Is marriage radical?

27 May

Marriage and relationships are hard.

I have been married for four years and I like many people, maybe didn’t realize the depth of where marriage takes you.  It takes you high and it can take you low…or rather you take yourself.  I have learned that marriage doesn’t solve anything, but it doesn’t make it worse either.

People who play so far to either side of the debate about marriage really scare me.  “Marriage fixes everything” or “marriage is awful, it will ruin your relationship.”  Both are fear-based ideas that allow people to never really grow into a relationship, or out of one.  It’s the class of two civilizations, two systems of doing things, two worldviews, and two different likes and dislikes.  How in the world is that supposed to be easy?

I knew marriage would be difficult at times, but in my gut I knew that my husband was the person I could spend the rest of my life with.  I knew that we could do the ‘everyday’ together, and not because we’re so attractive or funny that it cushions the disappointment when we mess up.  NO!  I knew that we had to find the glory in the mundane everydays.

Lots of people fall in love or even easier, lust…but the glory is not in the falling in love, it’s in the staying in love.  It’s the understanding that I have to love my husband more in 6 months than I do today, and not because he takes me on date night or tells me how beautiful I am.  It’s a commitment to choose to love him more, to grow in a deeper understanding of love for him when he does nothing to deserve it.

If we look at marriage that way- it’s pretty radical, right?

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Place or Purpose?

27 May

Oh, I’m going to be brutally honest and tell you that I have not made a dime in 18 months. Oh, my poor husband- how must this make him feel?

I mean, let’s present the facts.
1. I am not a stay at home mom
2. We are not so rich that I don’t have to work
3. I’m not incapable nor do I have a lack of desire to work

While I truly believe that work gives you purpose, a sense of belonging, interaction with others, builds character, etc I do think this whole idea of the ‘purpose driven life’ is dangerous and it’s validity is being challenged by this recession. In this recession, can any of us really afford to think like that?  So many people are struggling and dreams are just that, dreams. I try to keep my feet on the ground and remember what reality is, but I’ve always been  plagued by a sugary and spiritual sense of purpose.

I think about being a woman a generation or two ago when the majority stayed home, raised a family, and didn’t know the joy of every other Friday when you got your direct deposit! Their options were limited, but mine are not.  Knowing that hangs over my head and so I struggle with feeling like everything I do, everything I’m involved in, everything I’m interested in should have some glorious ‘meaning’ and ‘purpose’.

I used to work in TV News and after 4 or so years in the business, I just got completely burnt out. I was so tired of the grind, the 24 hour news cycle, the illusion that TV was glamorous and about the story- when it was really about awful things that you don’t want to know. I bought into all of those things and helped perpetuate the illusion in my own life. I felt enveloped in a world that I let own my identity…I gave in to this constant desire to feel important. So, I did what any rational human being living in an expensive city, during the beginning of the biggest recession of my life does- I quit.

For the first few months people would be like, ‘what do you do?’ and I would say, ‘I don’t’. ‘You don’t what?’ they would say… ‘I don’t work’. It was so liberating to feel unattached and unidentified…it was like throwing your IPhone out of the window. I had given up this idea that what I did mattered. I had given up the idea that what I did everyday had to have some grand meaning…I was searching for a way to view work as just that, work.

What I’ve lost by not getting paid the last 18 months is bigger than just a hole in my pride and an absence of my own spending money.  I know these last 18 months will make finding a job in the future more challenging, it has placed an enormous burden on my husband, and maybe I doubt if anyone will hire me! What I’ve gained is a real sense of place, not purpose. It has been an exchange of looking forward, for being present.

Maybe by intimately knowing my place, then I can find my purpose?

Do we need men?

20 May

The fastest growing group of homeowners in America is single mothers, age 25-35.  For the first time in human history women are not only able to almost make as much as men, but they are having children on their own and providing for a family. The evolution of women is the single biggest social change in the past 50 years, and it has happened at an aggressive rate, despite what many feminist critics say.  The fact that American women have respect, opportunities, political careers, and gender equality is uniquely contemporary.

Critics would say that we still have a long way to go and I’m sure that’s partly true, but for the most part it’s been remarkably quick.  Women’s innate abilities are being utilized in corporate America more than ever, making it an even playing field to run or own your own company.  Feminism has done so much for women, but every positive has a negative.  I believe there is no bigger indicator of the negative effect of feminism if you look at relationships between men and women.  Women can and do anything and that is very intimidating to a man, the one whom traditionally has been the provider and protector.   The slow emasculation of men today is equal to lining them up at a wall dressed in a tutu, waiting to have their balls chopped off.

Women have subconsciously decided that we just don’t need men to provide, buy a home, have a child, and the list goes on.  We are perpetually in a state of angst about the lack of ‘good’ men, but men find themselves in a horrible position that is essentially a lose-lose scenario.  It goes something like this- ‘celebrate my success- but don’t feel small if I make more money than you’, ‘let me follow my dreams- but please provide for me’, ‘don’t hold me back- but give me boundaries so I know you care’, etc.  Men are already a confused species and our ‘progression’ has only confused it a little more.  I’m not saying progress is wrong, but understanding what this means for men is so vital for a healthy relationship or marriage, otherwise you will be up against a species that you don’t internally understand.

Why try to change the nature of men?  I really don’t believe they are trying to change us, and they can’t because that train is moving too fast.  I see women walk all over men everyday (and i’ve been guilty of it too….yeeeeeesssss), and their response to be honest is often pathetic.  Where is the femininity and the masculinity, or do am I just gender stereotyping?  Sure some men have ditched good manners like going to church, but in some ways we don’t allow them to be gentleman- because we’re not ladies anymore.

As a modern woman who owns a business and has worked in some intense newsrooms, I can relate to the modern woman.  BUT I have to take a step back and realize that my man’s treasures are in a glass container and I am holding it.  So we can vote, run a business, hold a political office, speak out on important issues- but is that really what we’re doing?  I see more of our ‘rights’ going towards silicon boobs, fake tans, credit card debt, eating disorders, abortion, and vacant relationships.  What more could we want, right?  With this freedom came a lot of stupid ideas.

The reality is, no woman on God’s green earth really wants to do this life alone, without something meaningful.   Love is transcendent and everyone wants it, so the question is not- do we need men to buy the house or bring home the big bucks anymore?  The question should be, how do we allow them to be who they are, because they have obviously tried to let us be who we are.