Ok, I didn’t get all melty and weepy here about the inauguration two weeks ago, because I was too busy getting melty and weepy (and um, drunk) in real life to write about it.* But two weeks after the swearing in, it’s starting to sink in enough to write about it. And have you SEEN these pictures of the Obama family?
Yeah. That’s what I thought. It’s ok. Take a moment to go wipe your eyes on your sleeve, and then sniffle abashedly and look at them again.
Ready now? Ok.
So, in preparation for our pre-marital counseling sessions that start in March, I’ve been thinking about some of the underlying assumptions I have about marriage. Both David and I are lucky enough to come from long and happily married sets of parents so by and large we have a pretty healthy perspective about marriage. But, I’ve discovered, that somehow, deep down, I’m harboring some negative ideas about marriage that I’ve picked up from our culture at large. They are icky and strange, but I suspect I’m not alone on these, because unhappy and unhealthy messages about marriage are pounded into our heads every day. So let’s just get them out on the table, shall we?
Icky Ideas We Are Force Fed About Marriage:
- Getting married? Good luck. Half of all marriages fail, and half of the ones that last are desperately unhappy.
- Once you get married it’s all about having kids, and being parents. Forget about having a rewarding relationship, because you’re going to live for your kinds, and give up your life. Heck, most days, you won’t shower or change out of your sweats.
- Enjoy your looks now, babe, because you are about to let yourself go.
- You get married and you gain 25 pounds. Done.
- You get married, you get bored with each other, and bored with life in general.
- Enjoy your fiancĂŠ’s attention, because once your married he’s only going to care about football.
- Have a blow out wedding day because this is YOUR day, YOUR time, YOUR magic princess moment. Live for this, because it’s all downhill from here.
Cue the screaming and running away: AAAAAAHHHHHHH!
The more I think about it, the more I think that our societal disastrous assumptions about marriage are part of our societal obsession with weddings. It’s the pinnacle of our lives! Live it up! Live it up! Watch people living it up! Spend spend spend! Focus on this, because THIS IS IT.
Which brings me back to the Obamas. It is truly, deeply, delightful to see a couple thrust into the national spotlight who are so visibly loving, so happy, so supportive, and so successful. Yup. I said successful. Both of them. Because it’s rare that we see a couple that is happy and in love *and* has two partners that are successful.
It seems to me, that the point of marriage is to support each other when we fail, but also to be there to push each other up, to challenge and inspire each other. We should be supporting each other, encouraging each other, pushing each other. The safety of marriage should provide us the extra support we need to take risks, to take on big projects, to work hard, to reach high. Our wedding day should be an important day in our lives not because it is the high point of our life, of our looks, and of our happiness. Our wedding day should be an important day because of its promise. It should signal the beginning to a powerful partnership, of shared risks, of challenges. And maybe, one day we have kids, and that will add to our shared joys, shared challenges, and our calling to do things with our lives that have meaning.
When we look back, I hope we don’t think “that was the day when I was the happiest,” but “that was the beginning of the richest, deepest, and happiest part of my life.”
Let the Obamas serve as our inspiration today. Our wedding is the first step of a powerful partnership. From here to the stars.
*I try not to wear my politics on my sleeve, but um, I know you didn’t think I was one of those two pro-gay marriage McCain supporters, right?
Pictures via the Huffington Post