An Open Letter from Young Adults to Married Couples
We need to know that it's worth it.
Dear married couples,
The world tells us marriage doesn’t work. People like me in our twenties see marriages that seem to prove it. Even as a Christian, I have found myself thinking negatively about being committed to someone for life.
Is marriage worth it? Will we find joy and fulfillment in it? Or will we end up disillusioned and alone?
Prove the Culture Wrong
What do we desire, as Christian young adults? I think I can speak for most twenty-something Christian young adults when I say we want community and adventure, enriched to the full by marriage.
In the single life, community is everything because we’re used to spending quality time with friends. The ultimate friendship, we are told, is marriage, because it unites two people in the most intimate way on earth. We hope that this marriage would bring us into deeper friendship — not only with our spouse, but with our friends as well.
But if that union comes at the expense of quality time for other friendships, young adults question its desirability. Those of us with parents often find our parents so caught up in work and the lives of their children that they don’t foster their own friendships and social life. Yes, having a family involves personal sacrifice. But sacrificing one’s own friendships?
That’s not very appealing to young adults who want to continue growing. Up to this point, we’ve had a community to challenge and build us up in holiness. We want to know we can grow even holier in the married life than the single life.
Marriage as Adventure?
Our other desire for thriving is through our joy in adventure. While many people think marriage limits their chances to have “mountain-top adventures,” that isn’t the real issue here.
We probably all agree that the real adventures of life are found in the small and unexpected moments. Opportunities arise when you lock your keys in the car or you get caught in a flash flood. It’s wonderful to think of enjoying such moments as adventures with another person for life.
However, this isn’t what we see in you. When many couples I see encounter an inconvenience, you complain about it. Is this because you haven’t experienced things like this before? Definitely not. I think you have forgotten the joy of making an inconvenience an adventure. Is that only for the young?
The truth is this: We worry that when we get older, our marriages will suck the joy of life away from us. When we see you come home from work, tired and just ready to rest, we question what kind of life a parent gets and if we want that. We fear disappointment in marriage, and so-so marriages only confirm this.
Joy in the Challenge
So thank you to those of you who have stayed married. Thank you for choosing to stand out in an age where divorce has become the normal. You give us hope in the sacred nature of this sacrament. But just staying married isn’t enough to convince my generation that marriage is something desirable, beautiful and fulfilling.
Honestly, we don’t want you to stay together because of your children. Or because the Church tells you divorce is immoral. Or because it’s better for the community.
We want you to stay together because you have found supernatural joy in your life in Christ together. We ask you to show us that marriage isn’t disappointing. And we want living proof that couples can lead each other on the grand adventure of life to heaven, made grander by the commitment to a spouse.
Show us how marriage will make us thrive, with joy in the struggle. Show us a true community. Show us two people living an adventure. That’s how to make us want to be married.