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just knowing.

August 12, 2009

Weddings and engagements seem to be the theme of the summer. Seems like everyone is planning weddings, getting engaged, or at the very least, attending several weddings, showers, and parties. Yes, summer is a beautiful time of year for this kind of celebration. Yes, I realize I’m at the age where people start getting married. But if it keeps going at this rate, it’s no wonder people start feeling pressured to get married by 30.

— And no, this post is not a hint for the boyfriend. I think we all know I’m beyond dropping hints with any amount of subtlety.

My thinking about the subject (amazingly, I don’t think about getting married all the time) came up when I realized one of the people I know getting married went from first date to engagement in a little over 3 months. 3 months?! Given my opinion, I can’t judge them, but I just can’t get over that time frame (even if it has been a long engagement).

And it got me thinking about a conversation I had in college about when/how you know s/he is The One. I’m a pretty firm believer in the idea that you “just know”. My roommate was of the opinion that getting married was pretty much “giving up”. That you give up on searching for something better, that you decide to compromise, that you’re tired of playing the (dating) game, that you’re happy enough. And while this perspective is unbelievably depressing to me, I don’t know what to say about it. I’m not so naive to think that there’s someone who’s absolutely perfect or that I’m the absolute happiest I could be. So what about me “just knowing” isn’t just me “giving up”?

side note: This post was originally titled “engagement”, but I felt that would be a bit misleading. And what would I title the post when I actually got engaged?

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4 comments

  1. I think weddings and engagement go together in the summer for one simple reason. Summer is one of the most popular times for getting married. And boyfriends/girlfriends who attend these weddings start thinking maybe they should pop the question.

    As far as the quickness – IMHO – I think going from date to engagement in three months is OK as long as the engagement is > 1 year. I think part of the reason why the divorce rate is so high now is that we have stopped learning how to delay gratification. So people meet and want to be married and jump into it. Then they realize they are incompatible. I was dating for two years before getting engaged and then two years before marriage. I learned a LOT about my future wife and there were times when I seriously had to ask myself if I could deal with her negative qualities. And she also had four years to know if she could deal with my negative qualities. A lot of these didn’t manifest themselves until 1-2 years in when you can’t keep up the pretense anymore. So we knew what we were getting into. So I think it’s probably a safe bet that we’ll get to stay together barring any infidelity or personality-altering mid-life crisis.

    re: just know. I think step one is chemistry. That’s the “just know” feeling. Then it’s up to you to IMO spend the time getting to know the person to see if they are compatible with you. Although it makes for good movies and TV shows, if you’re a vegetarian and he’s a meat fiend or you’re an environmentalist and he loves his hummer, you’re probably not going to last past the initial lightning bolts. I think perhaps your “giving up” friend was right, but framed it in a pessimistic way. I look at it more like gambling or the stock market (essentially the same thing). Let’s say the stock market. You do your research on two companies and if the prospects good you can invest in only one. (We need this arbitrary you can only invest in one because we don’t have polygamy) So then there are four outcomes. Company A does better than B, B does better than A, both do equally well, both do equally bad.

    In essence when you get married you are locking in your stock vs any other potential mates at that point. This means, after your research (as I indicated from the dating/engagement period) you have decided this person is compatible enough. Do you invest in them (time/emotion-wise) or wait for another company that might have a higher return? There are dozens of people who had stock in Microsoft in the 80s (or other companies like TI) that sold it because it wasn’t increasing fast enough. Now they aren’t rich. So basically, to get married is to say, “this person is good enough” and I don’t feel that I will find someone better. I doubt there’s any one perfect person for you, although there is probably a limited amount of best persons for you.


    • Thanks for your thoughts. Though I was hoping there was something more to “just knowing” than chemistry.


  2. haha, I think that comment was longer than your post. hehe


  3. Just found this and had to share. How to know mathematically!

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-10309716-71.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-20

    You can read the substance, but it basically comes to:

    “Yes, you should stop after 37 candidates and choose the next best one. This number was apparently derived by taking the number 100 and dividing by e, the base of the natural logarithms (around 2.72). And it apparently increases your chances of the best choice to 37 percent.”



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