The Thirty Year Old Maid

The thirty-something generation is shying away from marriage with a success rate that is beyond belief. This never been married clan seems to know better than us and seem to truly be waiting for the right person; comfortable knowing that should he or she not appear, tragedy will not strike.

The majority grew up in single-parent households and phrases like every other weekend and alimony ring differently in their ears. When they think about marriage, the first thing that comes to mind is divorce.

Their memories are select and if they aren’t walking wounded, then they are walking scar tissue but either way, they don’t seem to be in a marriage rush, so as to not repeat mistakes. They remember sitting as their moms cried from a place so deep it scared them. They spent time memorizing new addresses and phone numbers for their dads and they listened to all the fighting. And if this isn’t what has kept them from marriage then it must be the guilt to which they are accustomed.

There can be few more painful experiences for a young child, than to leave a crying parent standing in the airport or bus stop as he or she leaves to go to the “other parent’s” house for Thanksgiving, Christmas, the summer... you name it. Growing up inside of divorce is not an easy thing to do and it affects the relationship that people have with commitment. Children of divorce are taught that marriage doesn’t work and that is a tough obstacle to overcome. It is hopeful, however. Statistics statistic-ize that generally-speaking, people are getting married later.

Which leads me to hypothesize that these unmarried thirty somethings have not abandoned the idea of marriage altogether, but instead are simply making good decisions. Perhaps they know themselves a little better making it easier to share both themselves and their space with another. We could be witnessing the revolution of marriage as a sacred union from the very people who have suffered its collapse. The decision to marry remains a huge decision for most. The word “forever” really throws people off. But maybe now, as the idea of forever becomes something a bit easier to visualize thanks to the deteriorating nature of our world, and with having put many years of thought into the idea, people will get married and stay happily married, sharing old age, a history, a legacy, a life. We search for meaning and often times, we find it in other people. A spouse, a child... What a beautiful gift that is.
If you should get invited to a thirty something wedding, go! They have been working for a living and they understand the value of money. Their ceremonies tend to be a bit more humble. The 5-star hotel turns into a Holiday Inn, turns into a Bed and Breakfast and eventually, you’ll be in tents on some beach somewhere. The wedding gowns are simpler, the services shorter (and lots of them are outside) and shoes have been known to be optional.

by Rachel Davis

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