“I just came here to find a husband.” That’s the sign Ayana Evans wore to a party she attended a few years ago. The picture she posted on her Instagram, shows her standing on the balcony, scanning the crowd below, with a sign taped on her back.
One might think she was being desperate or thirsty by being blunt about her purpose for showing up. But in an interview with The Root, Ayana said she was just being honest about her desire for a husband. And, she explained, putting her desire for a mate out there helped her to be honest about what she really wanted, instead of pretending that she was fine with being single. Her honesty helped to take some of the pressure off herself to get a husband before her fertility clock expire.
If you’re feeling pressured to get married, you’re not alone. I remember returning home for the summer while I was in graduate school and it seemed everywhere I went, people were asking me when I was going to get married. It didn’t help that I didn’t have men lining up to propose to me (no one was even asking me out for ice cream!).
On top of that, seven of my friends had just gotten married that season and had asked me to sing at their weddings. The pressure to have a serious relationship drove me into the arms of the man who was absolutely wrong for me, and I knew it. But because I wanted to say I had someone too, I I hung on for dear life to a very toxic relationship.
Maybe your family has been pressuring you to get married, and you’re sick of hearing “when are you gonna give me some grandchildren?” at every family gathering.
Or maybe you’re dreading wedding season because you’re always the bridesmaid and never the bride. You could start to feel like your dreams of having a family are fading fast, and so you’re looking at the person you’re dating, wondering when they’re gonna pop the question.
I want to help you take some of the pressure off so that you stop making relationship choices out of fear of missing out and start making choices based on wisdom for what’s best for your life. Use these 3 tips to get started.
1. If the pressure is coming from yourself, focus on what you can control
If you’re feeling anxious or frustrated because you’ve been beating yourself for not being married yet, you need to focus on what you can control.
You can’t control when you’re going to get married. You also don’t have much control over your fertility, so worrying about having children won’t make it happen any faster. So what can you control? Let’s make a list.
- You can control your thoughts. When anxious thoughts arise, you can shift your thinking by using affirmations that keep you calm. READ: Sisters, We Got You: 15 Powerful Quotes to Keep You Encouraged
- You can control dating. Sitting around at home is the best way to guarantee you won’t meet anyone special. Be intentional about making dating a priority, and you’ll feel a little more in control of your destiny.
- You can control who you listen to. When someone in your life starts to ask you a ton of questions about your love life, you can control whether or not you want to talk to them about it.
2. If the pressure is coming from friends and family, use your words to create boundaries
Boundaries are a beautiful thing! If you feel like every conversation with your friends or family will end with a question about when you’re going to get married, you can create boundaries around what you will and will not talk about.
For example, if you’re open to discussing your dating life, you could reply to questions like, “when are you gonna get married,” with “whenever you set me up with someone who’s a perfect match for me!” Not only does this lighten up the conversation, but it also let’s people know you’d love their help to meet your mate.
However, if you’d just rather not talk about it when your mama asks you, you could let her know that you appreciate the fact that she wants you to be happy, but that her questions have the opposite effect.
Tell her exactly how it makes you feel when she pressures you about marriage. You may discover that they’ll back off. And even if they don’t, you’ll have released the resentment you feel about the whole situation.
3. If the pressure is coming from within your relationship, it’s time to have a conversation
If you’re feeling like your partner isn’t on the same page with you when it comes to marriage, you could end up with a lot of relationship problems. Pressuring your partner isn’t effective in moving you toward marriage.
Neither is investing another year into a relationship that may not lead to a ring. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s time to have a real conversation, where you allow each person to express what they really feel about marriage. If you discover that your partner loves you but can’t see himself getting married within the next 12-18 months, you’ll need to decide whether it’s worth spending your best years with someone who doesn’t want to commit to forever with you.
Pressure doesn’t feel good and leads to you feeling anxious about your future. Getting honest about how you feel is the first step to lifting that heavy burden off of your shoulders. You’ll discover that dating feels more fun (and less like a chore) when you’re not so attached to the outcome. This freedom will empower you to take one more step closer to the marriage you desire–and deserve.
Let’s talk BMWK. Where do you feel the most pressure to get married? Your family? Society? Your partner? Share your thoughts below