After writing about gender roles in “Married at First Sight: The Finale,” I started to think about what happens when your partner changes their mind after you’ve made the ultimate commitment. What happens when life throws you a curveball? What if a previously egalitarian-touting partner realizes he or she wants stereotypical gender roles once you’ve set up house? What if your significant other proposes, but then decides he or she doesn’t want to ever exchange vows? What if your spouse decides he or she no longer wants to have any children, or wants to limit the number of children to lower than what you previously discussed? Are any of these relationship-ending decisions? Should one half of a couple be able to make a decision on behalf of both of them?
My suggestion would be to seek therapy for impartial advice from a neutral party and to be open to compromise. Typically, something has happened in that person’s life to make them suddenly change their mind. But you can also ask hard questions while you’re dating and look for certain signs along the way. If a man says he believes women are equal and that he will contribute to household chores, see how he treats female waitstaff in a busy restaurant. If your man proposes, but avoids the topic of setting a date, then think about whether or not you need that piece of paper. If you don’t have kids or if you’re not sure if you want more, then “borrow” (babysit) a friend or family member’s kid(s) for a weekend (they will be indebted to you for the mini-vacation!) to see how you are able to handle it for more than a few hours. You may be surprised that you find yourself not wanting more kids either, or it could be a total deal-breaker because you can’t imagine not becoming a parent.
No one should make any major life decisions without consulting their significant other, but when that does occur, don’t be afraid to seek help.
As a Jewish adult, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to be successful. However, I don’t think the same emphasis is placed on being happy. Going into the working world after engineering school can feel like a nice change of pace for many recent graduates. However, the working world has its own stresses. Recently, people have been asking me what I want to do after graduation this December. Truth be told: I don’t exactly know! Many of my peers don’t know what we want our lives to look like.
The real question I’ve been asking myself is, “What does a happy life look like?” To be honest, I was in a deep rut midway through college, and I struggled to enjoy anything for a while. Now that the clouds have parted, I’m trying to emerge a stronger, happier, richer, and more compassionate person for the experience.
I sometimes still have dark days, but on the whole, things are looking up. Still, I can’t quite envision what my happy life looks like. Right now, it mostly consists of vague wants that are fairly universal. I’m trying to compile a who, what, where, when, and why of happy.
- Who: Do you need to live near your parents or a sibling?
- What: What are you going to spend the majority of your life doing?
- Where: Does geography matter? Does the “Who” category trump the “Where” category?
- When: When do you want these things to happen (if at all)? Not everyone wants children, for example.
- Why: Why do we want certain things? What do they say about us as a person? The “Why” category is the hardest for me, but I think if I could figure it out more concretely, I would have an easier time answering in the other four questions.
Even though happiness is a mindset, having concrete goals makes it easier for me to document progress and create a sense of accomplishment along the way. What does your happy life look like, and how are you working toward making it a reality?
under Single Life
In the last 6 weeks, at least 9 of my friends have gotten married. They’re all 23 or younger. For me, it’s a bit freaky seeing my peers making such serious commitments. Sometimes I barely feel like an adult. I don’t think any of these marriages are doomed by any means. I just can’t possibly see myself in that situation at this point in my life. I’m always moving, I’m still finishing school, and I haven’t had a relationship with serious long-term potential.
According to an article I read, college-educated women who get married after 25 only have a 20% divorce rate, as compared to the national divorce rate of greater than 50%. I’m not sure how legitimate the study is, but it makes me feel better about thinking I’m too immature to make major life decisions at age 22.
If you are feeling family or peer pressure to get a significant other, get married, or have children, remember you are NOT alone. These things don’t just happen overnight, and they certainly aren’t things to jump into lightly. My philosophy is “compare and despair.” If I thought I should be getting married at this age too, I might despair in being single by comparison. My advice? Celebrate your life for what it is now. Don’t worry too much about being single or unmarried. If you worry too much about meeting benchmarks and attaining labels, you may miss out on enjoying the journey.