Broken? Not Quite. What It Really Means If You're Not Married

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not married couple
"But you're such a sweet girl. Why aren't you married yet?" Ugh.

Do You Want To 'Get' Married Or 'Be' Married?
There are people who want to get married and people who want to be married. And this is where you do a self-check: If you're yearning for marriage because of what you think it'll say about you and your place in the world, as a mile marker for How Far You've Come, or as a kind of diploma that you have successfully matriculated in the graduate program of life, you're misguided. Maybe you want to do it so people will stop asking you when you're going to get married, or because you feel you "should," or "it's time" and "I should want this." Again, no.

And don't get me started on weddings. I love a great party as much as anyone. But wanting to get married so you can have a wedding is just a very bad idea. Because a wedding has about as much to do with your actual marriage as my Sweet 16 party had to do with the rest of my life.

The best reason to get married is that you want to be married. And, presumably, that you have found someone you want to do commit to, unconditionally. Someone you trust fully who is utterly compatible with you. You want to be with this person every day, do your dishes and laundry and taxes together. You want to be bound and acknowledged in the eyes of the law and society and have the official blessing of your family, friends, and a priest or whoever conducts the ceremony. Kids are a separate issue, because not everyone wants them, either.

Maybe you'll decide to marry; maybe you won't. Or, you may have already been there, done that — or, like me, are currently enjoying love without the legal work. But please, know that you're not too "broken" to get married. And know that someone who is married isn't any better than you. Marriage doesn't fix people. It gives people spouses. These people still have most of the same problems post-marriage. Marriage isn't an excuse to stop growing.

So if you're with someone, and you're simply not married, and someone asks you "Why not?" with that concerned sideways head tilt, don't get defensive. Don't blame yourself or your perceived lovelessness or this story about there being no one out there. You aren't married yet because you're not, and when and if you decide it's the right thing for you to do, tell them you'll be sure to let them know.

(P.S. No one has written about this more compellingly than Bella DePaulo, PhD, author of Singled Out, who calls out the prejudice against single people in a way that makes you go, "Holy fuck. I never realized that." So if you want a good read on the topic, this is it.)

Terri Trespicio is a lifestyle expert, writer, and VP of Business & Talent Development for 2 Market Media. Visit her at territrespicio.com or follow her on Twitter @TerriT.

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