Marriage is a subject in our society that has followed women everywhere since the beginning of time. We can't even be out here living our best lives because someone, somewhere, is going to ask about it. And for single, accomplished women everywhere, the subject of marriage usually never goes away.
I think back to a tweet from Necole Kane that had me snapping with the stank face all night:
You can be fit, career popping, good credit, financially stable, amazing health, well-traveled, glowing, chakras al… https://t.co/D51OXxa1AM— Necole Kane (@Necole Kane)1517721876.0
We can all likely agree that for women who are out here getting to these bags and minding their business, the subject of marriage is dreaded, it's unwarranted, and it's downright rude. Or at least it can be.
Hear me out.
Marriage rates have declined over the years and actually only continue to do so. That's mostly because years ago, getting married and having children was the expectation. But over the last two decades, those expectations have shifted, with fewer and fewer folks considering marriage a necessity. A 2017 report from the Pew Research Center found one in seven people who've never been married, don't want to get married. One in seven. And another 27 percent of people aren't sure how they feel about marriage.
Additionally, a 2019 Pew report found just 17 percent of people think marriage is essential for a woman to have a fulfilling life (16 percent for men), and three in 10 people think being married is simply not important.
This is a shift that we all see, but don't often consider. And even celebs (some married, some not) with large platforms are vocal about never planning for marriage, and showing us every day that it is absolutely OK not to. For example:
If we look on the scope of marriage on the infamous scale of marriage vs. success, no other woman comes to mind more than Oprah Winfrey. You see, Oprah comes from trauma. Her entire upbringing was tied to Black pain. This may or may not have had an impact on her decision to never marry her long-term partner, Stedman Graham in hindsight, but either way, that particular license is not something she wants to have.
Winfrey has been open about not being married or having children before, and she said she had no regrets about it. She told People magazine that at the time, her show required 17-hour workdays and she would return home to her dogs and to Graham. She said her partner let her be who she needed to be in the world:
"He's never demanding anything from me like, 'Where's my breakfast? Where's my dinner?' Never any of that, which I believed would have changed had we married. No question about it – we would not stay married because of what that would have meant to him, and I would have had my own ideas about it."
Not to say she never thought about it before, as she has mentioned that at one point, it was a part of her plan. As we know, this never happened and Oprah is OK with her decision.
Instead, she "got to fulfill [being a mom and wife] in the way that was best for me," which of course has been through her partnership and her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
Meagan Good is the actress that we all grew up with since she was 12 years old. And although married now, she never looked to being so as a "goal." She was, or is, even unsure if kids are in her future. During an episode of Established with Angela Yee, the Think Like a Man actress said she never really aspired to marriage or to motherhood.
"I was always very much focused on my career because that's all I knew my whole life and it's what I love."
In fact, her change of heart didn't come until after she married her husband, DeVon Franklin, when she realized that she can be a mother and still maintain who she is, which she never viewed as going hand-in-hand prior.
"I can still be the true identity of who I am and I can also be a mother and be a great one. So, I've just now gotten to that place and I'll be 40 [this] year and I'm like, 'OK, it's about that time!'"
Shonda Rhimes is another culture giant who has said that marriage was never for her. And sis literally means never. When Shonda isn't taking over our screens and securing the $100 million Netflix bag, she is perfectly fine with being the Rich Auntie that we all secretly have inside. The screenwriter has previously spoken out about how she doesn't intend on ever tying the knot with someone. She revealed to Entertainment Weekly:
"I was seriously dating somebody and I was like, 'I don't want to do this.' We're all so conditioned to want it, I felt like there must be something wrong with me. But the minute I said it out loud to my family, it was fantastic. Now if somebody says, 'Are you looking for that?' I say, 'Nope, looking for a boyfriend, not a husband.' And there's a freedom to that. There's no pressure if you're not looking for it."
Eva Mendes, who's starred in movies such as Training Day and Hitch, declared her disinterest in marriage during an appearance on Chelsea Lately in 2011.
"I actually think it's really sexy to be with someone in your 50s and 60s and be like, 'That's my boyfriend.' I think husband and wife is just . . . very unsexy."
In fact, like Meagan, Mendes revealed she never even wanted kids or saw herself as a mother.
"I don't wanna have kids. I love the little suckers; they're so cute but I love sleep so much and I worry about everything."
However, this all changed the moment she met her partner of over almost a decade, The Notebook's Ryan Gosling. Mendes even credits Gosling for her change of heart in regards to becoming a mom because although the couple have yet to marry, she knew he was her soulmate. Now a mother of two kids, she told Women's Health:
"Ryan Gosling happened. I mean, falling in love with him. Then it made sense for me to have…not kids, but his kids. It was very specific to him."
Mindy Kaling's story is the opposite as she went from overly desiring to wed, to never entertaining the thought. The Office star told Good Housekeeping:
"When I was younger, I wanted so badly to be married and have kids in a rush. I loved my parents' relationship. The way my father was with my mother when she was dying was so moving. It was such devotion. I don't know that that will happen for me, but I like it."
But sis also doesn't want you to confuse the two. She adds:
"I don't need marriage. I don't need anyone to take care of all my needs and desires. I can take care of them myself now."
The actress now has two kids, though she's not revealed with who--not even to close friends.
The evolution of marriage for women has slowly become a highly-debatable lifestyle, and the trend is only gaining steam. In fact, women who truly never aspire to marriage shouldn't be considered normalized because for some, not wanting to marry is normal. And in my best and loudest Auntie Tabitha voice: and that's they business.
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