“When you marry someone, you also marry their stuff.”
That’s a staggering, kind of disgusting statement. I heard a friend – who is getting married this summer – say this while advertising a major rummage sale of all of her old clothes, shoes and trinkets. And it’s true: she’s marrying her fiancé but also his stuff – and he is marrying her but also her stuff.
Doesn’t that concept take a bit of the shine off of marriage? It all sounds to cluttered, too commercial for my taste.
And yet, I will join the ranks of however many millions of 2012 brides-to-be who will pack up their treasures, their massive shoe collections, cookbooks, hair accessories, yoga mats, editing pens, international Bibles, newspaper clippings and ten shades of nude nail polish and move in with my groom-to-be…Along with his impressively less extensive shoe collection, all of his books, maps, Bon Iver albums, bicycles, tools, uniforms, Moleskins and Underarmour socks. That’s all he’s got.
One of my goals in the coming year is to pare down the amount of stuff I have. In addition to my stuff, I have heirloom treasures of my grandmother’s that I wouldn’t dare throw away, and I would rather get rid of my things than ever trash hers. Aaand, I want to make room for our stuff, the new things we’ll be given and we’ll buy together. That stuff will be much more exciting.
And thus, in an effort to simplify my future home, a massive “Erin’s Getting Married!” garage sale will occur sometime this summer. I love purging, cleaning, organizing and simplifying, and this is going to be fun.
But at the rate I’m going, I may not get far: you see, yesterday I went shopping. (Cue the guilty music.) I added more to the already large collection of “My Stuff” and, although I’m happy with all the sales I scored, I feel a little frustrated at my thing-collecting-ness. Women of the world, do you experience this guilt? What about those of you who share your home’s income with your spouse — how do you shop? How do you keep your home free from random-stuff clutter?
The point of these thoughts and this exercise in buying restraint is not only to continue good consumer habits of spending/saving, and not just about not having so much stuff that I’m embarrassed when Andrew and I more in together, but rather it’s about not making our relationship and our future marriage about stuff. About objects. About money. About physical, tangible rewards for hard work.
A marriage should be about faith – faith in God, yes, and faith in a love from the other person that you also can’t see but have to always trust is there. A marriage should be about cultivating that best friendship forever, and a wife should never stop being the girlfriend and the husband the boyfriend. A marriage seems like a great atmosphere in which to encourage adventure – as long as a job or school doesn’t get in the way, we can just take off on a mini road trip or visit friends in another state, or drive all night to see our favorite band. I’m excited to live freely and lovingly and adventurously with Andrew…with no extraneous junk holding us down.