Just because I chose marriage doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for everyone. Sometimes I think we as a culture should offer more grace and kindness to those who are not coupled up. Many of the readers here are unmarried. Some of you are engaged, or dating, or even single.
Two prominent CNN articles that have been bouncing around the internet only underscore my desire to spread more compassion. If you haven’t read them, you should. First, they’re entertaining. Second, they’re thought-provoking.
The first writer, Tracy McMillia, wrote a scathing critique called Why You’re Not Married. Her blunt explanations may cover the reasons some of your unmarried friends are not wed, but they would be offensive to most of them. The seven possible reasons she gives for a woman who wants to be married and isn’t include: She’s a bitch, shallow, a slut, a liar, selfish, or she thinks she’s not good enough. Wow, tell us what you really think. It should be noted that she has had three failed marriages, but was “born knowing how to get married.”
CNN’s Jessica Ravitz (pictured above) countered with an extremely graceful and well-written response, Why I’m Not Married (and it’s not because I’m an angry slut). In short, she says dealing with two parental divorces, the sudden death of her father, and calling off her engagement when she had serious doubts doesn’t make her a complete loser. And it doesn’t make her unhappy. It just means life got in the way of her finding her guy at the right moment. Single people can be happier than those in relationships, especially when those relationships are troubled.
Some people who really would like to get married simply haven’t met someone they want to spend their life with. Others would simply choose not to take on the commitment of marriage. I think it’s wiser than marrying without having a strong commitment, particularly when children are involved.
I remain a strong marriage advocate, and I believe children do best when they grow up with two married parents. But I also think we as a society need to be more respectful and compassionate to others who don’t make the same choices at the same life stage as we do. If we treat single people as incomplete, always trying to match them up, it demeans them as a person. Celebrate and lift up your single and married friends.
What’s your take on the issue? Are you looking to marry but haven’t found “the one” (that’s a whole new post)? Or is marriage not the right choice for you right now? If you’re happily married, how do you treat the single people around you?
Photo credit: Robert Johnson/CNN