What was it like for you when you found out that Santa Claus didn’t exist? Did you cry? Did it make you angry? Did it feel like you lost something precious that you could never get back? I’m right there with you. Only I’m not talking about Santa Claus.
So far, the Christmas season has been a time of serious ambivalence, especially considering that I’m going through a bit of a faith crisis. 2017 has been a year of sorrow-filled enlightenment. I finally decided to fully reject literalism in scripture, embrace progressive/LGBT-affirming theology, and even more seriously, only serve at churches that allow me to be open and honest about my beliefs. It’s been a very dramatic journey, filled with tales of abandonment, conflict, and deep loneliness.
It’s okay, though. We shouldn’t let these things get us down, right? After all, Christmas can still be a time of peace, joy, and Mariah Carey, right? It’s also a holiday that allows us to reflect on all that Jesus has done in our lives, right? Who cares that this somehow translates into evangelicals getting really hostile about Starbucks coffee cups and throwing Jesus outrageous Sweet Sixteen parties where (for whatever reason) we get to pocket all the gifts? God bless us, everyone!
Don’t let the state of American politics fool you--it is in fact 2017. For a second there I did have to check, though.
I will say that our country is in serious need of a conversation about what it means to live in a modern world. In a modern world, men and women are equal and are treated equitably. In a modern society, male and female aren’t the only gender options. In a modern society, words matter.
So what’s going on with all of this gendered married stuff that I keep seeing? As the co-founder of a progressive marriage blog, it’s my duty to explore the vasts depths of the internet to ensure that you’re being provided with the best marriage content known to woman, man, and [insert every gender in-between]. And based on everything I’ve encountered/read so far, here’s my general diagnosis:
WE. NEED. HELP.
Whaddup 3M Fam,
Jack here and today I’m gonna brag about how many wedding blogs/articles I’ve read in the past year. Not because I’m proud of it or because I’m somehow a marriage expert at this point (I’m not, somehow I feel like I know less now…). There are just a lot of things we need to talk about when it comes to the stuff we’re reading online.
First, I acknowledge that producing a marriage blog isn’t easy. So I’m not here to just take a huge dump on the rest of the marriage blogs out there because I think we’re better than them. We’re not. We’re the new kids in town and the size of our following is humble, but mighty. I’m just a little bit concerned about what I’m reading. Because I care.
I care about my marriage, which is why I read a handful of marriage-related articles every day. I care about your marriage, which is why I carefully select helpful, innovative, and progressive articles to share on our social media pages. But most importantly, I care about doing right by all married and future-married people out there. Which is why it’s time for me to say some unpopular things.
Dear President-Elect Trump:
It has been exactly one week since our country declared you the winner of the presidential election. While others took to social media to express their immense elation or deepest sorrow, I waited. I reflected. I prayed. I did so in order to truly understand what I was feeling and what it meant to live in Donald Trump’s America. After careful consideration and time to process through the results of last week, I am finally ready to express my thoughts. I know that you may never read this open letter, but that’s ok. This letter isn’t just for you, it’s also for me and everyone else. Whether you voted for Trump or Hillary, identify as a conservative or liberal, are politically active or apathetic, I want you to know that we’re all Americans in Donald Trump’s America. But even more than that, we’re all members of the human race and children of God. We have to be in service for something greater than ourselves. We have to be neighbors again.
People of the World,
Annie and I have been praying for you. We hurt with you, your loss is our loss, and we stand in your corner. The past few days have literally been hell on earth. We have a lot of feelings that we've been holding back, but we think it's time to muster up some courage and address it. We want to honor those who have lost their lives.
In the midst of the darkness, Annie and I have made our first rule as a married couple: we can't let fear silence us. We can't be afraid to show our political cards. We must show support for our black friends and family. We can't just continue posting wedding photos on Facebook as if nothing has happened. We need to stop hiding our sadness and dissent. We need to acknowledge that our silence is part of the problem.
So, why take a social justice stance on our marriage blog? It’s kind of weird and out of place. We get that. But for those who really know us, you'll think, "They're a couple of hippies, I totally saw this coming." As much as we hate being predictable, thank you and touché. Feminism ain't our only axe to grind, ya know.
People know me by Jack. But one could say that they’re living a lie. Or maybe I’m living a lie? We both are. A little more than 28 years ago, my parents proudly named me Jezekiel Sonn Bodeta Vitaliz. I’m not kidding. That’s my actual legal name. And yes, I’ve wanted to change it for as long as I can remember. Well guess what? When I got married, that wish finally came true. But first, let me give you a little bit of backstory.
Friends, Romans, country(wo)men, lend me your ears.
Recently, Jack graced us with his thoughts on our spending philosophy. It’s a great read, so check it out here if you haven’t already. This week, I’m tasked with examining something very important to me: how we think about the roles of women and men when it comes to getting married.
Here’s the rub. Weddings aren’t really my jam. I mean, yeah I’m on Pinterest. And sure, I’ve spent more than one night binging Say Yes To The Dress. And of course the PB+J Wedding episode of The Office still makes me cry. I’m not a monster. But I can count the number of weddings I’ve been to on one hand. I can count the number of weddings I’ve been in on one finger. (I was maybe 6, a flower girl, and my mom tells me I was a mess that day. Sorry, Aunt Teresa.)
Honestly, the whole process of courtship, loveship, and marriage has always made me a little uncomfortable. I think there are too many unspoken expectations on what men and women should or shouldn’t do when it comes to falling in love. The check dance. The jewelry hints. The backroom deals. The mustache twirling. I mean, wouldn’t it be easier if we all just spoke our minds?
It’s easy to believe that your best memories are your most perfect ones. After becoming engaged, we’ve discovered that quite often, the opposite is true. Imperfections have an interesting way of leaving footprints in your memory that make a richer story. When we look back on our engagement, there were a lot of perfect things. The leaves were immaculately fall-colored, the weather was pristine, and the excitement was palpable. But who cares, right? We don’t really look back on those details. It’s the imperfections that make our story worth telling and uniquely ours.
I (Jack) still remember the first time I saw Crabtree Falls on a hiking trip with friends. As we got to the top, I saw the most breath-taking view of mountains and trees that I had ever seen. My initial thought was, “This view will be incredible in the fall.” My second thought was, “This is where I’ll propose to Annie.”
Annie & Jack
Love. Marriage. Teamwork. Art. Offsetting the patriarchal footprint. These are some of the things we're thinking about.