Fourteen years ago today my husband and I said I do. I’m so glad we did. Marriage rates in the United States are at the lowest in a century. I think that is unfortunate. When I Googled marriage rates the first things to come up were blog posts offering up lists of reasons not to get married. Several of which sounded a lot like rubbish to me. Of course I’m pretty old-fashioned (and completely okay with it) and believe that marriage is important. Making it official in front of your friends and family and God is a big step.
Marriage isn’t popular these days. Perhaps it comes with too many expectations and too much accountability. Perhaps it just sounds like too much work. Perhaps career building seems more urgent. Perhaps it is too religious.
To anyone who falls into the trap of thinking it doesn’t matter or isn’t worth the commitment, I say you are missing out. Steve and I were together ten years prior to getting married – because he “likes to get to know a girl.” We lived together for several of those years. Since I’ve grown in my faith I look back with some regret over that. Our living arrangements weren’t honoring God. However, because I followed my Grandma’s advice to “never date someone you wouldn’t marry” it turned out well. I knew he was the guy for me two months into our relationship and have never doubted it since.
Lots of people live together, and not marry. Let’s face it, you won’t be near as particular about who you live with. After all, moving trucks are cheap to rent. It is easy to talk yourself into the convenience of it – I know it was for us. Together all the time anyway, share expenses, etc.. It sounds so practical. But if you didn’t get good Grandma advice like I did and you’re dating someone you wouldn’t marry…keep the U-Haul number handy.
For those that have become pessimistic due to divorce rates and think why bother – if your odds of winning the lottery were 50% you would buy a ticket. The divorce rate is shamefully high, agreed. There are times when it is necessary, without question of course. But our society is eager to throw away what is broken and get a new one. I’d rather work my butt off to keep what I have. There is such value in building a life together. We’ve spent more of our lives together than apart. We have a history. We’ve grown and changed surely, but at our core we are connected. My grandparents were married for over sixty years. I know not all those years were blissful, they certainly weren’t romantic. They weathered many storms, put up with each other, and got on each other’s last nerve at times. But they also shared laughter, took care of each other, and kissed each other goodnight for decades.
The twenty-somethings who’ve place priority on a career, I would ask what are you building it for? To buy stuff? The stuff will leave you unsatisfied. Success with no one to celebrate is lonely. Make building a life your priority. It is highly unlikely that you will someday wish you’d worked more and loved less.
I’m not saying that everyone should run off and get married for the sake of getting married. It is fine to be single if that is what works for you. If being married is what you want by all means take your time in finding the right person and don’t settle. But this trend of marriage not being popular is dangerous in my mind. Marriage is a lot of work. It should be, most good things are. Fourteen years ago I married my best friend and I would do it again today in a heartbeat – despite the fact its not trendy.