Here is the plan: You graduate from college, you get a good job, you find a nice girl, you get married, have kids, and then you retire and travel the world. Sounds simple doesn’t it? Unfortunately it isn’t. Instead, trying to plan out your life is like trying to predict the weather without knowing where you are nor what time of the year. While many may feel discouraged and disappointed when life doesn’t go according to their ‘master plan,’ perhaps that is what make life so beautiful.
You wake up not knowing if it’ll be sunny or cloudy, but when you do get a sunny day, it makes your day more enjoyable. If every day was sunny and predictable, what would make it special? Marriage is much the same. Finding love as opposed to infatuation makes a relationship meaningful and special. For some of us, love happens once in a lifetime while infatuation happens every day.
Logic Versus Emotion
So why do you want to get married? That is the big question that many people ask those that say they want to get married. Is it for love? Is it for financial stability? What is it? While you may get different responses, the reason for getting married can be broken down into two distinct categories: Logic and Emotion.
The person that marries out of logic is typically one that reasons that it makes sense to get married. Whether it is for financial stability or because it is ‘convenient,’ someone that marries out of logic doesn’t necessarily love the other person. In contrast, emotion refers to when someone marries another person because they are in love or feel that they are.
Looking at my peers around me as well as having a better understanding of the reasons behind the choices people make, I have to come realize that the reasons behind marriage seemingly change as one enters different stages of their life.
The 3 Stages
As mentioned before, the reasons for marriage can be broken down into the categories, emotion and logic. The question then becomes at what stages in your life do you marry more for reason then emotion and vice versa.
The stage that is one is most likely to marry out of pure emotion are those between the ages 16-20. As a ‘young’ adult, when you find someone you ‘love’ you feel like they are all you need to be happy. Questions like how you will support yourself financially or if you are to young are questions that seem irrelevant. The best line that can describe this age group is: “Love will solve everything.” While it is a positive way to think, the real world isn’t always positive. At this stage, one can make the argument that those that get married at a young age have it harder.
As we merge into the next age group 21-35, we see a new train of reason. In this stage both emotional and logical reasoning are used. Through maturity and life experiences one is able to better understand their emotions as well as the consequences of ones actions. While love is an important factor in getting married, it is just as important that one considers questions like financial stability and ones career.
From the age 36 and on, emotions give way to logic. Speaking with many of my peers, they told me that if by their late 30’s they weren’t married yet, they would settle for the next best thing. So what does that mean? What it means is that if they still haven’t found love, they will settle for the closest thing to it. The best way to understand this concept is to use an analogy. If you want a Pepsi but the machine is out, you can wait until they restock it. If you wait for 10 hours and you still don’t get one, you may be tempted to just go for the imitation Pepsi. It may not be what you wanted, but it’s close enough. Yes, you can wait for 10 hours and hope that they will restock it, but if at the end you still haven’t gotten one, it is only logical to take the imitation. If love doesn’t come knocking, something that resembles it, like infatuation for example or even just an attraction, may be enough to make someone want to get married.
When you look at all the reasons why people get married, love will ultimately be considered in one form or another. As mentioned, as one gets older, love doesn’t become unimportant, but it slowly gives way to fear. That fear is that one will grow old alone. Getting married provides companionship and a partner to share experiences with which forms a unique bond. While there are those that say that they don’t need to marry someone to be happy, many would agree that marriage is a unique experience that one is encouraged to partake in.
As I write this, there will be hundreds if not thousands of people deciding if now is the right time to get married. Whether it is for love or not, marriage is something that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
Philosopher Harriet Martineu said it best:
Any one must see at a glance that if men and women marry those whom they do not love, they must love those whom they do not marry.
While the fear of lonliness is one that grows as one gets older, it important to remember that their is always a way to defeat fear. Fear may bother you, but it must never overcome you.
Photo by ShesJack