I’m not usually one to post a response to an article that I don’t see eye to eye with. I typically just tell Jackson all about it and then let it go. I’m not posting this so much to disagree with the author of the original article, but more to create a little perspective.
I recently read an article circulating called, “Getting Married Isn’t An Accomplishment”. If you didn’t read it, here’s a basic summary of the article: the author of the article has noticed that engagements and weddings and marriages are often celebrated by friends and family in a more exuberant way than things like graduating college, getting a job offer, getting a Master’s degree or getting a promotion at work. She goes on to write about how this feeling was only solidified when she got engaged, herself, and saw how much more celebrated her engagement was than other big accomplishments in her life. She writes, “You don’t have to have a brain, drive or special skill set to get married. You just have to have a willing partner. However, getting into X school, graduating with Y degree, and landing Z job does require actual hard work”.
While I can completely understand the author’s point, there are a few things that I want to discuss.
First of all, I absolutely agree with her that we can all do better. We can do better to celebrate the hard work that other women put into education, jobs and life. Getting any level of degree takes hard work and it should be celebrated and recognized. Getting a promotion takes perseverance and hard work and lots of hours, and we should celebrate and acknowledge when other women attain such an accomplishment.
However (you just knew there was a “however” coming didn’t you) I don’t agree with the author in thinking that we should recognize and celebrate all of those things while considering getting married a lesser accomplishment. I guess I don’t know why we have to choose what an accomplishment is for another woman, and how it ranks on the “accomplishment scale”. Getting married to someone takes an awful lot of work. It’s just a different kind of work. It takes sacrificing and selflessness and compromise and forgiveness. It takes hours and hours of talking through disagreements and working through unmet expectations. It takes making hard decisions and figuring out how to wake up and choose someone every single day.
Another thing I think we should consider is this: maybe our friends and family celebrate marriage more than other accomplishments simply because they can relate to the joy of marriage over other things that may have never experienced. Marriage has had an impact on most people in their lives at some point. Either our own marriage, or the marriage of someone close to us has changed many of our lives. Not everyone knows what it’s like to spend hours and hours studying and reading and writing. Not every woman has had to work the long hours it often takes to get a promotion. I know that this article was meant to empower and encourage women to think “beyond marriage” but I don’t think it was very forgiving. Maybe we struggle to celebrate other women’s accomplishments because we just don’t always understand or relate to the work that was put into to attaining them. I’m not saying that’s how it should be, I’m only suggesting that it could be a factor.
When I celebrate a friend’s marriage, I’m celebrating the life-long covenant that they’re stepping into. A life-long commitment of joy and of staying up until 2 am working through a disagreement and having a best friend to journey through life with. I’m celebrating the reflection of Christ and the church through our messy marriages. I’m not intending to say to my friends and family “I’m celebrating your marriage because it’s the only accomplishment in your life worth celebrating”. I’m intending to say, “I’m celebrating your marriage because I know the joy and life that my marriage has brought to me and I’m so excited for you to experience that”.
All that to say this: we should absolutely do a better job of celebrating alongside other women as they accomplish all kinds of things, other than marriage. When you see your friend has gotten a promotion, send her a card! When you see your friend graduating from law school, send that chick a present. When another friend gets her doctorate throw a dang party. Call your friends and tell them your proud and excited for their future and for their accomplishments. Ask them about how school or work is going. Invest in their dreams.
I guess my point is, that I don’t think that we have to choose. I don’t think it’s even fair to deem what is an accomplishment for other woman. I don’t think we have to focus so much on celebrating marriage less, but I’m down to be a part of celebrating other accomplishments more.