I read a post the other day, entitled 23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You're 23. As I read it I had to laugh, because first off, at 23 I celebrated my three year wedding anniversary. That's right, I was barely 20 when I got married, and I don't regret it for a second. I am so glad that I got married when I did. I'm so glad that my husband and I are growing up together, learning together, and building a life together. We get to have amazing life experiences, and we get to share them!
I do agree with her on one point, and that is that you shouldn't get married just to get married. You shouldn't get married until you're ready, and you shouldn't get married because that's just what you do after college. I wholeheartedly agree there. HOWEVER, the rest of her post is totally self centered, and I'm glad she's not getting married yet, because she's not ready for self sacrificing love. The funny thing to me is that she's talking about getting married young like it's some new trend. It's not. It's yet another tradition gone by the wayside that's being revived. The problem is, the ideals that made those marriages work aren't being revived at the same pace. We have this nut job idea that we can be married and totally separate from our spouses. Nope. If you aren't ready to wholly unite your life to another, then you aren't ready for marriage.
I can't help but notice that she talks about the wedding she wants, but not about the marriage. That's a huge problem these days. The marriage isn't the wedding, the wedding is day one of the marriage. The marriage should outshine the wedding by far. The marriage is the part that needs to have value, and beauty and worth. The marriage is the part that counts. She talks about marriage like it's the end of you, and the end of your life. You're settled down behind your white picket fence, and that's it. She talks about marriage as a cop-out. She clearly doesn't understand marriage. Marriage is so much harder than finding yourself. Marriage is deciding to work every single day. Marriage is combining your needs with someone else's. Marriage is the greatest adventure.
She talks all about her, and what she needs to do and experience, and that's fine. What she fails to realize is that marriage is the beginning, no where near the ending. I've learned more about myself in my marriage than I ever could have single. Why? Because I've seen myself through my husband's eyes. If I hadn't looked at myself in the light he sees me in, I wouldn't have the self confidence, and the love of myself I have. I wouldn't be able to love as deeply as I do, or make sacrifices if I didn't have Tom.
So, I made my own list:
23 things to do while married at 23:
1. Dance in the kitchen, with only the water filling the sink for music.
2. Laugh at the water all over the kitchen floor because your husband distracted you....again.
3. Get in a water fight with your spouse.
4. Open a business.
5. Drive around aimlessly for hours playing 100 questions, and jamming out to '80's rock.
6. Take on a home renovation project.
7. Build something together.
8. Walk to the county fair, and get so wrapped up in the country music blaring that you dance in the middle of the street and don't care who watches.
9. Volunteer at a shelter.
10. Learn to communicate in a way only the two of you understand.
11. Spend way too much money on fancy stinky cheeses, breads and wine. Spread out a blanket in the middle of the living room, shut off all the lights, light candles, and have a romantic picnic.
12. Forget about breakfast in bed, spend all day in bed, and eat all three meals there.
13. Declare one week TV free.
14. Make love every night for a week, and don't allow it to be the same any night.
15. Discover a hobby together.
16. Bake a cake together. End up with cake batter all over the kitchen, because "FOOD FIGHT"
17. Go on a last minute vacation.
18. Take turns picking out movies that your spouse loves and you hate, and enjoy them because they do.
19. Sacrifice something you're selfishly holding on to for them.
20. Cry together.
21. Learn every possible detail about your spouse.
22. Put someone else above you.
23. Deepen your relationship with God, together.
Marriage is learning together, growing together, laughing together, crying together, sacrificing together. Marriage is allowing someone else to help you to become the best you can be, and helping them to do the same. Marriage is not for everyone. Marriage at 20 is not for everyone, but it's not a death sentence either.