I Fell In Love and Married Too Young.

I was engaged 15 years ago (so I was barely 18) and I got married 3 months later.

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Statistically speaking people married under the age of 25 are at a much higher risk for divorce. Low income families are too. Short engagements make your chances of success even lower.

We were all of the above and then some. Some would call our marriage a recipe for disaster, yet we’ve already beaten the odds just getting past the 10 year mark.

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So how is it that we have a  strong healthy marriage after 15 years even while undergoing so much struggle?

First of all it’s because we have a redeeming Savior that we rely on to get us through the hard times. “There but for the grace of God go I” is one of my all time favorite sayings.

I don’t want anything I say to be hurtful or judgmental. Marriage is SO COMPLICATED and each situation is completely different. We’ve seen many dear friends and family members walk through the pain and difficulty of seperation so I am not trying to sum up the key to marital success in under a thousand words.

What I do want to say is that I see a trend in our culture that I think is misleading. I call it the calculated marriage.

On average most people will spend a quarter of their life single. Then they spend a few years dating and being engaged to their spouse. At this point you would have MOST of your life ahead of you.

Here’s a terribly unscientific pie chart to explain what I mean.

Marriage chart

What I see happening is that everyone (Christian or not) is putting ALL the emphasis on that tiny fraction of the pie that I have labeled courting (shown in orange).

Some suggest living together during courtship so that you really know what life is like. Others suggest a parent led courtship where the families are heavily involved. There are websites designed to match you up with your most compatible partner. I’ve seen advice that you should stay single longer, date longer, marry someone you’ve known for a long time, be financially stable, have a college degree, get plenty of counseling, own a pet first, marry someone who has never been divorced, or I saw an article shared on Facebook yesterday that talked about the stigma of having divorced parents.

The list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, these things are important to consider, but I am going to make anunpopular claim and say that we are putting the emphasis in the wrong place.

I believe that the reason J and I (and the many many other couples I know in the same boat) have defied the odds is because we put the work in before we even met each other and then really got our elbows dirty after we sealed the deal. So we may have rushed through the “orange” phase, but you see all that green and yellow? We have invested a lot into those years and hopefully the years to come.

We were taught to believe that marriage takes work and divorce is not an option. We were working on our relationships with the Lord while we were single (and therefore working on what it takes to have a successful marriage). We have had to fight for our marriage especially in those first 5 years! I’m glad we had no way out in those dark moments because now I get to see all the wonderful things we would have missed!

Let me use an analogy. Let’s say there is a young woman that dreams of having a nice car some day. She carpools and rides the bus as she diligently saves up for her dream car. Her focus and motivation is getting the perfect car. She believes that if she does all the research and gets a car that has great gas milage, high safety ratings, a history of longevity, and luxurious amenities then she knows she will be happy.

The day comes that she finds the ONE. It’s perfect. She doesn’t rush in and buy it either. She finishes saving up and pays CASH! It sounds like the epitome of self discipline and responsibility.

The problem is, she goes to get the car without a drivers license! She assumed she would be able to learn to drive once she had a car to practice with.

To make matters worse she doesn’t keep up with the maintence on the car. The car she worked so hard to get is banged up and run down fast because she doesn’t know how to drive it or take care of issues when they arise. She was completely focused on the vehicle and her checklist, but put little thought into what it really means to drive or take ownership.

The point I am trying to make is that while the vehicle and the purchase is important it’s not even the most important part. Of course there are things you can do to make wise choices while you date or are engaged. For starters the Bible talks about being equally yoked and that’s HUGE, but it’s only a part of the equation. You have to learn about commitment and choose covenant everyday in every aspect of life. Then when you are married you implement what you’ve learned. You walk it out. It takes two and that’s the hard part, but it’s so rewarding.

There are some people that operate with caution by nature and if you want to get a license, save up for the perfect car, AND take good care of it too then that’s great. My concern is for those that think the calculated marriage is going to solve the divorce epidemic.

Marriage is a big decision that should not be taken lightly, but deep down I still stubbornly believe that some of the best things in life are uncalculated.

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By | July 21st, 2015|Marriage, Uncategorized|7 Comments

The “I Love Lucy” Chemistry

I got free tickets to see I Love Lucy live at the Aranoff theater in Cincinnati and it was such a great experience. I used to watch reruns of the show back in the day. Watching it as an adult made me realize just how much my husband and I are just like Lucy and Ricky! I am the quirky free spirited one always trying new things and getting myself into some kind of trouble, while J is a little more grounded and inclined to overthink think things through.

It’s a great combination though and it’s not uncommon for opposites to attract. There is often chemistry there. Even in fictional love stories there are numerous times where Type A personality + Type B personality = True Love. I’m no movie or television buff, but I did my best to come up with a list of characters that have that “I Love Lucy” chemistry. Maybe you can help me add to it.

1. Lucy and Ricky Ricardo (I Love Lucy)

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I already ‘splained myself on this one. Quirky meets grounded and BAM! Match made in heaven.

2. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy (Pride and Prejudice)

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It’s not unlikely for this personality combination to start as a love/hate relationship, as was the case with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. Darcy is about as straight laced as they come seeing everything in black and white. Elizabeth on he other hand was raised with an entirely different set of values and has “a lively, playful disposition, which delighted in anything ridiculous” (to quote Jane Austen). Yet, it works. Sounds like another Lucy and Ricky to me.

3. Maria and Captain von Trapp (Sound of Music)

tumblr_nmy179bRN91t1g01wo7_1280Um, can we say opposite? Another classic example of how a serious military guy can fall for a singing dancing “flibbertijibbet! A will-o’-the wisp! A clown!” such as Maria. Once again, it took a while for them to realize their love, but it doesn’t get any more perfect than the captain and Maria.

4. Fran Fine and Mr. Sheffield (The Nanny)

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If you are looking for the 1990’s modern adaptation of all of these love stories than look no further than the hit sitcom “The Nanny”. A wealthy widower who is reserved and proper ends up with a flashy, sassy, hot mess from Flushing Queens when Fran becomes the nanny of Mr. Sheffield’s three children. Of course it takes 5 of 6 seasons for them to admit their feelings, but they do end up happily ever after.

5. Cory and Topanga (Boy Meets World)

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Another 90’s sitcom (sorry that’s my era). First of all how cool is it that we watched this connection start as children and now there is a spin off series where they are still married and have children!? Even though Cory and Topanga definitely mellow out a little making it less obvious how opposites attract. But let’s not forget that Topanga was a total hippy when she met the nerdy little Cory Matthews. Cory describes his love for Toganga by saying

“She gave me my first kiss. She taught me how to dance. She was always talking about these crazy things and I never understood a word she said. All I understood was that she was the girl I sat up every night thinking about.”

So that’s why I say Cory and Topanga fit the bill for straight laced guy and free spirited gal.

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7. Joe and Anya (Roman Holiday)

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Even though this classic black and white Audry Hepburn film doesn’t really end up as a love story I think it still shows that same pattern. A dedicated reporter tries to stay focused on business while the care free spontaneous princess just wants to chop off her hair, hop on a motorcycle, and live life to the fullest! At first Joe just wanted to get the story for his career, but in the end love, loyalty, and passion win him over.

8. Emmett and Wyldstyle (Lego Movie)

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You can laugh if you want, but are Emmett and Wyldstyle from the Lego movie not the perfect example of the rule following guy totally falling for the independent artsy chick? I’ll admit Wyldstyle is way more serious than the playful free wheeling girls I have listed above, but she definitely likes to march to the beat of her own drum and eventually Emmett does too! Not to mention Wyld Style’s real name is LUCY. It’s like this I love Lucy comparison has gone full circle!

9. Ross and Rachel (Friends)

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Ross Geller was the focused and introverted paleontologist while Rachel Green was a bit of a loose cannon who had many different jobs throughout the show. They were the unlikely nerd and cheerleader opposite combo that finally settled down together in the end. For that reason I  would say this ultimate sitcom couple had a little “I Love Lucy” chemistry going on.

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10. Belle and The Beast (Beauty and the Beast)

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I know this is a stretch, but just think about it. Belle is that same dreamer, non conformist, make your own path leading lady and while we don’t know a ton about the Beast it’s safe to say he had that type A personality that would make them an opposite couple. I am sure you know the story so I won’t go into detail, but once again true love wins in the end!


 

So those are my picks for fictional couples with “I Love Lucy” chemistry. Although, I should mention it doesn’t have to be the male that has the A type personality.
 There is Danny and Sandy from Greece, or Allie and Noah from the Notebook (he was the one to bring her out of her shell), or even though I do realize they were cartoon dogs Lady and the Tramp is another prime example. I should stop before I come up with another list of ten. Feel free to add your own. I am sure there are lots more.

 

Are you an I Love Lucy Couple? 

By | June 11th, 2015|Marriage, Uncategorized|16 Comments