By Sarah Smith
Love is not complicated. Most of the people in today’s world just don’t have the confidence or courage to find or keep it.
Love is simple. It’s sweet. It’s a standard of care shown to those who mean the most to us. I recall telling my childhood best friend that I didn’t think I would marry until I was at least 35 years old. Sitting indian style on my bed, homework smeared all over my sheets, we even made it a bet. Growing up I didn’t have many boyfriends. Boys were never a huge priority in my life. After high school, my career took precedence. I had no interest in being a mother. Like most girls, I have fantasized about my wedding day since I was old enough to remember. My mother and I kept a folder in her desk drawer labeled “wedding.” It was filled with torn magazine pages: pictures of bridesmaid dresses, bouquets, etc. My dream dress was one modeled in an Estée Lauder perfume ad. It was a princess gown complete with the tulle, droopy off-the-shoulder sleeves and too many flowers. My taste has changed much since then. I only needed the groom…I still need him.
Witnessing my parents’ marriage struggle was difficult. I believe it had a significant impact on my relationships with men. Why I choose the men I date. It wasn’t until after my sons’ father moved out of our house did I truly begin to understand and appreciate the sanctity of marriage. My sons were born out of wedlock. When I discovered I was pregnant I even said to their father, “I don’t want you to marry me because I’m pregnant. I want you to marry me because you love me.” I don’t necessarily regret that statement, but I think about it often. Within a month after the break up, I began cultivating a relationship and a love with Jesus that has forever changed me. The Lord will change your heart and your mind. Despite what most of my family and friends advised, I prayed for the reconciliation of my family. Nothing seemed more clear to me than God’s gift of love, marriage and family. Family has always been such an important part of my life. My parents both come from large families; my dad with 7 siblings and mom with 5. Holidays, summer cook outs, birthdays were always abundant with relatives. Marriage is a unity. It’s a public declaration of love and friendship. Whether you’re religious or not, it is still the most recognizable manner in which to honor the one you love.
Honor! It seems that the idea of marriage isn’t “cool” anymore. More and more I meet couples who will never marry, but they confess their love and plans to share the rest of their lives together. Living together and premarital sex is the norm today. I did it. Most of my friends have done it. What I fear is that this lack of public & legal form of commitment in our society is having more of an effect on our children than we realize. How are our children going to understand and respect loyalty? The concept of marriage promises loyalty. It becomes a status – So much that there are titles given to those who partake in the ritual: Man & Wife. Connotations are associated with the titles. Boyfriend/girlfriend, partners, significant others simply don’t carry the same notability. My dear friend Jenn Murff mentioned something during a conversation that has really resonated with me. For decades the homosexual community fought for equal rights to marry their significant other. Meanwhile, to the heterosexual demographic, the practice is no longer idealistic & the permanence of the federation isn’t realistic. Imagine a society 50 years from now where children rarely have the same last names as both of their parents. It may seem trivial, but where will the pride be of a family name?
I actually have cried thinking that my last name will never match my sons’.When my parents divorced (they since remarried each other!), I was in second grade. There was only one other student in my class with divorced parents. According to the US Census.gov the percentage of children under 18 living with two parents has decreased from approximately 85% in 1968 to approximately 69% in 2014. These statistics accompany the parallel increase in childhood obesity, depression, drug use in children growing up in a single-parent home. I want to break the cycle! I want to help bring the sexy and cool back to marriage. Why? Because I want to set an example of how my sons should treat women. I want more than anything for my sons to grow to be honest, devoted men of God. There was a time when I didn’t want children and I didn’t care about getting married. I now know that it was fear. A fear of rejection and responsibility. It was selfishness. Today, I ache for the opportunity to honor a man as my husband. I dream of the day a man will love me the way God desires. I pray, that if its God’s will, that my husband and I will be blessed with the gift of more children. What is marriage to me? It is a conscious decision to SHOW love to one person for the rest of your lives on Earth. It would be a privilege for me to be given the chance to share life with someone in marriage. Yes! I am a single mother of the most beautiful twin boys on the planet! I am a woman who wants to be a wife!