I Don’t Believe In The Phrase, “Settling in Marriage”

I really don’t. I also really hate the phrases “marrying up/down,” even if it doesn’t apply to the financial class of the spouse. We’ve all heard the phrase, “the winner of the divorce.” Well, these phrases that I hate mean there is a “winner of the marriage.” Aren’t we both winners?
It makes me wonder, sometimes. Everyone has a list for their future spouse. My dad wanted someone who had done a certain amount of schooling and lived on her own…my mom hadn’t done that much schooling and lived at home still (she was only 19 and her college was super close to home). I wanted someone tall and lanky, liked running and reading, could dance/play an instrument/sing, made me laugh, and loved/respected his priesthood. Justin only hit half those requirements. Justin wanted a red-head and someone who didn’t play videogames (hoping he’d eventually grow out of the habit)…he got me. I’ve heard this over and over again with friends–their spouse didn’t meet all the requirements. Does that mean they settled in marriage? Does that mean we all have just a good-enough marriage? Does that mean someone won–someone married above them and someone married beneath them?
I refuse to believe that.
People have told me how lucky Justin is to have married me. Justin, himself, has told me that (at least for schooling) puts me on a pedestal. I hate that. I feel lucky to have Justin! 
We both have strengths, things that we do better than each other. Some are silly and some are serious:
Tayler’s Strengths/Things She’s Better At
School and study skills
Reading
Running
Organization
Household Chores
Justin’s Strengths/Things He’s Better At
Videogaming
Finances
Being calm and rational
Being willing to serve and be charitable/thinking the best of people/not assuming
Being funny
Social skills
But, we also have weaknesses, things that we do worse than each other. The biggest being that I am always so anxious and stress-filled. Justin’s is laziness, which has begun to rub off on me ;). 
So, who married above themselves and got lucky and who married below themselves and settled? 
I like to think neither of us. I like to think that the phrase “opposites attract” are 100% true! Yes, Justin and I have a lot of hobbies, likes, dislikes, traditions, personality traits, etc in common, but, we also compliment each other very well. I need Justin and he needs me. Our strengths help each other’s weaknesses. It’s like that hand-game when you put a hand in, then the other person puts their hand on top of yours, then you put your second on on top of theirs, and they put their second hand on top of yours. We build upon each other. There are some things we do better, but that just lifts us, as a couple, up higher.  We are both winners.
So, I hate the phrases “settling in marriage” and “marrying up/down” because I feel they don’t look at the big picture. It’s too narrow-minded. And that leads to comparison. And that is a good foundation for marriage, comparing each other. Although there may be some days someone may think, “did I settle?” I’d suggest thinking again. What do they do that is better than you? What do they do that helps you be better? After all, that is one of the most important goals of a marriage–to lift each other up and help bring out the best in each other. There is always a reason two people fall so in love with each other and want, equally, to marry and spend the rest of their lives together. It’s not so one can “win.” No. It’s to be equally yolked, meshed together to make something better. That’s what marriage is all about.
Tayler is a work at home mom. She does free lance articles and dabbles in graphic design and virtual assisting for bloggers. She spent 3 years as a history and English teacher. Her passions are her husband, two children, history, reading, nature, and her Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • I agree–it's definitely not about someone getting a 'better deal' than the other. I don't actually mind it if Angel jokes that he "married up"…but that's because it's just a joke–he appreciates the benefits he got from marrying me (one of which, he mentions, is grandparents. Most of his grandparents died before he was born or when he was too young to remember them, so he thought it was pretty cool to have grandparents again after getting married!). We definitely both have very different skills that, since we're together, we both benefit from. That's the good thing about marriage!

  • Andrea Fife

    Great perspective!

  • I love this!!! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Some of these things I hadn't even thought about. My husband definitely didn't fit all of my criteria, but I never felt like I was settling because he had so many other qualities that I hadn't even thought of wanting.

  • That's one benefit my husband got too–his grandparents are deceased, but not mine. He's so happy to have loving grandparents again!

  • Thanks!

  • Exactly! We need to focus on the big picture and the WHY you actually married them in the first place, not what you are able to check off your list or what their weaknesses are.

  • It inspired a post for tomorrow! 🙂

  • Awesome! Glad to help! I've actually been wanting to post about this for weeks!

  • I'm glad you wrote it!! 🙂