Monday, April 14, 2014

Marriage: Happiness, Expectations & "The One"

Sheryl Crow sang 
"If it makes you happy…it can't be that bad." 

So often in life we erroneously believe if "it" makes us happy we should pursue it with abandon, with indulgence and delight. But perhaps we have linked marriage with assumed automatic happiness when we should refrain. 

Marriage. Some call it a blessing. Some call it a union. Some call it a joining of two people. Some call it what God deems it in one word… a covenant. Some call it an institution… which has always led me to picture a padded room and the "ball and chain" attached in the form of someone who has driven you to mad frustration and despair… anyone who has been married to someone abusive can certainly relate to that mental snapshot.

When we get married we have expectations. We have our eyes surely set on something and with whatever we are hoping for it certainly includes the pursuit of happiness. With the bubbly champagne and the rose petals showering overhead as we link arms in merry delight with our beloved and welcome well wishes from our friends and family, we also walk away and climb in that limo headed to what we hope is our "Happily Ever After"…  men and women alike after becoming husband and wife both believe that they will be the ones to see their happiness come to fruition and in that setting horizon they will be the ones who persevere… the couple who manage to keep it together despite the statistics saying otherwise, the couple who will never utter that formidable word "divorce"… the couple who will have the picture perfect life where the in-laws get along, the house is never comparable to looking like a tornado hit it, a land where babies smile serenely as they are lullabied off to dreamland and any issue that crops up will be smoothed out like civilized negotiators.

But that's not reality.

That's not real life. 

The truth is… she will be exhausted… and he will be too… there will be adjustments and struggles right after the baby is born because your entire coupledom has been changed… sex has to wait awhile, she's healing, the baby is crying, he's working maybe even more hours to provide for the expanded family they now have, the in-laws are always over and everyone is sleep deprived. And this is after the adjustment of merely being married and sharing a bathroom and bed… often two argument triggers in themselves as any couple knows from having to share sinks, showers and having again, expectations… there is that word again… expectations of how wet towels should be dealt with, toothpaste left out in a spilt mess and the question of should the marital bed be made or left unmade? Every couple has had to begin negotiations and compromises on some things they certainly didn't see coming when it came to marriage… no matter how big or small.

4 False Reasons To Get Married… 

1. "I'm looking for the one".

This sets us up for finding the "Perfect Mate"… which doesn't even exist. Sure, yes, some people are better suited for us than others, absolutely. And if we are a believer we don't want to marry a non-believer. But pursuing a search for "The One" will surely only lead us to a glass of eternal disappointment… like finishing a delicious life long milkshake and getting to the bottom past the whipped cream at ninety years old to find no cherry. There is not one person on this earth who can fulfill us except God.

2. "I will be happy after I find the right one."

Nope. You won't. That is placing an inordinate amount of pressure and expectation and FAITH into someone else… that they will deliver everything you desire. And they won't. You will be disappointed and you will both be resentful and angry.

3. "I need a man."

No, you don't. No one "needs" anyone. We may enjoy each others company, we may love those we spend time with, we may cherish our time with those we are close to… but to say we can't live without them is not true. Who is there at the end of the day no matter how many people come and go in our life? Who is there no matter how dark or light filled the seasons are we journey through? The one we can truly rely on forever is God… He is stable and unchanging unlike the flesh we are surrounded with here on earth.

4. "I can't do this on my own."

Yes, you can. "This"… whatever "this" might be… is something you can do. Life you can do. You don't have to live in the bondage of reliance and dependency to get through life and live it… not everyone marries or even re-marries in life… and that is okay. Maybe were not all meant to. Maybe God has a different plan for some of us that involves something else that marriage would interfere with. And that's fine. We are all certainly meant for companionship… to have people in our life where we enjoy each others company and share experiences, memories, laughs, etc… but it doesn't necessarily mean we are meant to marry.

It's when we subscribe to the false idea that we are deserving of a prince coming to deliver us a "happily ever after" on a silver platter we are quickly spiraling down a slippery slope of disillusionment to hard icy reality… we will be standing at the bottom of an abyss in the isolating cold wondering what happened to our dream because we find ourselves in a snowstorm of bird poo without an umbrella… which leaves us crying out for God to intervene and lift us up.

And that's a storm no one wants to find themselves in….

all in the initial pursuit of happiness. 

Maybe what we all need to do is relax… enjoy the journey… enjoy the ride… make friends, laugh till we can't breathe, live authentically, pursue God, create those beautiful memories, hug our loved ones, yes… subscribe to making a difference for others, throw ourselves into our careers, passions and dreams and most of all loving Jesus… maybe we need to "take just one more photo", overuse "I love you" and take the time to do whatever has been on our back burner way too long and just. do. it.

Because life is short… yet we aren't defined by marriage... whether we are part of a couple… our worth is not based on coupledom… our happiness is not set by having "Mr. and Mrs." inscribed on our envelopes or "Happily Ever After" emblazoned across our bed pillows or finding just the "right one". 

Are we realizing how much Jesus loves us? Are we aware of His sacrifice for us? How only He can fulfill us? That following love and some guy or gal won't make us happy but instead that at the end of our life we will stand alone before God to give an account of our life and how we loved regardless of married or single?

Marriage isn't out there 
like a prized package to make us happy. 

Marriage is maybe there to nudge us toward becoming holy… to being chiseled over time through each obstacle we face in the realm of close co-habitation… to love better and wiser.

But I'd bet we can be made holy too by being single… without walking into that den of false pursuit of  "happy", meaning marriage, only to then later realize we bought into that admittedly misguided but still false subscription society wants to feed us today… that marriage equates to happiness. Only much later in hindsight realizing pre-marriage we were becoming holy on our own without the addition of marriage to our life and that we were maybe even pretty… happy.

© ~ 2014 

this post is in no way to bash marriage or to be "anti-marriage" but instead to prompt young women to think about how they are viewing marriage and their expectations of it including their future husband. 

To My Readers: 

Thank You for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

No comments:

Post a Comment