1,000,000 Reasons Why You’ll Never Get Married

Whenever I want to be either offended or amused by someone’s stupidity I go to my local library and look up books and articles written for single people to let them know precisely why they are single and what to do about it.

The topic never fails to disappoint. No matter how sane the author seems at the start, by the end of the treatise I am amuse-o’ffended enough for the rest of the year.

And now after 25 years of this game I will seek to give back to others who are seeking enlightenment about why it is that not everyone on earth is already married/engaged/dating/officially partnered in some socially acceptable fashion.

First of all, I am well qualified to expound on this subject because I am 25 and have been not-single for something like 5 years. This means that I am clearly an expert at pairing off early, though at the same time I’m still fresh enough to know exactly what you’re going through. It does not matter if you are 45 and have a child my age, if you are single you should listen to me because I am the one who is married, so I am the expert here! You need me to show you how to get married because obviously I’m the one who knows how to do it!

Seriously, I’m not sure how people can take themselves seriously as experts in this area. If you’re actually some sort of relationship therapist type who has studied these things for years (with diplomas on your wall from legit universities) and is giving advice to a particular client/patient–okay.

But otherwise, I really don’t want to hear about how you know what you’re talking about because you have been married three times, or married to one person for 50 years, or were desperately single until you were 28 and then won the marriage game, or just got a steady boyfriend last year and now want to save singles from their misery. No matter what your experience, it isn’t going to be applicable to the majority of your audience.

Either you’ve been not-single for so long that you’ve forgotten what it’s like, or else you don’t actually know much about what it’s like to be married since you’re still rather new at the whole committed life thing. Either everything went smoothly for you and you got married at the perfect age and thus have no idea what it is like to wait “too long” or else you are just as much of a “failure” as those you’re preaching to, and your advice is just conjecture on what you wish you had done differently. But obviously there was a reason that you did not do things differently, so why exactly are you so sure that you’re qualified to dole out mate-catching advice to the masses?

Now that you understand why I am the one who is the expert at this, let’s talk about you. The oh-so-horribly single you.

1. You are too picky. You need to learn to settle. This is the essential advice of all how-to-get-married articles. Because, after all, the only point is getting married. If you’re holding out for a decent person whom you not only respect but also have some sort of emotional connection to… well, let’s just say it doesn’t take self-appointed expert at non-single life to see that your failure to accommodate reality is really the only thing preventing you from getting married.

Yes, you might think that being a stay-at-home-mom is the most important part of life, but the point is to get married! You need to accept the fact that some men just don’t want to have kids and adjust your life expectations accordingly.

There is absolutely nothing that you should not be willing to compromise on. Even books written for Catholic women on how-to-get married will remind you that there may not be enough good Catholic guys to go around. So don’t be an idiot. Marry any (live) man you can find!

In reality I’m obviously fine with wannabe SAHMs changing their plans and with Catholic women marrying non-Catholic men. But it is beyond disturbing to see advice written for specific groups of women that undercuts their highest ideals and informs them that they aren’t married simply because they are too picky.

2. You overestimate your value. This is closely related to the first point, but not exactly the same. You see, everyone knows that committed relationships are all about game theory and we all walk around deciding whether to go out on a second date based on how we rank ourselves in comparison to how we rank our date. If you are single then obviously you think you’re better than you are. As the great Shakespeare said, sell while you can, you are not for all markets!

While this reasoning is compelling (after all, who doesn’t like to kick someone who is already down when they come looking for advice?) it doesn’t match up with my reality. Good, “marriageable” young men are often intimidated by women who they see as above them, and every woman knows that if a guy seems too good to be true you should run since he’s clearly just a player. The truth in my experience is that the women who are too attractive are more likely to be overlooked, and the women who are too successful can’t be approached. After all, he thinks that she will either turn him down, or else even if she doesn’t turn him down she won’t be content with the stereotypically domestic female role in marriage, and that’s what the good, marriageable young men are looking for in wives.

Either that, or maybe it is just that the good, marriageable males of my acquaintance have wretched taste and really do like frumpy girls better. Silly boys!

3. You haven’t waited long enough. Just be patient and it will happen. Everyone gets married eventually. I know its true because I don’t have any friends who aren’t married. So just wait around a bit longer and you’ll magically find yourself married!

Think that statistically this might just not work? There simply aren’t enough people around who balance out the equation correctly (for instance, too many single young women in your diocese etc.)? Well then, either you’re to picky (see above) or else you don’t understand how this magically thing called divorce works! Just wait long enough and someone will be cycling through spouses and pick you up! Yay!

Um… not yay. I think that patience is a great virtue, but it is so generically necessary in life that I don’t see the point in trying to foist it on single persons in particular. And the rest is somewhere between unhelpful and psychotic.

4. You need to change who you are, your lifestyle, everything. If you are assertive you need to learn to be more mild and allow others the chance to chase you. If you are passive you need to learn to be more aggressive. If you live in a rural area you need to move to the city. If you live in an urban area you need to move to the country where the farmers are looking for wives. If you are a people-person you need to be more reserved. If you are shy you need to be more outgoing. Whatever you are, whatever you do–you’re wrong. It is you who needs to change.

Remember the first point? Insisting on being yourself is just another form of pickieness. You shouldn’t demand to be loved for who you really are. If you want to get married you’ll have to be willing to change everything but the most essential aspects of yourself. And by “most essential” we mean your determination to get married. Everything else must be open for negotiation.

After all, if you didn’t need to change, you wouldn’t be single. And getting married is all about changing everything.

This is one of the oddest parts of the prevailing advice. Present in all of the how-to-get-married advice is the constant (if more subtle) implication that you should be more than willing to stop being yourself in order to be married. And to my thinking that is far, far sadder than spending the night alone eating ice cream and watching 101 Dalmatians.

Ultimately, all of the focus on GETTING MARRIED is really just that, a focus on getting married. It has nothing to do with healthy relationships, living well, or even keeping a marriage together once you’ve trapped your man said your vows.

And that is why we should all pity those who spend their time writing this stuff. Imagine what sort of life one must lead to think that being not-married is oh-so-hellish that one must save all the single people and at the same time to live a married life that is so boring that one would choose to spend one’s time writing books on how to get married rather than actually enjoying married life with one’s spouse.

Or maybe they just have lots of extra time on their hands in the evenings because while they found spouses they do not have children. Someone care to write me a post with 1,000,000 reasons why I will never have a baby?

Related Posts with Thumbnails

12 thoughts on “1,000,000 Reasons Why You’ll Never Get Married

  1. Jackie

    Their should be more emphasis on praying to see if singlehood is your vocation, too.

    Just curious (since you mentioned it) – are you interested in having children? Or is that just a bridge that has yet to be crossed?

    1. Rae Post author

      Yes to both of those. :-) I’m actually inclined to cheer at this comment because I am under the impression that I blog/tweet far, far too much about my obsession with babies/children. So you’ve now made me feel like I can do so even more.

  2. CM

    Okay, NOW I see why I’m still single. Thanks so much for pointing it out! :) Now I can change everything about who I am, lower my standards, etc., and hopefully find some living breathing male to get me back into the “normal” range, whether we’re happy or not is not the point.

  3. rachieannie

    Oh that last one just gets my goad!!

    I am fascinated by relationships, and always have been, so of course I read my way through all the big time relationship authors and I just felt TERRIBLE about who I was as a person after reading one such particular author. Obviously I needed to change everything about who I am because who I am was not a nice, meek, Godly woman! I couldn’t be loud, couldn’t talk to a boy first, couldn’t be friends with a boy. Then I talked to my Bible study leader about it, and she told me she didn’t even make it halfway through the book before throwing it across the room. Such freedom! You mean I didn’t have to take what she said as gospel??

  4. Sarah

    Hmm. I don’t understand. I am married, but I totally think that watching 101 Dalmations alone while eating ice cream sounds like an AWESOME night! Alert the books. I am an anomaly.

  5. Susan

    That is great! If the authors mean that “too picky” is not to compromise one’s morals, then the authors are giving bad advice!

  6. Meg

    I have to disagree with you on a lot of points here.

    1. You are too picky.

    I think some people are too picky. It has been in my experience that many (lets say women) are looking for a man that comes from a great family, has money, is handsome, is funny, is smart, loves children, is active, likes going out, owns a yacht, teaches children with disabilities, runs, is a fire fighter and a local activist, cooks, cleans, gives great massages, and the list can go on and on and on. I think the point (most) authors make is that you will not find a (in this case) man who fits everything you’ve dreamed up for the past 20 something years. Be realistic and know that sometimes maybe you will have to settle for the guy who’s family is a little crazy, who loves kids, doesn’t cook, cleans sometimes, likes to go on walks, and has a bike.

    2. You overestimate your value.
    I disagree with you on this point too and think that many women do overestimate their values. If a woman wants to find someone who will love her for her true honest self, she needs to be honest about herself. Many women put up this princess or queen attitude (who are often too picky because they are looking for Prince William despite the fact that they live in Detroit). And because they overestimate themselves they pass up guys who (they think) don’t value them when really THEY don’t give guys a chance if he doesn’t look like Ken and drives a BMW.

    4. You need to change who you are, your lifestyle, everything.
    I don’t think that women need to change everything about themselves but I do think women need to critically think about how they come off to the opposite sex. I have a friend who comes off extremely aggressive in her relationships by the way of basically asking the guy if he could see himself marrying her and it’s only the second date! Is this her natural personality? Yes. Is it too aggressive? Yes. Does she need to ease up a big and change her approach? Yes. I think there are fine lines between completely abandoning who you are as a person for someone (which doesn’t work) but I don’t think there is anything wrong with taking a look at oneself and asking the question, “How does this come off to other people and does this part of my personality need tweaking?”

    1. Susan

      Meg: I agree. Some women are indeed to picky, unrealistic, narcissistic, or unaware of how they come across to men. I loved the spirit of Rae’s post, because some of these self-help books for single women can be ridiculous as to what they prescribe. And much of that advice presumes that a woman’s ultimate goal in life is to get married, not to be happy. But while I was reading the “don’t change who you are” part, I was thinking, “Well, some women do need to change”–as I myself have had to.

      On that note, I’d like to add that some men need to change as well (for instance, stop staring at other women you’re on a date). And even be less picky. I’ve heard some men say that they want a woman who is educated and goal-oriented but not too ambitious or tied to her desk, who is feminine but likes sports and will watch football with him, who takes care of herself but is not too high maintenance. Nobody will have EVERYTHING you want. I think both sexes could learn to appreciate good but imperfect members of the opposite sex.

      1. Rae Post author

        I think that you both have good points. Yet as I think over the women I’ve known whom I could call “too picky” I really don’t see any of them reading these sorts of books and articles. If only we could match up the crazy women with the absurd authors and help the more thoughtful women with more thoughtful advice (if there is such a thing).

        And then of course there is the fact that I was (and am) far, far too picky. And the ridiculously perfect man showed up and told me I had to marry him long before I had even had a chance to rethink my pickiness. So I can’t ever be the one to tell another person that s/he should settle and place marriage alone above the quality of the person to whom one is joining one’s entire life and giving oneself.

  7. Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

    Once again, I feel like the old gray mare here, but I will weigh in. Since I was single until I was 49, I had the chance to read so many articles and feel truly awful about myself quite frequently.

    I think you have made many excellent points here. And while some may say that some women are too picky or whatever, do we need entire volumes of magazines to find this out?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers