Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Marriage as "Settling Down"?

When did the idea of "settling down" become negative? The young and "free" twenty-something giving up a life of parties and socials for a "homey" life of the-same-thing-every-night. Granted, many (many) things change when you get married. Everything from bedtime to tax breaks can shift dramatically. I don't want this to sound like a glorification of marriage or anything. To be sure, marriage is a difficult and formidable adventure. But it is an adventure. For me, marriage as been the most exciting adventure of my life! There are, obviously, the myriad joys that accompany one as one lives with the love of one's life; the excitement, the romance, the spontaneity of young love! Yet even the stressful parts have been adventurous! Moving twice (three times if you count living in Italy for a month) the first two months of our marriage while finishing finals and degrees; budgeting new expenses and still making an effort to visit family and friends far and wide; packing up all our worldly goods and traversing the country for more school; making new friends; budgeting more expensive expenses, and making a greater effort to visit family and friends farther and wider. It's all a beautiful part of living, loving, learning, lachrymosity, and laughter. Children are yet another adventure we've not fully experienced yet. They will be exciting too! Chesterton, in his essay "On Running After One's Hat" gives a grand illustration of life as adventure: "...There is a current impression that it is unpleasant to have to run after one's hat. Why should it be unpleasant to the well-ordered and pious mind? Not merely because it is running, and running exhausts one. The same people run much faster in games and sports. The same people run much more eagerly after an uninteresting, little leather ball than they will after a nice silk hat. There is an idea that it is humiliating to run after one's hat; and when people say it is humiliating they mean that it is comic. It certainly is comic; but man is a very comic creature, and most of the things he does are comic--eating, for instance. And the most comic things of all are exactly the things that are most worth doing--such as making love. A man running after a hat is not half so ridiculous as a man running after a wife." I am reminded of T's recent blog post on gift. He captures very well, I think, the tremendous blessing of being able to view everything that we give as a gift, as an adventure. One of the things I most love about my husband is his unfailing ability to see the good in any situation. It's not a habit of resignation, "Well, we can't do anything about it, so just live with it." It's a grace he's whole-heartedly allowed to flow through him: the grace of true optimism. He always says to me, "It's us and God! Let's take on the world!" Even though we don't know what's in store for us down the road, it's exciting and comforting to know we'll be there facing it together. A large part of the adventure is whom you're adventuring with! For people like Chesterton and my philosopher-husband, marriage (even as "settling down") could never be considered a negative endeavor. It's all a beautiful and exciting journey on the way to heaven :) Today is the feast of St. Catherine of Sienna, one of 25 children, doctor of the Church, Dominican! It also happens to be our two-year anniversary :)

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