Two weeks ago, I went to a friend's dinner party on North Avenue and ended up spending the evening socializing with a particularly pretty gal pal of his. When the conversation shifted to her recent engagement, the 23-year-old bride-to-be was absolutely glowing as she recalled the details of how her guy had proposed.
Maybe it's because I am a recording artist (or maybe I am just a closet commitment-phobe), but being tied down right now seems like a fate worse than death.
However, even I had to swoon when she showed us her super pretty, totally modern-looking engagement ring. I asked how long she had dated her fiance before getting engaged, and she informed me that they had dated for two years. She then went on to tell me that what helped her decide to tie the knot was the fact that she knows a girl who has been with her guy for 12 years, and in spite of the fact that she wants to get married her man refuses to pop the question. She does not want to end up like that.
To be honest ... neither do I.
We all know that the divorce rate is high and marriage is hard and blah blah blah. The fact that the wedding industry has not gone belly up during these yucky economic times is proof that many people still believe in the institution of marriage.
What I would like to know is this: If you are dating someone and you are all in love and stuff, what is the maximum amount of time you are supposed to wait before you get married? I mean, I know the clock doesn't start ticking from the moment you meet a hot guy during Flywheel spin class, but once that hot guy graduates to boyfriend status, how long are you supposed to be together before it's time to put a ring on it?
I posed this question to my homies on Facebook and was surprised by the responses. While many of the girls said that the length of time before getting engaged depends upon the relationship and the people in it (which I totally understand and agree with), most of the guys said something like, "A man knows if he can spend the rest of his life with a woman within about two years."
Wow. Does that mean that every girl who has been with her boyfriend for two years or more should take him to see "The Five-Year Engagement" this weekend and give him the stank eye during the whole movie until he realizes that he's long overdue for a proposal?
At the dinner party, my friend's adorable lil' mom said that she married her husband after dating for one year and being engaged for one year. Did you do the math? TWO YEARS! She told us, "You only have your youth for so long. Don't waste it."
I have always believed that I have plenty of time for marriage later in life, but I bet the girl who has been with her guy for 12 years with no ring in sight thought the same thing. Yikes, right?
While some people (like me) would never be ready for marriage after only two years, when I finally meet Mr. Right I will seriously consider my friend's mom's advice because she still is happily married after 30 years.
Maybe some of her Happy Marriage Swag will rub off on me.
NIKKI LYNETTE, A CHICAGO NATIVE, IS AN INDIE RECORDING ARTIST WHOSE MUSIC APPEARS ON MTV, VH1, SHOWTIME AND MORE. CHICAGONOW.COM/NIKKILYNETTE