Two weeks ago, there was a blog that circulated social media titled: 23 Things to Do Instead of Getting Engaged before you’re 23. Similar to her viewpoint, the divorce rate kills me, and it really is sad that it is such the norm, but the reasons for divorce vary and age is only one component of it. Her list is interesting, but I don’t agree with it, but it is “her” opinion. I am now 26, for me, at age 23, I was not mentally or emotionally ready for that type of commitment. There are countless couples that made the choice to marry at that age or younger and still intentionally choose to make their marriage work, for better or worse. Age is beneficial, but knowing yourself is necessary.
A second blog posted as a re-buttle this week: My first blog- the result of a close- minded 23 year old. Towards the end of the blog, this writer, 25 & married, highlights 23 things to do with your spouse. Both are fine lists and they are entitled to their opinion. Neither blog addresses though the real pain point of the problem.
My consensus of both blogs: the divorce rate is a problem, there is no “correct” age to marry and that life should be lived on purpose. So now that these two girls have shared their list, this is mine:
1. Travel for Fun- Make fun memories by going to experience a new place; you may be surprised what you can gain from new people and the culture
2. Read 3 books that you have “been meaning/ wanting to read”
3. Complete a Pinterest project- by yourself, with friends or your spouse
4. Do something that scares you- karaoke, blog, ask that person out, be vulnerable or go for that interview
5. Evaluate your beliefs & values- Maybe you are content with them, maybe not. Maybe it’s time to visit that church one more time, maybe it’s time to leave that small group, maybe it’s time to set some boundaries…
6. Discover your Passion- What do you love to do? What would you do for free? What unique strengths do you have that you bring to the table?
7. Go on a mission trip: We grow by experience and stepping out of our comfort zones.
8. Find a hobby that you love- Paddle boarding (SUPing), Cross Fit, hiking, biking, tennis, horse back riding, guitar, baking, etc. Do something for you!
9. Set Boundaries- Make time for you to do the things you love and the people that you want to share life with. If you don’t, you will never have “time” for either.
10. Be vulnerable- This falls in line with boundaries. Be open with your closest friends/ family that know you and desire what is best for you.
11. Pursue your passion and Don’t be Sorry- What’s your dream job? why aren’t you doing it? There are many levels to this, but pursue your dream job and be confident in it. At the end of the day, you are the one who has to do it, live with it and you have one life, so no more excuses.
12. Watch the top 100 movies of all time- At least begin it 🙂 http://www.afi.com/100years/movies.aspx
13. Smile genuinely at complete strangers- You will be surprised how it makes their day & yours
14. Get to know a homeless man or woman’s story- We are all one choice away from their reality
15. Celebrate You- Whether naked or clothed, your body is your own. If you don’t like it- work out or change your thinking about it, but it’s you
16. Be invested- Maybe this is different from your passion, maybe it is the same. Find a cause that you are passionate about making a difference in & be active in either serving or donating money to it! Mine is Charity:Water.
17. Date to Marry & Marry for Marriage- Date someone that values you, respectfully challenges you, that encourages you, that inspires you and that compliments you. Marry someone for who they are, not who you want them to be. Marry that person for the marriage you will have with them, not for the wedding day. If you don’t like the “picture” of every day after the wedding, don’t marry them.
18. Ask Questions- When someone shares a different opinion, try asking them questions to learn more from their side & why. You may be surprised what you learn & how your relationship with them grows.
19. Donate your Hair- If possible, grow your hair out & donate it to Locks of Love or Pantene. Giving people the gift of hair to feel confident & beautiful is priceless.
20. Avoid Games- Whether with friends, a job or a relationship, avoid games. Someone loses, bitterness never helps and you lose the potential to learn a greater lesson in that situation. Be honest about what you want, need & refuse to settle.
21. Learn You: Spend time learning about you & why you do things the way you do: DISC Assessment, Myers- Briggs Type Indicator, Five Love Languages, “Clifton” Strengths Finder, The Enneagram & the True Colors test. You will be much better off in any relationship you encounter 🙂
22. Resolve something you regret or let it go
23. Start- Make a list of things you want to accomplish, write them down, tell someone to hold you accountable & begin with one.
Regardless of your age, marital status or lifestyle, you will never regret the time to learn who you are and be confident in that before getting engaged, at any age.