This post doesn’t have any answers or suggestions or anything like that. It talks about a topic that’s been discussed time and time again. So why even bring it up? Because I wanted to know what you did. These waters are difficult to navigate, and it’s hard to get too much information.
In the summer, there’s an inevitable onslaught of weddings. It’s great to see two people get hitched and share that moment with their friends and family. But when I talk to people in academia before the wedding, especially women, I hear some interesting comments about when they had planned to get married.
Many of the women I talked to said they were waiting until they finished a PhD or their first post-doc before they got married. Others decided to jump into matrimony when it felt right. There are no real negative effects to marrying earlier or later, but since marriage and especially weddings can be stressful (happy events, but hell, even stress tests list weddings as a big stressor), they just might not work at any time. These conversations happen in every field, but when both partners are expecting a future filled with moves, uncertain long-distance situations, and the stress of filing a dissertation, getting married can be extra-stressful.
Part of the reason I think I hear about weddings/marriage more from women is because the onus of the planning falls on them. I’ve talked about this stuff before ““ due to certain societal expectations, joint personal ventures (like marriage) in a hetero relationship may fall more on the woman’s shoulders. Unlike discussions about children, there isn’t necessarily a career versus personal life trade-off to worry about, but there are still stressors.
I don’t know. This summer was one full of joyous occasions, but I can’t help looking at the weddings and marriages and just think, awed, “How the hell do they manage to do all that?” That work-life balance that gets dissected time and time again still feels elusive.