Some time ago, I wrote an entry called “The Modern Woman’s Pre-Marital To-Do List.” I was pleased that most people read enough of the post to realize that the title was totally sarcastic because I firmly believe that women nowadays fuss too much about the right age and circumstance to marry. Things like needing to have a better job first, a better place to live, a college degree, and a car are so-called “prerequisites” that really do not need to happen before marriage. You might think I have always had it together if you are reading this blog, but I did not and still do not have my own car and also haven’t finished my college degree. I do have a driver’s license, however (got it after marriage). I am a big nerd, so you can trust that I am taking my studies very seriously. Despite these things, I am successfully functioning in a marriage. Why? Because it takes two people’s determination (and God) to keep a covenant and a promise to be together for better or for worse. It has nothing to do with your college education, or your car—and let me throw it in there—your looks, although those things are nice to have.
Andy and April are characters from a show my husband and I love to watch on Thursday nights called Parks and Recreation. Andy and April are a really odd couple and have the weirdest relationship, but they love each other. On last week’s episode, they decided to marry. It was a huge surprise to everyone because they had only been together for a short time, and they are also very young. Only one person really objected to their wedding—April’s boss, Leslie Knope, played by the ever hilarious Amy Poehler. Leslie really cares for both April and Andy and claims that she doesn’t want to see their relationship get ruined by marrying this early or this young (so she said “Knope!”). However, everyone else cheers them on with hope, including April’s parents who give convincing testimonies of their own successful early marriage. In the end, Leslie realizes that she was just overreacting with no proof of their future marriage being a blunder, and that she was projecting her own insecurity about starting a relationship with a guy at work (we had to read between the lines for that one, but it was pretty clear at the end when she told the guy to keep the job in Pawnee instead of taking a job in another state). In the story, besides being young and marrying early, Andy and April do not have a lot of money nor have they found a place to stay. Leslie used these very reasons to convince the love bugs to reconsider and to stop their wedding. As expected, her disciplinary dissuasion (or parental persuasion) did not have an affect on anyone but herself.
This episode really brought back a lot of hurtful memories from when I decided to marry. One particular person was the Leslie Knope of my singlehood, but I did not have the welcoming entourage that the couple did to counterbalance the negativity when they announced their wedding. Instead of having one concerned Leslie, I had little shadows of Leslie and one big unreasonable Leslie telling me that I was basically wasting my brain and talent by being married early. I was really offended, but I wish that I had been as calm as these coolies (unskilled laborers?) were. April and Andy are very immature, so I can kind of understand why Leslie reacted negatively. I would only really try to convince a friend to stop a marriage if I saw that the couple wasn’t taking the concept of marriage seriously and had not made a solid enough commitment to stick it out for the long haul. Besides that, who are we to say that someone’s future is not going to be a good one? Even if a marriage does go bad, what is essential in a marriage is the constant attitude and determination to love each other and work things out until they are better. If you’d like to read my thoughts on early marriages in more detail, you can read that old post of mine!
Ironically, Aubrey Plaza, the actress who plays April, tweeted in February asked for support to help her “poor” friend get her dream wedding by voting for her to be in a wedding reality TV show, citing how her friend didn’t “have enough money to get married.” Andy and April from Parks and Recreation are both “poor,” but they were able to pull off a successful wedding. Rob and I barely had money when we got married, and we had both agreed earlier on in our relationship that a fancy wedding wasn’t really necessary. The wedding was wonderful. Not having enough money to be married should not be an excuse to not get married or prolong an engagement. Isn’t sharing assets going to help financially? Marriage is statistically very beneficial financially. It has sure helped us by pooling our earnings together. If you think weddings are about money, in some respects you’re right! Marriage is a great economic stiumuli (assuming the wedding isn’t too expensive).
Another character I applaud in the story is Andy for turning down his virtual bachelor party strippers (guys, I recommend that you look away from the screen during this scene, as the blurred images are still pretty graphic, though meant for comedic purposes… still not cool, Parks!). Indulging in other women sexually right before your marriage (or after) is never a good idea. Bachelor parties like that make grooms keep wanting more women other than their own brides. Lust never gets satisfied no matter how good looking or nice a spouse is. More men should react the way Andy did in this situation, all the time—even before they have a girlfriend! He is silly, but is quite the loyal lad.
Aren’t these guys so cute? Their relationship is so bizarre.