The time that all women dream about is finally happening to those my age all over the place. Most girls grew up putting wedding dresses on Barbie dolls and forcing poor Ken to walk down the isle to ‘Here Comes the Bride’. Girls even in the modern society have been brought up to think that marriage is in fact the ultimate accomplishment for women everywhere.

Even now, everywhere I look, my friends and acquaintances in their mid twenties are getting ready to ‘tie the knot’ because that is what they think their ultimate goal should be.

It is true that in the 1950s, women were primarily housewives and getting married was typically the end goal. Back then, being a wife was what defined a woman, so I can understand why finding your special someone was considered an accomplishment. However, in this day and age, this is hardly the case. In today’s society, ladies are balancing much more than just finding a man.

Women are entrepreneurs, lawyers, teachers, CEOs, inventors, designers, researchers, writers, consultants and so much more. Women are going to college and then getting their masters and doctoral degrees. Women are tirelessly working to climb up the corporate ladder. Women are key figures in our government. Women are changing the world with their innovations.

And while many of these women are married, they are not solely defined by their last name.

In general, often a woman is questioned more on their relationship status, engagement or upcoming nuptials rather than their jobs or accomplishments. It has always been so. A woman is always first a woman and second whatever they have accomplished in life, be it a lawyer or a teacher or the CEO of a powerful company.

One cannot blame the society for thinking so. After all, we are all taught through expertly crafted commercials and advertisements that it is of utmost importance for a woman to get a ring put on her finger.

Perhaps it’s time for society as a whole to re-evaluate what aspect of women’s lives we put the most value on.

Although we like to think we’ve moved beyond a time where women in particular are tied to traditional gender roles and expectations that include marriage, the constant nagging suffered by young women about when they’ll get married is proof that these times aren’t quite behind us.

So here are six reasons why you should stop asking women when they will settle down.

1. It attaches a woman’s worth to their partner
2. Asking about marital status is seriously heteronormative
3. It throws back to sexist gender norms
4. It belittles accomplishments and silences goals and dreams that are not related to marriage.
5. It assumes people don’t know what is best for themselves
6. Marriage is not for everyone. There are women out there who would rather live alone than with a lifelong partner.
The marriage industry makes some serious bank off of the sexist implication that women go ‘crazy’ and become bridezillas anytime somebody offers them a ring and a lifetime commitment. They make billions of dollars off of white dresses and elaborate ceremonies rooted in problematic patriarchal traditions.

The LGBTQIA+ equality movement has made major strides in marriage equality, but many point out that the movement has bigger fish to fry including general protections and rights.

And of course, many just don’t feel like marriage is right for them. There is nothing wrong with people assessing their own life and making that judgment, and nobody should feel ashamed about having reached that decision.

What it all boils down to is the fact that marriage is not the ultimate goal for all women. Society must learn to see women for who they are rather than what man has made them to be.