So the other day, a couple of my boys and I meet up for lunch. Just as I’m about to dig into my plate of freshly fried chicken and shrimp, one of them drops the bomb on me: “I think I might have found The One.” I instinctively look up from my food and give him an unintentional “People’s Eyebrow.”
After we had a good laugh, I asked him to elaborate as to why he felt that way. He proceeded to roll off a long list of qualities and good things about the young lady. While he made it clear he wasn’t stepping down the aisle this summer or anytime soon, I could tell he was serious. Besides being one of the most sincere folks I know, he’s also an intelligent, hard-working guy who has the world at his feet. He’s gonna make some young lady very happy one day. But like me, he’s in his mid-twenties. His revelation left me with plenty of questions as we said our goodbyes. How do you know when you’re ready to settle down? How old is old enough to get married? How do you know you have found, the one?
Personally, I don’t think anyone should get married before the age of 25. Here’s why: I’m 26 and most people my age, myself included, will tell you that they’re just starting to know themselves. The twenties are a time of self-discovery and exploration. Figuring out what career path to take and dealing with your own development as an individual is a big enough task, without trying to fully co-exist with someone who is going on the very same journey of revelation. I shudder to think what my life would be like right now if i had made the decision to marry someone at 18, 21 or even 24. We would be in divorce court or miserable.
I also think when you get married is just as important as who you marry. Finding the right person at the wrong time is a potent recipe for heartache. Finding someone that you totally click with is a rare, intoxicating feeling. It feels so good, you just don’t want to put the damn bottle down. So you drink. And drink some more. You get up on top of tables, dancing and screaming out “YOLO.” But then… you wake up broke, hung over and looking to pick up the pieces. I think where so many couples mess up is that they make lifetime decisions based totally off of feelings. And we all know people who’s feelings change faster than their draws. By the time they wake up from their fantasy, their reality is nowhere near where they want to be.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-marriage. In fact, quite the opposite. I think there’s nothing more beautiful than two people deciding to walk down the road of life together. But statistics show the divorce rate for first-marriages is 50 percent. And I’ll be conservative and say that one-third to one-half of those people are not happy together. So that means that you’ve got roughly a 1 in 4 chance of finding someone that you want to be around forever. Pretty damn scary if you ask me.
In short, there are no simple, one-size fits all answers. Everyone grows and matures at their own rate. Some people may be ready at 25, some at 40, some never at all. Just take your time, get to know yourself and make sure you sober up before any big decisions. I’m out…
Missed my last post? Black Men and Sex: Things We Wish You Knew