Marriage ≠ Settling // a response to “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged…”

This morning, I read this blog post that has since gone viral on my newsfeed.

Marriage

After reading it a few times, I feel decisively sad for the post’s author.  In summary, the author writes a post proudly proclaiming her “happiness” as a twenty-something single and criticizes her peers’ decisions to “settle down” by age 23 –

“I can’t help but feel like a lot of these unions are a cop-out.
It is a way for young people to hide behind a significant other instead of dealing with life’s highs and lows on their own. It’s a safety blanket. 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.”

These criticisms are followed by a list of suggestions for things to do before age 23, such as “Make out with a stranger,” “Adopt a pet,” “Accomplish a Pinterest project,” and many other trite bucket list experiences the author considers greater than being in a committed relationship at a young age.

My problem is the author’s complete misunderstanding of marriage.  My husband and I dated for five and a half years before we got married – we were engaged for 1 1/2 of those.  He was 26, I was 24 on our wedding day.  At that time, I had completed several of the items on that list already, even in my limited scope as an Ohioan living in a very small town.  Even so, most of the greatest, most adventurous things I have done in my life have been with my husband — our marriage was not an ending, but the beginning of a life with someone who has expanded my world.

I have often felt stifled by the views of marriage portrayed in media – and not just the sexist ones.  My husband makes me a better person, and I make him a better person too (I struggle to identify even one television show or movie that demonstrates a healthy marriage).  We have moved to different cities, different states, traveled, tasted, listened, experienced – together.  I have also traveled, tasted, listened, and experienced things alone… and in those times, I have longed for him.  Not because I am so dependent on my husband, but because I love him and want to know his opinions, laugh at his wit and marvel at his intelligence (and of course there were other things about him I missed when we were apart).

If a jar of Nutella (and don’t get me wrong… I adore Nutella) is considered a bucket list item – shouldn’t married life have a shot at such a list?  I mean it when I say, you haven’t lived unless you’ve spent a weekend in the car racing to be the first to answer the questions on your trivia podcasts and eating crappy gas station food with the smartest, funniest guy you have ever known –  or spent a day marveling at the fact that this tiny little being you both brought into the world can now do miraculous things like use her hands or sit up — these are the happiest and most incredible moments of my life.  These are the things not to be missed – and, frankly, bring me so much more joy than any of the “top 23” ever did, or ever could.

I also recognize that my lifestyle is not one that everyone desires, will live, or even should.  I simply wish to say that it is rare that I see anyone talk about the good that comes with a good marriage.  So, if you can’t identify with this post because your life has not led you down the same path as mine, I honor that too and hope that you are living fully and finding your joy with the love you have in your life.

I am not promoting marrying young – I am promoting marriages that are full of life and full of variety. My husband and I are far from “settled,” even if it might look settled on the surface when you see our almost 5 year marriage, our house, and our baby.  We are only beginning to live!  My wish for you, dear reader, is that you live a full, joyful life on whatever path you’re on.

{Thanks for reading!}

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5 thoughts on “Marriage ≠ Settling // a response to “23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged…”

  1. Thank you for this! I married at 21 (he was 23), and we’ve been married for 20 years now. I am a better, more adventurous, and happier person because of the partnership I have with my husband. If I had the chance to do it over again, I wouldn’t change a thing!

  2. I think your article is one of the better responses that I’ve seen. While I am single @ 36… I do agree with you that I hope my (someday) marriage leads to new adventures.

    I would wholeheartedly share your article… but the fact that you stole the girls photo (well, I’m assuming she didn’t give you permission to post her photo on your blog) makes me question your ethics as a whole.

  3. Pingback: Should I Blog About Controversial Things? » the BAKERS | www.jimjessbaker.com

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