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This is my first guest blogger in the whole history of the entire universe.
That is an awesome sentence. Slightly dramatic, but totally true.
For my first guest blogger I chose Morgan because we have a similar heart and life. Have I looked as smokin’ as her in a wedding dress? (That’s her in the excerpt photo.) No I have not. But we both have fathers who are authors and speakers, trying to help relationships. We also work for our fathers because we too believe this world has the potential for healthier relationships.
Lastly, we both believe in Unicorns.*
We have never met face to face, but have seen videos of each other and corresponded via email and phone. So in today’s techno-world…I’m pretty sure that makes us something along the lines of blood sisters.
I asked her to share a bit of her heart, and she was gracious to do so…
Please welcome…Morgan Van Epp Cutlip, Vice President of Research & Development for Love Thinks.
My name is Morgan. I am 28. And I believe in marriage.
There, I said it.
For years I have felt like this statement has cast me in the role of resident “Debbie Downer” throughout my friendships. I can completely own up to the fact that I have been a huge fan, in love almost, with the idea of marriage from a very VERY young age…like diapers young.
When I say “in love with marriage,” I don’t mean the fantasy of a wedding or the dress…I simply mean: in love with the day to day aspects of being married. This infatuation probably developed because I was blessed to be the daughter of a happily married couple and even more likely because I was the daughter of a guy who studies, writes and develops programs to help people create healthy relationships.
He pretty much tooted the marriage horn all the time!!
The belief in marriage that my upbringing fostered was so strong that I have dedicated the better part of my life to studying relationships and obtaining a PhD in Counseling Psychology to hopefully, make a positive impact. Sadly, along the way, I have learned that the belief in marriage has really started to dwindle. It’s like marriage is viewed as out of style or the beginning of the end. This belief is pretty obvious when you look at the media and how many celebrities simply live together, claiming they don’t need a piece of paper to define their love. But I was most shocked with how this mentality smacked me in the face within my own friendships.
Enter: Debbie Downer.
You see, I am usually the one getting asked for relationship advice; however many times my advice is really not what my friends want to hear. As much as I don’t want to, I feel like I am often raining all over their parade. It’s just that I have studied relationships for the better part of 10 years and I know what the research says (insert me nerdily adjusting my glasses) and it is often contrary to popular trends or what my friends want to hear.
I am totally aware of my downer effect, but I felt obliged to fill that role because I feel so strongly that our generation lacks guidance on how to build healthy relationships and I want to help. It wasn’t until I got engaged that I really was affected by the loss of belief in the commitment of marriage.
My friends weren’t excited for me…they were actually disappointed.
In their defense, my engagement happened quickly (a whole other story) and so they may have been taken off guard, BUT the announcement of my marriage was NOT greeted with excitement. Instead comments like…
You are way too young to get married…
Don’t you just want to live your own life before you settle down?
So much for us going out and having fun…
FIRST of all, I was 26 at the time…is that really too young? It is older than the average age for women to get married today…so I don’t get where that comes from. “Live my own life first?” What happened to the belief that you create a life as a couple and live the adventure together? To the “so much for going out and having fun” comment…my response was, why the heck not?! Was I really doing anything then that I couldn’t do after I got married? Why does marriage = “no fun” to many in our generation?
In my friendships and in my work I see these beliefs run deep. Many are even espoused by our parents. Has anyone ever been told by someone older, “live it up while you are young because some day you will be married!”
I want to ask:
How does this impact our generation’s attitude and view of what marriage is like?
Now that I am on the other side of it all, I can assure all of you that after getting married I didn’t stop having fun, I didn’t start selling Tupperware, I haven’t felt stifled, and I didn’t lose the me I was before. Instead I have become a better me because being married has challenged me. I have grown in more ways than I knew possible.
For our generation to have a renewed belief in marriage. A belief that we can have happy marriages that are nurturing, fun, exciting, uplifting, supportive, challenging, and…
Love and Respect (Now) is a division of Love and Respect. Please be considerate.