Monday, December 12, 2011

Stop Dreaming, You'll Never Get Married

Some of us singles are beginning to think that way. Marriage has become imaginary for many of us. It's in a galaxy far, far away, something that only happens in movies or for the lucky few who find that pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. It seems like there should be more of us getting married but we're not. And then there's that nagging feeling that maybe your destiny is closer than you think. Maybe she is across the coffee shop right now. Maybe, she is looking at you and wondering the same thing.

I have to admit there are some fairly paradoxical Scriptures about the vision for marriage. For instance "Husbands love your wives as Christ loved the church" but then there is "If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother and wife. . . then he cannot be My disciple." Here's another biblical paradox, in one place it says "It is better for a man not to marry" and yet elsewhere it says "He who finds a wife finds a good thing." Ok. . .so I could probably contextualize these scriptures in a way that brings comfort and clarity, but I want to let the tension linger a little.

The point is that marriage and love seem to be messier than most people care to admit. There are so many cute cliches about marriage and about what to look for and what to expect and how it works, and now we as singles are left peering into bottomless idealism. People tend to exagerate things when they talk about something that other people haven't experienced. I have to laugh when I hear someone talking about how being a Christian is "one big, amazing rollercoaster of an adventure!" Maybe they live in Christian Candyland, but I don't. In the real world, I've found that the Christian journey is, for the most part, a series of gritty conversations, conversations with God and conversations with people about God. It's intriguing and fun, but not exactly a non-stop sugar-high. Not only do we glamorize but we can't help but organize. In our minds, we organize the way that things should be and will be, and when things are not that way then we think that something has gone wrong. But maybe we had the wrong expectations in the first place.

Likewise, marriage has become so idealized and organized in our young minds that reality can't seem to measure up. I'm trying something new. I'm trying to imagine myself married and placing myself in very ordinary scenarios. For instance, imagining myself cleaning the house or grocery shopping with my wife. It doesn't sound very fun, but it sounds real. I am also imagining life's hiccups within the context of marriage, like getting a flat tire on the way to church, or one of us getting sick for a week. Sure, there will be romantic date nights and fun get-aways, but there will also be the mundane, the occasional boredom, and the ever-present need for God's hopeful light in the valley. I'm leaving room for the reality that marriage will be different than how I've organized it in my mind. Everything else in my life has defied my expectations, so marriage will probably follow suit. The reality of marriage will constantly challenge the way I think marriage should be. It will go left when it's supposed to go right. Life is like that. Sometimes, it rains on Christmas when it's supposed to snow. But who says it's supposed to snow? Who's making these rules for Christmas and marriage and the way things are supposed to be? Maybe we are. We are all like Pharisees who take a few good principles and turn them into stiff, lifeless rituals. I don't want a marriage like that, I want a marriage that breathes and sometimes bleeds because it is alive.


  1. Sometimes the Christian life can be a wonderful roller coaster, but the majority of the time it is a constant battle in this world where Satan moves in and through.

    Marriage is everything I thought it would be; it's also things I didn't know it would be. It's just as amazing and intimate as I imagined, but I'm the same. I do the same things. I have to clean, cook and look for a job just like I would be doing if I were single. The difference is having a partner. And when the timing is right I believe with all I am that God wants to give everyone a buddy to get through this difficult life.

  2. I agree. . .following Jesus, from my experience, has been anything but "Christian Candyland" (You need to coin that phrase!).

  3. I think it is very wise and intelligent of you to consider the reality version of marriage. You have examined other aspects of life and come to the conclusion that things are rarely what you think they will be. Marriage will be far better than whatever you have dreamed up so far, and it will be far more challenging than anything you have anticipated. The greater the love the greater potential for pain. It's a risk. No one has it figured out. All we can do is continue to love, forgive, pray for God to help us, and do our best. You are already off to a good start by setting the stage of your heart in reality (as much as is possible based on the reasonable conclusions a person can come to by theorizing), yet still maintaining a sense of idealistic hope and romanticism. I think you will do well Ryan.

  4. Hey ryan-
    I stumbled upon your blog and i just wanted to say.. WOW! such a powerful, inspiring blog you have. I just read your last couple posts and am so excited to keep reading. thanks for being so real in your writing, God bless!

  5. Thanks for reading! Appreciate the encouraging words!