Is Marriage a Cop-Out?

381181_715689974679_2096940813_n

So much has been said about marriage lately and when you should or shouldn’t get hitched. Not exactly sure why because I think it should and is up to the individual doing the hitching, but there are a certain few that decided to give their opinion on it. Great. I’m glad. It gave me something to write about.

Recently, a young woman at the age of 22, a blogger, wrote a post that was trending, titled 23 Things To Do Instead Of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23. You can read the post here: http://wanderonwards.com/2013/12/30/23-things-to-do-instead-of-getting-engaged-before-youre-23/ (In order to fully understand what my post is about, I suggest you read this piece first.)

I’m not here to dissect her list she put together. What she wants to do with her time is fine with me. Do as you wish. And I’m not here to counteract and create a list of my own. I’m here to simply say I think she has it a little wrong on what marriage could and should be like, if done right.

The issue I had with this piece wasn’t that she’d rather go travel and do things on her own before she gets married. Good for her. The issue I had was her overall, general opinion on married folks, particularly younger ones.

I got married at 23. Apparently, I am a cop-out because of that. Apparently, I have yet to see the world. Apparently, I am wasting my life because I tied myself down too early. Apparently, I’m just hiding behind my significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows. Apparently, I’ll be divorced soon.

 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.

Guess what? She’s right. I fully admit the world is too big and scary to deal with on my own. That’s why I became a Christian. That’s why I got married. Because I don’t want to do this alone. Who really wants to do life on their own? I don’t. I truly don’t. And for me, it’s so much better that way. For me. Maybe not for you, or for her. But for me, it is. And I’m okay with that. I had no idea who I was when I got married, either. She makes a valid point. But it’s been so amazing to figure out who I am alongside someone else who’s doing the same thing. I’m not walking behind my spouse. I’m walking with him, hand in hand, figuring it out together. And I have some bad news. No matter how old we get, we’ll always be doing that. Finding out who we are will never cease, married or not.

To the girl who wrote this piece, I’m not here to bash you. That’s not my intention here. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I have my own. My hope here is to teach you something about marriage that maybe you didn’t know before.

— I’ve been single and I’ve been married (obviously). And I choose the latter. Every single time. I know I said I am Christian so you may think I’m some goody goody who never did anything wrong and married her high school sweetheart and it’s been nothing but roses. I wasn’t always a Christian, and I wasn’t always a goody goody, and I did my fair share of ridiculous things when I was single. I dated and I’ve kissed and I’ve dated some more. But nothing compares to finding the guy you get to, and want to, kiss everyday for the rest of your life. To come home each night to someone who sincerely wants you is a beautiful thing. You get to have a life partner to share every dream with, every nightmare with, every prayer with, every cry with, every laugh with, every embarrassing moment with, every ridiculous thing with. You can even eat an entire jar of Nutella, together, and not feel as guilty about it because they’re doing it too. (Although I prefer just a scary amount of popcorn.)

Grow, learn, travel, party, cuddle, read, explore. Do. Freaking. Something… other than “settle down” at 23 with a white picket fence.

– I do all of the above, with my husband. And he let’s me thrive inside and outside of the relationship. Life still happens when you’re married, too.  (And what’s wrong with a white picket fence? I don’t have one yet, but hey, that’s the dream!)

— Single life is fun and you can certainly find ways to grow and learn and find yourself. But I’ve grown and learned and found myself loving someone else and sacrificing for someone else more than I ever did when I was single. We already are selfish people, because we are human. We were born that way, so we can only go so far in finding ourselves in that way. We’re not reinventing the wheel when we’re selfish. It’s our innate response. You want to do something crazy? Try sacrificial love. It’ll teach you more about yourself and about life than you’ll probably ever want it to. But it’s incredibly worth it. It’s painfully beautiful.

— Marriage can be permanent. It’s sad our culture today feels that it’s not. That it’s okay to divorce and marry and divorce again. We millennials have no attention span and we’re always looking for constant change, the new thing. So when something goes wrong in marriage or we get bored or somehow fall out of love because my spouse doesn’t complete me or doesn’t make me happy anymore, we bolt. I get it. The divorce rate in the church is just as high. But sticking with a marriage? Fighting through the highs and lows together? Loving someone through all the crap that can divide you? Choosing to love your spouse when you may not like them at the moment? Sticking it out through every season of life until its sixty-five years later and you’re happier than you ever were, and you get to look back and see your best times were when you were young and stupid and supposedly too inexperienced to get married? That’s something to write home about. That’s crazy. More so than anything else you will do in your life. Stating vows and sticking with them, in this day and age especially, is more insane than traveling to the most insane place you can think of.

— Many people find that taking risks means to go out there on your own and see the world, do crazy things, find your “thing” as you’ve put it. And that could be for some people. Honestly, though, out of everything, I believe getting married is the riskiest move you can ever make. You are alone all these years and then one day, you officially decide to share every aspect of your life with someone, to completely give up being selfish, to give up your independence, your privacy, and everything that you did to create that life. Sounds so scary, doesn’t it? Something you may not be ready to do yet. Does that make you a cop-out? No, you just don’t want it right now. And that’s okay. I don’t want to go kiss a stranger. And that’s okay too. When I said, I do, I was making the most dangerous, most risky, adventurous, bold declaration I had ever and will ever make in my life. I was now willingly opening my heart to the person I love most, who I was most vulnerable to, ready to take on life’s adventures together.

Life is different for everyone. There is no right time on when or when not to get married, or set rule that you have to get married at all. Even the Apostle Paul himself in the Bible states it is better not to marry, because you’ll have less problems. It is not for everybody and quite often, God might call people to not marry, but have callings to do some incredible things with their lives, like Paul did with his. But most importantly, marriage is certainly not for cop-outs. Anyone who gets married, for the right reasons, is anything but that. I believe you’re wrong about that one. Choosing to lay your heart out on the line for someone else every single day, to show unconditional love for someone who will disappoint you and hurt you because they’re human… that’s what I call bold. A person with guts and adventure in their bones. That’s no cop-out.

I’m not sure why this opinion filled your heart and I don’t want to make any assumptions. But perhaps you just haven’t found that person yet that turns your whole life upside down. One that makes you look back on every adventure you’ve ever went on and say, “I wish he was with me for all of them.” One that when you think about marrying him, it actually fills you with incredible joy for your future, and not sadness for what you’ll be “giving up.” One that when you find him, your “you know you’ll be together, so why rush it?” philosophy will seem blasphemous. Like Billy Crystal says in the classic movie, When Harry Met Sally,

When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Cheesy? Definitely. True? Absolutely.

I’m not telling you what to do here or that what you’re doing is wrong. Far from it. I’m happy if you’re happy. But I am telling you to realize there are some good-hearted, decent people out there, who just want to marry the person they love, who will work like hell to keep it that way, and will find great joy, adventure and risk in getting married and staying married to their best friend, life partner and love of their life.

I wish I could describe to you the love I have for my husband, but I cannot put it into words. It is a feeling that no trip, no view, no tattoo, no pet, no kissing a stranger, could ever compare to. So when I found him, why wouldn’t I sign up to spend my life with him? I sincerely hope and pray for you, that you find the person you love most and never let him go. That you realize how amazing and beautiful marriage can be. I promise it’ll be a journey worth traveling, wandering one…

Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t believe the lie that you have to go out and do everything you’ve ever wanted to do on your bucket list before you get married because once you do it’s all over. Why not save a lot of your bucket list so you can do it together? Because your life being over once you’re married is far from true.

In fact, it’s the opposite. Your life is just beginning.

My getting married was not a cop-out from living life. It’s a cop-out from living life alone. And so if I want to go somewhere, like the Philippines, I’ll go.

And I’m bringing my husband with me.

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Is Marriage a Cop-Out?

  1. Jacy says:

    This was absolutely wonderful… I’m engaged now and will be married shortly after turning 23. My fiance is truly my best friend and in 2 1/2 years I’ve had more fun and wonderful experiences with him than I had in all of my previous years. It’s a blessing to marry your best friend that you would rather do everything with!

  2. Laura says:

    Love this! I got married when I was 23 as well. I have no idea who told people that your life ends when you get married! I have just as much fun as my single friends, its just at the end of the day I always have my husband to support me and to go along with me in the journey. I know its a hard concept for those who are not married to understand, but the fun does not stop because you are married. We have fun together, and fun separetely. Its just when all the other single people are home ,bored and lonely, watching TV or whatever, I am spending time with my best friend making memories. Wouldn’t change it for the world!

    • karenveenstra says:

      Thanks for your post, Laura! It is definitely hard concept – one of those “you don’t know until you know” type of concepts. You simply don’t understand what marriage is and can be like until you’re actually in one. Totally get that.

      So glad you are happy and wish you nothing but the best in your marriage!

  3. eikcaj says:

    Do you have some grudges to the Philippines? I respect you, who you are, etc. but learn respecting others as well. If that so, I think you don’t have any difference with her. Pati Pilipinas dinadamay niyo sa mga issues niyo. kalerky!

    • karenveenstra says:

      Hi there. Thanks so much for the comment & for expressing your opinion. I appreciate it. Please know I have absolutely no grudge against the Philippines. I was simply making a point about something she had written in her original piece. As part of the list she made on what to do instead of getting married, she mentioned going to the Philippines with her. So that is why I used the Philippines in my post, as well. I was speaking directly to her. It was more figuratively than literal. When I’m saying I don’t want to go to the Philippines I was simply stating a general “I’d rather be married than visit anywhere by myself.” She could have said any place in the world and I would have made that same point. Had nothing to do with the Philippines. Promise. I hope that makes sense. I sincerely apologize to you if I offended you in any way. That was absolutely not my intention. Truly. I have every intention to only speak good and speak life on my blog so if I offended you then I have failed! And I sincerely apologize to you. Thank you for pointing it out to me.

  4. pieceofcaitlin says:

    love this! I got married at 20!!! AND ALOT of people shunned me after that, so awful. Being single and slutting up the town isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. Sorry not sorry!!

  5. helenjain21 says:

    Hello!
    I really like your post. I actually got married younger than 23 (I was 21 at the time) and I feel that it was a great decision. My husband and I got stronger together, and man did we face some crazy challenges, but it helped us grow as individuals and a couple.

    While I understand the young blogger’s point about learning a bit about yourself before you get married, I don’t think you have to be an older individual to do that. Every individual is different and some of us experience more than others while we are young. I’m from a military family and let met tell you, I have been to so many places that I can honestly say that it is WAY more fun with my husband than going by myself would ever be.

    • karenveenstra says:

      Thanks so much for your post! You are very right in that it is just simply different for everybody. There is no set formula, for sure. Growing up in a military family I’m sure there was a lot of change and experience in your life. Yet I grew up in the same house I never left until marriage. Huge differences yet both married at a young age. It doesn’t make a difference. It’s your life and your choice. Thanks for pointing that out.

      Wish you nothing but blessings in your marriage!

  6. Laura Oas says:

    beautifully spoken! I got married at a very young 20 yrs old. My husband was 21 at the time. We have done SO much growing and changing our minds and rearranging our lifestyles throughout the 4 years we’ve been married but I couldn’t imagine going through these changes alone. We travel together. I also go on small trips with my girlfriends or sisters and leave him at home with the cats. Marriage WORKS – but only when the husband AND wife work on it. And it’s beautiful!

    • karenveenstra says:

      Hi Laura! Thanks so much for your post! 20, wow! Good for you. I can admit even I, even though I married a short 3 years later, was not ready at age 20 =). I can promise you that! But you make a good point that sometimes life is just simply better when you share it with someone else and you were able to grow & change together. Marriage is beautiful if you treat it right.

      Wish you nothing but blessings on your marriage, Laura!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s