Perhaps you’re one of many girls who, when at family reunions or barkada get-togethers, are asked the dreaded question, “When are you getting married?” It’s especially common these days when your Facebook and Instagram feeds often teem with wedding photos and engagement announcements.
Earlier this year, a survey conducted among 160 Filipinas aged 18-60 revealed that 63% of them believe they’re expected to be in a stable relationship by the time they reach 25, while 83% felt they need to be married before turning 30. Talk about no pressure. While prying into our relationship status may seem harmless at first, it has the power to affect us in the long run. We sat down with five fearless Filipinas who shared their views on marriage and how they deal with the pressure to be in stable relationships and wed at a certain age.
[related: Love Actually: 'Yes, A Civil Wedding Can Be More Practical And Charming Over A Church Ceremony!']
Do you feel like your parents, relatives, and/or friends expect you to get married or be in a stable relationship at a certain age? How do you deal when you're asked about your marriage plans?
Bubbles Paraiso: "I feel the pressure from our society. I get asked by random people why I’m not married with children yet. It’s my life, my rules. I’m not there yet. I haven’t met the person I want to spend my life with yet, so why hurry and settle? I don’t need a man to validate my existence. I love being independent. If one day I meet the one who will sweep me off of my feet, then okay. But I’ll only cross that bridge when I get there."
Lauren Young: "I guess I’m just really lucky to be surrounded by people who don’t really base my success or status on my age. As far as marriage is concerned, there are no pressures from them naman. The pressure has always been from myself."
Janeena Chan: "I guess when family and friends start asking about your plans, it only goes to show that they really care about you. Although my longtime boyfriend and I have already discussed our timelines, I’m all about enjoying the present. So, whenever I get asked about marriage, I always just say, 'We’ll get there!'"
Yuki Tansengco: "I believe each family and circle of friends have the right to demand as long as they have our best interests. In my case, I’m lucky that I’ve unexpectedly met my future husband when I wasn't pro-actively searching. And it can happen to anyone! Don't have deadlines—just work on being your best self."
Margarita Gumabao: "When I’m with my friends, sometimes I can’t help but think how I’m the only girl who’s not in a relationship. The pressure mostly comes from myself."
What do you think is the perfect time to get married? Do you even think there’s a perfect time to get married?
Bubbles: "The perfect time is when you’ve met the person you want to spend your life with. When you are in love with your life and with the other person."
Lauren: "I used to think that the perfect time to get married is when I’m 28 or 29, but I realized it’s not really about the age. It’s about finding the right person."
Janeena: "In my opinion, it’s when both parties are truly ready in all levels— mentally, spiritually, emotionally, physically. It’s not necessarily about age. I know couples who got married earlier than usual, and I’ve heard stories of some who took a little longer before they found the perfect partner at the right time. So, I think the best time to get married is when you know you’re ready—for the right reasons, with the right mindset, committed to the right partner, and most importantly with the right heart centered in Christ."
Yuki.: "As cheesy as it sounds, the perfect time to be married is when you just KNOW. I just got out of an eight year (eight year!!!) relationship so I wasn't in a rush to get into another one. Marriage didn't even cross my mind but when I crossed paths with my fiancé, it was a whole new experience and I just knew. The perfect time to get married is when you may not have the perfect person and the perfect reasons but you'll deal with the imperfections with unconditional love."
Margarita: "Yes, I think there is a perfect time for everyone to get married and that’s when they’re ready—no matter the age."
What are your main considerations before getting married? If you don’t want to get married, how do you feel society or your friends or family will react to it?
Bubbles: "I know I’ll eventually do but it’s just not in my radar now. The only consideration being the fact that I don’t think I’ve met the man I want to marry just yet."
Lauren: "You have to be in love and you have to be prepared financially, spiritually, mentally. One of the main qualities that I look for in a partner is that he should be God-fearing. Should I decide not to get married, I don’t think my family would have any problem with my decision. But I don’t think I could say the same about our society in general. People need to realize that it’s not just about marriage. I live my life for myself, not for others."
Janeena: "More than anything, it’s having a stable partner who will be with you for life! It’s no joke raising a family, which I do look forward to in the not so near future. However, I do believe that not all happily-ever-afters have to begin with marriage. We shape our own realities based on how well we treat ourselves and the people around us, and that can be achieved with or without a partner in marriage."
Yuki: "Finding a lifetime partner should be someone who can bring out both the weirdest and best versions of you. (Laughs) Marriage is like a hot cup of English breakfast tea—if someone doesn’t want it, they'll say it and we shouldn’t force it on them!"
Margarita: "I do want to get married someday. I want to be with someone who shares the same beliefs as me and someone who brings out the best in me."
Are there also pressures on who you should marry or have you received backlash on who you were dating and considering marrying?
Bubbles: "Luckily, I’ve never had that pressure."
Lauren: "My friends and family don’t really like my taste in men! (Laughs) Now that I’m single again, lumalabas na naman all their opinions, like how they didn’t like the guys I have dated in the past, and who I should date. Because I’m in the entertainment industry, for them, there’s a certain image I have to protect. They always tell me to date someone from the industry. But to be honest, that’s not really a main consideration for me. As long as they’re genuinely nice and successful in their own endeavors, I’m good with it, regardless of the industry. Ever since, ayoko nang pinapakealaman ako. I listen to them but at the end of the day, it’s still me who gets to decide for myself. There will always be pressure from society and family but instead of focusing on what other people would think, try putting the focus on yourself and on being true to yourself. If people don’t like what you do, you can’t do anything about it. As long as what you’re doing is right and you’re not stepping on anyone then it’s fine."
Janeena: "There’s no doubt that my friends and family will always want what’s best for me as I would for them. It’s a good kind of pressure but I always take their comments with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, it’s you who will go on those dates, marry and live with your significant other. So as long as you click and work well with each other, and you’re not hurting anybody, then you have more than enough reasons to pursue, enjoy, and foster your own relationship."
Yuki: "I’ve experienced being on the receiving end of negative remarks and judgments from other people who feel like they have a say on my personal relationships. I just narrow it down to people who have my best interests. Others are just background noise. Love who you love and live your best life with your partner!"
Margarita: "I’m free to choose whoever I want but he has to believe in God."
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Banner image by Anton Aguila, taken from Lauren Young's Instagram account