Annie and I have officially been married for one year--and what a year it’s been. I can’t help but first think about what it took for us to get to this point. The good times, the bad times, and everything in between. In this first year, we've moved a total of six times, lived in three cities, and each (separately) driven across the country once. I was hired and started jobs at two different universities, Annie started her MFA program and taught English at ASU for the first time. We rode in airplanes fifteen different times, explored nine new cities and one new country (our honeymoon in Mexico). We made new friends, climbed new mountains, and performed new feats of mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. This year, life stretched us farther than we could have ever imagined, but we're still smiling and hungry for more.
It’s been a wild and crazy ride, and I can’t think of anyone else I'd rather shared my life with. Sure, a year isn’t a long time, especially when you consider that marriage is a lifelong commitment. But getting through the first year wasn’t easy and I think we did so successfully because we had help. We read marriage books, intentionally asked our favorite couples for advice, and leveraged the resources around us to become better people (and thus, better partners).
They say it takes a village to raise a child, when really it takes two. One village to support the marriage itself and another for the children. Or perhaps that one village can do both? Tough to say. For us, we feel blessed to be part of so many villages that are always pouring into our lives and giving us support. So as we stand before you celebrating our first year of marriage, please know that you are part of our village. We’ve made it this far because we have the best team of people around us: YOU. And for that, we’re forever grateful.
In marriage, it’s very easy to think that it’s just you and your partner, tackling all of life’s issues. Alone. Marriage comes with so many intense feelings and life dilemmas. “What happens when marriage gets boring?” “What happens when monogamy fails?” “What happens if the spark dies?” “What happens when I realize I don’t want to be a parent?” And all while being constantly disillusioned by marriage and forced to deconstruct many of its dated conventions, we’re expected to not be open about the struggle. It’s shameful to openly talk about your marriage seeing hard times. It’s embarrassing to admit that your marriage needs counseling. It’s taboo to be honest about your married sex life (or lack thereof). Could that be why most marriages fail?
In just our first year alone, we’ve already decided that the only way that this is going to work is if we are open and honest about everything we go through. Watch out, world! Annie and I are taking this blog to the next level. Allow me to introduce our vision for the future:
#ANNIEGOESJACK = The Millennial Marriage Movement
Annie and I have loved writing this wedding blog, but we want to make it more than just that. We want it to be about you, too. We want to usher you into a community where we ALL get serious about this marriage thing. We want to start The Millennial Marriage Movement and have you be a part of it. Together, we can work towards making divorce and unhappy marriages be the exception, not the norm. Our hope is that millennials can come together to renounce the old and ignite a new, more enlightened approach to this solemn union.
Marriage has been a failing institution for decades now. These days, it's very apparent that traditional marriage culture and conventions don’t hold up in a post-modern world. Our goal is to completely unlearn all of the things we know about marriage, so that we can rebuild the institution in a way that creates sustainably happy and meaningful relationships. We also have to acknowledge that everyone’s marriage is different. How often do we hear cookie cutter advice about marriage on a daily basis? When in reality, a more tailored approach is necessary. In this very strange, yet exciting world where technology brings us all together, we have an unprecedented opportunity to reinvent the institution of marriage. If millennials can come together to reject the traditionalists’ mentality and offer a space where all spouses have freedom, agency, and above all SUPPORT...we can turn things around.
Imagine a world where all marriage flourishes, family homes are healthy, kids have positive parental role models, and spouses feel consistently inspired and energized by their marriages. The world as we know it would be a completely different place. We’d live longer, happier, and more meaningful lives. We’d have a community of people (married and unmarried alike) working together to ensure that our best understanding of marriage leads us to create systems of social change, humanitarian progress, and prosperity for all. This is what we’re capable of if we can work together.
I know what’s in your head right now. “Jack, stop trying to sell me. Just give me your bottom line.” Fair enough. Rude, but fair enough. Here’s what we need from you:
Right now (this very moment), our hope is to soft launch this new endeavor, experiment with what works, and officially launch sometime in the fall when we have a good grip on things. We want to get organized, get people in on the ground floor, and devote every resource we have to this. We get that all of this seems like some overly ambitious, pie in the sky kind of stuff. It totally is, but let’s be clear about something:
We can’t offer our children a better tomorrow unless we fix the way we look at love today.
We keep waiting and waiting for the divorce rates to go down and for our marriages to magically improve, but nothing is working. The institution that we have right now simply doesn’t work. It’s not enough to change it, we have to tear it down and build it back up again. We have to stop scratching at the surface, but work from the inside out. If we can be curious and open to how our marriages really work, we can unlock the doors to the most prosperous generation humanity has ever seen.
#ANNIEGOESJACK isn’t just a cute hashtag anymore. It’s a promise from us that says we won’t quit, we’ll fight with you and for you, and we’re ready to devote our marriage to a cause so much greater than ourselves. Welcome to The Millennial Marriage Movement. The revolution starts right now.
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Annie & Jack
Love. Marriage. Teamwork. Art. Offsetting the patriarchal footprint. These are some of the things we're thinking about.