As the semester goes on, I'm gradually getting used to being called "Mrs. Wood". I've developed a perfect answer for, "How's married life?" (it's like dating, but with another ring!)
But one question I refuse to become used to is, "So when are you having kids?"
I have several rants tied to that question...
Firstly, I've been married for less than six months and our very young marriage is not ready for parenthood, so why is someone assuming that we should be having kids soon? Secondly, I think this actually an incredibly invasive question. What they are really asking is, "Are you fertile? Are you trying? How much sex are you having? Are you using birth control or natural family planning? Do you even want children? Can you have children?" But we understand those questions to be rude, so we ask if when someone is having children instead and make them feel uncomfortable about whatever decision they have made with their spouse.
We're reminded in Ecclesiastics that there is a time for everything. Including time for a young married couple to just be together and get used to this whole married thing. Or for a couple to have their first (or fifth) child. Although I've only been married less than six months, I can confidently say that each marriage is unique and private. The couple will share their hopes, dreams, and plans about their future together as they see fit. Don't pry. Let the couple figure it out their way. And as a community, family, or friend, we need to respect that privacy and that their is a time for everything, and only they know what that time is.
There are so many other questions you can ask and so many things I would love to share with friends and family about my first few months of marriage instead of that question.
Last Tuesday, I received a voicemail with the best news Josh and I have received since our wedding day. We got a house! A beautiful little rental with two bedrooms, four closets, and space for an actual dining room table! And as much as I love being seven minutes from campus, I love the idea of having an actual home with my husband even more.
But on top of this exciting change, something else has caught my interest over the last three or four months. I've casually read and researched the concept of a minimalist lifestyle and with this upcoming move, I've decided it is time to start putting that research into action. This weekend is going to be spent sorting through all of our marital stuff and put into three categories: "Keep", "Donate", and "Trash/Recycle".
We were blessed with two wedding showers and very generous wedding guests and instead of sorting through all of my kitchen items owned before the gifts, I just added to them. And while I try to be thoughtful about clothing or decorative purchases, our (granted, limited) storage in the apartment, is overflowing.
Minimalism and mindfulness have long appealed to me. I was raised in home that did not emphasize stuff; I can recall conversations about needs vs. wants at a young age, sorting through toys to be donated, and my best family memories were made on trips or playing games, not receiving certain things. To me, minimalism is an intentional and conscious consumption of good. In other words, it is mindful purchasing. Rather than blindly buying a pair of sandals because they look like everyone else's, ask yourself when you would wear them, what purpose would they serve, do you have something else that already fills that need?
In the last year, I have thoughtfully purchased clothing that all goes together, avoiding particularly trendy clothes or colors and focusing on classic items that can be worn for long periods of time. Other purchases have been made with intention.
This lifestyle choice also sounds very similar to Jesus's encouragement to go, sell all of our belongings, and follow Him. Will sorting through all of my belongings be better for my marriage or my relationship with God? Not automatically. But I can see mindful spending can help alleviate financial anxiety as Josh and I finish school and learn how to share money, bank accounts, and debt. I can see that consciously choosing to donate items and making an effort to live a simpler life that leaves room for charity; less focus on things and more focus on God and God's people.