To Woman, Marriage is not your biggest achievement
Being single can be liberating and empowering, but at times it can be isolating and terrifying because of how society has conditioned us to believe we are less important if you don’t have a plus one.
Last weekend, a lady I meet in a taxi marveled at the fact that I could attend a friend’s wedding without a date. She said: “I could never do that!” And that she would rather stay home than go to a wedding alone. I was speechless. But I ‘jokingly’ told her that the reason I was going alone was because I was expecting to find a husband. Lol
But the truth is that I don’t want to go to weddings alone; I go alone because that’s the best option I have. I travel alone because I don’t have a partner to travel with, and the alternative of not going anywhere is so much worse.
For instance, many of my friends this days seem to be overcome by anxiety if they're still single beyond the age of 25. And some are so fixated on finding a husband that they neglect their professional dreams and personal growth.
For instance, take a close friend of mine - we will call her Thato. Last month, at our lunch date, Thato mostly talked about how depressed she was because she still hadn’t found “Mr Right’. At 31, she is about to finish her Master's degree in economics. She is doing well for herself financially, has a strong social life, and lives a very active lifestyle.
Yet, despite her obvious achievements, intelligence, drive, and beauty Thato tends to see herself as being a failure only because she is not married. The one thing that got to me in our conversation was how often she kept referring to her "biological clock" and how she feared being “unwanted” because of her success. She, for an unknown reason to me, sees each passing day as one were she has yet again failed as a woman if she is not married or popping children.
As much as I tried being positive for my friend, I had to admit to myself that I at times have perpetuated this kind of thinking in conversation with my other close friends. I, at times, found myself asking some couples I know when are they planning on getting married - just after their engagement!
Yes, as humans we are naturally designed to desire the connection that can only come through a relationship. However, as Megan Bruneau, M.A. RCC, a psychotherapist and a wellness expert puts it: “marriage, on the other hand, is a cultural norm. It's not biological.” She further says; “I believe if we can change marriage from a norm to a choice, we can liberate and empower those who perceive themselves to be lesser because they're not a "Mrs.”
So how do we change this?
Firstly, let's start by conditioning our minds to think critically about marriage and remind ourselves that your worth is not dependent on your marital status.
But before we go too far, let me clarify that I'm by no means anti-marriage. I believe strongly that valuing marriage and being feminist can happily coexist. There are many reasons people get married, and I absolutely respect everyone's decisions about it. But personally, I don’t see marriage as a measure of my worth as a woman.
At 31, I don’t look to marriage to make me feel loved, whole or wanted. Those are attributes that have to come from within. When the day comes and I fall deeply inlove with someone else they will come to not give me worth but to add on whatever is deep within.
Ladies let’s create a culture of empowerment and self-acceptance — one in which we see marriage as a matter of preference rather than a matter of success or legitimacy. I would love the day to come when I hear fewer of my friends let their marital status influence their happiness and self-worth.
You worth is not determined by walking down the alter.