Earlier this year, I was invited to a wedding for the first time in my life. I’m sure I’ve been to some distant relative’s wedding at some point in my forgotten youth, but this was the first time I was invited by a friend. Later, sometime last month, I was invited to another wedding. If the first invitation didn’t hit me, the second one did: I’m at the age when people get married. As the spring sunshine colors the earth with green, I felt compelled to discuss the topic I’ve given so little thought about up to now.
There’s so many things odd about marriage. For the majority of its existence, mankind was polygamous — a trend that carried on to most early civilizations. Although humans are genetically predisposed to a polygamous system, modern societies assume that marriage bonds a couple monogamously “until death do us part”. Marriage itself has a less than glamorous history, often acting mostly as a social contract between families in arranged marriages. Accounting for the patriarchal systems that dominated history, one can only wonder how many marriages were borne from love as opposed to those that were caused by exploitative fathers or the one-sided lust of suitors. With a bit of perspective, the modern ideals regarding marriage can be found to be misleading. Yet, marriage is what most of us want. It’s a completely new beginning to life. The allure of finding a soulmate to be lifelong partners with can be very powerful. Marriage also provides the priceless opportunity of creating a family. All the oddities of marriage seem to only highlight the romanticism of all the couples who undergo such a commitment. Not all of them will remain happily married, but all of them have decided that the risk is worth it.
For me as well, the biggest goal in life is to be a father in a happy and loving family. I always feel that this goal has a very difficult prerequisite: finding the right person to get married to. For the longest time, it was a distant task that I would eventually get to. It feels as though it was only very recently that I was invited to the world of college student adulthood, but the truth is that it’s already been five years since freshman year. While it’s normal to still be alone at this point in life, the invitations I received tell me it’s also not abnormal to have found someone. After I leave the stable and sheltered undergrad life, the looming problem of marriage will be inevitable when entering relationships.
Because marriage is such an important goal for me, I’m terrified. I’m not ready to worry about it, but it has come so uncomfortably close that I’m slowly starting to feel the pressure. I have a small window of maybe less than ten years to find someone to share my remaining seventy or so years with, and I can’t feel confident with those numbers. It’s not surprising more and more people are choosing to marry late or not at all. It also explains the myriad of marriage matchmaking ads you see on the subway. It’s difficult to find the right person.
Which is to say that I’m tremendously envious for those whose weddings I will attend. I’m looking forward to get the second-hand experience. It might have an assuring effect or inspire me to be more active. For now though, I want to distance myself from the worries and enjoy the moment.