So a couple of things have happened that have made me think about what marriage means to our society today.
1) When we went to pick up the marriage license, the lady peered at us over the counter and asked, “Are you sure you’re 18? You look awfully young.” Paul and I have never gotten this before. Paul informed her, “I’m actually 24.” She responded with repeating her comment about us looking young. We were surprised.
2) Most of my coworkers RSVPed no. This surprised me, because they are all people I have worked with every day for the past 15 months. The most ridiculous excuse I got? “I’m usually busy on Saturdays, and I don’t know about that Saturday, so I’ll have to say no.” *shakes head* (Of course, there were a lot of perfectly legitimate reasons.)
I was talking to my mom about the number of people who have really been an important part of our life, who are either in town or can afford to travel, yet are not coming. We are both surprised about several of them. My mom said, “People just don’t coming to weddings anymore.” I’ve noticed (for people in town) it’s like, Well if I’m not doing anything else that day then sure I’d love to come. But I wouldn’t want to not get to do something because of it. There isn’t a sense of, “Oh the 29th is reserved, I can’t make any other plans.” This is just an example of the overall lack of wanting to support a coworker, support an old friend, go to a wedding.
Why is this? I think because marriage has lost its meaning in society today. With a growing number of couples living together before marriage and the number of divorces and multiple remarriages, the idea of marriage has been reduced to something common and unimportant.
Paul and I were discussing why we get “You’re so young” responses a lot, even though we’re 23 and 24, and most of our college friends are married or engaged. People are waiting a lot longer these days to marry. They live together before marriage – thus enjoying full benefits without having to make a commitment. There is a focus on careers, especially for women. With the high price of college, many are already deep in debt before they even enter the work force. Then there is the push to have achieved the highest degrees in life before thinking about having a family. A coworker once told me that she didn’t want to get married until she and her boyfriend could afford a house, because “Getting married and living in an apartment is just like living with your boyfriend.” The push for material items – new cars, cable TV, nice furniture, clothing, being able to party every weekend – has given us the mentality that we’re poor if we can’t afford any of them.
This makes me sad. In a little under 2 weeks I will embark on the most life-changing and biggest journeys of my life. I will stand before God and family and friends, and vow to love my husband for the rest of my life. I will acknowledge that divorce is not an option, and will forever be bound to my husband. While a happy affair, it’s also serious. This isn’t just a party I’m throwing.
We as Americans have lost that sincerity I think. The white wedding dress has lost its symbolism of representing purity, the honeymoon becomes just a vacation, and ceremonies are quickly passed over in favor of a rockin’ reception complete with an open bar. I was reading a wedding planning guide that I have, and they had a chapter on whether or not the couple should live together prior to marriage. They equated keeping apart as being “traditional”, hinting at “old-fashioned”, and even at the end of the chapter had this line: “Whether or not you decide to live together is a personal decision, but at the end of the honeymoon it is much easier to both walk into a comfortable place.”
I am grateful that Paul and I have both taken marriage seriously. While we may have rushed into the idea before, we certainly havenâ€™t this time. God has led us to the place where we are now, and I pray that He will continue to be our leader. I feel like thatâ€™s the only way to have a happy, healthy marriage. Itâ€™s so sad that our children will grow up in a society that doesnâ€™t respect this sacred institution, but I hope that we can be an example to those who have no positive role models. Perhaps God will be able to use our testimony to impact the relationships of others we interact with – changing one person at a time.