Yearly Planning & October Living
A Halloween Home Tour

The 20 Something Years: On Marriage & Halloween


It's officially that ghoulishly glam time of year and the halls are decked with scaries and glammies. Until today, it didn't feel like I've had any deep, contemplative thoughts to share. Lately, it's been more about staying present, enjoying the now. It's been a long road of growing pains to arrive here, living comfortablely but not complacently, whole but hopeful. 

It feels like everyone in my life is growing up and getting married. Then there's me over here wearing the entire MAC Comestics counter out at night, "feeling 22," in pursuit of the perfect costume for Saturday night's Halloween roller derby ball.


When did marriage become synonymous with growing up? Marriage is something I pray for, but when that day comes it means taking up the ultimate responsibility of the life of another and the giving up of ourselves, in favor of a greater whole, and the character and community marriage cultivates. 

Our culture makes individual freedom, autonomy, and fulfillment the very highest values, and thoughtful people know deep down that any love relationship at all means the loss of all three. 
- Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

The only life I'm accountable for in this season is this little girl's, Sunday, who turned one year old on Saturday.


Yet, I can't help but feel the pressure to grow up and get married. It feels like married is varsity and single is JV. Isn't a commitment to learning to love God and live well, while holding down a "real job" enough? Whether married or single, our mission is to love God and become ourselves, while loving each other. 

Whoever did want Him,
who believed He was who He claimed,
and would do what He said,
He made to be their true selves. 
{John 1:12, The Message} 

Singleness is not a layover between childhood and adulthood, our mission is the same regardless of which box we check. It's not a ring that moves us from youth to full-fledged adult status, it's the answering of two questions: Who am I? And why am I here?

If we don't take the time to answer these questions, misplaced time and energy results from a weak sense of self. Do we focus on answering these questions with God's guidance? Or are we too busy rushing to find a partner like a game of musical chairs, wanting desperately to find a seat and one to call our own before the music stops?

The picture of marriage is not of two needy people, unsure of their own value and purpose, finding their significance and meaning in one another's arms. [Christian marriage] assumes that each spouse has already settled the big questions of life - why they were made by God and who they are in Christ. - Tim Keller, The Meaning of Marriage

The twenty something years...I wish I'd been given a field guide the day I graduated college. I wish I'd known that these years would be this amalgam of waiting, hustling, growing, and becoming. I wish I'd known it was normal to have no idea what you want to do with your life or where you want to live it. I wish I'd known the answer to those questions is only the beginning of the journey, offering guidance and guard rails, but not necessarily redemption or renewal.

These are good days. These are quiet days. These are days when so much of life is still in front of me, but a quarter is finished, never to be relived except in scrapbook pages and late night conversations.

Before this year, I didn't know how to experience God in the stillness and the silence. I knew how to see God when things were either really great or absolutely terrible. I'm learning that God isn't just in the fire and the storm. God is in the quiet seasons in our lives and the stillness of our days, even when He is silent. 

The Lord said, "Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the I am about to pass by." Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came God's gentle whisper. {1 Kings 19:11-12, NIV}

For years, life was busy and there was fire in my eyes, then it was one natural life disaster after another, and after that came the internal war that raged inside me and a period of mourning for a life I left behind. Now there is this stillness, and a gentle whisper. It feels like I've been standing on the mountain in the presence of the Lord waiting for Him to pass by for years only to find He's been here, just not in the way I thought He'd appear, but quietly watching, nodding, and promising.

We couldn't be more sure of what we saw and heard. God's glory. God's voice. You'll do well to keep focusing on it. It's the one light you have in a dark time as you wait for daybreak and the rise of the morning star in your hearts. {2 Peter 1:19-20, The Message}

One day God will change our stories, and that change will come with new challenges and anxieties, but for now we trust the process, "laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know that everything happens for a reason."

Do not rush this process, because hurry keeps your heart earthbound. Tune your heart to receive these messages of abundant blessings, lay your requests before Me, then wait in joyful expectation. 
- Sarah Young, Jesus Calling

Remember watching Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda spend the late nineties discussing the early thirty years over brunch on Sex in the City? They were way ahead of their time. On Sex and the City, we saw four women walk through life together hand in hand, reminding us that learning and loving together is what life is all about. We laughed when Carrie ran over to Miranda's in the middle of the night when Miranda thought she had a ghost, and we sat hoping we were that friend to our own Mirandas.

We watched Carrie get ready for nights out in the thirty-something apartment she made her own. We watched her write her weekly column, staring longingly out the window pondering life's questions: Are relationships the new religion? and What is it about God and fashion that go so well together?

Carrie Bradshaw's Apartment

I'll miss living in this tiny shoebox apartment (albeit a very glamorous shoebox apartment), and walking into a perfectly silent home after a long day of meetings, hearing pattering puppy paws. 

Denver Dreamhome FloorplanI'll remember nights spent running from bathroom, to closet, to bedroom getting ready for workdays, playdays, and nights out on the town. One day I'll miss these silent early mornings spent writing with candles and coffee. One day I'll miss the egocentric ease of singleness, and days when a cliff bar and a glass of red wine was a balanced dinner. 


I'm grateful for the space and time to find myself, and to find out what I want and how it fits into God's plan for my life, especially because I was completely wrong many times when I "just knew" I got it right. 

If you're in this twenty something trifecta of work, play, and inbetweenness - and even if you're not, all of life is work, love, and ambiguity - focus on these things:

  1. Live this life you've been given with so much love that not a moment is wasted
  2. Take intelligent risks
  3. Take the time to get to know yourself and why you're here
  4. Do not emotionally or physically overtend yourself to men, women, or even a worthy cause
  5. Keep the first things first
  6. Stay in the present with hope for the future



Just remember that despite all of the flowers and kitchen aid mixers, marriage is about vows and death to self. It's a birth of something new-- being in your jammies on a Sunday morning and burning your waffles. But it's also often the death of other things-- running away when life gets hard and being able to hide your insecurities. It's amazing and terrifying all at the same time.

So be kind to your single friends and also to your married/engaged friends. Each stage has so much to celebrate and also to hope for/remember. Be wholly where God has placed you and always swing for the fence.


I think this is the best one yet ...

Paper and Glam

This is beautiful, Matty. Thanks for posting this, and thanks for all the wisdom you've imparted since 2010 when you and Hil walked into NDC and changed my life. Love you, Bro.

Paper and Glam

Thanks for the feedback, KB. I appreciate it and you so.


Faith is putting your life in God's hands. Trust her. She'll find the right partner for you. And because her ways are her own, ... be ready to kiss a lot of toads before finding your prince ;)

Marriage sometimes feels like the loss of your freedom as an individual, but with the right person at your side, it becomes the freedom to share yourself wholly and unconditionally with someone else and feel so much larger, so much deeper, so much more ...

Paper and Glam

Completely agree, thanks Geraldine...for this note and all the support.

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