This is bull. (Completely unvarnished opinion, obviously.) Author is happily married and apparently teaches classes on how to do this marriage thing, which, more power to you, but these reasons are bull and I will just as happily tell you why.
1. It’s actually pretty smart to give commitment a try. By the time you’re at the moving-in-together stage, please, please already be committed enough that stepping up to the plate just that much further isn’t painful. Otherwise how are you going to deal when you’re married? You’ll be divorced before you can say “avocat!” — Oh, wait, this blog has a Faith Statement. Huh. Well, I guess it’ll be a long and ugly marriage.
2. Bullshit your needs are that different. Excuse you, but I’m pretty sure Eleven needs security and commitment as much as I do. These are the things that make our relationship tick. If I were not into security or commitment, we would not be together, end of. “Physical responsiveness” (just say sex, honey, sooner or later your students will be having it) is great, but if that were all I had to offer, he’d be out of my life. As for companionship and domestic support, have a crisis or two. You’ll learn that those needs aren’t gendered, either.
3. There’s a difference between commitment and co-dependence. In my commitment with Eleven (not to him, with him; it’s mutual) we talk about the choices we make in our lives, and yes, they matter. We “consult” each other because we want to hear how our decisions will impact each other. You know what will never happen, and thank goodness for that? Considering him above myself and vice versa. He is my partner, not my sacrificial lamb. Breeds bitterness and stagnation. If I need to depart the relationship in order to grow as a person, he won’t keep me. If he finds the same with me, I’ll bid him farewell and hope he comes back when he’s done his growing. Love isn’t a thorny vine trapping us together. It’s a clearing in a forest with a sunbeam popping through the leaves.
4. It’s not about the damn ring. You know what should create an unconditional love? Being together. Go into your relationship focusing on a series of stages and goals and you’ll end up with a performance-based relationship, sure. Commitment is not marriage. Commitment does not require marriage. Your beliefs may, but again, how is that going to work when apparently commitment doesn’t start until marriage? Which one of us is confused here again?
5. You are more valuable than that. You matter too much to place your self-worth in a white dress and a diamond. You know what happens when people decide not to marry their live-ins? They move on. They find other partners who are perhaps better-suited to each other. Do you want to force someone to marry you out of pity? “We lived together! I am sullied!” Psssht. Woman up and understand that you are better than pity. You are good enough to wait for someone who wants to be there.
6. That’s not God, that’s culture. You’re adhering to subcultural norms. Those norms dictate that living together is sin and divorce is failure. Is it God’s favor if your subculture asks you to preserve your marriage at all costs? My norms have, so far, given me the freedom not to marry people I’d probably divorce inside of a year. My norms let me move on to real commitment, which made me equal, not less-than. I felt less-than when one of your fine Christian boys decided he had a say in what I called a fetus (“it” is apparently insulting). I felt less-than when an ex wanted me to give up my dreams and follow his. I do not feel less-than with Eleven, who wants me to be a whole person, not just half of us. I joke that we share a brain cell — trust me, it’s more like the cells are twins.
So what was this woman’s issue in her marriage?
Her wedding day apparently wasn’t special enough. Her honeymoon was just a vacation. It was all just living. Golly. Her husband actually said “Was Danielle good enough for me?” Eleven hasn’t asked that.
And then there were cultural clashes. She wanted things her culture didn’t want her to have, like… career aspirations. Repenting of career aspirations? Whaaaa? No, I damn well don’t recognize the need to repent. I don’t need fixing. On May 1, 2008, I put my faith in a universe that was showing me how desperation was leading me into terrible decisions. Only then was I able to free my thought processes enough to be truly open to good things.
(Like you, my love. Like you.)
I’m going to be an even better partner when my sinful, sinful career aspirations become reality. Studying social work is settling me and my values in ways years of therapy couldn’t before. I feel an almost religious clarity. “Not I but thou.” Not my needs but the needs of my community. Don’t anyone dare tell me this is the wrong way forward because until my feet found this path, I had no way forward.
And ladies, don’t let anyone tell you not to be yourselves. Danielle here found her way. That doesn’t give her the right to shame you into following. You take the lead and you be you. No loving God would ask you to be any other way.