If I had a dollar…or a quarter…or a nickel…well, let’s just say I get asked this question a lot by teenagers who have the tact of the Jolly Green Giant in a China shop.
To be fair the conversation usually starts with the pictures of my darling nieces on my walls, who, do in fact look an awful lot like me (genetics are very powerful). It goes something like this:
Me: I know.
Student: Do you have any kids?
Student: Do you want kids?
Me: Maybe someday. Depends on whether all you jokers drive me stark raving mad first or not.
Student: Are you married? [Bingo the million dollar question]
Me: Nope. [And this is where it goes one of two directions]
Student A: Why aren’t you married yet? Student B: Don’t you ever want to get married?
Neither of these conversations, of course, have anything to do with English, but you’re kidding yourself if you think my job is just about literature, grammar, and writing. And I’d be bored out of my skull if it was. My job description of course is “English Teacher” but that’s only about a third of what I actually do. My job is really relational, which is exactly why conversations like this will always happen. My students want to know more about me (of course, there is the kid who thinks I live at school…literally…but that’s a story for another day) and why I want to know more about them.
As a result I’m forced to confront my perpetual state of “singledom” (regardless of whether or not I am or am not currently dating someone) or a regular basis. And that is trying.
Because the answer is not simple.
Yes, I want to be married, someday, I think. Most days I want to be, I think. And yet…
No, maybe I don’t want to be married—I like my space—I like my independence—I like my life the way it is and change is…ah….ah…
But I do want to be married. I write Christian romances. Of course I am looking for that for myself so…
Yes, I do.
Of course, it’s not just my students who ask this, but they are the ones who ask most often.
The fact of the matter is, I’ve always pictured myself married by now. I’m not, but I’m not unhappy about it the way my 16 year old self thought I would be, so that is perplexing as well.
What I don’t want is to get married because it is what people expect. If I am simply trying to find a life mate because my society believes that I am somehow incomplete without a partner, then I’m not okay with that. I’m an individual person and I have an identity on my own without a partner.
Of course, the opposite is true too. I hate the idea embodying the extreme opinion where women are all about not getting married because marriage strips them of their independence. With the right person, marriage can add to your identity rather than strip it from you.
So, why am I not married?
I shrug or throw it back at them: Why aren’t you? I ask. Because they answer is all the same no matter what age you are (Maybe I’M still too young to be married…don’t call me old, children ;-)).
Do I want to be married?
Sure, under the right circumstances, I think we all do (even those adamantly against marriage would probably cave…haven’t you seen HIMYM?)