6 Reasons I’m Waiting To Get Married

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By Kirsten Parnell

At a recent party, someone asked me how long my boyfriend and I have been together, and when I told her, her immediate response was,  “So, are you waiting for him to propose?” He wasn’t there, so I can only imagine the precise shade of white his face would have turned, and the look of panic that would have flashed in his eyes. 

In reply, I burst out laughing – I could tell she wasn’t being mean; she was genuinely curious. And after five years, it’s not an unreasonable question.

But even though we talk about getting married – we live together, it does tend to come up in conversation – we’re not in any hurry, and we’ve got a pretty solid set of reasons for that. Here are six of them:

1. The obvious one: marriage is kind of a big deal.

The only way to find out whether you want to spend the rest of your life with someone is to actually spend some of your life with them. Can you turn a blind eye to each other’s minor bad habits? Can you argue constructively? When one of you messes up, can you forgive each other and move on – and crucially, not rehash old arguments months or years down the line?

2. You need to know how you both feel about the Big Things.

Those “big things” would be: having kids, money, where you’re going to live, what should happen if one of you is horrifically injured in a freak accident, etc. And sometimes feelings change. When I got together with my boyfriend, I was 21, and ambivalent at best about having children. Now, imagining our blond-haired, rosy-cheeked, entirely imaginary offspring is one of my favorite daydreams.

3. The money.

Say the word “wedding” to any caterer, florist or photographer and before you know it, they’re invoicing you for incredible sums of money and asking for your first-born-child as insurance. Getting married is expensive, and even if you want to keep it small, you’re still going to have to have some savings.

4. The timing needs to be right.

It sounds boring but it’s a good idea to get married when you’re both in stable jobs and don’t have too many other pressures in your lives. A friend of mine has a theory: “When you get engaged, no-one should be surprised.” Hopefully you’re only going to do this once, so you should be as free to enjoy it as you possibly can. Also, planning a wedding seems pretty stressful, so it’s probably best to have some headspace available.

5. What’s the rush?

You know how when you were a kid, the most exciting part of your birthday was seeing your gifts wrapped up and waiting for you to open them? It’s like that – there’s something really exciting about knowing that we’ve got all the fun stuff still to come – the engagement, the wedding-planning, choosing where to go on a honeymoon, etc.

6. You might have some stuff you need to work on.

You can’t change someone, but you can sometimes make them want to change. In our relationship, I’m the quick-tempered one, with a tendency to raise my voice in arguments. He comes from a family where voices only go above a gentle murmur if Something Really Bad is happening. I’m learning that maybe losing my mind over little inconveniences isn’t always the best use of my energy, and he’s learning that the occasional argument doesn’t always spell the end of the world. Even though we accept each other’s flaws, we want to give our relationship the best possible shot we can – so we want to bring the best versions of ourselves to it.


So, I’d be lying if I said our current lack of plans to get married doesn’t ever bother me. Every time an engagement pops up on my Facebook newsfeed, I get a pang of “Oh, I can’t wait for that to be us!” But I know how lucky I am to be with the person I want to grow old with, and I can’t wait to celebrate that. I don’t want a big wedding, so I’d elope with him tomorrow if it was an option – but it’s not. I know he’d rather wait until we have a bit more money saved. “You’re the most important thing to me,” he said, the last time we talked about it. “So when we do it, I want us to do it right.”

It’s a good line – but I believe him. And when we do get married, we’ll know beyond a shadow of a doubt that we’re doing it for the right reasons. We’ll have put the time in, and finally saying “I do” will feel all the sweeter for it.


Kirsten is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty On Tap. The views and opinions expressed in Contributing Writer articles reflect those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the site. 

To apply to become a Contributing Writer, click HERE

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