Queen's University — Since 1873
7th October 2011

Wedded miss

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As my fourth school year hit in September, a startling theme began appearing on my Facebook newsfeed.

Distant friends and acquaintances took a plunge, decided to settle early and got engaged. I cringed.

At 21, I remain unconvinced that marriage is a solid option for even the most love-struck couples, but watching my peers so quickly accept a lifetime of commitment irked me at a deeper level.

Visions of mortgages, couples’ Christmas cards and children stormed into my head as I pictured the reality that is supposed to be a lifetime of happiness.

How can young 20-somethings possibly know they’ll never want to have other partners again?

It’s naive to assume that an undergraduate degree means anyone is ready for full-fledged adulthood.

Some of my soon-to-be-wed friends are still living on daddy’s dollar and others have never had a real job. Is the plan just to figure things out as they come?

If these young adults are so ready for the real world, why haven’t they tested themselves before jumping into the biggest decision of their lives so far?

And what about the formative career-building years that typically follow university? How will the appendage of a spouse impact a commitment that deserves full concentration? Perhaps trashy teen TV is to blame for poisoning our impressionable minds. Shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager and more recently Gossip Girl, advocate for the fairy tale weddings of barely-legals, all in the name of true love.

Marriage is seen as the ultimate commitment, but the inseparable nature of it makes it a weighty sacrifice as well.

There’s also the insurmountable reality that 37.7 per cent of Canadian first marriages end in divorce before the 30 year anniversary. With statistics like that, why is this institutionalized rite of passage something anyone would want to rush into?

If you’re young, in love and engaged, I commend you for having a plan and for having genuine pride in settling at an early age.

But, our early twenties should be a time of exploration. We should be sharing our most outrageous backpacking stories with friends over a box of pizza; we should be taking chances and jumping into new jobs, new activities and new relationships.

We have the rest of our lives to settle, so why rush?

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