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"When is it going to be YOUR turn?" — Anybody's Aunt at Any Wedding, USA.

If you're single, you may get the feeling there's a de facto assumption that marriage is everybody's goal in life.

You're not imagining things. There definitely is a broad cultural assumption going on. Or a few of them.


Oprah and Shonda Rimes noticed it, too, and had some observations.

Here are three misguided reasons you may hear from well-meaning people who think you should want to get married and some real talk from Oprah and Shonda. And at the very end, I'll give one great reason people should get married. HINT: It's not to wear a gorgeous dress, though I do love me a gorgeous dress.

GIF from "Friends."

1. Everybody wants love.

OK, connection and warmth and bonding is an important part of human health — that's true. But surprise! You can get those without marriage. You can get that with friendships, family relationships, and significant others (holy matrimony not required). You can even achieve that with pets. You can have lots of love in your heart and life, even if you're not married. Next!

2. Everyone deserves to be happy.

Well, yeah. But who says happiness comes with a ring on one's finger and a piece of paper legally conjoining two people? For some people, that's meaningful and important and something they really want. And for some people, their version of happiness doesn't include those things. Both ways are cool. But marriage retains the societal stamp of approval while everything else gets side-eyed as some "alternative lifestyle."

3. Not wanting marriage just means you're not ready to "settle down" yet.

There are ways to embrace a life of stability and commitment to the values that matter to you without needing to plunk one's self into a holy pairing in order to calm your wild oats or whatever. People buy houses on their own all the time. Some adopt or have kids as a single parent. Some love pursuing their career and/or life's calling and feel wedded to their "cause." That's a pretty good life, too, and not something anyone should have to defend or feel castigated from normal society for.

And this is all something Shonda and Oprah can speak to easily, as more mature women who've spent their lives pursuing things other than marriage. They spend some time pondering society's fixation with wedded bliss.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/embed/URehJMHN6hI?rel=0&start=0&end=98&autoplay=0 expand=1]

And here's the one and only reason, in my humble opinion, anyone should ever get married.

Sometimes you see a really great marriage, and it's striking what those ones have in common — each individualmakes the other add up to more together than they could have been separately. That happens when there is a shared spirit of learning together, a growth mindset, and generosity and kindness.

If you believe you've found something like that and that putting a ring on it is what will complete the deal, then that's the best reason to marry.

This is the 21st century. As Oprah would say, live your best life, people!

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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