Friday, December 13, 2013

The Things People Say About Marriage

"A wedding is a funeral where you smell your own flowers."

"Men who have pierced ears are better prepared for marriage--they've experienced pain and bought jewelry."

"Instead of getting married, I'm going to find a woman I don't like and give her a house."

"I married beneath me. All women do."

There are a lot of really awful quotes on marriage. They are often sexist, simplifying men and women to common gendered stereotypes. Many books, movies, and TV sitcoms  feed on these age-old (and let's face it, bland) types of rhetoric. According to such "wisdom," marriage is a trap, women are all talk-aholic nagging "ball and chains" who are primarily concerned with how their butt looks in jeans, and men are mindless drones and hopeless slobs with little intelligence and an insatiable desire to get laid. This type of language reduces marriage to this prison where one--if not both people--are miserable.


But last weekend, at some point on one of our lazy afternoons, I looked around at our apartment and my husband lying on the bed enraptured by some zombie computer game and said out loud, "I'm happy." And this is a fairly common occurrence.

But can it be?
Why didn't we have that dreaded first year of marriage? (dun, dun, dun...)
Aren't we supposed to tolerate each other?
Aren't we supposed to long for the years we were single and free?
Shouldn't we dread all of the things that "marriage" has taken away from us?

Sure, you may be thinking, you've been married a year-and-a-half. But give it ten or twenty years and you'll feel differently. Sure, I may feel differently, but I definitely won't ever use "tolerate" as a word to describe my husband. Not because I'm ignorantly blissful. Not because our marriage is perfect. But because I know us.

I know that a marriage is made up of two people with souls and brains.

I know that the chances of a successful marriage are not "in the stars," but in our hands.

I know that it takes work and effort.

I know that some days are "happy" days and some days are "I'm-so-frustrated-with-you-I-want-to-scream" days.

I know that we like each other and that's kind of important.

I know that we talk about things: our day, our future, our feelings.

I know that we don't fight dirty, cause that's not nice.

I know that there's no one else I'd rather see at the end of the day.

I know that he's my best friend.

This summer at my brother's wedding in Mexico.

So while the sentiments may forever circle about the "woes" of marriage, the only thing I could offer would  be this:

"This marriage thing is tricky: two people committing to live and love and adventure together can be a messy business. But it's better with grace and gratitude and joy."

It's not witty.
It's not profound.
But it's the truest thing I can say.
And I'll take that over the hum of stereotypes any day.


Jason Warren said...

I know that you both are awesome people. Good thoughts here. How easy it is to slip into the thought process of how the world views marriage, but thinking like that is poison. Our first 2 years were the hardest, but since then humility and communication have taken a front seat, and every year has been better than the last, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Amazing what God does!

Tina said...

I appreciate reading this. I can hear your voice in it and it makes me smile wide. I think about you guys often and am so glad you are happy. Prayers for you, friend!

Gerard Brennen said...

Great Post. Ive been married for five years now and I feel that my wife and I are still in a honeymoon. God has blessed us with a relationship with a solid foundation and an amazing freindship. I think that a problem today is that many people do not find a friend in their spouse. I think friendship is one of the most understated aspects of an happy marriage. If you cant be a friend to your wife, why are you married?