Bacon and bleu cheese burger with fries?
Italian chopped salad?
Tex-Mex spring rolls with avocado dipping sauce?
The lunch hour clock was keeping time as I wrestled with my list of choices. The extensive menu offered an endless amount of delicious options and I spent way too much time trying to make up my mind. In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed what I ordered, but left wondering what tasty temptations were waiting for me next visit.
Especially here in America, we have a lot of choices and options in virtually every aspect of life these days, so much so that it wouldn’t be a stretch to say we probably waste valuable time trying to make simple decisions. It makes me wonder if maybe this phenomenon of having so many choices available lulls us into a false state of contentment, causing people to wait longer to get married? I’m not suggesting people should rush into marriage, and I am only lending my speculation on the issue, but it seems to be a conversation worth having.
Here are some interesting facts to consider:
- The Center For Disease Control reports in their 2012 National Health Statistics Report that in 2010, the probability of a first marriage for women by age 25 was 44%, compared with 59% in 1995. This was a 25% decline in only 15 years.
- In a 2007 study on marriage in the Catholic Church, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) reported that Catholics who have never been married (all ages) say they just haven’t met the right person, yet.
- According to “Marriage: More than a Century of Change,” the U.S. marriage rate is 31.1, the lowest it’s been in over a century. That equals roughly 31 marriages per 1,000 married women. Compare that to 1920, when the marriage rate was a staggering 92.3.
- Since 1970, the marriage rate has declined by almost 60 percent.
Of course this trend is directly affected by unmarried couples who cohabitate or make other lifestyle choices. But, I wonder if more single people looking for their perfect mate could already have been married by now but have passed on too many possible candidates thinking there might be someone better out there? Is this the age of the serial dater?
One day after visiting with her son and his girlfriend, a friend of mine asked him, “Why don’t you settle down and get married?”
“I will, when I find a nice girl.”
“But, you have a nice girl.”
Her son didn’t respond to that statement. It makes you wonder why the guy was dating the girl he was with…
In the quest for perfection in a date, we must come to realize that there is no such thing. No human is perfect no matter how beautiful they are on the outside. You may finally find the tall, dark and handsome guy who makes you swoon and treats you like a queen, but one day that gorgeous Romeo is going to make you so angry you could spit! And that beautiful blonde you’ve been waiting for might one day drive you to drink. That is because relationships aren’t supposed to be skin deep. They are meant to engulf our very beings and teach us how to grow and flourish as one mind, one heart, one body.
What makes a relationship beautiful and worth having is the life you live together, despite your imperfections. The good times are great, but the bad times are far more important and far more valuable to building a life of lasting love. The bad times strengthen a couple in a way that a life with no challenges cannot.
I didn’t marry you because you were perfect. I didn’t even marry you because I loved you. I married you because you gave me a promise. That promise made up for your faults. And the promise I gave you made up for mine. Two imperfect people got married and it was the promise that made the marriage. And when our children were growing up, it wasn’t a house that protected them; and it wasn’t our love that protected them—it was that promise. —Thornton Wilder, The Skin of Our Teeth
I think Mr. Wilder hit the nail on the head when it comes to dating, relationships, couples and marriage. It’s the promise to love, trust, and stay together no matter what makes a marriage wonderful.
Count on my prayers for you as you continue your search and feel free to drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.