Marrying Young: Is Marriage-Shaming the New Thing?
Marriage in Today's Society
The stigma associated with marrying young has just recently surfaced within the past five or so years. In times past, it was customary to be married by the tender age of twenty-five. But today if you are married by twenty-five, you are bombarded with questions like, "Why so young?" "Are you sure you're ready?" and "Why are you throwing your life away?" In our hyper-sexualized society, not only young marriage but the idea of marriage as a whole has become obsolete. Back in the year 2000, the US reported 2,315,000 marriages; but by 2013 the number had dropped to 2,081,301, with a loss of some 300,000 marriages.
The New Perception of Marriage
The new way of thinking is that your twenties are for partying, dating, and having fun. And if you dare to post an engagement picture on any of your social media handles, fifty percent of the responses would be positive while the other half would be silently scrutinizing your life decisions. Society has made marrying young such a plague, it's to the point where I do not even feel comfortable calling my fiancé "my fiancé." Although I wear my ring and never take it off, I still refer to him as just my boyfriend. I do this mainly because I want to avoid questions regarding why I chose to marry young. As if just being in love and completely comfortable with the fact that this is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with isn't enough.
How Couples Are Affected by This Stigma
It is disturbing that in today’s society couples are unable to show their affection for one another without being shamed by others. Young couples hold so much anxiety inside about their relationships. And it is not until an individual passes the age of twenty-nine when they can almost release a sigh of relief knowing they can freely flaunt their relationship with no scrutiny.
When asked about my wedding plans in a large group of people, I feel the need to downplay what I have going on. Not because I’m not excited about starting a new chapter of my life, but because I know within that group of people there would be maybe two or three people thinking, “Why is she doing this so early?" Now, don’t get me wrong, when I’m with my group of close friends I feel no anxiety about talking about my wedding plans. But when it’s coworkers, colleagues, or acquaintances, I feel the need to change the topic. The rules of society have basically made an 180 flip. Twenty years ago, you were judged and shamed if you were partying and dating around in your twenties and not married. But oh how the tables have turned.
What Does This All Mean?
In no way, shape, or form am I saying that everyone should be married by the age of twenty-five. But if no one is judging you for saving your twenties to have fun, then why are you judging others for choosing to get married in their twenties. Simply put: “to each his own."