I’m ready, I think…

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I’m ready, I think…..

During a recent conversation with a gentleman, the topic of marriage came up. I said to him emphatically, that I was ready for marriage and children, right now. He said he was not. I shared this conversation with some of my single and dating girlfriends who all proclaimed to understand where I was coming from because they all too state that they are also ready for marriage. No doubt about it. Some claim that they would quit their job or school tomorrow if a proposal came tonight. One friend used to say that she had turned down marriage proposals in the past, but that she would say “yes” to the next one that came her way. She got engaged earlier this year, and I’d like to think it was for reasons beyond the fact that her now fiancé happened to be the next one who popped the question.

The conversation I had with him, and the one’s I continue to have with my friends really got me to wondering about what being “ready” for marriage really means. When I ask men this question directly, or when it comes up indirectly in conversation, the response from men generally tends to be first about having fulfilled a certain level of professional and/or academic achievement, being in a certain place financially and sometimes, needing to also be a homeowner gets thrown in there. I’ve even heard the idea of being able to “only be with one woman forever” described as a journey that when complete, means you qualify as “ready”.

However, when I ask my female friends, they say being ready for marriage is more about being ready to “settle down”, having commitment, support and stability and often, about being able to start a family. This summary sounds eerily similar to parts of the afore mentioned conversation.

Over the past few months, I have been conducting research aimed at trying to understand the disconnect between what is preventing people who want to get married from actually getting married. I wonder how much this differing idea about marriage readiness contributes. While I do think the differences are interesting to note, I don’t believe that they offer a full explanation. I do, however, believe that these differences create a wonderful opportunity for conversations between men and women. I think men and women are socialized about marriage differently from an early age, so I don’t find it all that surprising that they espouse different ideas about what being ready for marriage means. Further, when taking into consideration the fact that people grow up in and around many different models of marriage, or in some cases, around a lack of models for marriage, the thought that it would be easy to get on the same page around marriage is actually somewhat silly.

I believe that fundamentally, many people like the idea of marriage, and honestly believe that one day, they really want to be married. And, while some of us hope that day comes sooner rather than later, I think that it is important to realize that when you state that you are ready to be married, you are able to articulate that beyond meaning you are ready for a ring and a white dress in the same way I think it’s important to acknowledge that not yet making six figures doesn’t necessarily mean that you are not ready. I think marriage readiness is much more than A conversation, but a series of conversations, interactions, events, feeling and emotions.  I’ve read two really good books that actually address many if not all of these topics and I recommend reading both The Conversation by Hill Harper and Lies at the Alter by Dr. Robin Smith as a self-thought provoking activity and as a shared activity.  Also, the following links offer suggestions for key questions to ask yourself and potential mates when considering marriage: http://www.the-intimate-couple.com/Questions-to-Ask-Before-Marriage.html and http://marriage.about.com/od/engagement/ss/engagedissues.htm

While little girls often hear about “knowing he was the one when I first laid eyes on him”, I, as a grown-up know that marriage, and being ready for it is a much more complex notion than having your socks knocked off by someone who has their nails did, hair did, everything did or who walks is smelling good and with their swagger on 100. I also accept that being ready for marriage is not just about ME being ready, but it needs to be about a WE being ready. So, in efforts to not get ready, let’s talk some more. Who’s with me?

Jacqueline Y. Melton

One Response to “I’m ready, I think…”

  1. Monex Says:

    Marriages should essentially last until death do you part though it isnt a reality much lately. If you feel like you could go either way with your partner consider the marriage step carefully.

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