I’ve addressed before the fact that I’m sure I don’t want kids, and that I’m not what you’d call a typical romantic. So it probably wouldn’t surprise you too much to learn I’ve got some complicated feelings on marriage. Unlike my feelings on procreating, marriage isn’t a thing I know I don’t want. I just don’t want it. It the difference between someone asking you if you want them to kick you in the stomach versus someone asking you if you want to get lunch at Outback. The first one is a clear, “No, I don’t want that. Don’t kick me in the stomach.” The second is more, “Sure? If that’s what you want. I’m not going out of my way to get a Bloomin’ Onion, but I won’t say no to a steak.” Usually.
I say usually because every once in a while, I’m overwhelmed with my apathy towards marriage. “What’s wrong with me? Normal people do this. The meet someone, they enter into an adult relationship, they engage in very memorable proposals, and then they get married. With a big goddamn wedding. Why wouldn’t you want to be married? Why do you insist on being not a normal person?!” But usually it’s that I could go either way on that steak.
Which is also why It Had To Be You had better no be another romcom about some poor emotionally stunted woman learning to open herself up through the love of a good man. Hey, How I Met Your Mother Mother? Don’t let them boss you around. Maybe you’ll never be ready for marriage. Maybe you don’t actually want to be married. Maybe vows of undying love and promises don’t make you twirly. That’s cool. You’ll need to explain fully to your Seemingly Sweet Boyfriend that, actually, “how long you’ll need” is “forever,” but your decision all by itself is totally fine. Because marriage isn’t a required phase of life anymore, and choosing not to enter into it doesn’t actually represent a psychological or developmental deficiency. Some people just don’t want to do it.
And most importantly, if you ever find yourself in a situation where the best reason to marry someone is because they’re neither an alcoholic nor a domestic abuser, take a real long, hard look at how deeply marriage is the conditioned norm. And think of how often people pressure others into behavior simply because there isn’t a clear and present danger associated with it. And then imagine how effective that pressure would be in other areas of your life. Because “Well, Applebee’s isn’t actively giving people food poisoning so we have to go eat there” is a really terrible argument.