This week, I read a little article about Phil Mickelson (the golfer) and his family in the literary bastion Parade magazine that comes in the weekly paper. It was surprisingly touching. He's notoriously good at golf, but also notoriously willing to take risks on the golf course. Ironically, one of the most willing-to-risk-it guys in pro golf has one of the more stable off-course lives, with the same caddy, manager, and wife in the 20 years since college. As the author of the story said, "Maybe Mickelson can handle that unpredictability because he's so predictable off the course." His caddy recalls a time he blew a lead to lose a tournament, "His mind set was, 'It's time to move on. I know my wife loves me, I know my kids love me, I can't wait to tee it up next time.'" And Phil himself says, "My family has reduced the effect of my career on my self-esteem. When I'm with them, they make me feel special regardless of how I play."
Maybe it's working with college students, maybe it's that all of our siblings are 20/30-something and unmarried, but I sometimes feel a bit out of it for being "tied down" in marriage for nearly 10 years, unable to easily pitch to them all why I'd actually recommend it, even at a young-ish age. This little article kind of helped me put a finger on a few of the benefits of committing forever. What if taking the plunge and getting married isn't the death of fun and freedom? What if committing for the long haul in one area actually gives you MORE freedom in lots of other areas?
What if marriage is less about the danger of assuming the risks inside marriage - can we stand each others flaws forever? can we find jobs in the same city? can we stay in love? can we forgive?
And more about emboldening us to take on more risks outside marriage because we can count on having a committed partner by our side - what if going back to grad school doesn't work out? what if the new friends don't like me? what if I regret moving? what if I get laid off? what if my service idea bombs? what if ____ goes horribly wrong?
What if marriage isn't a liability, but rather an asset to build that frees us up to take on some risky challenges and opens doors for some really great stuff?