Should We Be Congratulating People When They Get Engaged?

By and large, the moment Iíve shared on social media that has received the most interaction from friends and family was my engagement announcement. My posts about finishing grad school, passing challenging licensure tests, adopting a new puppy and landing my dream job all received some congratulatory comments, but nothing near the magnitude of me announcing that Iíll soon be someoneís wife.

Many people can relate to this curious phenomenon, which leaves people asking ďWhy is getting married seen as more of an accomplishment than other things?Ē Itís a valid question.

Working your ass off through school, reaching a career milestone, completing a difficult project, overcoming an enduring physical illness and making big strides toward recovery with mental illness are all worthy of recognition – but, in comparison, they get lost in the fold.

Some people use comedy to poke fun at this current state of affairs, like the people who hold photo shoots with their medical degrees, job offers†and even host a ďgender revealĒ shoot where the big reveal is that theyíve adopted a puppy.

Here are some reasons why we should re-examine this custom:

1. Single-shaming

The media already tend to paint single people (especially women) as desperate, damaged goods and ravenous in finding a mate. The plot of many rom coms is a woman who FINALLY reaches the finish line that, apparently, all women are expected to cross: marriage.

The idea that a person isnít whole until they join another in matrimony is a little ridiculous, isnít it? It reinforces the idea that people who are single (including those who are single by choice), those who are divorced, as well as those who prefer serial monogamy or polyamory, or just donít like the idea of marriage are somehow not whole or worthy.

2. Reinforces outdated values

Letís face it: a lot of this stuff is pretty old-fashioned. And we cannot move forward from outdated customs that arenít always useful if we donít challenge how we perceive them. People still have value if they donít become wives, husbands, breadwinners or homemakers.

3. Overshadows other life accomplishments

Lavishing praise and congratulations upon those who get engaged or married often means that same enthusiasm isnít shared when people reach other important milestones. There are tons of accomplishments that are worthy, not just deciding to marry another person. Once we start to spread out our congratulatory comments, we can start to see real progress in acknowledging the broader humanity in all of us.

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91 comments

Angela J
Angela J2 days ago

Thanks

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Anette S
Anette S3 days ago

The headline is as ever so often chosen a bit unfortunate (or just provocative?) However, if you read (and understand) the whole article, some of the comments below are rather inappropriate... Therefore, a little tip from me (sure, I'll create the impression of a swot) - Helps immensely to leave a comment only when I understand what it's all about.

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Amanda M
Amanda M3 days ago

Housewives/stay-at-home parents AREN'T valued by society! If we were, we'd be getting something other than rudely ignorant questions and outright insults, and we'd definitely be getting some form of financial compensation for all the work we do and sacrifices we make! Don't believe me? Look at all the jobs we do, and see how much people who do those jobs earn when we've "outsourced" them to someone else, then tell me we're not worth that same payment! That having been said, I can understand why people congratulate someone for getting engaged. With all the liars, moochers, slackers, cheaters, loafers, and other scum out there, the ratio of them to decent, hard-working, genuinely caring man are somewhere in the neighborhood of 25:1 and rising. And STOP WITH THE SINGLE-SHAMING! I HATED being single because I was seen as either the third wheel or a threat to a relationship (especially among my guy friends' new girlfriends) simply because I had t*ts! I was NOT interested romantically in their guys at all-as a tomboy, they were platonic friends to me, but they saw me as a potential slut out to get their men simply because I was female! Don't even get me started on the lack of activities for single people-even BOWLING requires a minimum of two people! But yeah, we do need to focus equally on other achievements-career, degree, etc. Those are MAJOR milestones that don't get nearly the kudos they deserve!

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Anette S
Anette S3 days ago

I can easily identify with the statements in this article. I too find it excessive to see an engagement as more meaningful than achieving real personal development goals.

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John W
John W3 days ago

Yawn...

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John W
John W3 days ago

Pathetic...

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Past Member
Past Member 4 days ago

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Camilla V
Camilla V4 days ago

yes

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Joemar K
Joemar Karvelis4 days ago

Thanks

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Jenny G
Jenny G5 days ago

I was so happy to be engaged to my lovely man. It was the best time in my life! Unfortunately the last 5 years have been difficult due to him having PTSD. I say enjoy those special moments because you never know what life is going to give you. Congratulate everyone for all achievements!

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