A quick scroll through Instagram stories over any weekend will have you overwhelmed. Every other post is either at a wedding or an engagement. These are joyous occasions, held to celebrate love, but why do they leave you bitter and slightly envious?
The first few wedding posts you see featuring classmates or people your age in general, leave you in shock. Have you gotten older without knowing it? Are you at the dreaded age of being an actual adult, ready to be responsible for an entire household?
The more weddings and engagements you see, the more you get used to it, and the more you’re hit with the realization that this may soon be you. So you start to contemplate your life. Have you been focused on the wrong? Should you have spent more time dating around and finding a potential husband?
Your early to mid-twenties are spent figuring out who you are and your career path. This is stressful already on its own and overwhelming enough, without the pressure of marriage and the whole process that precedes it.
Preparing and furnishing a house, preparing and hosting a handful of events, integrating two separate families and taking on this immense responsibility of becoming a wife or husband, and the commitment that comes with it.
The average age of marriage in Saudi Arabia is 25.3 for men and 20.4 for women, while the average age of marriage in the UAE is 26.8 for men and 25.3 for women. In Lebanon it’s 32.8 for men and 28.8 for women, and 25.4 for men and 20.1 for women in Palestine.
These numbers make the age in which the average Egyptian marries appear fairly reasonable, 31 years for men and 25 for women. This number varies drastically depending on what social class you belong to and your education level.
Other than the obvious age gap between genders, women being married as young as 20 is slightly off-putting, especially at a time when we are pushing for feminism and the independence of women.
A lot of us have seen or heard of a friend’s mom or grandma who got married as young as 15. It is no longer surprising, but you’d think we’d have graduated from this very odd mindset that haunts Egyptians. Marry the girl young to avoid bringing shame to your family.
We are each going through life at our separate paces. Some are career-driven, others are focusing on recovering from past trauma, and others have met the person they wish to spend the rest of their lives with. Perhaps they are ready to settle down and perhaps our focus on life is just different.
The fascination of early marriage can be traced back to people seeing the woman as a reproduction machine. The sooner she gets married, the more kids she’ll be able to pop out, and the bigger her family will get.
But what about the women who want something different in life. Those who want to take time for themselves, discovering adulthood on their own, dating around and experiencing the freedom that they are often deprived of at a young age.
Marriage is much more than a pretty dress and extravagant wedding. It usually means an extended list of responsibilities that some are just not ready to handle yet.