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An Ode To My (Not) Marrying Friends


by Maddie Eisenhart, Digital Director & Style Editor

I’ve been thinking a lot about the teamification of women lately (post coming soon). I’ve been thinking about how single women are pitted against engaged women, who are pitted against married women. I’ve been thinking about it because of the intense way that it ramps up during pregnancy, with everyone (childless/childfree/infertile/trying/pregnant/new moms/experienced moms) on a different team. But the thing is? For me, as a woman having a hard pregnancy, some of my most solid support has come from my childfree and currently-experiencing-fertility-problems friends. I could write several essays trying to figure out why, but the simple fact is that it’s true. So reading Maddie’s ode to her friends that never want to marry (I have loads of friends like this too), I was struck with gratitude. We all hold each other up, and we shouldn’t listen to the narrative that tries to rip us apart.An Ode To My (Not) Marrying Friends | A Practical Wedding

Yesterday was my anniversary. It’s been four years since I took my first grown up day off from work so that Michael and I could sneak off to City Hall and get married “for the insurance benefits.” And three years since our wedding, where we solidified our legal commitment with a ceremony that was so joyful it literally felt like being inside love’s mouth.

It’s an interesting thing being the first of your friends to get married. We were so young when we did it that Michael and I never felt any of the cultural pressures surrounding marriage that we talk about here so often. If anything, we experienced a little of the opposite from those who thought we might be too young (though luckily we didn’t get too much of that). And for a while, we were the only ones we knew who were even entertaining the idea of marriage, so the institution felt a little like it belonged to us exclusively. (Ok, and billions of other people across the globe too, but who’s counting?)

But these days my Facebook wall is blowing up with announcements of my former classmates getting engaged, getting married, having babies, and now I don’t feel like so much of an anomaly. And it’s kind of weird. If marriage used to feel like it belonged to just me, now it’s part of the collective conscious of my social group. And with the presence of social media, I feel like we are all aware of each other’s weddings and marriages in a way that wasn’t so ten or twenty years ago.

Which isn’t to say that this bothers me. It’s just peculiar in the way that it’s peculiar going from being an only child to being part of a big blended family. My frame of reference is off, but not necessarily in a bad way.

But I can tell it’s getting to my friends. You see, I might have gotten married at twenty-two, but I was definitely the odd man out. Most of my very best friends are men and women who aren’t sure that marriage is ever going to be the right choice for them. And now that they are hitting their mid-to-late twenties, they’re starting to feel the push. The “doesn’t it seem like everyone around me is getting married” push. And while I’ve always supported their choice to not pursue marriage, I’m a little afraid that by the very nature of my being married, I might represent that push too.

And part of the problem is, of course, that I don’t have a way, socially, to show my support for these friends. (Other than perhaps not setting them up on dates they don’t want to go on, or ever giving them the “One day it’ll be your turn” face.) I mean, there’s no “Congratulations for doing what feels right for you” party that comes with penis straws and tiaras.

And yet, it was my non-marrying friends who were the most supportive of Michael and me when we got engaged. (I think I called one of them up immediately following our engagement and breathlessly asked, “I’m engaged! That’s ok, right?!”) They threw parties in our honor just because, and they asked the world to celebrate for us. They served as our witnesses, our maid of honor, our best man. And they cried harder than anyone else when we said our vows.

And while I’ve had countless opportunities to tell Michael how I feel about him these past four years, I haven’t had the chance (not publicly at least) to tell my non-marrying friends just how much their support means to me.

So today, the day after my anniversary, felt like an appropriate time to do so. And maybe, to return the favor.

Dear Friends Who Think They May Never Want To Get Married,

First, let me say thank you. Thank you for supporting Michael and me over the past ten years, when we first started dating in high school, then when we decided to try a long-distance relationship in college, and then when we decided to get married at the oh-so-mature ages of twenty-two and twenty-five. You never tried to convince us that we wouldn’t succeed together, because you don’t buy into the bullshit that love should follow a set of rules, or that everyone has to follow the same path to happiness. And I love that. In fact, Michael and I never would have made it this far without you there reminding us how important it is to do what feels authentic to us.

I’d also like thank you for the incredible support you showed us during the grueling process of planning our wedding. Thank you for not hesitating for even a second when we called you up and asked if you’d play witness at our impromptu secret elopement. Thank you for saying yes when we asked you to be our best man and maid of honor, even though you hate wearing ties. Thank you for staying up until the wee hours of the morning making invitations with me, for an event celebrating an institution you’re not even sure you believe in, because even though you don’t believe in the institution, you believe in what Michael and I have together.

In the next few years, you might come under some fire for not “settling down.” I want you to know that I’m ready to call bullshit when it happens. I need you to know that I don’t think you ever need to get married, if marriage is not what you want for yourself. I promise never to treat you like you’ve failed at some test, or like you’re an incomplete person, just because you haven’t succumbed to monogamy. And I promise to stand up for you if my family, or your family, ever suggests that marriage might be the next logical step in your life (because it’s not, unless you want it to be).

And in the next few years, if the world tries to make you feel less proud of your accomplishments, because you’re still “missing” part of the equation? I. Will. Shut. That. Shit. Down.

And if you do one day choose to get married, for whatever reason, I promise not to treat you like I knew it was going to happen all along. Because that’s just obnoxious.

In short, I promise to support you in all the ways that you’ve supported me, and to do it without question.

And if you ever call me at six o’clock in the evening on a Wednesday and ask me to buy up thirty pashmina scarves and take them on a flight to Maine for you, I won’t even bat an eyelash.

Love,

Maddie

Photo by: Eve Event Photography

Maddie Eisenhart

Maddie is the Managing Editor of A Practical Wedding. She’s been writing stories about boys and crushes since she was old enough to form shapes into words, but received her formal training (and a BS) in the art of talking from NYU in 2008. In her spare time, she takes pictures of people in love. Maddie lives on a pony farm in the Bay Area with her husband Michael, her Mastiff named Juno, and her roommate named Joe.

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  • http://elbowglitter.com/blog Megan

    I love this. I’m in my early 30’s and unmarried and this year alone, five of my closest friends have gotten married. I’m quickly becoming the odd man out. And most of the time, I’m totally okay with this because my life is AWESOME. But sometimes, the world makes it hard. “When are you next?” If I marry, awesome. If I don’t, well, I’ll be the awesomest friend and aunt in the world. And that’s awesome too.

    (And why does someone not even dating read a wedding blog? I like the pictures and the stories!)

    • Jess

      I think of APW way more as a “life” site or “site for smart women” than something only for people planning weddings. I’m getting married in two weeks, but I totally wish I had found APW years ago, before I was even in a relationship.

    • rys

      It took me a while (as in several years) to get the point of feeling “my life is awesome, be confident about it” as the single woman out. But embracing that has made my life so much better, and that was able to happen in part because of married friends reinforcing that message to me.

      So, yes, to Maddie’s ode, and yes to finding all sorts of ways to convey this message to your single friends — privately and publicly, in words and actions, quietly and loudly, in tone and in looks, subtly and dramatically, and in all the ways you can think of. It won’t go unnoticed and it does matter.

      • http://elbowglitter.com/blog Megan

        I actually wrote a lovely thank you note to a friend who got married this year because she was careful to not make any of the singletons at the wedding feel like an outcast (as I did at a previous wedding the same year). I had been dreading the wedding reception for the fact that I often got stuck at the “singles table” rather than with the rest of our group of friends. This friend made a point to seat “friend groups” together and then encouraged mingling with the dancing, which was perfect.

        • http://vanillaandvinegar@blogspot.com Sonarisa

          I’m looking for tips on making sure no one feels left out or like a third wheel. If anyone has any ideas, PLEASE LET ME KNOW! I’m looking for all the advice on this that I can get!

    • Not Sarah

      Agreed! I read APW for the “Reclaiming Wife” section because it is about women being awesome.

  • http://www.myhonestanswer.com/ my honest answer

    I love this post Maddie. I am always trying to come up with a non-patronizing way to communicate to unmarried and uncoupled friends that I’m not one of ‘those’ people who thinks marriage is the only prize in life. The best way I can often think of to do it is to say, ‘Maybe you will, maybe you won’t’, instead of ‘It’ll be your turn next!’ but somehow the comes across as even smugger. Ugh.

    • rys

      Two suggestions, based on my single lady experience, for communicating to friends that marriage isn’t the only prize:
      1. Spend time with unmarried and uncoupled friends — alone, partnered, and in groups. Show that you don’t think or belong to a married people social club with “no unmarried people allowed” signs.
      2. Celebrate whatever milestones and accomplishments are meaningful in their lives (hell, make some up if you want).

      • Jessica

        How about just not talking about it as much? What bothers me is when marriage/weddings comes up SO MUCH in conversation with engaged/married friends. The subtle message of that to me is that nothing matters as much as getting married. It’s obvious we need to stop with the “welcome to the club!” and “so when are you getting engaged?” comments, but we also glorify it by talking about it so dang much when people are in that phase. The best thing is to do is spend just as much time discussing moving plans, vacations, job stuff, school stuff, hobbies….

        • MDBethann

          On the other hand, when I am with my friends, I tend to talk about what’s going on in my life and in theirs. If my friend has child(ren), they’re a topic of conversation because it is a HUGE part of that friend’s life, just like when I got married, wedding stuff was a HUGE part of my life. But as with anything going on in your life, you just need to talk about it in moderation – talking too much about all the clubbing you do or your struggles with your mover can be just as boring as talking about wedding planning.

      • meg

        I find the married people only hanging out with married people thing so STRANGE. Maybe it’s because we’ve always had tons of unmarried/ might never marry friends? I don’t know. I literally know as many married people as I do only because of my awesome staff, who’s made up of people who started has APW readers, and hence are now married. Other than that, our friends tend not to be the marrying type, loads of them, and why would we want to give them up because we had a wedding? SO STRANGE TO ME.

        But then again, we go to 1-2 weddings a year, maybe, so we live in some alternate universe I think.

  • Lynn

    Almost all of my friends got married early (and a few of them are now on marriage 2. or 3), and for the longest time I was the lone single hold-out. I was perfectly fine on my own. I moved across the country by myself. Moved again. I spent weekends on the beach or camping or visiting DC or NYC. All by myself. And I was good with that.

    I think almost all of my friends were good with it too. I got questions like, “Where are you headed next?” or “How cool was xxxx?!” or “You’re doing WHAT?”

    There were a few times, particularly from older generations of my family, that I’d get asked, “Aren’t you afraid of doing that alone? Wouldn’t you feel better if you had a man with you?” And sometime the answer was yes, I certainly would feel better if I had *anyone* with me to be along on this journey but I’m not postponing the things I want to do on the off-chance, somewhere down the line, maybe, possibly, there will be someone who might could be convinced to join me.

    Oddly enough, for me, I never really felt marriage (or engagement or coupled) pressure. I did, though, feel it when it came to having children.

    • http://unexpected-moments.blogspot.ca/ Sheryl

      One or two of my single friends sounds very much like you – off doing her own thing, adventuring and having fun. And honestly? She’s the best person go out and have a drink with because she’s always got so much fun going on in her life to talk about and inspire me with. It’s a little glimpse into her own private world and it’s very clear that it’s a super fun world to inhabit.

      • Slade

        Ha! Not to sound like a braggart, but I totally used to be this person in my friendgroups. I’ve been in one place for the last few years, but even that place is on the other side of the country from where I grew up. Before that, I traveled A LOT and worked a bunch of weird jobs (like cooking for the crew of the world’s only pungy schooner). I think that’s how I, too, avoided a lot of marriage pressure. I did get some, though, paired up with pressure to have kids. My extended family used to be really well-versed in the subtle digs about these subjects, the kind that get just a little under your skin, that sneaked in through gaps left by my own occasional fears of being alone or of eventual regrets.

        I solved this problem inadvertantly: now that I live on the West Coast, I never see that part of the family. Talk about no regrets!

    • meg

      Me too. The weird thing about friends marrying early is you get lots of practice at NOT feeling pressure from it. When I was going to weddings starting at 19, I never thought, “Man, I wish this was me.” So somehow I think that persisted for my 20’s.

  • Laura

    Meg, this was fantastic. I think maybe part of the reason single people can feel less validated in their lives is because there’s no cultural rite of passage for singleness. For marriage, you get the WIC and all the surrounding hoopla, and then there can be the baby showers and all of that business. But it’s not like you can throw yourself a “single shower,” completely with bachelor/ette party. (Actually, wouldn’t a bachelor/ette party be a lot more appropriate for a single person?) I think one of the values of a wedding is the support and validation that your relationship receives from your family and friends…but there is no ceremony at which point a single person’s lifestyle can be validated in quite this way, even if they’re out working for the Peace Corps or doing something else equally awesome. So I think that for you to consciously take the time to thank your single friends and to validate their contributions to your life is something that needs to happen more often in this day and age, especially as more people are staying single than in recent history.

    • Poeticplatypus

      I so agree. Sometimes I wonder why not break the mold and have a bachelorette party for the single ladies to celebrate being single. Right now the only rite of passage I had was graduating from High School. A part of me woould love to see a launch of Reclaiming Single (of course it wouldn’t be linked to this site) . Being single doesn’t mean the same thing anymore. Some of us are single by choice but really it’s what we make of a life during any stage that we have control over.

      • meg

        I know. Funny story, for YEARS I wanted to work on this (maybe one day it will be folded in to a more general site, when I find money and bandwidth to make that happen). And I actually got yelled at for readers for wanting to make it happen—like since I’m married now, I can’t help bring that into the world. Which: teamification, you guys.

        • Rebecca

          Meg, I agree. Teamification! As a single childless person, I try and use all my energy to team-ify with my married, childful (are these even words?) friends. I only hope my energy, reciprocated by my friends, would reverberate throughout our whole society!

    • Jess

      I totally agree with this, and it reminds me a lot of the episode of Sex and the City (“A Woman’s Right to Shoes”) where Carrie talks about how adulthood is all about celebrating the accepted choices -marriage, babies- and there’s really nothing to celebrate making choices outside those realms (like the “congratulations you didn’t marry the wrong guy” card):

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWIA5pJlBSM

      • http://theroadto92912.blogspot.com Molly

        I was thinking about this episode! One of my favorites.

      • Poeticplatypus

        I’m going to do it , plan a celebration of singledom party and hopefully I’ll get to tell how it went.

        • meg

          Post! Post!

        • A Single Sarah for certain values of single

          I love it. For added support/fictional inspiration, sometime way back Doonesbury had a character, Marcia Feinbloom, who celebrated her singularity. I’m being slow finding the comics that featured her story, but think it was in the ’80s.

    • meg

      Maddie! I can’t take credit for her awesome writing!

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.com/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I have a friend who threw himself a big 40th birthday bash. He invited people about 6 months in advance and told them that for him, this celebration held the importance of a wedding. I thought it was a cool idea and glad to he created his own rite of passage. He doesn’t intend on getting married, but wanted that level of celebration and a chance to bring together his community around him.

      Edit: And by “big” I mean that he rented a venue, hired a musical entertainment (a DJ or maybe a group/band?), invited a ton of people (I would guess between 100-300), catered food, etc.

      • Laurel

        This is SO RAD. I’ve always wished that, instead of marriage being your only card to play, everyone got one chance to tell people to travel across the country to a major celebration of their friend’s life.

        Something we can all do, married or not, to support friends who aren’t interested in marrying is to actively work on recognizing meaningful transitions other than marriage: birthdays, new houses, graduations, exam completion, etc etc etc. It feels AWESOME to celebrate your friends’ successes, and it goes a long way to making people feel supported and appreciated when they’re not getting married.

    • Sara

      “But it’s not like you can throw yourself a “single shower,” completely with bachelor/ette party. ”

      This is true, but it reminds me that my friend once teased me that he thought that the reason I enjoy moving so much is that I must secretly like having people throw me going away parties. Those are always a celebration of the next adventure.

  • LMS

    I love this post.

    This may be a bit more relevant to Meg’s upcoming post, but the concept of the teamification of women made me think of this recent New Yorker piece:
    http://www.newyorker.com/humor/2012/09/17/120917sh_shouts_allen

    A little biting, perhaps, but it hit home for me.

    • Laura

      Oh my goodness that piece was hilarious. Sad, but hilarious.

    • http://byjacki.com/blog Jacki

      Love. The post AND this linked article.

    • meg

      Oh yeah, I loved that article. Good stuff.

  • Steph

    Love this!!! I want to share this with my BFF who was my MOH and will likely not get married due to her own ambivalence about the institution.

    I also feel a lot of this “separate teams” right now as for the first time I have no interest in achieving the “next big milestone” (parenthood). I feel like my decision to not have children is made more confusing to others by the fact that I am now married. Kind of like “you have the man, you both have the financial means/education/correct plumbing so why not just do it. But like with your single friends who lift up your marriage, I’m finding the most support for our decision coming from our friends, many of whom plan on joining “team mommy” as soon as possible.

    Ok, I will stop rambling now but thank you again for this post

    • meg

      Oh vomit. I’d stab out my own eyes before I joined any team called Mommy. I mean. Cough. Lovely for some!

      But really, the pressure just ramps up by a factor of 10 if you do get pregnant, I swear to you, so you might as well just ride it out with a smile…

      • One More Sara

        My son started calling me mommy on occasion, and it makes me cringe. I correct him every time, but I’m beginning to think he knows that it bugs me and has started doing it more. 3 yr olds are smart.

        • R

          Ha ha. My mom -hated- when we called her mommy, and didn’t try to hide it. So we did, of course, make use of that knowledge when we wanted to drive her nuts. I’m pretty sure I could still call her mommy and push that same button. You may never win that one.

      • Steph

        Much apologies! I just meant it as a separation between child free women vs women who are/planning to be mothers. My friend who also reads this site had the same reaction. I will happily go with a different name. Please put the fork down ;)
        Isn’t it crazy the pressure at each stage! And mostly from ppl who have little to no stake in these life decisions but insist on dictating those choices loudly to others. Sigh…

        • MEI

          Steph, no worries, you didn’t say anything wrong. Plus, those of us on ‘team mommy’ are pretty used to vomit. :-)

          And yes, rock on with your own child free choice! Life is rich and full for those who choose a multitude of paths.

    • Anon for Now

      I did forward the post to one of my bridesmaids who has the same ambivalence, even though she is in a loving relationship – she’s known for a long time that marriage is just not for her and it took a lot of convincing (and I think some arguing) to get her boyfriend to realize that while she loves him and is committed to their relationship, she isn’t changing her mind about marriage. I feel bad for her b/c my wedding was part of the “problem”, along with the engagement of a mutual friend. But I’ve known her since we were teenagers and marriage and children were never something she wanted.

  • http://weehermione.blogspot.com Hayley

    re: Meg’s note about pregnancy support: It could simply be that that group has experienced more of the “way things aren’t supposed to go” curveballs related to a having kids than the other groups. So even though you’re on one “side” of the equation (have/don’t have) there’s still a lot of emotional ground that overlaps, like a Venn diagram (possible anger that one’s body isn’t doing what you always thought it would do perfectly well, medical surprises, etc — not trying to pinpoint your own situation, just throwing out some overlaps that may occur both for you and others who have found similar unexpected support).

    re: Maddie’s letter: I am bookmarking this like a MOFO because it’s exactly what I want to convey to my single friends. Like, “being married is great. I also think you’re perfectly fulfilled just the way you are and complete if that’s how you feel, too. It’s great, and it’s also not necessary, and if people try to elbow you about it, FUCK EM.”

  • Fermi

    Love.This.
    That is all.

  • Granola

    Hurrah for Maddie! Awesome way to thank your pals! Great way to start my morning at work.

  • Margi

    LOVE this! This is why I love reading APW even though I am one of those single friends who feels as though I probably may never be married. “‘Congratulations for doing what feels right for you’ party that comes with penis straws and tiaras.” I was just saying this to my friend the other day, why can’t I have a “celebrating my life decisions” party for ME that has nothing to do with marriage or babies. I would love to send this to EVERYONE I know but then I would get so much grief about why am I reading APW?! I read APW because of all the smart and funny women and all the relevant topics that revolve around being a woman. THANK YOU!

    • mimi

      Why not have that party? Just have one and then tell us all about it! ;)

      • rys

        Have the party! It will be awesome.

    • Not Sarah

      When I got promoted, I called my closest friends and we went out for dinner. When my last relationship ended, I called some girlfriends and we went out dancing (minimal drinking – that’s not really my thing) – they were both married, but they were so supportive! I had a big housewarming party after buying my condo. I had a small dinner for my birthday with three of my closest local girlfriends. One of my friends is planning a huge (40-60 people) party for his 30th birthday party.

      Just plan something! Call some girlfriends! You may not see your married friends as much, but they’re still super supportive when something is going on.

    • Breck

      Have a party this weekend in honor of National Unmarried and Single Americans Week!!

      http://www.unmarriedamerica.org/usaweek/intro.htm

    • meg

      Just say someone sent you the link and you want to pass it on! Obviously!

  • JS

    I cried reading this because I wish I had friends like Maddie does and I wish I could be the kind of friend she describes in her letter. I lost my best friend when the guy she is now married to came between us and she had to make a choice. I thought our friendship was better and stronger than that and it still hurts. Our other friends are scattered across the map right now, too, on their own paths. Just as weddings can bring you closer to your friends and family, it can also make you feel very alone. I love this post because it reminds me of what a true friend is and it comforts me to know I have that in my partner.

    • http://teastrumpets.wordpress.com tea & strumpets

      *hugs* JS. I’m sorry about your friend; that sounds very painful. Well wish for a healed heart and new, supportive friendships.

    • Cleo

      I’m in a similar situation. *hugs and commiseration*

    • p.

      I had tears in my eyes reading Maddie’s letter to her friends, too, I totally agree with your point “Just as weddings can bring you closer to your friends and family, it can also make you feel very alone.” For me, it hasn’t been when my friends got married but when they had kids that has made me feel so alone.

  • Jaime

    This. Is. Adorable.

    I am in the exact same boat, and can tell that while the majority of my friends are ridiculously happy for me, just the plain fact that I’m getting married feels like a challenge to their choices. In fact, I’ve struggled with it myself – sometimes it’s hard for me to feel like my friends support my decision entirely when I don’t think they really believe in marriage at all. But this post really helped me digest that not everyone has to have the exact same outlook in order to be supportive and happy.

    Thanks!!

    • MDBethann

      I think there is a difference in believing in marriage for yourself and believing in it for your friends. I have some friends who aren’t married and don’t plan to be for a variety of reasons. But they were happy and excited for me upon my marriage. They may not want to be married just because they know that their personality/nature wouldn’t be a good fit for marriage, not because they believe the institution is wrong altogether (though I’m sure a good number of people think that too)

  • Jashshea

    This is perfect! I’ve been mentally penning notes to my non-bridesmaids, one of whom is ambivalent about relationships in general (though she’s slowly warming up to the idea). I want for her what I want for all my friends – love, happiness, buoyancy, delight, ass-kicking – and I want her to get to define for herself how those are defined/achieved.

    ETA: It’s always the right time for a party with penis tiaras. Just saying.

  • Kelly

    Maddie, this is such a fabulous post that really hits home for so many of us in our mid-to-late 20’s.

    I am very recently engaged, and was really nervous about telling my best friend/Maid of Honor because she’s probably not the marrying type. She emailed me a couple days after my engagement becasue she wanted me to read an essay she was writing for work about engagement, and she didn’t want me to see it published and think it was about me and get offended. It turns out we were both nervous! But we’re both thrilled and happy and have no sense that our own choices need to influence the other.

    I think sometimes we worry so much about how our non-marriage friends see us that we forget they may be worrying about how we see them! The best thing we can do is just keep being friends, being open and honest with each other and taking the time once in a while to let them know, like Maddie did above, how super awesome they are and how much we value their opinions and choices. Thank you for this post – it really reminded me to celebrate people every day, not just when they hit big milestones.

  • Abby J.

    I have nothing to add to this except
    YAAAAAAAAYYYYYY!

    That is all.

  • http://www.3upadventures.com Beth

    Maddie,

    This is beautiful.

    Yes. Yes. Yes.

  • Jessica

    This is so amazing. I want to hug this post.
    I wish this blog was a book club we were all having together, holding these conversations on my couch while drinking wine all night.

    • http://eclpse.livejournal.com Kimberly

      Wait a minute — has it been a year since the last book club meetup???

  • http://www.rachelwilkerson.com Rachel Wilkerson

    “And if you do one day choose to get married, for whatever reason, I promise not to treat you like I knew it was going to happen all along. Because that’s just obnoxious.”

    Love that! I hate when people do that about anything (marriage, baby, etc). I don’t know why people feel compelled to say “I told you so” with big stuff like this. It makes me feel like, “Oh, you’re psychic? How NICE FOR YOU.”

    • Alexandra

      I hate to be “that person” but sometimes, you do see it coming. For instance, I have a friend, who’s mom I knew reasonably well. When I went to University, said friend came to visit me one day. Her mom dropped her off, and I went down to say hi, along with a guy friend who roomed near me. I’d known the guy for 3 weeks. From that day onwards, she assumed he was my boyfriend, and didn’t believe my friend when she said we weren’t together. That was 8 years ago, we’re now engaged. Don’t know that I ever heard a “I told you so” out of her… But seriously, moms just know. I find it hard to be upset when she managed to predict it off so little. XD

      • http://www.rachelwilkerson.com Rachel Wilkerson

        Oh I think that’s SO different from people predicting that you’ll change your mind about getting married or having kids! I feel like knowing two people are great for each other and then having it work out is sweet…but when it’s about big life choices like whether or not to marry at all, the “I knew you’d change your mind” can feel really condescending.

  • http://www.laughterinthelou.com Emma

    I like this a LOT. Sometimes I want to throw showers or parties or something for those friends for other big accomplishments because they deserve the adoration and support that engaged couples do. There’s no one perfect solution, but this letter is an excellent answer.

  • Anon

    I’m beginning to feel like I am too old for this site. I’m turning 40 in October (how is that possible?) and happen to be a lesbian. An interesting thing about living in the queer world is that until marriage equality looked like it was actually a possibility, the “pressure to get married” didn’t exist. People had commitment ceremonies but there was no pressure to get married. I noticed that after NY legalized gay marriage that there were articles in the New York Times about mothers pressuring their sons to “settle down,” something that didn’t even happen five years ago.

    I have never thrown a birthday party for myself but I am this year. While yes, I am in a wonderful relationship, I’m still throwing my own party because I think it’s pretty damn amazing I’ve made it this long and I feel that turning 40 is something to celebrate. So if you want to celebrate an accomplishment other than getting married, may I suggest a “Because I’m still here dammit!” party?

    We should celebrate that we’re all still above ground, figuring out how to keep thriving and living the best we can. Here’s to Life! May I suggest this song as inspiration, sung by the incredible Shirley Horn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTv3TONfTTQ

    • meg

      True that.

      Don’t worry, age of readership varies a lot. Maddie and I, after all, are in a whole different generation from each other (girlfriend was SIX YEARS OLD when Kurt Cobain died. I just… yeah.) So sometimes content skews young, sometimes (my favorite times) our mid to late thirties readers do the writing.

      • Maddie

        Also, I need role models y’all.

  • http://useyourwordss.blogspot.com/ Michelle

    This post is super duper awesome and a good reminder to myself to check that I’m treating folks as I should. Thanks and yay and all of those good things!

  • Claire

    Just have to say I love the message of this post and also Maddie’s kick ass writing.

  • http://landlockedlove.blogspot.com Kelly

    Oh, Maddie. While the whole post is awesome, the waterworks hit me hard at “I. Will. Shut. That. Shit. Down.”

    I am just barely three weeks past my wedding, and there’s a lot of things–huge, transcendent, joyous things, and unbearably sad and hurtful things–that I’m still trying to process. But even in the thick of it, still, I am acutely thankful and aware that I have friends, I have family who stepped in front of me, who shielded me, who Shut. That. Shit. Down. on my wedding day. And there are no words for what a complete gesture of love that was.

    I will strive to return the favor.

  • Peg

    I have to say – I just love Maddie.

    This is one of the awesomest posts ever!

  • haelmai

    Thank you for saying exactly what I feel but never had the right words for!!! I totally posted this on my FB wall, as a way of trying to let those I love know that I will be there for them anyway I can. I soooo love this post!

  • Sasha

    I know I am reading the right wedding site when it’s a wedding site with an ode to NOT marrying

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