Back in the spring I was in California visiting friends and family. For a couple of the days I was visiting, I was in Orange County, and I got to have lunch with a friend at Chipotle one day. Since we were in California, we elected to sit outside where the weather was nice and the noise level was significantly lower. It was nice getting to catch up with this friend; I even began to tell her about my plans to propose to Shannon, my girlfriend. I was feeling really concerned at the time because I was living paycheck to paycheck and was not in good financial standing. As the conversation continued, a lady at a table nearby jumped into our conversation. She couldn't help overhearing what we were talking about and wanted to give me some advice: to not get married.
For a while, anyway. Her reasoning behind telling me to wait to get married was that "the girl you love now is not the girl you'll be married to 10 years from now." (or some equivalent to that, I can't remember exactly what she said) Her point was that Shannon and I will be very different people 10 years down the road, and what if we ended up despising what the other person had become?
Sadly, this is all too prevalent in our world now. People are electing to wait longer and longer before getting married these days, if they get married at all. Many different people have offered reasons why this might be, and I would like to add my two cents to the discussion. And the source of my reasoning comes from an interesting source: Craig Ferguson.
Some time ago Ferguson did a bit on his late night talk show called "Why Everything Sucks." In the next three or so minutes, he proceeds to explain how the world (more specifically, the United States) has fallen down the slippery societal slope to where we are now. Ferguson specifically talks about the changes in advertising, as advertisers have shifted their target audience to younger people. The premise is, if you sell products to people when they're younger, they'll continue to buy from you for the rest of their lives.
As a result of all this, youth has become more celebrated in society. Everything is catered toward younger audiences, to the point that people continue to act young far too long. This means that advertisements have continued to develop (or under-develop, as the case may be). Where advertisements used to use paragraphs of text describing a product, now all you need is a flashy picture or catchphrase that may or may not actually tell you anything about the product at all. This has further aided the dumbing-down of society, causing young people not to really start growing up until their mid-to-late twenties. By that time, a quarter of their lives have gone by wasted on childish things. And now when they should be investing in something or someone of great importance, they don't know what to do or how to act. So this childish pattern continues farther into life, and anything that does not affect them directly is unimportant. Marriage seems stupid to them because they don't want to give up part of who they are, or risk the fact that their spouse may not love who they become because they don't fit into that spouse's categories of who they should be with.
I have to confess, I've fallen into this quite a bit, simply by nature of living in America. But I also had absolutely wonderful parents who never let me go do something without thinking through why I wanted to do it. In my parents' house, "I don't know" was never an acceptable answer to the question "Why?" So if someone were to ask me, "Why do you want to get married so young?" this would be my response. Because I have found the woman with whom I want to spend the rest of my life, and I know that there is nothing that will deter that for me. We will both change over time, and we will learn to love each other in new ways. I don't see the reason in waiting longer, prolonging the inevitable. We work better together as a force for the sake of Christ than either of us could be on our own.
In a way, this is what's made it even harder for us being in a long-distance relationship. We work well together, and we are excited to be involved in ministry together, but right now we're working to that effect separately. And that's really hard. Shannon and I are both thankful that we had over a year together before I moved to Minnesota; we had a strong foundation to our relationship which helped keep the relationship strong once I moved 2000 miles away. But it has still been very hard, and we want this season to end as soon as possible.
Fortunately, my financial situation has changed over the past few months, and it's looking like that hope will become a reality in the near future. You'll have to stay tuned to see how things develop. ;)
A simple servant of the Master.