Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What'd you do That For?

Quite a few times now, when I tell some of my guy friends that I'm engaged, their reaction goes something like this:

"How old are you?"


"What'd you do that for?"

It's predictable; there are a plethora of pressures in this culture that tell men to become boys and run from responsibility. Some of it comes from a society that tells men they can have all the sex they want commitment and consequence free. Some of it comes from the divorce statistics. Some of it comes from well meaning folks in the church, who beat the divorce statistics until they are dead and twitching. These folks tend to dwell a tremendous amount on the hardships of marriage, and they give scant attention to all the joys.

When you've just heard the 12th sermon warning of the stumblings of married couples, how kids wear you out and make you think nasty thoughts, and how "50% of Christian marriages end in divorce," blah, blah, blah, it's no wonder guys aren't exactly excited about getting married. My word, these days Paul's phrase "it is good for a man not to marry" is repeated ad nauseum like it's some Eckhart Tolle incantation. I'm tired of it, frankly.

There's not much talk, both inside and outside the church, about responsibility being a manly calling. Very few talk about how responsibility is hard, and that because it's hard, it's good. It stretches you, and like any hard task, it transforms your selfish character. We tend to miss the fact that the commitment of all one's being to another person for life is a noble honor worth pursuing.

I'm not married yet, so I don't know what marriage will be like. I'm willing to bet it actually will be hard at times. But this makes me want to run towards, not away from marriage.

I love my fiance', and therefore I'm looking forward to giving up my independence. I consider the responsibility a joy, and I want to embrace it...that's what I tell the man-boys who think I'm selling short. I hope they never forget that.


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