It's Independence Day; the anniversary of our nation's birth. Our great nation was built on the blood and sweat of courageous and generous men and women; people of great character and solid principles.
Last week as I was helping a young man fill out a W-4 form to work on our farm, he said, "Wait... what do I put here? The only options are married or single. I'm living with a girl but we're not married, but I'm not exactly single. What am I?" I responded to him, "Exactly. What are you doing? Nothing. It's not anything, it's a lie. It's not good for you or for her. Why haven't you married her?" I was a little surprised with my response and not sure how he would take it (he was a perfect stranger), but he just said, in stride, "Dude, and lose my freedom? If I marry her, I won't have no freedom. We're just tryin' it out for a while, no risk no obligation." Wow. He calls that "freedom"? Sounds more like a late-night infomercial where you can get some cheap ware and return it after 30 days (less shipping and handling) if you're not completely satisfied. Hardly the way to think of a person.
My husband is at home working endless hours for the 2nd cutting of hay. I'm in the Palouse Hills with my sister-in-law, watching a Star Wars marathon, eating popcorn, drinking orange soda with peach schnapps, reclining on a micro-fiber ultra plush couch, sleeping in late, vacationing it up... no husband, just me and the life of utter "liberty." Yet oh how I wish I were back in the grind of home. The old gag about the ball and chain of marriage is such balogna. There's no place on earth I'd rather be than with my husband. Don't get me wrong, I love my sister-in-law and we're having a wonderful time. It's intensely relaxing. But I certainly don't miss my days of "independence" as a single woman. What I miss is my husband. I've only been here 24 hours, but at least a dozen times (maybe more) I've seen something my husband would enjoy or understand and found myself murmuring, "I wish he were here" or "oh he would enjoy this so much." Marriage has unleashed my field of vision to see the world no longer for myself alone, but through the eyes of another whom I love -- to get excited about things he would, or enjoy things I know he does. It has broadened and expanded my very personhood to include and become more than I ever was alone... and in a much deeper way than simple (though deep) friendships. It has given me the freedom to become more a more complete person than I could have been without these bonds of love.
So to all those commitment-phobes, those radical feminists, those live-ins, those wise-crackers who say marriage is a blight on liberty and a loss of freedom I say, "man cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself" (Theology of the Body, JP2), and I was never more liberated than when I became bound to my husband until death do us part.
True liberty is not license to do as we wish, but the freedom to do what we ought. Happy Independence Day!