To a future man-friend.
These are a few thoughts on marriage before I’m married. While I’m still idealistic and I’m still naive; hopefully I’ll always be that way. (I mean, life hasn’t destroyed my idealism in twenty three years, despite its best efforts. So there’s a good chance I will stay this way! Wooohooo!)
In “Boys and Love and Stuff” I briefly described my realization last summer that I would like to be married, after all, and that I no longer just want a boyfriend (MANfriend, I mean. No boys need apply.) for the sake of having one. I’m not afraid to say I would like a husband. I’m not obsessed with marriage, and when we’re dating I’d like it to be really fun. Thinking about the slavery of human beings every day is not the most joyful thing and I will need you to remind me that life is joy, too, and it’s celebration. But even with this hope of fun, my ultimate purpose in having a relationship with you is to consider future marriage.
Perhaps it’s paranoia that makes me feel scary or aggressive by saying that last sentence. Sometimes I think I’m expected (by the great, general “them”/”they say”) to date, have a ton of fun, and if marriage happens then it’s a bonus. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been told to “Stop looking/wanting a boyfriend and then you’ll get one.” That is, I think, a little stupid…and unintentionally implies that desiring a relationship is wrong. Even if those are just personal issues and no one else feels such an expectation, I’m here to stand up to myself. I’d like to think you like (or will grow to like) that about me. I can stand up to others and to myself, even if takes a little time.
You know, before I wanted to be married, I realized that I ought to be married. Part of that epiphany last summer was, first, some words from God.
It is difficult to study injustice for three weeks, as I did in HOPE61 training, and retain respect for every person. Ironic, isn’t it? But knowing the way that traffickers and “johns” exploit human beings (usually women), it’s a challenge to leave and not feel hatred for them. Unfortunately, abusers in this arena are often men; making it even more of a challenge to avoid directing all of that anger and disrespect toward the whole gender. More than once I bluntly asked myself, “Why should I be married if a man could turn on me and exploit me this way?” I wanted to protect myself, and the potential children that exist within marriage, from injustice and harm. I’ve rarely been genuinely concerned for my own future safety like I was then.
Then, against my will, I started to dream.
What would a family look like where the children were protected, but grew up aware of slavery’s existence and passionate to see it end? What if justice was the first word they spoke and abolition was not a trend they joined later, but the lifestyle in which they were cared for? What if the mother and father understood what justice really is – and how it’s so core to the character of God? What if this all happened intentionally?
I’m not completely naïve. Regardless of intentions, you cannot prepare for all the twists in the road of raising your family. Still, that’s no excuse for refusing to dream. So this is when I knew God spoke to me, and asked me to raise a family with the intentions of that dream of justice. I was angry at the idea, angry about having to be vulnerable and trust a man. In time, though, I came around. (See “Boys and Love and Stuff” for more on that.)
A close friend and I have talked about our fear that marrying someone could take away our strong personalities, destroy our craving to be strong women. Everyone argues about what biblical submission really means, and some of them make a worrisome case for every single women being silent and demure. But I’m not demure and I will not be silent, so what does that mean for me?
In the strong Christian marriages I admire, there are disagreements and sometimes angry frustration. I realized that in these marriages, it’s simple. There is humanity. I love the differences in the male and female genders. I praise God for creating so many unique people with multitudes of difference, yet opportunity for love and unity. But in overcoming my past trepidation about marriage, I realized that I need to recognize marriage as two human beings coming together. There’s no inequality between us. ( Galatians 3:28) There are differences, especially as we are two genders working together, but there is plenty of commonality: we’re both human.
There are more things bouncing around in my head, but perhaps it’s better not to overwhelm you. I’ll write some more later.
Oh, one last thing!
I love nature, books, and chocolate.
No particular reason…just saying.