First Comes Love, Then Comes Marriage, and Then ...

By Genevieve Kane

Still from Cameron Crowe's 1989 film  Say Anything

Still from Cameron Crowe's 1989 film Say Anything

Four wise men by the names of Paul, John, Ringo, and George once said that "love is all you need." That is a pretty presumptuous statement if you think about it; but then again, who can really question the authority of The Walrus?

Love is all you need. What does that really mean? For generations, young people have been flooded with all sorts of romantic propaganda, packaging and selling this idealized concept of love. I shall now turn to Cher, who touched us all with arguably one of the most annoying songs of the ‘90s (“Groove is in the Heart” coming in close second), Do You Believe in Life After Love.  
Let's take a second to think about that. Do you believe in life after love? A simple question really. Yes, or no? Do you, or do you not, believe in life after love?
As a young woman, I feel particularly affected by the notion that there could possibly be no chance of having a life after love. Love is all consuming. It's one of the emotional extremities that defines us as humans. However, for young girls, I feel that love has become much more than that. The media portrays finding love as the be-all-end-all. It fabricates this unhealthy idea that you are a missing piece of a discombobulated puzzle just waiting to find the perfect jigsaw to fit ever so nicely together with all of your complex curves and edges.

Romantic, yes. Realistic? Maybe. Damaging? Very.

Telling a young woman that she is not complete until she finds love, or her soulmate, is harmful. Women are taught to equate finding love and getting married with success. I am constantly told that a woman is not successful, or complete, until she finds someone to complete her. She can not exist independently. She can not reach her full potential until she finds someone to unlock it for her.

This has been reinforced by many television shows, movies, and magazines. There have been countless films where the female protagonist’s main objective is to find a husband before she blows out the candles on her 30th birthday. There's an entire genre of film that perpetuates that. Women are rarely main characters with meaningful roles in movies, but in rom-coms, they're the stars. 

I am tired of seeing a woman’s shtick on television be that she is single and ready to tie the knot. Also, how many different ways can the same article about finding your future husband be rebranded and resold? I feel as though my surroundings have been grooming me to actively seek out love, with marriage as the end goal in mind.

Though, nice as it may be, I do not need John Cusack standing outside my window with a boom box blaring Peter Gabriel to feel content with myself.

It is 2016. It should be no surprise that women and men are both fully developed and complicated people. Regardless of gender, no person should be told that they only have half of an identity. This breeds unhealthy relationships where couples becomes overly dependent on their partners, and can only find value in themselves by seeking validation from another.

I am taking my sweet time in figuring out who I am before I get involved with another person. I am making sure I take care of myself right now. I am my own top priority.