To Tie the Knot or Not?

Dec 16th 2008006_edited(submitted by a young blog contributor)

Having been in a relationship for four years, the question comes up quite frequently. When are you getting married? Are you ready to take the next step? The problem I am having with marriage is that I am only 22. Fresh out of university, I am about to embark on a career path that could take me anywhere. How can I commit my life to someone this early with so many unknowns.

Although the 50s was a very misogynistic era, at least with my lens,  marriage was simple because it operated by fulfilling the goals of one career path. The man went where the work was and the family moved along with him. In no way am I implying that we should regress back to the social system we maintained in the 50s and 60s. But in recent years, there is a degree of complexity we have added to the pursuit of our “soul mate”.  Marriage is a traditional construct that we are attempting to apply to a modern society. Seeing as nearly half of them fail, something has made maintaining a marriage more complicated. It is the norm for both sexes to pursue demanding careers in order to “make something of themselves”. Even though the individual may feel like the perfect person for you, if their life and goals do not fit with your career projection, it may be destined to fail.

Globalization has made it simpler and sometimes necessary to work/study in different countries to progress in many careers. Many job interviewers have told me that to climb the corporate ladder you need to be “mobile”. In order to become established in a career, you need to be tenacious and willing to put in the hours. But, putting so much time into one area of your life inevitably causes other areas to suffer. Even with Skype, Facetime and other forms of virtual communication, it doesn’t seem to be enough for a long-term and long-distance relationship. Through the screen, so much of the physical and emotional companionship is lost. Is it possible to maintain a marriage with someone effectively without living at least in the same city? They are supposed to be your best friend, that person you share your day with over dinner. Sure, a few months is manageable, but a few years seems a lot less likely to succeed.

This is why I see marriage as such a daunting step in the progression of my relationship. Perhaps career path is just another factor that needs to be clearer in order to find and decide upon that special someone. If your career is very time consuming, maybe you either need to find someone with a more passive focus on their career or sacrifice your own pursuit of professional self-actualization for that special someone. In a society that teaches hard work leads to happiness and success, maybe there is no room for a significant other while in your 20s?