Dear Marriage, You Kind of Scare Me

Drawn by Charlotte Townsend

Dear Marriage,

You kind of scare me. In just about every romantic comedy, the female lead is so desperate to get married, pawning at the mere idea like it will make or break her existence, that it paints the entire gender as obsessive marriage-whores. Well, let me tell you something: the idea frightens me beyond belief. It’s not the settling down that stresses me out, it’s the idea that I could be making the wrong choice that gets my palms sweating. My parents got married with (I’m hoping) every intention of staying together forever. Six months after I was born, they – yup, you guessed it – got divorced.

I had lovely childhood—who would complain? Two Christmases, two birthdays, two tooth-fairies… you get the point. But I never had a traditional “family” growing up and I’m scared I will make the same mistake that my parents did, which will in turn force my child(ren) to be shuttled between two homes every other weekend. Yeah, two Christmases were great, but the plane rides on actual Christmas? Not so great.

How does anyone know when they are really with the person they should be with forever? Well I guess that’s not the hard part, the better question is—does that person feel the same way? I am friends with both the man and woman currently in a relationship— he calls to tell me that he is head-over-heels in love and going to propose and she calls to tell me that she is so annoyed with his puppy love she’s going to break up with him.

How can one person be so in love and the other want a break up? How can people be so in love and then snap so quickly? How can you share a family and suddenly realize this is not what you wanted? These are the questions that haunt me whenever I see a couple on the street, a couple pushing a newborn baby, even the 75 year-old couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary (Oh, come on, we’ve all heard of the couple that breaks up after decades of marriage).

Will this fright ever go away? I hope so. I want a family one-day and all that, but when I picture my family, I just picture me and a newborn. I’m not sure why. Maybe it has do with the fact that my mom was alone with a newborn, but that’s what I imagine, just me and my precious little angel-winged cherub.

You seem like a nice idea, marriage, from what I’ve seen in the movies. Two people married are built in best friends that cook each other dinner, love each other, create a family together and never have sex (well, maybe that’s not that great, but all the rest seems just dandy… come to think of it, that kind of contradicts the creating the family together bit, but you get the picture).

Maybe the key in having a successful family is to be like Brad & Angelina and not to get married, but then again, I doubt that Jen thought her happy marriage would end so tragically… Okay, I am going in circles here but I attribute that to my overthinking brain!

You know that saying, “the one”? Well, maybe there really is only one the (Yes, it was necessary to bold, italicize and underline it to emphasize the importance of the “the”) one. I cannot give you advice on how to find your “the one” but I can give you my opinion on how not to find him—don’t go looking for some rich, hot, sexy, bachelor to pick you up in his Bently GT Continental because 1) I don’t think someone like that exists and if he does 2) He is probably a complete douchebag. Look for someone with similar interests, similar outlooks on life and similar dreams to you.

I’m not an expert on this or anything but these things seem like common sense, and I’m pretty sure it is where my parents went wrong, so in turn, I pass on to you what I’ve learned. Marriage is built up (in rom-coms and on the E! channel) to be this huge extravaganza, but never do the sources of entertainment really concentrate on the love of the ceremony. I think the key is finding someone you are crazy about (with similar interests, outlooks and dreams), that feels equal affection and passion towards you. My mom once told me, “Never love someone who loves you more than you love them” but I think know it should be equal.

Personally, my palms are still kind of sweating with the notion of one day thinking about settling down with a ring on the finger—but my dad gets sweaty palms easily too, so maybe it’s genetic? Nonetheless, if you too are scared of marriage, I hope that this article can help you realize what marriage should be about (and even if you don’t want to ever get married, we live in a time that doesn’t condemn a person for that—just look at George Clooney). So as long as you are happy and healthy, that is all that really matters. And if you want “the one” he (or she) is out there – waiting for you, on horse back, backlit by the most beautiful sunset in the entire history of the world, with a bouquet of a thousand thorn-less red roses (Just kidding, kind of).

Yours truly,


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