A Response to 23 Things To Do Instead of Getting Engaged


I was married at 22, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to respond to Wander Onward’s post that has been circulating Facebook. The author’s broad generalizations of marriage and single life couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s how I debunked her entire list, explaining just how naive her perception on marriage is:

1. Get a passport. Married people aren’t exempted from getting passports. My sister-in-law, engaged before she was 23, took a road trip across the US and then went to Europe the following summer with her husband.

2. Find your thing. I haven’t lost anything I didn’t intend to lose. I have a collection of paintings, embroidery, stories, and pictures of cakes that I’ve made AFTER I was married.

3. Make out with a stranger. After marriage, the only person in the world you will want to kiss is your spouse. Can kissing my husband be my new “thing”?

4. Adopt a pet. Yes. Married folks can adopt pets (and children).

5. Start a band. My husband still sings and plays professionally (shout out to the LTD band).  I still rock the air guitar with two of the cutest back-up singers/dancers.

6. Make a cake. Since marriage, I’ve made layered cakes, cheesecakes, ice cream cakes, heavenly flourless chocolate cakes for family and friends.

7. Get a tattoo, it’s more permanent than marriage. Make a vow to God, it’s more permanent than a tattoo.

8. Explore a new religion. Visit the Holy Land. Far too many of us operate on bad interpretations of the Catholic Church’s teachings and are sorely misguided. The major news outlets make a huge profit on these errors, so they’re invested in spinning the truth.

9. Start a small business.  I’m one of many self-employed young mothers, and I have been for the last five years.  The flexibility is great for family life.

10. Cut your hair. I started donating my hair in high school, feeling somewhat helpless in ministering to those who suffer cancer, especially children. So I’ve specifically donated my hair to charities that make wigs for children. When I start to gray, I’ll donate it specifically for women. Marriage has nothing to do with it.

11. Date two people at once. I’ve never been so bored that I felt the need to create drama, like dating two people at once. We don’t even own cable; there’s never a dull moment in a household of small children.

12. Build something with your hands. We have torn down and rebuilt so many parts of our old house. We also managed to assemble furniture, kitchen cabinets, and build a raised garden. But the most unique things we’ve built are our children.

13. Accomplish a Pinterest project. The crafts for kids are especially fun. You don’t even have to be married to participate in those projects with children.

14. Join the Peace Corps. Or Catholic Charities. They regularly are the first responders to emergencies. Married and single people can participate on a multitude of levels. Catholic Charities didn’t even pay me to write that.

15. Disappoint your parents. As a parent now, I can reassure you, you’ve already accomplished this by age 5.

16.Watch GIRLS. I like watching MY girls. They’re hysterically funny with a slight flair for the dramatic. Best part is, it’s LIVE and unscripted.

17. Eat a jar of Nutella in one sitting. There are far better quality chocolates out there. I beg of you, don’t settle!

18. Make a stranger feel uncomfortable in public places. Breastfed both my kids in public. ‘Nuff said.

19. Sign up for Crossfit. I regularly workout to maintain excellent health since other people depend on me. Besides, it gives me the energy I need for my family, and all the “things” I want to do.

20. Hangout naked in front of a window. Actually, I did this while laboring for my second baby. Luckily I was just staring out into empty office spaces since it was late evening on a Sunday. There’s no such thing as modesty in giving birth, rather, it brings back the sense of innocence that we all lost with original sin.

21.Write feelings in a blog. Sharing my feelings now.

22. Be selfish. My most subtle selfish moment was insisting to sit down to eat my dinner while it was still warm. Each bite tasted so delicious after months of eating cold dinners while standing (common for parents of young children).

23. Philippines for Chinese New Year. Since being married, I have not felt like I have missed out on any New Year’s celebration, ever.

While there are compromises in marriage, living an authentic Catholic marriage is truly freeing, allowing both spouses and children to mature and explore the world together. However, as an unmarried person, if you’re looking for a better list of things to do, check out Katrina Owen’s article, or for the Christian perspective, check out the list on JustTaylored.



  1. Michele-978184 January 19, 2014 Reply

    in conclusion, a Catechism quote for inspiration to follow the ideal path for those called to/blessed with this life milestone of engagement:

    “2350 Those who are engaged to marry are called to live chastity in continence. They should see in this time of testing a discovery of mutual respect, an apprenticeship in fidelity, and the hope of receiving one another from God. They should reserve for marriage the expressions of affection that belong to married love. They will help each other grow in chastity. ”

    I think a list of things to do with your fiancé during engagement would be cool – things to do before settling down – but that are not sinful or against Church’s teachings. Like what are both of their goals before making a lifelong commitment to eachother? How personally established in maturity and prepared do they wish to be in order to take care of eachother and a family God will bless them with?

  2. Michele-978184 January 19, 2014 Reply

    finding true love can happen younger or later, and it’s probably silly to put off your one true love if you KNOW they’re the one you want to spend your life with; however I think people (one man, one woman, free to marry, etc. etc.) should only marry eachother if they really really really love eachother and are sure they are called to marriage as their vocation…there are other things we may want to do in our life besides settling down if that was just out of pressure or to avoid being an “old maid”…chastity is necessary in all walks of life, but there other ways to serve the Lord or find happiness out of life…marriage is not for everyone…or it’s hard to work out even for those who are interested and seeking (or interested and not looking but just kind of open to God’s Will) but to those who have tied the knot – blessings and grace to you!

  3. Michele-978184 January 19, 2014 Reply

    ok, EVANGELIZE other religions, and never eat a whole jar of anything in one sitting, even yummy delicious scrumptious Nutella chocolate that should be conserved in temperate rations onto toast, cookies, etc.

  4. Stephanie-1038839 January 19, 2014 Reply

    I agree with Erin and Maria. I doubt there are too many singles on CatholicMatch who doubt the joys and blessings that come with married life. However, for most of us, singlehood is our reality right now and instead of another list citing the benefits of marriage, we need ways to support one another in the challenges of single life and find reasons to celebrate it. What would be more helpful as an alternative list would be to list healthy, life-giving resolutions for singles.

    • Joy Kubik February 14, 2014 Reply

      Stephanie, check out the links I included at the bottom of the article (Just Taylored and Katrina Owen). They wrote alternative lists that have some great ideas for singles. I purposefully included them just for that reason!

  5. Ella-964219 January 19, 2014 Reply

    I really liked this blogpost. Especially #18 and #20! Culture likes to push the idea of waiting to get married and “finding” yourself, but when you get married young then you grow together. The original article really seemed to look down on women who get married young. It’s important to follow God’s timing–rather that be at marriage at 20 or 30 or 40. There’s no blanket right answer.

  6. Tony-705734 January 18, 2014 Reply

    I honestly think the author didn’t read the whole article here. It’s entitled, “23 THINGS TO DO INSTEAD OF GETTING ENGAGED BEFORE YOU’RE 23”. The author of that article is saying basically she isn’t one of those that are rushing to get married. She wants to live a little, and make sure she knows who she is before looking. There is nothing wrong with that. Some people need to have some self exploration. The author of this article sounds like she is defending her choice to marry at a young age. And, I wonder why?

  7. Maria-1022025 January 18, 2014 Reply

    I agree with Erin on this one. The article is meant to be an optimistic outlook at being single, especially at a time of the year when being single is both difficult and to be honest quite depressing. Not everyone has the privilege of being married at the young age of 22, some of us are heading to 30 and have no near future prospects. Articles such as the one “debunked” give us a reason to laugh and for me personally, give me a fresh perspective at being single.

    I feel like this blog is too much of a “yay me I am married so I am better and far superior to all those who are single because I can share them with my oh so perfect married life.”

  8. Erin-997783 January 17, 2014 Reply

    I have to say I disagree with the entire article. I believe – as a single, 31-yr old woman, this was meant to be a list of positive things to do if marriage is not in your near future or maybe not in your future at all. I personally would prefer to be married by now but it’s not like you can snap your fingers and get married tomorrow, much less find the right person for you. So this gives women like me some hope that there is still lots of fun to fill your life with, not to be taken as in a negative tone as “this or that is better than marriage.” And I completely disagree with # 7 – you get a tattoo, it’s there FOR LIFE. Yes of course you can make a vow before God and THAT in itself CAN be a forever thing, but look at the statistics: marriages end all the time. Tattoos on the other hand, do not.. Tattoos and dogs. lol. They are always there, don’t change their mind about you and leave you, and the (GOOD) list goes on and on.

  9. Cathy-620979 January 17, 2014 Reply

    Tom Buell is one of the people on the current MTV Real World. He’s 21 years old and reportedly has had sex with three women.

    On the ESPN podcast review, http://espn.go.com/espnradio/grantland/player?id=10309959 journalist David Jacoby is incredulous, saying that Tom’s low count is “crazy”. He goes on and on about how immature Tom is because he’s slept with only three women. He tells Tom: “Get out there, man, live a little.”

  10. Douglas-984666 January 17, 2014 Reply

    Explore a new religion…I sing in the choir at an Episcopal church…does that count?

  11. Roman-511876 January 17, 2014 Reply

    Great post Joy. I love #7. And I agree there is a lot of misinformation and lack of education out there. I recently The 4 Signs of a Dynamic Catholic and it was a really nice eye opener for me.

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