A few years ago my girlfriends and I were watching that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie tries on the wedding dress and breaks out into hives. While my friends were all commenting on how she was overreacting, Carrie was claiming that she was missing “the bride gene,” and while I must admit that the series was a little corny, exaggerated and unrealistic, it was one of those moments where I felt like I could relate to Carrie in a sense and wondered if I too were missing this “bride gene.”

I never thought about my dream wedding or what type of furniture we would get for our brand new home. I never imagined what the perfect proposal would look like or showing off my ring to friends and family. The most I probably daydreamed about was which exotic Polynesian island my over-water bungalow would reside on during my honeymoon, but even then I imagined myself sunbathing alone. What does this say about me? Am I noncommittal? Yes my parents got divorced when I was seven and yes I’ve seen people get hurt in relationships, but to be honest I haven’t been hurt to the extent that I would call all men dogs or say that a happy marriage is a figment of our imaginations, I’ve actually known many awesome men who are beautiful and would make great husbands.

I believe in marriage and I think it can be a wonderful thing if you’re willing to work hard at making each day better than the last. Speaking to some women I can’t help but think that a lot of them are more in love with the idea of a big wedding and not the idea of holy matrimony, and for me the idea of a wedding was always temporary because before you know it all the guests are gone and it’s just the two of you left to build your lives’ together.

Ok, I probably sound pessimistic, but I’ve always considered myself more of a realist than an idealist, I still have to ask myself again, how does a 26 year-old woman not want to get married anytime soon? One reason is I don’t feel like what I’ve been taught by society is valid; go to school, meet the man, make the man fall in love with you, marry the man, have the wonderful career, buy the house, have the babies, raise the babies and dedicate your life to the family, or whatever order it is! I love family and truly do value a healthy structure especially a healthy, black family structure, but what if things don’t happen by this societal deadline we’ve been assigned, are we then left to feel like inadequate spinsters that nobody wants? And I’m talking about women who haven’t even reached 35 yet.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to tie the knot, I have friends who would die to be called someone’s wife, but what I can’t stand is when they begin to compare themselves and their state of singledom to other friends who have already made commitments. One thing in life that we should never do is wish for what other people have; you never know what it’s like on the inside or how they are maintaining it and they might be secretly wishing for what you have. People, the grass is always greener. But on the opposite end of the spectrum, I also have friends who still want to travel or be a little more adjusted in their careers and their own personal journeys before they jump the broom.

There are certain transitions in life that we may never be 100% ready for and marriage and children are a few of those things in my world, but I want people to start to examine themselves and their own personal convictions about marriage before saying “I do.” Ask questions, talk to people who’ve been together for 20 and 30 years, not your friends or family members who are placing unnecessary pressure on you and really don’t know much about the topic themselves. Whether we all end up married within the next five years, have a boyfriend for the next 15 or stay single for the rest of our lives we should all make a pact to never stop growing, never stop learning and always stay our interesting, intellectual, eternally evolving selves. Even Carrie found her bride gene in the end.

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  • Porsha

    Ms. Gray this article is wonderful! It speaks volumes. I am also 26 and SINGLE! This article made me feel so normal. I thought that I was the only one who juggled these thoughts and feelings. OMG! You said everything that I have been hearing and feeling within the past two years, from the nagging of your family and friends to the pressure that society puts on this “marriage timeline” for twenty something year olds. This article is a such a relief…I see the light at the end of the tunnel (LOL)! It almost sounds like one of Carrie’s op-eds. Very well done. I am a fan!

    P.S.- I am emailing a copy to all of my Ms. and Mrs. friends.

  • j val

    I feel that men take all the time they need to “find themselves” and develop their careers, which is why many feel fine with putting off marriage or not wanting get married period. But when a woman wants to do the same thing or is just not interested, it’s not “normal.” It’s okay to want what we want and to not want what we don’t want either. It’s also okay to change our mind.

    I love this article, girl!

  • Great article Ganeka! I wholeheartedly agree :-)

  • Alexandra (aka Sindy)

    I agree with the article because there is an unspoken prsesure that exists for single women to get married and find someone. But what those who pressure women never seem to realize that maybe a woman is not just looking for someone but “The One”. I think that some women who settle down in their early 20s may not have really found themselves yet and that’s why some marriages fail. I can honestly say that the men I dated when I was 20 are not the men I would like to be with now that I have approached 30. Also, because of the few men that are available to women I think that some women are settling and believe that they cannot find better or that a better man does not exist out there which is sad. But if you truly want to be happy you can whether married or not. Again good topic Ganeeka.