Editor’s Note: This is the second article in a three part series on Commitment. Click here for the preface to this series, and here for article one. Watch Family Share over the next few days for part three.
One of he most frequent reasons we hear from the Millennial generation for wanting to avoid marriage or at least delay it for a long time is that they still want excitement, independence, freedom and adventure in their lives.
So let’s just hit it head on and say that while sky diving or kite surfing or traveling the globe might seem adventurous and exciting, they pale almost into insignificance when compared to the ultimate adventure of marriage and the incomparable excitement of bringing a child into the world.
We know that everyone has their own timing and that there is no one-size-fits-all formula for marriage and family. We are all unique and “our way” is not necessarily the best way for you.
But adventure? Excitement? Deliberately making the commitment of marriage is like jumping off a cliff. The risk and the rush of it is breath taking. And fighting through the inevitable differences and difficulties is the challenge of a lifetime with potential rewards that outshine any gold medal.
The irony is that many are avoiding marriage today because they think it will be dull. Ask 100 married people if marriage is dull and see if you can find one who says it is. Hard? Yes! Often unpleasant? Yes! Containing doubts and a certain amount of second-guessing? Yes! But dull? Never!
Family life, particularly with kids, is like surfing a wave. Sometimes you wipe out, and even when you do ride one, there is constant adjusting and weight shifting and rebalancing. You are always in danger of hitting something or losing the curl. But when you catch a perfect wave, and the pipeline opens up and its just you and the energy of the ocean, it makes it all worth it and you are up at dawn the next morning to have the adventure again because there is always the unknown and no two days and no two waves are the same.
Teddy Roosevelt hoped to never be among “those cold and timid souls who never knew either victory or defeat.” Instead, he wanted to be one “who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause.”
Did you ever hear a better description of what it is like to have and live with a family every day?
Everyone is unique. Everyone needs to find what is best for him or her. There is no pattern or timetable or sequence that works for everyone. But the danger is listening too much to the current trends and the prevailing wisdom of staying vital and fulfilled by doing your own independent thing and keeping all your self-entertaining options open for as long as you possibly can.
What looked exciting in your 20s will start to look a little stereotyped in your 30s, and may look like an absolute drag in your 40s and beyond.
You can keep looking elsewhere for excitement and adventure — trying all kinds of thrill-seeking, from extreme sports to video games to buying a better car or finding a flashier boyfriend or girlfriend. And you can seek peace and contentment in everything from meditation to religion to a new app on deep breathing.
Or you can up the ante, double down, take the biggest risk of all with the biggest potential rewards of both excitement and peace; and this one, this ultimate and unmatched adventure, is marriage and family!