I am at the age where everyone and their sister is getting engaged (which is sad, because I’m like 21). And yes, I realize this is the pot calling the kettle black, because nine months ago, I too jumped on the “If you like it than you should have put a ring on it boat.”
He put a ring on it.
I spent the next two months privately announcing our engagement via email and personal message, before rolling out the “Facebook Official” Engagement (to avoid hurt feelings). As I told my friends and family, I started noticing a trend among answers that made me increasingly uncomfortable.
Talking to other recently engaged friends (remember, everyone is getting engaged now) and they had similar results. I decided to make a list because, you know, since everyone is getting engaged, you might as well brush up on your “Congratulations, I’m so excited for you” etiquette.
1. Aren’t you a little young to be getting married?
Thank you for asking. No. No I don’t think I am a too young to get married. My mother and grandmother both married young and are some of the happiest couples I have ever seen.
Yes, I realize when we “grow up” we will change, but I would rather change together then put off marriage until I’m 30 and more “leveled out.”
I understand there is a risk associated with marrying young. However, Ryosuke is the best friend I have ever had. I fall more and more in love with the person he is becoming every day. If I am old enough to get a credit card, drink, drive, buy a house, and choose a career path – I am old enough to pick a partner. Or at least I think I am.
2. Are you pregnant?
Um. No. No I’m not, and even if I was, I’m pretty sure you are never allowed to ask this question. Don’t be rude.
3. How long have you been together?
I know most of the time this question is asked innocently. It’s more or less like a “wow, I didn’t know you were getting serious with this guy” or “I didn’t know they have been in your life long enough to make that commitment.” My fiancé proposed on our one year anniversary. We had been discussing marriage for a couple months and decided it was the best option. We were both still in school; I had just turned twenty.
No matter how delicately or innocently people asked the question, it still came off as overly judge-y.
If you’re curious, Facebook stalk the couple. Look for the timestamps on couple pictures. Don’t ask them how long they’ve been together.
4. Shouldn’t you marry someone who isn’t ______ (Japanese, a football player, shorter than you, a cat lover, fill in whatever you want).
I’m not joking. I got this exact message from a friend shortly after I announced my engagement.
“Are you sure you want to marry a Japanese man? Ryosuke is nice and everything, but American men are so much better. Japanese men are unloving to their wife.”
She was 100% Japanese. I guess she had been burned by Japanese men before. However, she had never dated an American or and Japanese man – and even if she had – I don’t believe you should be allowed to make such sweeping generalizations like that.
When I read her message, I slammed my laptop shut and called Ryosuke crying. She was one of my close friends. It hurt to read something like that.
The person you choose to marry is more than a race, ethnicity, religion, career, hair color, height, or quirks. They are a whole sum of amazing characteristics that made you fall head over heels for them. When people you care about judge them for a superficial or unchangeable characteristic, it hurt.
Don’t be that person.
5. What size diamond is your ring?
I don’t know. I don’t care. Why do you care? Are you just making conversation?
6. Are you sure he’s the right guy? (or she’s the right girl?)
Well, I said yes, so I’m pretty sure he’s the right guy. Ryosuke and I didn’t announce our engagement publicly (or at least make it Facebook official) for about two months after he proposed. I wanted to tell friends and family personally.
People took my “not making it Facebook official right away” as a sign I wasn’t ready to get married or was still re-thinking my answer. No, I just wanted you to hear it from me first, rather than just reading it on your newsfeed.
My friends are getting engaged. I’m at that age.
Several of my friends are getting married to men (or women) that I cannot stand. But I would sooner cut off my own arm than trample over a friendship to share that kind of information.
I don’t know if my friends or family like Ryosuke. They have been nothing but supportive. That’s how it should be. Even if you know your friend or family member is making a mistake and marrying the wrong person for the wrong reasons – you should respect them enough to let them make their own mistakes. If they fall, be there to catch them in five to ten years. But be supportive.
Announcing a decision as important as an engagement is serious, harrowing stuff. Be gentle to your friends. They need all the support they can get.
For more on Romance, check out: The “Butterfly Effect:” What a Racing Heart and Fluttery Stomach do to a Relationship or
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