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How to Handle Marriage Pressure

POPSUGAR / paid for by / SK-II

Marriage pressure is something nearly every millennial experiences at some point in life. Despite external and even internal pressures, it's possible to #changedestiny. We've partnered with SK-II to inspire you to define milestones and create a timeline for life on your terms, and no one else's.

I'm 28 years old. That's the exact age my parents were when they got married. It's the age many people are when they get married. But it's not the age I'm getting married. In fact, I often joke that marriage is the last thing on my mind right now. But even though I refuse to give into the pressure of reaching this particular milestone by a certain age, I know others can't say the same. Because when it comes to tying the knot, everyone from relatives to friends to colleagues has expectations for you, and internalizing those expectations for yourself is hard to avoid. Social media and pop culture certainly don't help. Even typing "marriage pressure" into Google serves up page after page on the topic across genders, cultures, and countries. But I can tell you, it's not luck that afforded me my position — it was a shift in perspective.

When it comes to tying the knot, everyone from relatives to friends to colleagues has expectations for you, and internalizing those expectations for yourself is hard to avoid.

I wasn't always this self-assured about the topic. There was a definitely a time not too long ago I dreamed of wedding gowns and flower arrangements and envisioned doing it all before I turned the big 3-0. Ironically, it was only when I hit prime marriage age that I realized just how much of a social construct it all was, and all it took was one word to change my thinking: "why?" Why do I need to check things off my life list by arbitrary ages? Why can't I challenge expectations and conventional norms? Why don't I do life my way?

As part of its #ChangeDestiny campaign, global skincare brand SK-II has partnered with Katie Couric to produce a new docuseries, "Timelines," that explores the topic of marriage and the pressure women around the world feel to adhere to expectations from society and their families. After discovering the stories of the four young women spotlighted, I was inspired to start my own conversation around marriage pressure — everyone experiences it in some form or another, and the more we openly talk about it, the more we can all conquer it together.

I still appreciate a wedding and all the elements that go into making it beautiful, but now it's for a different reason. I enjoy it for myself and not as the external hallmark of success, happiness, and fulfillment that everyone ascribes to it. And that alone has awarded me with incredible freedom: freedom from expectations, freedom from self-comparison, freedom to define my own milestones and create my own timeline on my own terms. These days, that means saving up for a house with my partner instead of an elaborate wedding. Wherever my path takes me, I'm confident knowing that I'm doing it because it's right for me and not right now.

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