A few weeks ago I read a blog post about young women rushing to get married, and how the society and media encourage them to do that. And how it is not a good thing. The post was written in the US.
Well, I am one of those young women; I’m 22, and getting married next August. Somehow the post made me feel sad. Do I want to be one of those girls? I was embarrassed, even though there’s nothing to be ashamed of. However, that’s not the first time I felt that way about my future wedding. And quite frankly, I am tired of having to be ashamed. I am tired of keeping a secret. I am tired of having to hide my happiness.
Because I do not live in the US. I live in Finland, and here young people are definitely not encouraged to get married.
Here the average age of getting married is 31 with women, and 33 with men.
Here I am the weirdo, the child-bride. People judge me for getting married young. They think I am empty-headed, love-dreaming bimbo, who’s biggest dream is to have three kids and house in the countryside.One of the worst moments of this spring was when I had to ask my boss if I could get 3 weeks off of work because of my wedding and honey-moon. My boss is 40-year-old single woman. Based on the rumours in the office, she is desperate to find a man. And then me, just a kid in her eyes, announced to be getting married. Oh boy, the look she gave me…
Interesting fact: I went to a high school of 1,000 students. As far as I’m concerned, I’m the first one getting married.
I am not expecting a bridal shower. Neither have I ever been asked to “show the ring”. Not that those things didn’t exist here. But they exist for those whose wedding plans are taken seriously. Not for kids who play marriage.
So I have to struggle with all these bad feelings. That has led to the point, that I no longer tell anyone I am getting married. My closest family knows, but most of the relatives don’t. At work only a few people know. In the university only my best friends know. My hairdresser knows. At first I thought my parents won’t accept it and I was worried to tell them about our decision. Luckily I was wrong. But I have not made even one single Facebook post about our wedding. Or shared a photo on Instagram. Not that I would have a terrible need to brag about it to everyone, but I still feel it is unfair that I can’t do those things if I want to avoid unpleasant comments.
My friend in Arkansas is getting married in May. She is my age. Her friends, her family, she herself…they all post and blog and share news about the wedding every day. Embarrassment is probably the last feeling in her mind. Even though in my opinion she is exactly one of those people I am not. A girl who wants a princess wedding, fairy-tale life, million kids, no career, nothing special but cooking for hairy sports-loving husband. I can only be amazed by how happy people seem to be about her wedding despite all that.
In my opinion, marriage is the start of a new life, not the end of your life. I understand that that was the point of the blogger who inspired me. She wanted to say to all young brides, that they can have so much more in life than settling down and raising a family. I do think so. I am not getting married so I can stop living. I am getting married so I can experience everything with my soul mate. That is worth celebrating, I think. I guess I was born to wrong country. If I lived across the Atlantic, I would get my bridal showers and all of the overly excited people around me.
I am not jealous. That’s not my point, and I hope it doesn’t seem that way. I don’t enjoy big fuss. Our wedding will be small and intimate anyway. What I am trying to say, is that I think it’s wrong that I have to feel embarrassed about something so wonderful. I want love, happiness on pride be the only feelings in my heart when I walk down the aisle. I know I should ignore the opinions of people who don’t matter, but since it’s hard since it’s not just a few random people – it’s the whole society. The cultural difference between Finland and US seems huge when it comes to this subject
I have no doubt that many young people are getting married for wrong reasons. Some couples should definitely wait, get more mature, and see more life and more people. Maybe it is wrong to encourage them to tie the knot. But the opposite is not good either. Is it jealousy that makes people act that way in Finland? Is it employers evil plan? (The younger you marry the sooner you have children . Then you will take leaves from work or stay home with the kids = less effective workers).
Is it being cautious? 50% of the marriages end in divorce. And only for 75% of the couples married last year were having their 1st wedding. Cynical people might think that young age increases the possibility of a divorce later in the relationship.
What do you think? If people know what they are doing, does the age matter? Is it better to push young adults into marriage or judge them for doing that?