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Who (actually) might get married.

I read a couple of articles the other day—one about the types of girls who are never getting married and one about the girls that guys should be marrying. The author, a woman, wrote the former article apparently anonymously or under a different name somehow, as she wrote the latter article in response, revealing herself as the author of the first in the process. Clarifying her purpose, she wrote that she simply has ideas about which types of girls she would and would not like her guy friends to end up marrying, which is something we’ve all done. We’ve all been annoyed with “those girls” or “those guys” and hoped for the “good ones.”

But by categorizing, we limit. By putting forth a list of several “types” (one of which was even “the perfect girl”—what?), no matter how much we’d like to think we don’t take stock in articles like these, those thoughts creep in—what if I’m not that person? That’s the problem with articles like these; even though they’re well intentioned, they tend to miss the point. Along the lines of the article about marriage not being for you (which deserves its own response—for another post) that went sort of viral, “matchmaking” isn’t about being one of the types that deserve marriage.

It’s about being someone who draws others to themselves positively and organically, not because they’ve become one of these ideal women (or men). It’s about owning who we are, not about checking characteristics off the list. It’s about becoming a person you’d want to marry (or, before that: just a person with whom you’d want to have a long conversation). Importantly, too, it’s about the general, not the specific.

It’s about a generosity of spirit, a loveliness that encapsulates a whole demeanor. It’s about caring for your people and putting them before yourself. It’s making connections and having valuable relationships. It’s working to keep them going (and realizing that no one will do that for you). It’s staying in touch with the people who made you who you are. It’s being a person who helps people become who they are.

It’s about knowing what you love and chasing a life that lets you do that. It’s believing that you can do what you love to do. It’s moving toward your goals and developing in your knowledge of that thing you love. It’s telling other people about it.

It’s about taking life seriously, because this life is important. (Few things are less attractive to me than people who refuse to take life seriously. Come. On. Okay, no more ranting.) Anytime you talk to another person, you’re making a difference in a life. Taking life seriously looks differently for different people, but a willingness to invest in what is important runs generally under the lives of those I admire (and want to invite over for dinner).

It’s about who you are, not who you aren’t. Generally, it seems as if our generation is all about proving who we aren’t. We’re not like our parents, we’re not like that stereotype, we don’t believe that. I was told once that it’s much more difficult to hate than it is to love, and, to an extent, I think that’s true. Love carries a gentleness, an ease, and a joy even in difficulty that profoundly augments our lives. Let’s stop trying to convince each other that we’re not this or that and start proving who we are—because it’s just more attractive to base a life on standing for something than standing against something.

Maybe all this is just a list I have, not unlike those the articles suggest. And maybe it’s just me—but I’d much rather be tasked with emulating characteristics that I can adapt to my specific personality instead of being faced with the implication that if I am not a certain type of person, I’m not a girl that guys should marry. Haven’t we always just wanted to be ourselves? (It really is enough.)

And then there’s the question of who I would want my closest male friends to marry. You know those couples you get to know and the match just makes sense—they just fit together? That’s what I want for all my friends. I want them to marry someone who fits them. And the thing is—each of those people has a name, not a category.

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