up my solo vacations) while still having each other's back all the damn time.
If you find that special recipe, please feel free to share it with me. I sure could use it.