marriage

A Brief Note of Concern

Okay. I’ve seen a couple young ladies on my newsfeed link to a blog post entitled “The Day I Decided to Stop Listening to What Everybody’s Saying I’m Supposed to do & Why I’m Not Ready to Get Married in 44 Days.” The first time I read it, most of the comments were still sensible, but apparently many more people have discovered it since then and the sense has mostly been buried.

If you go back through the comments, I highly recommend reading the original comment from “Nathan” and also one from “Sandy.” If you’re too lazy/anti-internet-comments to do so (understandable), have a soapbox moment from me instead:

1) This post very much reads like it was written by a young twenty-year-old. There is nothing wrong with being twenty years old! It is a transition time from teenagerdom to adulthood. And some people are older at twenty than others, and this young lady falls into the latter category.

2) On that note, I’ve read blogs and talked to people who were married at twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two. Some of them were young, like the author of this blog post, and those whose marriages have lasted will unabashedly tell you how difficult being young and unready (which in this case often means “completely unaware of the sacrifices involved”) made the first few years of their marriages.

Others were older, and though unready in the sense that it’s impossible to truly understand what the sacrament will do to you until it’s done, had a sense of the responsibilities involved–had the sense that they still had growing and changing to do, but were committed to going through those experiences together.

3) In that sense, being “ready” to get married can, in part, be understood as being “ready” to submit yourself to God and to your spouse–and in THIS is freedom.

4) The author of the blog post defines freedom as “God created me as a [free spirit/the person I am right now and therefore I can do whatever I want because that’s who he made me to be.” This is not Christian freedom. Christian freedom does not elevate the individual above the community, nor does it provide justification for your every action. Christian freedom is the freedom to follow God, freedom from the slavery to sin, freedom to serve one another as Christ served us.

5) This is what God created us to do, to be. Each in our own unique way, with our own gifts, yes–but we are called to submit those things to him, and to do with them as he wills. Oftentimes that means submitting ourselves to the authority or will of others–rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, or honoring our fathers and mothers.

So ironically, the message the blog post author wants to convey is, technically, correct–we are called to the freedom of God’s children, which often bucks conventional “worldly” wisdom. She is, however, completely INcorrect as to what that actually looks like. Her words are quite romantic, but it’s an adolescent understanding of freedom–a young twenty–that fails to understand that her “free” (in this case, we could charitably call it “blind”) spirit is not the primary nor final arbiter of right and wrong, nor even of the path God wants her to follow.

God doesn’t always speak to us directly in our hearts. Sometimes he uses those around us–because after all we Christians are a communal people, one body bound in the breaking of the bread–to be his voice in our ears. True discernment–of marriage, of moving, of all the decisions we make–lies in learning to hear his voice, to see past the cloud of our desires into the clear sky of his light–and then learning to align our desires with his. Again, THAT is true freedom. Not walking barefoot at your wedding (a neutral act), nor putting your feet on someone else’s desk (actively willful–and somehow, I doubt that will is God’s).

So please, when reading this article, take it with a grain of salt. Or better still, skip it. But at the very least, recognize the difference between ramblings and wisdom, between a young woman experimenting with her understanding of the world and a young woman who understands that the world does not revolve around her.

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Childbirth Class the First

Having now watched two birth videos I can safely say that by the end the mommies and daddies on the screen were not the only people crying when they got to hold their babies for the first time.

The emotional whiplash from “oh gosh she looks so tired oh labor’s still happening oh she’s so exhausted this looks exhausting this is going to be so exhausting” to “what the are they showing us the baby crowning oh that’s gross that’s so oh no oh NO OH NO I DON’T WANT TO BE WATCHING THIS HAPPENING OH NO” to “AAAAAAAAAAAAAAW LOOK AT THE BABY IT’S OVER THEY’RE ALL TOGETHER EVERYONE’S OKAY I’M SO HAPPY FOR EVERYONE” is intense though. Probably these videos should come with a warning for pregnant women. Unless they’re trying to help us practice for the actual emotional whiplash on its way.
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Motherhood (Impending)

I stopped updating this blog, and I stopped updating because in September I came down with something called “the first trimester of pregnancy,” which affects women in various ways and me in particular by giving me a severe case of “incapable of leaving the couch.”

It was, in a word, pathetic. And by that I clearly mean “full of pathos,” because what is more moving than the sight of a woman furiously in the throes of setting up her internal baby-growing infrastructure? What could inspire a greater sense of the commonality of the human race than witnessing a woman as she participates in its propagation?
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Categories: family, marriage, random thoughts, theology | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Homemaking

“What do you do?”

What an excellent question, person I’ve just met.  You’ve noticed I’m not carrying a baby and certainly don’t look like I’ve had one, and you’d be right.  You’ve probably figured out I have a college degree, so naturally you’ve assumed I must have some kind of employment, given that I’m not living at home with my parents.  Of course, it will come out that my husband’s in the military, so it’s understandable if I haven’t found something yet.  But there must be a something, right?

To answer your question, I’m a teacher.  I had a teaching job that I loved with most of my heart and soul, and I left it because I loved my husband with all of them.  But I don’t have my Master’s and I’ve never taken any education courses and thus can’t get my certification and in any case the state market is currently flooded with teachers desperate for work.  I could tutor or volunteer in a school, sure, but it’s summertime anyway.  And as previously mentioned, my husband’s in the military, so until I have a sense of how long I”m going to be in any one place it’s hard to look for work.  What’s the point of starting a job in August when I’m going to leave in October?  This is especially poignant when it comes to what I’d really love to do, mentor, because it’s not fair to a child to start building a relationship and then cut it off two months in.

“Jo,” you say, “those sound an awful lot like a whole bunch of excuses.”

They probably are.  I’m making excuses to cover up how much I miss it.  I’m talking around why I’m not doing what I love, why I’m not doing something that’s work yes but so rewarding and awesome that I ultimately would do it for free (maybe I should put that on my resume), why I’m not doing something that comes fairly easily and naturally to me.

Instead, I am doing something hard hard hard, something totally against my natural inclinations and desires, something I do not because I love it but because I love and it must be done:  homemaking.
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Categories: marriage | Tags: , , | 6 Comments

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