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Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Response to "23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged When You're Under 23"

A few days ago a friend of mine shared an article on Facebook, titled:

"23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged When You're Under 23"

Obviously it grabbed my attention because, duh, I got married at 20. I was curious about what the article had to say, so I clicked on it.

You can read about it here.

I get what the author is trying to convey. And I agree when she said that you should not rush into marriage (especially if you're still young), you should go out there and discover yourself, find out what you want to do with your life etc.

I totally agree.

Sometimes people do rush into marriage or get married for the wrong reasons, the common one being peer-pressure (and also pressure from relatives) hence they settle with the guy that they happen to be with at the moment, perhaps fearing that they might not find someone better, which could lead to divorce if it turns out that that they are actually not ready for marriage. 

But what I don't agree with, is her highly judgmental and completely inaccurate generalisation about people who DO get married early:

"It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. It’s an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with it on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce."

Are you freaking kidding me? HIDING behind a significant other? An ADMISSION that the world is too big and scary to deal with on your OWN? Wanting to have someone who is legally obligated to SUPPORT you?

What is all this bullshit? The claims that she made are so wrong on so many different levels. 

For someone who says that she has travelled the world and has more experience that her married peers, she sure sounds like someone who has been living under the rock.

People do NOT get married for those reasons, doesn't matter if they're 22 or 34 or 40. 

"I have begun to notice a common thread amongst all these young unions: inexperience.  Inexperience with dating, traveling, risks, higher education, career direction, SEX, solitude, religious exploration, etc… and it’s insane that I have already experienced more of the world in the last 22 years than my married peers will ever experience in their life."

Okay let's break it down here. She claims that young married couples have inexperience with:

True. If you get married early you would miss out on dating multiple men/women. But here's the thing, some people do NOT want to be a serial dater.  

Hmm let's see. I got married at 20, and by the time I was 23 I had traveled to Singapore, Indonesia, London, Rome, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, Paris, New York, Madinah, Makkah, Sydney, Canberra and I have also lived in Melbourne for 2 years. Wow you're so right. Settling down DOES mean that you won't get as much experience with traveling. 

Not a valid point. If you read my post here, you'll see that I have taken a lot of risks in my life and I think one of the reasons I got the courage is because my husband is very supportive of me.

Higher Education
After I tied the knot I graduated my diploma at UiTM with 3.96 CGPA and I pursued my bachelor's degree at The University of Melbourne, top 100 universities in the world, majoring in accounting and finance. What was that you were saying? Inexperience in higher education? I don't think so.

Career Direction
Again, I don't see how this point is valid. I was with one of the Big 4 accounting firms and now I am with the number 1 unit trust company. Rest assured, my career direction is very clear, and very rewarding.

I am a Muslim and I don't condone pre-marital sex so this point doesn't apply to me.

Oh I get plenty of alone time. Luckily Nadri & I agree that we need space to do our own thing. Being married does not mean that you are glued to each other 24/7.

Religious Exploration
Please, who says you can't do this after you're married?

She didn't direct the article to me of course, but I feel like I needed to say something because she's sending out the wrong message, which is that people who get married at a YOUNG age are missing out on all those things that are listed above and I am a living proof that her claim is not true. Seriously, the only 2 valid points she has are inexperience with dating and sex. That's ALL *yawns*

Plus her article might actually scare some people about getting married early and that would be such a shame because marriage is one of the most beautiful things in life, and if despite your young age you're mature enough to commit to it, why not?

Nevertheless, I applaud her for trying to reach out to people who are in the same situation as her and inspire them to be okay with themselves. This is a good thing. But please, there is no need to put down others in the process.

"Because at the age of 22, I have no idea who I am, what I’m doing, and who I’ll be doing it with for the next year… let alone for the rest of my life.  And that’s awesome."
"But then I look at my life, my relationships, and my future… and I realize that, I’m fucking awesome.  It literally isn’t me, it’s them."
"Sure.  Some days I wake up and stare at my ceiling thinking: “I’m single as fuck.”  But then I realize that those friends are going to get knocked up and fat soon sssoooo in retrospect, who really is winning here? I’m in China. I’m having the best time of my life. I am responsible for my own happiness."
And again, this one:

"It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. It’s an admission that the world is just too big and scary to deal with it on your own; thus, you now have someone that is legally obligated to support you till one of you dies or files for divorce."

See how she's trying to say that she is so awesome and at the same time make degrading and condescending remarks about others who don't live their lives they way she does?

You're in China? Good for you. You're having the best time of your life? Fantastic. So why can't you be happy for your friends who are married? They're having the best time of their lives too.

You're winning? Since when is it a bloody competition?

Sigh, I wish people can just be nice and civil to each other.

I have personally encountered people like this in my life. For example sometimes when I am out with my friends and they order cocktails and I am the only one with a glass of coke, some would say things like,

"Come on Tia, ape la minum Coke. Tak cool la."

Or when they talk about their ' bedroom conquests' and make fun of me having been with only ONE guy.

(By the way, it's so ironic that my non-muslim friends are the ones who respect my principles and never mock me about them)

How would they feel if I say, "Oh you can go around sleeping with multiple men. I am not cheap like that."

Or if I say things like, "Omg being married/being a mom is the best thing EVER. So glad I'm not single and alone like some of my friends. They're totally missing out."

But I don't. Deep down in my heart I know why I do/don't do certain things and I am perfectly happy with who I am. And I get that people are wired differently therefore they want different things in life. So there really is no need to be rude and condescending to others who don't share the same views with me, like what the author is doing.

The way I see it, if you are TRULY happy and confident with the choices that you make in your life, you don't need to justify yourself to others and you definitely do not need to put them down to make yourself feel better or cooler.

If you do, it just shows how insecure YOU are.

Once again, I totally agree with the author's core message. Instead of feeling pressured about getting married (no matter at what age), you should calm down, count your OWN blessings and just go out there and make memories and experience new things. You know, just live and enjoy life. One day you'll be married too (or maybe you don't ever want to be, and that's totally fine if it makes you happy) and when you do, it will be the right time for you and it will be awesome.

Cewah. Haha.


  1. Hi Tia! I totally agree with you. I'm married at the age of 21. Now, at 36, I'm a happy mother of 4. My eldest is 15. I'm happy with my life, I love my hb, I love my job and always bersyukur I got married early so we could enjoy our life more and we could go to a "halal" couple.. ;) yeayyy...

  2. love this so much Tia :) i'm still single n contented with my life, yet sometimes i do feel bit jealous with other married people who ady met their other half to enjoy this life better. YET, i know my time will come someday,,or if its not, i'm still grateful for what i have..and i dont feel i need to degrading other people for what i dont degrading other people, the author just showing how vulnerable and jealous she is with other people. totally agree with u. happy people are happy for other people :)

  3. I love the 'Tia Hakim" quote at the end. Haha. Nice one love.

  4. hehe don't you think this post is like justfying yourself ke?
    All the words here sume mcm justify.. and i understand your concern as yes she might send wrong signal.. hehe

    if you happy with yourself, then THAT article will not matter... and THIS article shouldn't be matter as well.. hehe.. just my 2 cents..

    1. You obviously didn't get the point of this post.

      If my intention was to justify myself, I would have said WHY i got married early and WHY I think it is the best decision that I have ever made and why it is BETTER than being single.

      But I didn't.

      Because my intention was to show that :

      1. You can do all those things and be happy DESPITE being single or married.

      2. And most importantly, it is never ok to make degrading and condescending remarks about other people. I can't help it. I hate bullies.

  5. the other author is non muslim right? So I think it is ridiculous to compare us with her's. If she wanted to stand out naked or dated 100 diff men a day, or go travel and sleep with strangers, that is understandable. we r totally from different background. maybe u should find better comparison hehe

    sorry i know u'd been very carefull with ur writing. but honestly u did justified ur self abit. indirectly. i dont know... but somehow I got it that way.

    1. Sweetheart, go look at the comments on the author's original post. There are plenty of non-muslims who disagree with dating multiple men at one time or sleeping around or standing stark naked in front of the window. Yes Islam prohibits all that (and I'm pretty sure Christianity does as well) but at the end of the day it all comes down to one's morality and principles, regardless of your faith. Which is why nowadays u see some muslims (even in Malaysia) do things that are listed above. Or are you telling me that muslims nowadays DON'T date multiple men or sleep around?

      If u still want to think that I was just trying to justify myself, then there's nothing that I can do to change that. You don't have to apologise. I know what my real intention is and I'm pretty sure a lot of ppl got the message as well.

  6. Yay! I love the part when you said 'maybe you don't ever want to be, and that's totally fine if it makes you happy'. I told my friends I want to get married at the age of 50 (just to shut their mouth & see their expression) The cool ones said, we do Retro theme okkk. The shallow ones said, lambatnyaaaa..

  7. This is good! Especially the degrading part. I got that a lot. My friends keep saying i am not living and what a dull person i am coz i dont do outdoor activities. But hey, i am happy this way. Not that i never tried doing one. I tried, but i dont really enjoy it. Thanks for this post. Inspiring :)

  8. good one tia. u read my mind. :)

  9. Generalization statement is always majority... And for a minority like you, it is invalid. There is nothing wrong getting married early, or late, or not at all, happiness is vast and subjective. If you can carry your responsibilities at such a young age, solve your own problems and set your own life plans, I think you can accomplish everything. I personally thought of spending my whole life single doing charity works and stay in Africa, but instead I stayed to take care of my family after my dad passed away and suddenly got hitched at the age of 28 (pretty late according to my older relatives). We are childless yet, still very happy. We got to travel around the world and explore the world together. People just don't get it but it doesn't matter, because well, they r the majority and too general, and they r happy their way. So shine bright Tia, be you the minority who has different kind of views. The world needs people like you!