I've never been a big fan of the term "settling down". I'm even going to put it in quotes so the phrase doesn't touch the rest of the words in the sentence.
I know it seems pretty benign. Maybe you've even said it yourself.
"I can't wait to settle down one day and get a house, a car, one of those little dogs that fit in your purse, and maybe even a Wii fit!"
"When is he just going to settle down and realize that I am the future mother of his adorable children and the future back seat driver of his super sweet F150 extended cab!?"
Whatever! Like you've never said that before!
I think when most people talk about settling down they just mean that they are going to stop dancing on bars, waking up next to strangers, and eating at Taco Bell every day for lunch. They are ready to hang up their Studio-54ian lifestyle and get married, have the 2.5 kids (I feel certain that .5 kid is going to be in years of therapy), care about drapes, tile versus laminate flooring, the best kindergartens and other such things. And you know what, there's nothing wrong with that at all. I'm a married lady now myself. I quit eating Taco Bell for lunch every day a while ago*. I thought I didn't care about melon ballers, 300 count sheets, and non-stick cookware until I started our Bed, Bath, and Beyond registry extravaganza. God Bless Tony. He even let me register for a shake weight just because the thought of getting one from my grandma made me almost pee my pants in the Beyond section (said shake weight has since been removed from the registry due to the fear of actually having to use it if someone bought it for us. #lazy). My point is this, I'm all about people giving up any lifestyle that keeps them from the promises and purposes that God has for them. Put down the beer bong and step away slowly. That being said, I don't ever want the waves of routine to flow over me and ebb away carrying my spontaneity, sense of adventure, and my untamed Spirit.
I LOVE being married to Tony. The reasons are too many to list. Marriage is so amazing. Tony is so amazing. Contrary to what most people think, marriage doesn't equal "settling down". Marriage is something you need to be ready for, and isn't to be taken lightly, but it doesn't mean that you have to get a place in your life where you are ready for all the fun to end. Do people ever feel ready for that? I think that's what a lot of people think though. And because that's what they think they are supposed to do...that's how they act once they get married. They put on their big girl britches and try to play the part of married adult. Inevidablely they end up getting tired of acting their assigned role. They have all of this pent up angst because they still want to party hardy, but they think they're supposed to be "grown ups" (another horrible phrase that shant touch my other beautiful words) so they suppress it until one day when they are about to turn 45 they explode and build a man-cave in their basement with a full bar and a secure lock on the door (it's the adult version of the "boys only" sign on treehouses). They blame marriage. They make fun of it. They degrade it. Sometimes they give up on it all-together. But it's not marriage's fault you're so unsatisfied.
It's not marriage...it's you.
Tony and I will never be satisfied with living a "settled" life. The Jesus we follow is good, but He's not safe. In order to follow Him we're going to have to fight to stay on an untamed path that has twists, turns, and dropoffs. Maybe even giant rats like in Princess Bride. The life we've both chosen to lead by laying everything down for our God means that we will have joy, peace, and love, but we were never promised that we would ever be "settled". We were actually promised some trouble. It may seem that a life lived dancing on bars and waking up next to someone you barely know is adventurous because you're not "tied down" (I don't want that phrase touching anything either). But you are. You are tied to yourself.
It's through intimate, meaningful relationships with others that we become untied from ourselves and open our heart to others. It's only through intimacy with God and with others that we can escape ourselves. Relationships offer the opportunity to live the greatest commandment...to love others as we love ourselves.
The big issue here is that many of us don't love ourselves. Back in my dancing on bars days I didn't love myself. I didn't know who I was or Whose I was. I was in a spiral of selfish living where everyone came second, third, or 54th to me so I know all about thinking that marriage means the end of all things fun and happy. This may not sound like it makes sense but in order to love yourself, you have to let yourself go. In other words, get over yourself. Give yourself up for something greater than you. It is when you find yourself on the path of God that you are finally able to love yourself and then love others.
Marriage isn't about sucking it up, never having fun again, joining the rest of the unhappily ever after brigade, and hoping for an awesome car and sweet career as your parting gift. You don't have to get "tied down" or "settle down". (There's lots of phrases associated with marriage with the word "down" in them. Me no likey.) Tony and I are making it our life's purpose to change people's mind about marriage. We want our relationship to show the world that when you both chase after Jesus hand-in-hand, it is possible to have a joy-filled, adventurous, passionate, peaceful, FUN, and LOVING marriage. We're going to have some battles to fight to be sure, but they won't be with each other...they will be with the powers and principalities that try and keep the message and love of God from His people. Marriage isn't about obligations to societies rules and trying to keep up with the Joneses. I don't like to do what I'm told any dag-on way; sorry society. And who are these Jones folks and why are we chasing after them instead of Jesus? <--- Jesus Juke!
In conclusion I want to say that I don't think there is anything at all wrong with routine. Routines can be very good and necessary. It's good to feel settled in your soul. It's what we've done with the phrase "settle down" that I have beef with. Feeling settled is good. All I am saying is that we need to stay awake in life and not let our routines dictate us and strip all the feeling away from our every day lives. When I roll over in the morning and I see Tony sleeping beside me, my heart leaps and I have to reach out and touch him just so that I can see his eyes slowly slide open and a faint smile spread across his perfect lips. I don't want that feeling to ever be numbed by the routine of it all. I'll be waking up next to him as long as we both shall live, but each day offers a new adventure. The only thing that makes each day like the next is my mindset. Tony makes my soul feel settled and at peace no matter what is going on in my life. That's the only kind of settled I want to be.
*2 weeks after I started dating Tony. It's a hard habit to break. I miss you Nachos Bell Grande. I like to think you miss me too.