Friday, January 8, 2016

Single and Down About It? Browse the Online Wedding Announcements (Seriously)

Valentine's Day is about a month away. If you're single, like me, the holiday can be a sore spot for you. I know it has been for me in the past, although a few years ago I chose a new tradition: I buy a gift or do something nice for myself. But that's actually a good subject for another time; this post is about people who feel down about being single, whether it's Valentine's Day or any other day. You may wonder if it's going to happen for you, and you may wonder what other people -- particularly those that are married or getting married -- have that you don't. 

I'm going to instruct you to do something that I recently did; peruse the wedding announcements section of your local paper or better yet, go online to look at some (The New York Times has an excellent online wedding section, bolstered by great stories about how couples met each other.)

I would like you to take a look at the couples, and notice something that I did. You may think that every couple that announces their wedding in the New York Times is young and beautiful. But that's hardly the case at all. 

I see all kinds of couples. There are younger ones, older ones, couples of mixed races and those that share the same ethnicity. There are stylish ones and ones that could use some help in the fashion department. There are gay couples and skinny couples and overweight couples. And although I didn't see any this time, people with disabilities get married -- sometimes to a person that doesn't have one. 

Some you may think are good looking, yes. But honestly, the last time I looked I saw mostly what I would consider average looking people. Why am I looking at wedding announcements online of people I don't know and telling you to do the same?

Because if it happened for them, then it can happen for you. 

It really is something that I realized not long ago about couples getting married. Think about it. Are any of these people really any better than you? No, I don't think so. Maybe some may outshine you a bit in certain areas. But every person is unique with unique qualities they bring to a relationship. And, really, it tells me that everyone has an equal chance at meeting the right partner and getting engaged.  

And there's two other positive benefits to browsing wedding announcements online. First of all, people are still getting married. Yay! I've read reports in the last few years about marriage in the U.S. being on the decline, and even blogged about it on Go Retro. How many of us have heard stories about, people that don't want to commit? (I heard one just the other day, from my hairdresser.) Seriously, looking at the numerous wedding announcements in the Times changed my belief in that area quite a bit and made me realize people are still walking down the aisle. 

Second, I strongly recommend reading about how each couple met (the Times also has an article right now of the most unique ways featured couples met in 2015.) It really is proof that the universe doesn't just have people meet on an online dating site (although one couple did meet on OKCupid) or at a singles event. One couple met on an online forum for their favorite sports team; some worked together, one was introduced by a friend, one met while volunteering for a Big Brothers Big Sisters event. and one couple -- both widows around the same age -- met each other on (OK, so maybe there is something to these dating sites.)

I'm not saying, of course, that everyone has to get married to be happy. But somehow, looking at a section of the paper that many years ago made me envious or feel a little unworthy has really changed my perspective and beliefs in this area. Give it a try sometime -- and let me know what you think.

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