Marriage seems to be an Everest that the majority of people aspire to. That’s particularly true of women, who are often made to feel inadequate if they’re not married by a certain age. It’s normal to feel a little self-conscious about not being someone’s wife by the time you’d planned to be since it’s easy to internalize those age-old views towards marriage. But there’s nothing to be ashamed of or even disappointed about. Here’s why it’s actually a blessing if you’re not married right now, even if you thought you would be.
- You have more time for self-care. No rule says you have to abandon those important self-care rituals when you’re married. But let’s call a spade a spade: when you’re in any committed relationship, you have less time to spend on yourself. Spouses can still absolutely make time for self-care, but it’s just easier when you’re not married. Self-care falls under the self-love umbrella and is so important for your overall wellbeing. Looking after yourself properly involves taking care of your own physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs, and that can be a challenge sometimes. So it’s never a bad thing to have a little extra time and energy to work on making yourself happy.
- You have more time for personal ambitions. Along with more time for self-care, the absence of marriage leaves more room for pursuing your personal ambitions. You might have big plans for your career or even personal goals that you’d like to achieve, such as learning a language or ticking off a travel bucket list. Less time spent making a marriage work means more time for the other things that mean a lot to you. Now, it’s not guaranteed that if you’re not married you’ll automatically have time to work on your personal goals. You might have a super demanding medical condition, family, job, or some other presence in your life that makes this hard. But marriages take work, time, and energy. Without one, you’ll always have extra space.
- You’re not dealing with the stress of marriage. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie famously said, “ … marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support.” For many people, marriage is a positive enhancement to life. But few married people will tell you that it’s easy. Marriage involves intertwining two individual lives which naturally comes with the need for compromise and effort. One of the blessings of not being married is not having to deal with that stress. You can conserve your energy for other things and live without having to compromise the things you love.
- You haven’t wasted a lot of money on a wedding. Let’s talk finances for a sec. Weddings can cost a lot of money. Obviously, it’s totally up to you what kind of wedding you have. It’s definitely possible to pull off a beautiful wedding on a budget. But even budget weddings are more expensive than no wedding at all. As someone who’s been a bridesmaid five times, I can confirm that wedding costs can spiral out of control way too easily, right before your eyes. Especially in today’s society, where the pressure of reaching social media standards is sadly very real, it’s normal to feel the need to blow huge dollars on engagement parties, bridal showers, and bachelorette parties, all before the wedding itself. From flowers to hair and makeup to party favors to entertainment to a photographer to balloon arches, everything has a price tag.
- Your assets are protected. The other financial consideration to make when it comes to getting married is whether or not you really want to merge your assets. As sad as it is to acknowledge, half of American marriages end in divorce. Divorce itself can be a costly process, even without the chance that you’re going to lose half of your savings and assets. There are ways to protect yourself financially when you enter a marriage, of course. And for some people, marriage actually creates a more comfortable life than singledom. But if you’re an independent woman with savings, the risk is still worth paying attention to.
- Your relationship is not just working out of obligation. Divorce can be extremely unpleasant for a multitude of reasons. From litigation costs to the social consequences to the stress of dividing a family, divorce often brings a lot of pain (even though for some it’s a life-saver). For this reason, some people stay together simply out of obligation—the love is gone, but it’s easier to stay married than to get divorced. If you don’t get married and you are in a relationship, there’s more of a chance that your relationship is genuinely working, rather than it only existing because divorce is too difficult.
- You know you haven’t rushed into marriage. If you’re not married, then at least you know for sure that you haven’t rushed into marriage. In a world that places so much importance on marriage, particularly for women, this sadly happens a lot more than it should. People get married simply because they’re afraid of getting left behind. Or to beat their friends to the punch. Or to please their parents. And rushing into marriage like this doesn’t tend to end well. Just because you’re not married now doesn’t mean you won’t get married one day. The longer you stay single, the more chance you have to really think about what you want out of life. If you stay single a little longer and withstand the judgment from society, you’ll see that you actually can survive without being married. And you’ll be more likely to finally take that step when the time is right, on your terms.
- You are free. Marriage comes with many layers. At its most basic level, if you dig through all the romantic and emotional meaning, marriage is a legally binding contract. Once you sign it, you are a little less free than you were before. Legally speaking, anyway. That’s not to say that being married equals a jail sentence or settling down into a rut. There’s just a little more to consider—a little more luggage to bring with you. Being single typically comes with more freedom. There’s the legal freedom of not being tied to someone else, but there’s also freedom at a basic level. You’re more likely to make decisions for yourself rather than always thinking about someone else. And you might get married one day, or you might not. The possibilities are infinite!