I think that the reason that traditionally couples get married before having children has nothing to do with some random verse in the bible, or family pressure, or societal norms. I think that the reason most couples get married before they have children is to give them something to plan for. Let me explain.
When you’re in school you’re planning for uni. If you’re me you’re also planning for the next party, actually no, the next three parties. When you’re in uni, you’re planning for your career- or travel, preferably a bit of both. When you’re single you’re planning for a relationship. When you meet someone you’re planning on moving in together. And possibly a house to buy. And then, once you’ve got your education, career, house, relationship, etc. sorted- and you get to a certain age where you don’t feel like going out every night, then what do you do with your evenings? Watch telly? Clean? I’ll give you something faaarrrr more exciting- perusing the interwebs for pretty things that you can have on a day that’s dedicated to you. And yes, reasons for wanting to get married
are should be far more complex than this, but I defy you to look at a beautiful headpiece, or dress, or lights, and not get really excited about the possibilities of your wedding. Better than watching another rerun of Modern Family. Or the longest ever finale to The Voice.
Babies are another thing to plan for. Once pregnant there are so many things you have to think about before the birth- learning about healthy pregnancy, the birth process, what to do with a newborn, BUYING ALL THE THINGS (apologies- this process requires capitals). And there are elements of planning in every stage of your child’s life. Preferably until they are old enough to make their own decisions, although I know plenty of parents who still try to plan for their very capable adult children! So there is no need to plan for a wedding, your evenings are taken up with cleaning, relaxing, planning for the next day, yada yada yada… Planning a wedding is a stressful thing. It takes time, and energy, organisation and patience. Not things you want to be thinking about when you’re raising small children.
Before I had Reid I wanted to get married, and had planned it all in my head. And then a wonderful young man came along and I put it out of my mind. And THEN Nick proposed (great, thanks Nick). I suggested we get hitched the following month while on holidays in NY, but he didn’t think that was fair on our families (I’m far more selfish than him), so instead we set the date for 2065. It has a good ring to it, I think. Perhaps I’m being too pessimistic, and we should instead plan for 2028- after all, Reid will be 18, and I will need something to plan for so that I step away from planning his life for him. (I’m happy for him to be whatever he wants, as long as he is creative, kind, happy and stylish. And a doctor.)