Marriage as Response to Economic Crisis: Don’t Do It!
Times are tough. We know this. And for recent graduates, they’re extra tough. The challenges of landing a first job and establishing financial independence are daunting enough. Add a global economic meltdown into the equation, and you’ve got a recipe for a first-rate quarter life crisis. It’s enough to make you want to curl up into a ball, or reach for a stiff drink, or… find a spouse?
In the past year, I’ve noticed that more and more friends (and friends of friends) have turned a rhetorical corner in the dialogue about marriage. Whereas it used to be something we might consider doing someday—like buying a ranch or rehabilitating a wounded wolf cub—for some, it has suddenly become a viable near-term option. What changed?
I blame the economy.
With so many uncontrollable factors at work, we’re all feeling a little unstable. And what’s the quickest path to (temporary) stability? Marriage. I guess one might hope that if you can nail down that part of your life, the other fragments might start to drift into place. After all, when you get married, you automatically get someone to split the rent, share the cable bill, cuddle with, and commiserate with about how hard it is to be a 20-something today. But before you tie the knot, consider this: a roommate and/or a chinchilla can play most of those roles as well.
Getting married for fiscal reasons is almost as laughable as getting married because it “seems like the next logical next step,” a.k.a you’re bored. Guess what? You’re going to be a lot more bored from here on out if that’s your attitude.
This is not meant to be a cynic’s cry for eternal singleness. I am a huge fan of couples, marriage, and even love. But I’m also a huge fan of not making life-altering mistakes just because the economy is down and we’re feeling nervous.
When I have a mini-breakdown about the state of the world (which happens frequently), my mother usually says something like, “Just get married and get on with it.” Each time she says something like this, I vow to wait even longer to actually do it. For now, I think we should all celebrate our right to be poor, unmarried, professionally disoriented, and still—somehow—pretty happy.
My advice (not that you should take it): manage your singledom as you would your stock portfolio… ride this one out.