Dear Internet

Originally published Wednesday, 11 December 2013.

I am exactly one 675 Things You Need to Know About Marriage Before You Get Married (or Even Think about Thinking About Getting Married article away from having a bouquet toss of my own. With my laptop.

Has anyone else had enough? Have we reached the limit? Because I feel as though my Facebook wall is about to burst at the seams. We, the internet users, have been binging on too many of these popcorn truths. And I am sooooo one of the guilty ones.

It really seems like for every "marriage isn't about you" article there is a "marriage is allllll about you" article. For every what to do article, there are a precise number of what not to do counterparts. They argue in circles for and against each other.

They are some of the most simultaneously lovely and frightening pieces of prose I have ever read. And that's coming from someone who has read a lot of Edgar Allen Poe in her day.

Sentence after pounding sentence hammering into the place in my single gal brain that makes me say, "forget it!" If no one seems to be able to do this well, perhaps I'm not really interested in doing it after all. What's the point?

It seems that really the only thing any of us needs to know about marriage (of course, from what I've gathered by being on the outside looking in) is that it is both hard and good. And that no one really, really has a whitewashed method for what works and doesn't. People are different. Relationships are different.

God is creative, and His ways are, too. And marriage definitely seems to fall in that realm.

So, I'm not really convinced that we can quantify marriage. It's like following a sure-fire way to obtaining happiness. Or joy. We can pretend that we have that figured out well enough, or at least have gained a method or two on how to remedy unhappiness temporarily.

Anyone will tell you that happiness can't be bought. At least, not a lifetime supply of it.

Surprising then, isn't it, that we can't fix our problems by reading a step-by-step article articulating the ducks we must have in order before we can ever be ready to "take that step?"

And it must also follow that "liking" an article and arguing about something irrelevant in the comments section doesn't prepare us for the bicker battles about socks on the floor, or whether or not the toilet paper should be rolled for the over or under-handed grab. (Overhanded.)

I've been lucky enough to learn about marriage from my parents. They love each other like they love me. Giving of time. Of talents. Of strengths. They've held me up in times of financial crises, in heartbreak and disappointment. And I know they've done the same for each other.

I've learned about marriage from an old friend whose husband is in the Navy. While he's away, she explained that women equate her to this strong, miraculous person. To be able to live life knowing her husband is far away. Beyond the means of a phone call or even an email. She doesn't see it that way though.

"I'm not superwoman," she said. "I just do what I have to do." 

I've learned more about what love looks like from those two sentences than I have from at least 20 articles arguing around the same topic.

Please do not misunderstand, I am so thankful for lovely married people making attempts to guide others in their daily walks with the person they've chosen to stand beside them. You are doing a brave thing, trying to put to words your struggles and victories.

I'm just saying that maybe we should take the noise of those articles with a grain of salt. Maybe in order to be ready for marriage we should open our eyes to the needs of others around us. To escape from the internet noise and pay attention to the flesh and blood we have (or eventually will) cling to. And to begin listening to one another with our ears instead of our distracted, buzz-fed eyes.

photo credit: seanmcgrath via photopin cc

photo credit: *Seth via photopin cc