Time’s-a-ticking but should you even be worried? We think not
Marrying late has never been more appealing than amid a global health and economic crisis. With the wedding industry as one of the worst-hit by the pandemic, couples have postponed plans of tying the knot or have settled for virtual weddings.
Given this time for (too much) self-reflection, it’s become quite apparent that most of us will have to set aside our goals and expectations—marriage included. I am not alone.
This is a global phenomenon called “waithood,” a prolonged period of singleness coined by Nancy J. Smith-Hefner, an associate professor of anthropology at Boston University. Waithood is a productive period wherein young people get to pursue new opportunities “for social, economic and self-development before choosing a partner and entering into a marital relationship.”
On Marrying Late
Still not convinced? I asked some 30-somethings what the greatest things are about marrying late. Here’s what they had to say:
Tricia, who recently celebrated her first year of marriage, shares, “I was able to know who I am, including becoming aware of my faults and working on them so I could be the person I wanted to be. I was able to know my partner as well and see how he responds to difficult times in life: losing his dog, who was his best friend, and losing our jobs at the same time. Marrying late also meant [having] more time to save up. There were no demands that came with creating a home and having kids, which meant being able to take a job that didn’t pay much but I believed in and was excited about. Marrying late also meant I had already seen my share of weddings, making my then fiancé and I realize what was really important to us when it came to planning our own. And this made us more focused on the meaning of the ceremony, rather than the palamuti that surrounds it.”
Karen, a professional events host, who has been married for four blissful years and now has a 3-year-old contributes her insights: “[There’s] financial freedom and emotional stability. Ideally, you are more mature in handling things than you were younger. By that age, mas gets mo na ang mundo. You know what vocation is for you—not second-guessing your career—kasi sometimes it gets in the way of your marriage or relationship if you are both trying to figure it out. Years of experience prove what you want and don’t want in a partner kasi salang-sala na.”
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A very honest anon adds, “[It’s] knowing what you want when you get married. I spent a lot of time figuring things out—and I know that I still have a lot to learn. Marrying later helped me spend more time with myself, rather than tying [myself] to another person. I had a chance to build [my] identity. I did a lot of the stuff I wanted to do as a single person. I won’t ever look back and wish I had married later because there were things I wasn’t able to do.
I was mature enough to get married. I don’t think I was ever good enough—or mature enough—for the women who had the “misfortune” of dating me when I was younger. If I had gotten married sooner, they would have been stuck with a pretty terrible person. But I took some time, grew up and grew into enough maturity that I could care about someone else, more than I cared about myself.”
Your 20s is a period of inexhaustible self-development and growth. Don’t shortchange yourself by withholding an abundance of experiences. Don’t feel pressured to settle down because of a (double) standard set by society—especially for us females—that we have an “expiration date.”
Marriage is a lifelong commitment which no unsolicited comment from a Tita or a Facebook post should ever prompt. Be perfectly aware when you are healed, emotionally resilient and financially stable. Work on your communication skills, learn how to navigate through conflict and have a better sense of what you want in life. Be self-sufficient—emotionally, mentally and spiritually—without having another person to give these things to you. This “wholeness” then allows you to give yourself *fully* to someone else. Thankfully, these things come with age (and a few rotten apples later).
Art Alexandra Lara