Usually around this time of year when I think about love it’s because Valentine’s Day is approaching. Friends are preparing special evenings with significant others, Hallmark has the market cornered on commercials and social media is a blaze with the quotes and memes that will make you questions your real position in someone’s life. I am usually very low key at this time, because I don’t do well in the love department. I used to be very down on myself until recently when I thought about an alternative concept than the one we learn when we’re little. I was taught to prepare myself as much as possible to be a wife for the right man to come along and pick me. What if we’re not all meant to end up in long lasting relationships? I’m clearly not an undesired woman, I’ve had boyfriends since high school, some relationships were short lived and some were just shy of a decade, I’ve been engaged twice, but not once have I been married. By societies standards I’m a failure at love, because I’m a forty year old woman with four children who has never walked down the aisle. I’m surprisingly okay with my life.
For too long we’ve been wrapped up in the idea that the ultimate goal in a woman’s life should be marriage, so much so that we shame woman of a certain age for not being married or having children. Recently I saw a video telling women how to become wives, in a nut shell, according to the orator women need to carry themselves as though they are already a wife and their husbands will find them. More women are living life for themselves so why do we still hold the old 1950s woman so dear? It’s not always men I’ve had other women say to me what I should or shouldn’t be doing to be a wife. I know women who seem to date with a time line, and will end a relationship if it’s not heading in the marriage direction, because they do not have time to waste. Quite honestly it’s all very confusing. As young women we are taught to wait for marriage, and while waiting we should keep our virtue, waist lines and attitudes in tack, young men are taught to be with as many women as they possibly can before finding a jewel of a woman to make their wife. Then we’re sent out into the world and expected to co-exist, it sets a tone as if women aren’t just as sexual as men and reinforces double standards. It also makes forward thinking women an anomaly.
We are not anomalies, do not believe the hype about your grandmothers getting married at 19 and sticking with grandpa through thick and thin, because she had some moral values that you lack. I’m sure grandma would have left or never even married if she was allowed to dream for herself. We are definitely not creatures built to live a life of solitude but we also aren’t Magellanic penguins. Live and love according to your own terms and if you happen to find yourself at the alter I hope it’s because you wanted to be there and weren’t driven by the unrealistic societal norms.