Saying “i do” is a big deal that will determine the course of the rest of your life. Those two little words are two of the biggest words in the English language. When the question is popped by someone you genuinely love and is presenting you with one of those emerald engagement rings that takes your breath away, it is hard to say anything else in the moment. And what a moment it is. You know this is the right person for you, and you, for them. There are just a few things you need to make clear before blurting out the first thing that comes to your mind:
1. I Don’t Belong to Anyone But Myself
No man or woman has the right to feel possessive of you because you are not their possession. You are not bought and paid for with the ring on your finger. You are not contractually obligated to submit and obey. You are not a child to be given over to someone else’s care. If you have these 7 traits that made you stand out in the first place, you shouldn’t have to worry about falling into this anachronistic trap.
You don’t have to be a slave to tradition. You can choose your own celebrant and produce your own vows. You don’t have to be given away. You don’t have to accept any part of a traditional ceremony that doesn’t match your mores and sensibilities.
If you prefer the traditional model, you can do that, too. You don’t have to bow to social pressure that says it is wrong. You can get married in a church before a priest with all the trappings of that kind of ceremony. What you can’t do is assume your partner is in lock-step with your choices. So it is vital that you work out your notions of independence before agreeing to the marriage.
2. I Don’t Agree to Give Up My Career and Personal Goals
Were you planning on becoming a doctor, lawyer, police officer, or something else that would require a lot of time and commitment? If so, there are some things you need to clear up before accepting the engagement. It is fine to be engaged and married while pursuing your career. After all, men do it all the time. What you should ask yourself is why it is that women are the ones automatically expected to give up career and goals for the marriage rather than the man. Work this out before working out wedding arrangements.
3. I Don’t Agree to Raise the Children By Myself
The desire to have children and raise them in a stable home is one of the big motivators for getting married. This motivation is shared by both parties. But for some reason, the brunt of the child-rearing duties is borne by the woman. You do not have to be the one to change all the diapers and get up during the night to soothe the baby’s fears or get off work to take the baby to an appointment. Make it known up front that these will be equally shared responsibilities.
4. I Don’t Agree to Be the Maid
Don’t marry a man who is used to having his mother pick up after him. He will be expecting you to do the same. This is a recipe for disaster. You are not signing up to be a maid for a man-baby. His household chores do not end at taking out the trash. You should deal with this red flag before giving the green light.
5. I Don’t Agree to Give Up My Friends
You had a life before you agreed to get married. And at no point do you have to agree to give up that life, including your friendships. One of the signs that you have the wrong person is that they try to separate you from your friendships and social ties you had before you met them. If you find this is the case, just say no.
Marriage is a bold and beautiful commitment. Just don’t let it rob you of your agency, your career, turn you into a single parent while still married, turn you into a maid, or isolate you from your friends.