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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.

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12 Responses to “Parks and Recreation’s Andy & April”

  1. Joanna O

    I love Andy & April! I agree with you. I think people just project themselves onto others too often like Leslie. Love is different for everyone. And there is no standard climate for marriage.

    I love how in this episode, April goes… Yeah, I’m gonna marry him and divorce him. And then I’m gonna marry him again. She says it with her “I’m trying to hide how happy I am” smile. It shows how much she loves him! I’m excited to see where the show goes with this storyline. (:

  2. Victoria / Justice Pirate

    never heard of this shot but the last picture’s quotes made me laugh!!! It reminds me of the slick shoes song called “Angel” (which I love that song).

    anyway I wish people applauded those who wanted to marry instead of “poo-pooing” them.

  3. alexis

    the show is so funny! i don’t know who people think there has to be a certain way to fall in love, get married have kids…who cares?! that’s what i think. why not take that leap, and go for it. life’s not a guarenteed plan for anyone, do what you want how you want when you want!
    loved this post!

  4. Heidi

    I loved this post! I 100% totally agree with you! I don’t understand why people say you shouldn’t marry young. Marrying young has nothing to do with marriages failing. It is up to the 2 people to make it work!

    I also agree that bachelor parties shouldn’t be filled with strippers. If you aren’t ready to lust over women (or men) you aren’t ready to commit to one person.

    Great post! :)

  5. Laura Connell

    I agree with you, and I think it’s important to stress that a relationship and reliance on God is the most important aspect of a marriage. It’s amazing how many people will evoke God in the ceremony when they don’t even really believe. I’ll admit that’s why my marriage didn’t work and why I picked the wrong person in the first place. My relationship with God was not where it is now. So I hope I will get another chance one day!

  6. Elaine

    I love that show!! That episode also reminded me of me and my husband! We had a lot of Knopes.

  7. H

    Went through the same thing. Got married at 20 and most everyone I knew pretty much had an opinion about it. Been married almost a year now, am more in love than ever, pursuing my college degree still and hoping to get my doctorate after that :) which I wouldn’t have even considered without my awesome husband encouraging me. I am so grateful to God for giving him to me and helping us in our marriage. Marriage needs to be thought out in a very serious manner, which may not be capable for all young people to do, but I am so glad we are married now instead of waiting till I finished my college degree :)

  8. Cheryl

    Marriage is about commitment and responsibility towards each other. If you don´t have any of this, everything doesn´t count at all.

    Great post, Rach!

  9. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Nice, you are even younger than I am! I married when I was 22, and I’ve been married for two years now. All the best in your college education! I may stop after bachelors, but I was thinking of doing masters. I already have a great career that doesn’t really require a degree to be successful. I do love studying though! If I could always be a student, I would! You are probably the same if you wish to get your doctorate. I had the same goal before getting married actually because I wanted to be a college professor… but what I have set up for me now is perfect for transitioning to be a mother!

    I’m happy to hear about your marriage. All the best to you!

  10. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Hi Laura,

    We’re all really broken people. Even people who say they believe in God don’t always follow through. We really just need to be in constant awareness of what is right (what the Bible says is right) and do it the best we can, admitting that we are weak and can’t always be right by ourselves and need God to be our strength.

    Every person has the potential to do evil, but we can’t use the excuse that we’re born evil to continue doing evil. If we all act selfishly, then we’re all just going to create a really messed up world with relationships that don’t last.

    I’m glad that from what I know of you, you really uphold honesty. I value that as well, and I think that the lack of honesty is the root of a lot of relationship mishaps (not necessarily marriages). Most people like to tell lies when they can justify them. You just have to remind yourself that lying is never okay, and that should be what you need to look for in any kind of relationship.

    I hope I’m not acting like a counselor here because I don’t think I’m in any position to be like that! I don’t have a perfect marriage (nobody really does), but I know that we’re both working very hard at it together and trusting God in everything we do.

    Sometimes it makes me not want to promote marriage when I see two people just marrying without really giving themselves 100% to each other—husbands still actively watching porn behind their wive’s back, wives still talking smack about their husbands to their girlfriends, etc. This is not how marriage should be. I just think that if everyone does their part the best they can, marriages can work.

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong to be single though. In fact, if we can all keep ourselves from fooling around with different people, then we can probably do just fine being single. The problem is, being single makes you want to fool around with a lot of people, and that is why marriages are good for that reason… to keep us in line (especially because not a lot of people can really be single and stay sexually pure…. it was hard for me, and I know it’s hard for everyone). Really, the point of marriage is to keep our sexuality alive but only to one person. In the end, it makes for a stronger society.

  11. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Really? Even in an LDS community? I know you guys promote young marriages. That is how it should be! In most churches from my faith, they rarely do that nowadays. It’s really sad.

  12. Rachel @ à la Modest

    Haha! I’m excited and afraid for them at the same time, but then again, this is just a story! I don’t think anyone is as crazy as these two people are. Some may have come close…

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