My friend posted an article called “Getting Married is Not an Accomplishment,” and I both do/don’t agree with this article. Please read the article before reading my comments if you feel like including your input.
Here’s why I can’t fully agree.
For me, getting married signified that I had improved my mental health enough for me to have the potential to sustain a long-lasting relationship. The wedding was a small accomplishment in what would be an ongoing project of lifetime effort (this is sort of addressed at the end but not really). Almost everyone in my family is divorced and suffers from crazy depression/substance abuse, so working on making my mental/physical health and relationships the best they can be are high priority. Why? Because hating your life and doing nothing about it is annoying as shit. These are areas I’m able to make progress in, and that feels good even if it’s doing one self-care thing a day to make me less miserable for myself and those around me.
However, I agree with this article that it’s not a greater accomplishment than the alternatives (although it kind of backpedals on the accomplishments thing at the end, which left me confused). I’m wickedly jealous and proud when I hear my friends have finished grad school and are building their careers. Because of my health, I can’t build a career in the same way healthy people can, and it’s stupid that people’s accomplishments in all areas of their lives aren’t valued in the same way marriages and babies are. Society can’t make money off one’s career like it can a wedding or a new child, and we’re still stuck in that traditional hierarchy of one’s life choices being valued over someone else’s. Which isn’t okay.
I also I feel like I try to value other parts of people’s lives (hobbies, interests, future goals) as much as their careers, because when we’re defined solely by our work, relationships, and baby-making abilities we get uncomfortable. Everybody’s got a point of their life in that list that they’re sensitive about that they’d prefer not to discuss (usually).
The article argues that there’s no brain power or skill to getting married, and that’s technically true if you are one of the following: blessed with good relationship skills (which you probably had to work on which is a skill), a natural ability to charm, generally good mental health (which everyone isn’t). The alternative is you have to find someone who you either hide all your mental health problems from or is mildly crazy themselves. Which means that in the second two scenarios, this is an initial accomplishment that will likely end in disaster. But I do agree that finding someone to be in a good relationship with is luck, because there are a lot of shitty/incompatible people in the world. So in that way, this article is correct.