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.