- Damaris Chanza
When Considering Marriage and Children
Updated: May 27, 2022
Let's be clear, I have no intention of getting married or having kids anytime soon. Yet, people feel it's okay to bring up this topic fairly often, and I'm tired of the same conversation.
Yes, I have a serious boyfriend of three years. We have discussed if marriage is something we each desire and if it is something we could potentially see with each other. We took it upon ourselves to discuss these things to know where we stand in our relationship and where we would like it to go. We have discussed our views on having and raising children. An exact timeline on this does not necessarily exist.
However, our families and the people around us have different opinions and feel the need to make those opinions known.
I started dating my boyfriend my senior year of college. I must state that very few women in my family have gone to college or made it to 20 without having a baby. I've always known I wanted a big and beautiful career in my future, and my family was proud I was working toward my dreams. However, when I finally graduated, I was told something along the lines of "It's great you did the college thing, but now you can settle down and have babies." Back then, I dismissed it and moved on.
One day I had a conversation with my dad informing me that my family in Puerto Rico heard I was engaged. They called to say how offended they were that I hadn't called to tell them myself but wanted to help plan the wedding. I was confused. I shut down the rumor and laughed it off as something silly.
I've had conversations with my dad about things he expects from my wedding. I'm expected to allow children because not allowing them is "rude." I'm expected to invite this person and that person regardless of my budget dictating who is most important to me. I try not to get too flustered, but I usually just move on because it's all hypothetical.
My paternal grandmother likes to remind me how as the oldest grandchild I should be the first to make her a great grandmother. She reminds me that she’s old and would like to have great grandchildren in her lifetime.
I recently visited my maternal grandmother, and she told me that I am single because I do not live with the man I have been with for three years. Her reasoning? After three years, if you're not married, you should at least be living together; if not, the relationship is not serious; hence you're single. At that moment, I laughed and teased my boyfriend about it. Later, I felt insulted.
At my boyfriend's sister's wedding, his mother was excited, thinking about how beautiful our wedding would be. She relished in the thought of us being the next couple in the family to get married. I was so shocked I took a sip of my water, and luckily she was pulled away to dance before I had to muster a response.
My boyfriend's cousin is having a destination wedding soon. As his mom and brother-in-law planned the trip, I so happened to walk by. What started as a conversation about his cousin's upcoming nuptials somehow morphed into getting advice for my wedding. I was told I should stay relaxed and go with the flow because something goes wrong at every wedding. To keep my wedding small because of how expensive it can be. I was told the upsides and downsides of a DJ and a band. They compared destination weddings to backyard weddings. I mostly nodded along and listened until I managed to escape the conversation.
In all these scenarios, where someone else felt it was okay to stick their noses where it doesn't belong, no one has asked me what I think. I'm supposedly the one getting married; why not ask my opinion? I know no one means any harm, and they all speak of it very innocently and with excitement. Our families are rooting for us and want us to be happy, which I am eternally grateful for. However, constantly mentioning marriage and children feels more like pressure than support. Especially when I am not initiating the topic, it feels more like someone is telling me to hurry life along. It feels like they are diminishing the dreams I have and want to work toward before considering marriage and children. It makes the thought of those things more daunting. My immaturity wants to purposely avoid marriage and children out of spite solely because people expect it. I have a loving boyfriend who makes me incredibly happy, and we are on the same page on these topics. Isn't that enough?