Do all the single ladies want a ring on it?
In Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” she sings about her ex, who is jealous because she was with a new man. She tells him it was too bad for him because “if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it.” The snappy song and accompanying video went viral. It was even hysterically parodied on Saturday Night Live with Beyonce and Justin Timberlake.
The song became almost an anthem for single women. Or did it?
There is a rise in the single population, and not just because millennials all want to live with mom and dad forever. They don’t. What they want is to be happy – and don’t see marriage as the only way to be happy.
A new report from Mintel’s Single Lifestyles UK reveals that “61% of single women say they are happy with their relationship status, compared to 49% of single men. Overall, it appears that unattached Brits are in no rush to find a partner. As many as 70% of singles in the UK say they have not actively tried to find a partner in the last 12 months*, rising to 75% of women.”
Maybe those women watched too many friends and colleagues trade in their careers and carefree and happier ways to become wives. Maybe they are learning something I learned after seeing so many of my girlfriends leave their personalities at the altar: as those women settled into marriage, they weren’t particularly happy with the direction of their lives. They realized that the “happily ever after” stuff we hear is the stuff of fictional and advertising.
Also, today’s smart and savvy women have more opportunities and choices. They can get credit, buy a house, and easily travel alone – often resulting in amazing adventures.
That doesn’t mean single women don’t want marriage. They do. For several reasons, once of which is the fear being lone and dying alone. More importantly, they also know, from an economic standpoint, two incomes pays the rent and the utilities much more easily than one.
At the same time, today’s single woman – especially if she’s a bit older – used to making her own decisions, She comfortable doing things her way. She isn’t interested in giving up her “SELF” to become an appendage to someone else. She also has no interest in being told what to do or having all the household responsibilities dumped on her.
Instead, today’s single wants to be with a partner – someone who will split the responsibilities and leave her some space for the freedom to grow into her own bigger picture. It isn’t a easy expectation or a stress-free choice to make.
How do you know marriage will be a better choice than single?
I must have been ahead of my time! Like today’s single ladies, I really wanted to have a love relationships and a partner. I was ready for it. What I wasn’t ready to do was give up my hard-won independence. So, when Joseph said he wanted to get married, it was a really hard decision.
First, I came up with the Five-Year Marriage.
Then, I launched a dirt-simple “formula” for safeguarding my SELF. It’s one basic question: “Am I happier now than when I was by myself?”
I use this question to assess just about everything in my relationship. I ask it sometimes in a meandering way, like while enjoying a long walk. Other times it would be after Joseph and I had a fight and I was trying to calm down and sort things out.
If the answer is “no” then I figure out why not. Then I bring it to a Family Meeting and discuss it. Sometimes I don’t even wait for the Family Meeting.
That’s a measure I use, and it might be one you like too. If you do, get into a habit of using it.
If that question doesn’t work for you, find another simple but overarching question that’s meaningful to you. It should be short and sweet but powerful enough to push a couple of your internal buttons. The more you know how you feel and the faster you recognize and articulate it, the better chance you have a fixing it – and doing it before it festers into a serious problem.
Before all the single ladies put a ring on it, get some safeguards in place for your SELF.
Learn more tips in The Five-Year Marriage: Shifting the Marriage Paradigm.