The older I’ve gotten, the more cynical I’ve become about marriage – both the institution as a whole and my own personal prospects.
But during the past few months, when three close friends asked me to be in their weddings, I couldn’t help but share in their giddy excitement and obsession over details.
Both to my own and, I think, their surprise, I reveled in the stories of their proposals and was instantly curious about people in the wedding parties. I’ve been calling for updates in their decisions about dress colors and rehearsal dinners.
Though my gushiness might be somewhat out of character, part of it probably comes from the fact that they’re all couples I can get behind. All three girls are getting married to men I like, and their relationships, I believe, have strong foundations and staying power.
Still, I haven’t completely let go of my pre-bridesmaid position: what’s the rush?
So, I asked them.
For Cammie, 25, my best friend from high school, the answer is simple – why wait?
“I think it would be waiting for the sake of waiting,” she said. “We’re ready.”
Family, she said, has played an important role in both her and her fiance? Brian’s lives, and they want to be parts of each other’s officially.
“He feels like family to me,” she said.
Emily, 24, a former co-worker and close friend, said it’s starting a family with her fiance? Dave that’s most exciting.
“I really want to have a house together and, in not too long, have babies,” she said. And getting married, for Emily, is part of that.
Her reasons aren’t just practical, though, but also romantic – even fantastical.
“I have this weird obsession with getting married. I always have,” Emily said. “I was one of those little girls.”
Mandy, 26, whom I became friends with while sharing a house in Portland, said she, too, had ideas about how her life would play out. She wanted to have kids by the time she turned 30 and wanted to be married to their father first.
But also, taking those vows, she said, is a way of expressing the commitment she and her fiance? David want to make to each other – “that this really is for real, and we’re going to stick it out no matter what.”
Above all, getting married to their fiance?s, my friends said, just feels right, and that’s a sentiment I can subscribe to. Theoretically.
I can’t say I’ve felt the compulsion they feel to make that kind of commitment to anyone. So, it’s easy, as someone who’s single, to say getting married in your mid-20s is too young – that you still need time to figure yourself out before you bring someone else into the picture permanently.
But people change throughout their lives, not just before they’re in their 30s. And the hard times that shape us can hit at any age in all sorts of ways – job loss, death, health problems, depression.
In that sense, the cynic in me says, there’s no good time to get married. But if you’ve found someone to be your partner-in-crime throughout it all – to share life’s best moments and to offer support through its worst – then, I guess, there’s no time like the present to make that promise, no matter how old or young you are.