Posts are trending on my facebook and around the internet lauding “23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged Before You’re 23,” or, its rebuttal, “5 Reasons I got Engaged Before I was 23,” and I’m just sitting over here like, “Why don’t you just get engaged whenever you feel like it and stop trying to police other people?”
The first blogger, of the 23 Things to Do that are Apparently Better than Holy Matrimony (which include, “date two people and see how long it takes to blow up in your face,” and, “hang out naked in front of a window,” as well as, perhaps to recap the first two, “disappoint your parents”) has essentially decided that young marriages are copping out, excusing their decisions to wear socially unacceptable outfits at $5 dive bars. Whoa, bro, slow your roll.
I can’t help but feel that the above is a manifestation of the worldview that EXPERIENCE, particularly in the way of independence and sex, is more important than two becoming one, and I really can’t get behind that. It’s really against the Christian worldview to act a fool alone, get really good at sex moves, and “be selfish,” all of which are encouraged by the anti-marriage blogger’s post. It seems to me that if someone really loves you, they won’t care if you’re an accomplished twerker, and being selfish is NOT a good attribute to bring into a healthy marriage.
All of the values that the blogger of “23 Things” puts above marriage are the exact things that would make a marriage fail, including her worldview that a tattoo is more permanent than a marriage.
Then, there’s “5 Reasons I Got Engaged Before I was 23.” I have to say, I feel that the “5 Reasons” blogger is a lot less judgmental than “23” girl.
This blogger differentiates between what he considers to be a magical view of marriage, and all the troublesome things of “real life,” like, you know, car payments, rent, having a plan, and all this. And while I don’t think you need to have it all together to be married, I do think that you need to know who you are, and know who you’re marrying. But, as blogger Neal Samudre says,
People blog on the joys of being single, parade around how great it is to be young and not engaged, and talk to those who are engaged as if they’re making a mistake. But in my mind, these views don’t have the right perception of love.
I ain’t even mad at Neal and his lady for being happy and together. I think commitments of this kind are kind of beautiful, as long as you know what you’re getting into.
And here’s where this blog rolls into a personal note – because, see, the thing is, I WAS engaged, just after I turned twenty-three. We went through the whole shebang. He led me on a walking tour of our favorite parks. He got my grandmother’s ring sized and fitted, plated in white gold. I wore a dress. He got down on one knee. I giggled and stared at the ring and forced everyone I ran into to admire it, and afterwards we got ice cream. We set the date for December 15th, 2012 – and here’s where this story starts to get messy.
I don’t want to go into details of the entire sordid affair. Suffice to say that, at that time, we were both devout believers, or at least, I was, and we had this idea that we couldn’t have sex unless we were married. I definitely understand where we were coming from, but I’m afraid we were falling into the same trap that a lot of young believers get trapped in, marrying way before we were ready because we wanted to have The Sex without God being pissed about it.
To be fair, I think I did love him. And I’m sure he loved me. But he was hardly a year into his degree, and I was working at McDonald’s. We thought we wanted to be together, but I wanted to go to graduate school more than I wanted to be someone’s wife. I bought a dress that poofed out like Cinderella, and we ordered wedding invitations. We even had an engagement party. But it couldn’t last. I remember him writing my name with his last name in church – Misty S. And I hated it. He wanted me to be his, and I wanted to be my own. All the love in the world couldn’t cover that.
And yes, I wanted to play wedding. I wanted to be a princess for a day. I wanted the flowers, and the diamonds, and the party. I wanted the lovely idea of being able to have children with someone. I wanted to believe I could love someone else, really love them, enough to put their needs before mine.
And it wasn’t going to happen.
This makes me sound selfish, but I wasn’t going to do it. I wasn’t going to love him more than I loved my own dreams. And if you can’t do that, then you have no business being engaged. Or married. That’s the exact reason why kids who get engaged young get divorced young. Ambition, personal desires, the need to be independent, all these things the “23” blogger talks about, they really do come into play.
But if you’re like the blogger of “5 Reasons I Got Engaged Before I Was 23,” and you can let love be your guide, and build your dreams with someone else, why on earth shouldn’t you? Some women feel called to be wives, mothers. Some men want more than anything to build their own families. Who cares how old you are, if you have the right mindset about it?
In the meantime, I’m going to sit here non-judgmentally getting my degrees, and let pics of me in my mom’s wedding dress suffice for wedding fantasies – for now.