Times are changing for the better. The last twenty years have been revolutionary for feminism and equality across the world. Women have been able to focus on their careers, choosing if and when they start a family, and to thrive without gender stereotypes holding them back.
The key word here is choice: choosing what you want to do with your life. With a rise in young women putting their careers first and living in less traditional times, marriage is now viewed as old fashioned.
As banal as it sounds, I have always wanted to get married and, since I was a little girl, loved watching rom-coms that ended with a wedding. One show I particularly loved was Don’t tell the bride. The title pretty much sums it up – a couple is given an amount of money and the groom has three weeks to plan the wedding, with no input from his bride.
The show has produced all sorts of ridiculous themed weddings, alongside the classic narrative: girl wants traditional church wedding, white dress and hates lace. Groom plans the wedding in a football pitch, spending ten times the amount on the stag night as her wedding dress. Most end in some disappointment, but that’s not the aspect I love.
Despite the fact most grooms will make plenty of silly decisions and mistakes, there are always little touches that show how well he knows his bride.
Nine times out of ten she isn’t even angry, because they love each other so much and are just happy to celebrate in front of their family and friends, and excited to begin married life together.
On the other hand, you have programmes like Married at first sight, where it’s easy to see why marriage can lose its significance. Two strangers agree to let a group of relationship experts choose a perfect match for them. They meet their partner on their wedding day.
This has always seemed absurd to me; there are plenty of reality shows out there doing all sorts of different things to help people find love. Marriage is a sacred and important tradition, not to be made a mockery of for public entertainment.
The traditions may change, but one thing across all religions which stays the same is the meaning behind marriage. It is the sacred celebration of two people’s love and commitment to each other. Married at first sight takes meaning away from this.
And that’s before mentioning the infamous stat thrown around everywhere: more than 50% of marriages end in divorce, so why would anybody want to do a thing like that? But despite only being twenty-two, I have actually been engaged once before. We were in love at the time, and wanted to spend our lives together.
One thing I got quite sick of was people’s assumptions that I was naïve: having to constantly explain why I was engaged, or why I would want to get married that young. Why should anybody have to explain themselves? In any other context that could be construed as extremely offensive.
Just like there is nothing wrong with never wanting kids, putting your career first, or choosing to be a full-time parent, it is your life and you are entitled to do what makes you happy. I have always been very fascinated and fond of traditions and this year happens to be a leap year.
Through Irish and Scottish tradition, it’s said that on February 29 every four years, a woman can propose. Of course, nowadays, a woman can obviously propose any day of the year she chooses. But being a sucker for folklore, this has always been a tradition which fascinates me.
I’m in a relationship now, and despite only being together for nine months, I know he is the love of my life and the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. I knew pretty quickly he was the one, and have been in long term relationships before. But this is the one that really changed my life.
We are quite similar, and both have massive personalities. It’s the closest I’ve ever been to anybody. I have never met a kinder, more caring soul that can make me laugh and smile every day. If and when we choose to get married, it’ll be our choice and I hope the people around us will respect that.