Marriage: Game over?

Funny concept of bound and trapped by marriage

The young man came up to the cash register, handing over the money for his meal. I can’t remember what he looked like or how much his meal cost. But what I do remember—several years after the incident—is his t-shirt. A black shirt, with a simple outline of a bride and groom on the front, and the words “Game Over.” As the weeks went by after this incident, pondered what this shirt was saying. Why would marriage be a “game over”?

When I was engaged, I remember creating an account on a wedding website, so I could see “how it’s all supposed to be done” in the days leading up to the wedding. One of the major areas that the site featured articles on was bachelorette parties. Whether it’s an attempt to relax amid wedding planning or a chance to hang out with friends from other states, bachelorette parties are fairly common pre-wedding activities. Although there are exceptions, many bachelorette parties are extremely sexual, from the invitations and party favors to the activities, and objectify men and women alike. While it’s good to have a fun “girls night out” before a wedding, our culture’s take on bachelorette parties—overly-sexualized, extremely alcoholic, and wild—acts as if this gathering is the woman’s last chance to be herself and have a good time. In other words, a common bachelorette mentality treats marriage as a “game over.”

There’s also a phrase that I’ve heard directed at many unmarried people: “this is your time to be crazy and do what you want; live your life before you settle down and get married!” In fact, several months back, an article hit the internet which stated all of the things one can do instead of getting engaged in his or her early twenties. There is a mentality that singleness is a time to “explore” different sexual behaviors and relationships. It is a time to be wild—because all the fun ends with marriage. Getting married means no more random hook-ups, no more extreme independence, and no more self-centered lifestyles.

Honestly, these things won’t fulfill anyone in the long run. But marriage, a lifelong union of self-sacrifice between a man and woman, will bring a person to deep fulfillment, love, and true joy. I’ve only been married a year, but this year has been the greatest adventure of my life. Every day provides new ways in which I can learn to love my husband and sacrifice for him better. Each moment is a chance for us to grow closer to God together. Not only that, but marriage is fun, full of new discoveries and interests. And while I had fun adventures in my single days, going through life while united with my best friend is incredible. Yes, there are struggles, and I have a lot of growing to do, especially since I can’t think only of myself, like I did when I was single. But we aren’t here on Earth to think only of ourselves, either. Marriage is all about self-gift, and everyone can start practicing that, no matter what his or her age or state in life is.

No matter what a person has done in his or her life, there is always a chance to start over. If you’ve bought into the lies of our culture which say “Marriage is a game over,” you can start again. Commit yourself to loving others selflessly, whether through friendship, service, or simply sitting with someone who needs companionship. And if marriage comes, don’t worry about losing your identity—you will continue to discover who you are (and who you are made to be) even more clearly. Vatican II declared that man “cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” A person finds his or her true identity in giving selflessly to others, and building a community of love. It’s time to say “game over” to a culture of hookups, sexual laxity, and self-centeredness. Instead, welcome the adventure of self-gift into your life.

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Assisi (18)AnneMarie Miller studies Theology and English at Franciscan University of Steubenville. She has a passion for the Catholic Faith, chastity, St. Francis of Assisi, and frolicking around barefoot. In August 2013, she was blessed to marry her incredible husband, and the two of them enjoy the epic adventures of married college life. When she’s not doing homework, housework, cooking, or playing chess, AnneMarie reflects on life’s beauty and random observations on her blog, Sacrifice of Love (http://marianninja.blogspot.com).

10 Comments

  1. Also, if sex is saved for marriage then it won’t be a “game over’ mentality, rather it will a part of the new adventure and add to the excitement!

    By Joey Cavello | 2 years ago Reply
    • I was just gonna say that! Jeez, it would be a better world if all men thought like you.

      By Michelle | 2 years ago Reply
  2. A few weeks after my engagement I was told “Getting married? Girl, that’s Game Over!” To wich I was glad to answer back “Game Over? No! The game is just about to begin!” It was fun see the guy’s face. I do believe it hit him in some way. :)
    Great post!

    By Silvia | 2 years ago Reply
    • Oh, that is wonderful! I greatly appreciate your spunk!! Way to uphold the beauty of marriage in your life! Keep being a great witness! 😀

      By AnneMarie Miller | 2 years ago Reply
  3. Thank you for this beautiful article!

    By Joelle | 2 years ago Reply
  4. Exactly it! Coincidently I’ve been thinking about these crazy “game over” parties these days and jumped to basicaly the same conclusions. It’s a shame when such things happen especially among catholics.
    Keep the good work. God bless!

    By Claudio | 2 years ago Reply
    • I agree. Because even Catholic speakers seem to give off thid attitude sometimes which isn’t encouraging. It shows that the couple or individual needs to start figuring out how to be more grateful and make the marital friendship fun filled.

      By Michelle | 2 years ago Reply
  5. Even though I’m a senior citizen now, I still desire the comfort and security of marriage: I believe marriage is one of the beautiful gifts GOD has given to humankind!

    By EVANGELIST EARLENE JONES | 2 years ago Reply
  6. From the other side:

    Many people do not find fulfillment in in the same things you do. A selfish and limited perspective insists that others should only find satisfaction in the things I find satisfying. Would you severely criticize people who don’t enjoy watching the sunset (maybe they can’t see?), or who don’t enjoy massages (maybe they have Fibromyalgia?)? Outside of the reference to a deity as having arranged relationships this way, why is monogamy the standard? Tradition is too weak of a rationale and assurance of paternity is not relevant to couples who do not have/do not desire to have children.

    When they were children, many present day adults watched their parents’ marriage “fail”. That includes divorces, lovelessness, cheating, constant criticism, and even marriages that remain official on paper but to all objective witnesses have no remnants of love. Cheating is not a “male” issue as both sexes cheat at about the same amount, though serial cheaters have different dynamics and behaviors when adjusted by sex. Staying on the topic of heterosexual monogamy, religious and nonreligious married couples divorce at about the same rate in America. And some marriages that “officially” survive despite being toxic can harm children far more than parental separation can. There is no singular solution that always provides the best outcome.

    If we view marriage differently, as an adaptation that humans at some point in the past found useful, we can separate emotional justifications from rational ones. Adaptations have value, but are not universally beneficial in every situation. I.e. having wealth might make one a potentially better provider, but wealth also attracts significant risk from the wrong types of eyes, as well as potentially leading to losing touch with humanity as wealthy individuals may value the preservation of their property over human life. In this framework, marriage is one adaptation among many, and other people in different life situations with different values and goals may find other adaptations more suitable to their needs. Perhaps society has outgrown the need for marriage, though it may be advantageous to individuals.

    We need to transcend the notion that marriage is the safest or supreme relationship (it ought to be but reality doesn’t match romantic expectation). Further, there is benefit in recognizing sex as fulfilling in itself. Not everyone, especially most women, enjoy sex outside of committed relationships. But many people do find sex enjoyable for various reasons outside of companionship, including the learning aspect, avoiding pitfalls of relationships like complication, mismatched libidos that eventually cause distress to both partners, and the frequency of sexual withholding as a weapon of manipulation.

    As for “Game Over”, many people learn that marriage eliminates freedom and sexual variety without providing abundant and unique benefits. On average, straight couples married for 3 years have sex (or, more accurately, engage in any sexual acts) twice a week. Some studies show less frequency, around once a week or 58 times a year. With exception and occasional surges, this frequency drops even further with time (especially if the couple has children), sometimes culminating in “sexless marriages”, This level of sexual frequency is not fulfilling to many men. In contrast, unmarried couples have sex around 3 to 4 times a week. Since sex has physiological, emotional, and symbolic significance, this can reveal deeper interpersonal problems that may never be resolved in the course of the marriage and that will increasingly stifle personal development and freedom.

    By A | 2 years ago Reply
  7. If I’d been dumb enough to get married to any of my previous girlfriends, it would’ve been game over. I’m not saying marriage is the end of freedom, or that your assessment is 100% wrong, but you have to be absolutely sure that the person you want to marry isn’t going to completely take over your life. Because if they do, it’s not just game over, it’s sex over, happiness over, sports on tv over, friends over, seeing your (non in-law) family over, and on and on.

    By Ian G | 2 years ago Reply

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