Tuesday, May 1, 2012

NOT reasons we are getting married

     My fiancé and I both attended a small private Christian university. This may have been evident by the fact that I am a full time minister, and you usually don't go to a big ten school to study ministry. For the most part our experience was great, we made lots of great friends, were taught by great professors, and were challenged about a lot of things.
    That being said, there are a few things we disagree with, one of those being the overwhelming amount of pressure to get married. Don't hear me wrong, we had nothing against marriage, or getting married. We do have an issue, however, with pressure to get married. We think this creates a whole bunch of issues, from people getting married to young, to the wrong person, etc.
      It is ok to be single. It is ok to not get married at all (Paul even said it's better for you to not be married). It is also ok to wait to get married until you are sure this is the decision you should be making.
    One year, we were subjected to an entire semester long chapel series on marriage, where they continually said "Someday you will get married", which seemed presumptuous, and I felt the entire thing just added to the pressure to have a ring by spring. The divorce rate from our school is insanely high (I know more people from college who are divorced, than those who married their high school sweethearts from my high school... Truthfully). There has got to be a reason behind that, and maybe we should start having chapel series on poor or bad reasons to get married, and on that it is ok to be single, vs. pushing for marriage and ending up with lots of divorces.
      That being said, I have compiled a list of things that are NOT reasons we are getting married. Because we have seen people get married for these reasons, and it has not ended well (not always in a divorce.... sometimes it just takes a lot more hard work to overcome, and we applaud those who work hard, but are saddened that such heartache was unnecessary).
1) We are not getting married to have sex. Sex is a great addition to married life. It is a blessing and something to be cherished by 2 people who have a life long commitment, however, when it is treated as a means to an end, it can leave people with unrealistic expectations, and disappointment. I understand that the desire to have sex can be strong and overwhelming at times, but you do not want to wake up after having your desire fulfilled and no longer want the person next to you. You should marry someone you want to be with, whether or not sex is involved, because love isn't selfish. Love isn't about what you get out of it, it's about giving to another person. Honestly, if we never have sex, I will still want to be with him, because I love him, and the joy he brings to my life. The rest is just very good commentary.
2) We are not getting married so we don't break up. If your options are "get married or break up" please choose the latter. Marriage is not a magic wand that fixes your issues, in fact it is probably more like a magnifying glass that shows them more. If your issues are so severe that you are contemplating not being together, you just shouldn't be together.
3) We are not getting married because it's the next thing on a check list of things to do in life. Yes, we both want to get married. Yes, we have both dreamed of being married and having kids long before we met each other, but we don't think that is a good reason to get married. The type of things you check off a checklist are laundry, paying bills, going to the grocery store, not choosing a life mate. Getting married or having a relationship with someone should be a beautiful addition to your life, something that brings color, excitement, adventure, and yes sometimes danger, not something that you have a time line for. If you aren't married when you are "supposed to be" you are just going to feel bad about yourself when you have no reason to.
4) We are not getting married because everyone is doing it. We understand that most of our friends are married with children (remember that whole christian school thing.... yeah, a lot of people get married at 22 or 23... or 19). We are 27, we'll be 28 when we get married, and while at times watching our friends have babies and celebrate their 5 year anniversary has had us feeling behind at times, at the end of the day we realize that is silly. Everyone has a different path in life, one is not better than another, they are just different. It's what you do with the life you have been given that is important. While we were single, we traveled, went to more schooling, experienced a whole bunch of things that would be hard to do with children tagging along. Just because everyone else is doing something is almost always a bad reason to do something... remember, don't give in to peer pressure.
5) We are not getting married because we are destined for each other. We don't believe in "the one". Why? Because I am choosing to be with him, and he is choosing to be with me, and there is something so much more romantic and loving about someone forsaking all others because they want to, and not because the stars aligned just right so they had to. Love is love because it is a choice, not because there is some dictation to do something. We love each other, and we are choosing to be together. We are choosing to forsake all others and be by each other's sides forever. It involves sacrifice, and that is the type of love story we really want to live.
6) We are not getting married because I only have so long before my uterus dries up. My ability, or his ability, to bear children is not part of the deal. We are marrying each other, for each other, not for our baby making abilities. The value of a person is not measured by their ability to have children. Even if we can not have our own biological children, we still choose to be together, because we want to be together, and we love each other, no matter what. Do we want children? Yes, and we would be sad if like so many others we are infertile, but we are committing to walk with each other through life, no matter what that means. Part of that is grieving together, and discovering a new and different life than the one we thought we were going to have.
7) We are not getting married because we believe that marriage means happily ever after. We are fully aware that marriage is hard work (our dating and engaged relationship hasn't always been easy.... and I imagine if he leaves this many dirty dishes in my sink now, before we live together... I will only be more annoyed when we do). We understand that marriage is more like a fruit tree that needs to be nurtured, and pruned over time, than a magic bean pole that sprouts up over night. It's not easy, it's not always comfortable, and it's sometimes a struggle. It means putting someone else's needs and desires before your own, it means putting your own dreams on hold sometimes to support someone else's, but we also believe that hard work bears fruit. That the joy that comes from self less love, always outweighs the selfish side of things. That together we will be able to accomplish so much more for the Kingdom of God, than we ever could separate. We know that we will laugh more, push each other to do more, and always have someone to lean on. So, maybe this one we do believe, that marriage does mean happily ever after.... if you work and sacrifice for it. Because sometimes the best things in life, are things worth sacrificing for.

So there you have it, folks! The 7... or rather 6 reasons, that are not reasons we are getting married (say that 6 times fast!)

1 comment:

  1. Hey Robbie,
    Congratulations on your engagement! I am so very excited that you have found someone with whom you can spend the rest of your life! I hope all is well.
    Your comment on Paul saying it's better not to be married though did spawn a whole tangent which I hope you will take the time to read. It is posted here: