Marriage and Culture

In the months leading up to and subsequently following our wedding, Chaz and I often found ourselves informing people in our very extended acquaintance that we were going to be getting married. The majority of them were enthusiastic about the news, or at the very least convincingly feigned excitement. But there were a few whose reactions were more what I would consider reflective of the culture at large. 

Exhibit A (pre-wedding):

Acquaintance: So, what do you have going on this summer?

Chaz: Well, I'm actually getting married! I feel like I'm joining a club.

Acquaintance:'s not a very happy club.

Chaz: ...

Exhibit B (post-wedding):

Jillian: Marriage is great! And the bonus is that I never have to plan a wedding again!

Acquaintance: Well, you don't know that.

Jillian: ...actually I'm quite certain there will only be one...

Acquaintance: Ha! You might as well start calling him your first husband!

Jillian: ...

In both cases, we ended up sort of awkwardly laughing it off and moving on before the conversation went further South, but we were both taken aback by the comments (respectively). 

First of all, I think we were both a bit surprised at the lack of tact. You wouldn't walk up to someone on his or her college graduation day and say, "Well kid, welcome to real life. You won't get a job, everything gets worse from here on out, and there's really nothing to look forward to. You'd be better off without a degree!" Why would anyone consider saying the same type of thing to someone as he or she gets ready to walk down the aisle? I suppose that's a rhetorical question...but one that should be asked nonetheless.

Second, and perhaps more importantly, that is not the expectation I want to feed into my marriage. Granted, it was someone else who said it, not me or Chaz. But I do not appreciate the cultural expectation that marriage will always fail, that it's always miserable, and that even if I don't think so now, it's inevitably going to get worse. 

No, I'm not so naive as to think that marriage will always be a cake walk. No one goes through life without a care in the world, and no one is perfect. But I am perhaps naively optimistic enough to believe that marriage, overall, is good. And I know for a fact that I love it now. 

Before the wedding, one of my biggest fears was the subtle lies of the marriage statistics. More than 50%, they whispered. But our pastor gave us good counsel, and pointed out a verse that I especially needed to hear in light of my anxiety: "the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth." (It's actually in a passage in Malachi that's talking about divorce, but in this instance that's aside from the point.) It was a timely reminder that what we've established is a holy endeavor, and God is the witness and investor. Most comforting of all is that we serve a God who is bigger than any set of statistics.

So I hereby defy this culture of sad statistics and the expectation of failure. I'm not afraid to have higher expectations, and I trust in a God who is incapable of failure. 


This weekend, Chaz and I headed up to Vermont to attend a friend's wedding. I think it's funny that no matter how long you've lived somewhere else, the place you grew up will always feel like home. I stepped out of the car when we pulled into the driveway, and the night air suddenly smelled crisp and clean. Massachusetts has its own set of fall-ish smells, but those don't compare with Vermont autumnal scents.

On Saturday, we had a few hours before the wedding started in the afternoon. So we got dressed, grabbed my youngest brother, and headed out on a mission to find Starbucks. Considering the nearest one is a good 30 minutes from my family's house, that's no small feat. Nevertheless, we made the trek, and Chris turned into a happy camper in the back seat with his chocolate chocolatey chip frappacino. He also insisted on wearing Chaz's sister's mislaid pink sunglasses that we've had in our possession since our wedding in July.

Sorry, Kara!

Sorry, Kara!

After Bucks, we hightailed it back home to get ready, and we somehow managed to all arrive at the wedding 10 minutes early. Considering my track record for getting places on impressed.

The wedding was lovely. It took place in our small country church, and the sanctuary was filled with all the people Sara and David knew and loved. For awhile I worried about people passing out, since that happens at weddings sometimes (I happened at ours!), but everyone stayed upright the whole time. And the service itself was lovely.

The reception was in a beautiful barn in the next town. The food was great and the atmosphere was fantastic, but the best part was being able to catch up a bit with some long lost friends from high school!

Lane, Brianna, and two people you already know.

Lane, Brianna, and two people you already know.

Elizabeth and Kayla looking lovely.

Elizabeth and Kayla looking lovely.

Ben and Greg, enjoying being photographed.

Ben and Greg, enjoying being photographed.

But above all, probably the most impressive part about the reception was that Sara made all the cupcakes herself. Three days before her wedding. Having done a wedding recently myself, I can safely say that baking and frosting that many cupcakes while figuring out all the last minute details is quite an accomplishment. And they were delicious to boot! I ate two...back to back.

There were even two different flavor options!

There were even two different flavor options!

Long story short, it was a highly enjoyable wedding.

Table 14...that was the place to be, I tell ya!

Table 14...that was the place to be, I tell ya!

When it was all done, we headed home happy and tired out. But we sat down and watched a movie (Red! So good!) with popcorn (Kettlecorn! Can't be beat!), so we clearly weren't too tired to continue a fun evening at home.

So there you have weekend part 1. Weekend part 2 involved church in Vermont, followed by a very scenic drive to Connecticut. If it hadn't been quite so scenic, we probably would have ended up a lot grumpier. Thankfully, the loveliness of our surroundings eased all botheration at driving an extra 30 miles. 

Come back later for the next installment of Tales of the Woodstock Road Trip.