The GPS on my phone told me that the quickest way to get home would be to take the old, windy road connecting Temecula to the beaches.
Through the fog of the morning and my incredible exhaustion that was already looming throughout my body, I listened to my wise GPS and enjoyed the scenic drive to the best of my abilities. I felt awful having to leave my good friends’ bachelorette party weekend early but I had already RSVP’d to my other friends’ wedding that took place the same weekend. Driving through the canyon of sycamore trees and wild roses I started thinking about weddings and the idea of marriage and what it means to be in love. Love – It’s a powerful thing. We strive throughout our lives with it and for it. Love moves us. It wakes us up and gets us out of bed in the morning. Love consumes us and what a beautiful thing. When we feel loved we feel like we can move mountains. When we don’t feel loved we feel lost. In the culture that I grew up in, when two people get married it means that they are in love. It means that they dedicate their lives to each other promising the most honorable level of commitment to be found. In the culture that I grew up in, being married shows a level of status for individuals. It stands for being lovable, of being desirable, of being grounded, of being committed, of being committed to and of never being lonely. I’ve been fascinated by the idea of marriage for quite some time. I think it’s interesting observing what type of people desire marriage and what type of people don’t. I find it interesting to see that perhaps one gender of people cherish the idea more often than the other gender. I find it entertaining when people try to make me feel better about not being married not even bothering to ask for my thoughts on the topic first. I find it humorous that multiple industries have massively capitalized on the idea of marriage making everything ten times more expensive to purchase if found out that it’s for a wedding. I think marriage is greatly entertaining to ponder. What is it that makes us so consumed within the concept of marriage?
The American phycologist, Abraham Maslow, proposed a theory in psychology within his article written for the scientific journal, Phycological Review, where he discussed the stage of growth in humans. This theory known as Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs illustrates a very interesting concept of innate needs humans universally need in order to be healthy and to develop. Visually he uses a pyramid to illustrate his idea with five levels having the most important and basic of needs at the bottom with more advanced needs ascending to the top. According to Maslow, the most essential need found at the bottom of the pyramid is Physiological. Second need is Safety. Third need is Love and Belonging. Fourth need is Esteem. Self Actualization is the highest form of universal human need. In thinking deeply about this theory, I do agree with him that Love and Belonging is more basic of a need than it is to have Self Actualization following Esteem. Without Love and Belonging, our Esteem is affected which then manipulates our ability for Self Actualization. His theory coincides with why people innately feel the desire to be in a relationship. We want to be loved. Human relationships are essential to our well being and development.
I think there’s a lot of pressure particularly put on young women to be in serious relationships that ultimately result in marriage.
I have felt pitty from, strangely enough, other women for being single or for not being married.
So many times women have said to me, “Well, you just haven’t met Mr. Right yet.” All I crave to tell them in that moment is that I actually have met Mr. Rights within my life already but I was too consumed in the idea of finishing my studies, playing in a band, starting a business, working on my career and traveling as often as possible instead of dedicating my time to any of those Mr. Rights.
I worry that the desire of marriage is often put in our heads that if we don’t achieve at a certain age then there must be something wrong with us.
As something that is as consuming and important as marriage it’s shocking how society makes it seem so casual.
It wasn’t until college that I was introduced to the music of Philip Glass. His avant guard ideas mixed with his trained classicism solidifies his music as unique and so beautiful. The 1945 American film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters features the original score composed by Philip Glass. To this day, ten years after first hearing the closing piece of this film it still makes me smile. The piece itself is called Mishima/Closing. My heart flutters with excitement even with already knowing exactly when the violins will triumph with triplets and when the cello plays its’ lowest note at the end. It’s through this piece that taught me what it means to be in love. Through the years, I’ve thought about this one piece and how no matter what new songs and melodies I find throughout my life I will always love this piece. It’s like my heart will forever be loyal to it. It will always be perfect to me.
Four years after discovering that song, I then found an actual person to figure out what it meant to feel that same love. When I was younger I may have had a relationship here and there but I was never convinced on being very serious. I was always committed to the other passions I was enjoying instead. I wondered if I was possibly not the marrying type when I was younger as I enjoyed being so free and being entertained on my own. But when I met him I felt that something was different and that I was happy to actually make time for him within my life. And those few years that we were together felt really good. It was nice to know that I can open my heart and let someone in. The only reason we decided to break up after our few years of being together was because he began drifting towards a life going this way and I began drifting towards a life going that way. Neither of us wanted to miss out on the opportunities that we knew we would find within our lives and doing it together just didn’t feel right anymore. Listening to our instincts was one of the most mature and best decisions of both of our lives. Although it was hard to move on past that relationship I still find so much value in being strong and honoring what I really want my life to become. I feel like most couples go through this fork in the road. Contemplating if they can see their life being lived with that one person by their side throughout it all or not. What is it that makes some of us say, “No I can’t lose you!” While others say, “I need to honor myself now and we need to say goodbye.” Even though our love was real and it was great, he and I were the people that chose to say goodbye. We were honest with ourselves in recognizing that it wasn’t meant to be till death do we part. Although it was sad at the time, we were ok with this. Even to this day, when I’m out with my married friends and I briefly realize that I am the only one not married I actually am reminded of my happiness within this reality. I’m just beginning to know who I am and I couldn’t have been able to do that while getting to know someone else. I’m happy I’ve given myself time in discovering this life throughout. I’ve always believed that we are supposed to know and love ourselves before we can successfully know and love someone else. However, I’m not understanding the timeline that people around me seem to be figuring this out quicker than me. Oh that’s right, the timeline. The timeline of having children.
Once I had officially moved on from the breakup of my relationship I found it very interesting to start dating again. I thought that men didn’t desire to have children and that the desire of having children came dominantly from women. I thought that women somehow seemed to convince men along the path in life that having children was a good thing and that men just kind of went along with it because it seemed like the right thing to do. Once I started dating again I thought it was going to be easy for me to find a partner that was ok with the idea of me never wanting to have children. I was so completely wrong, I was blown away! The thing is, I was looking for a partner that I could have a level of seriousness. I’ve never been interested in casual hookups, serial dating and meaninglessness. When I spend time with someone it’s because I’m genuinely interested in building a meaningful relationship. So when I found out that nearly every guy I was meeting confessed, early on, that they want a big family someday I was beside myself.
The desire of having children is clearly a human desire. This was fascinating for me to discover.
But also makes it that much more narrow in finding a mate that fits me just right. I understand completely why people want to have children and I understand now why getting married around the age of thirty in order to start a family makes sense. That truly is the perfect time for a couple to settle their roots and start their family if that is the path that they desire to walk together. Out of everything that I contemplate about marriage and why young people desire it so strongly is heavily influenced by the desire of having a family. From witnessing all of my friends and family who have started their families it is one of the most beautiful things we can do in life. Children are beautiful creatures. I’m just happy that other people want to keep our world in supply of them while I go jump on a plane really fast to go learn things in Kenya. All I’m saying is that as long as we truly know what we want for ourselves within this life and we do the best we can to achieve those goals for ourselves then we will be alright. There really aren’t any rules there are only suggestions.
We do need to feel love and belonging within our lives – this is essential. We need to feel supported within our goals and our achievements in order to have the courage to persevere, this is a fact. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs isn’t the end all be all within human psychology but it has a lot of guidance in understanding why people base their decisions out of the desire for love. When we are loved, our esteem is healthy. I don’t think people mean to put guilt onto others who haven’t settled within marriage yet, I think they just assume that ultimately having a family is typically a universal goal. If this isn’t the goal for some of us, let it be easy for us to escape a feeling of guilt and stay true to what we know we ultimately want within our lives. When we think strongly for ourselves we find our self actualization and deep understanding for the life we chose to live.
With everything said, I need to be really honest with myself and say – I do want to be married someday. To find the person I don’t want to walk away from rather to find the person that I want to walk away with. I know this will be one of my greatest achievements. But for me, and I can only speak for myself, I think marriage is one of the highest levels of commitments a human can make within their life and I take that very seriously. Within all of my thoughts about marriage I think of my friends and family who are married. I can think back to each of their weddings and pinpoint a time when I saw true genuine love within both of their eyes for each other. Knowing this couldn’t warm my heart any more than it does. I’m so happy for my friend about to get married and for my other friends who tied the knot as well. They found one of the greatest achievements we can find and endure. I know someday I will too. But right now my GPS is telling me to take the scenic route and I think I’m going to do that and enjoy this beautiful, windy road to the best of my abilities.