January 2012

Honda is currently airing an interesting series of television commercials for its CR-V automobile. The campaign is focused on what Honda calls a “Leap List”; they encourage people to make a list of things they want to accomplish before a major life event such as a graduation, wedding, or birth of a child. (It’s similar to a “bucket list” of things to do before you die, or “kick the bucket.”)

It’s hard to argue with the “leap list” concept, but I do find the commercial titled “Proposal” to be an interesting reflection of how many people view marriage today. In the ad, a couple is walking down a sidewalk when the young man suddenly blurts out, “Do you want to get married?” Not exactly the most romantic of proposals.

His girlfriend appears surprised, and she says to herself, But there were so many things I was gonna do first. I was gonna hike the Appalachian Trail … And I still have to learn to play the drums … I still need to finish my short film. This is her leap list—the things she wants to accomplish before she takes the leap into marriage.

Then she turns to the boyfriend and says, “Okay … but we have a lot to get done first.”

Perhaps I am overanalyzing here, but I was struck by the mixed message in this commercial. Obviously the couple is excited about getting married, but somehow they have the attitude that they need to pursue their dreams before making the leap. Why does the young woman think she can’t go hiking, play the drums, or make a film after she’s married?

I wonder how many young people view marriage as a huge, deadening weight of responsibility that will strip away their individuality and prevent them from pursuing their passions? Is that one reason why the average age for a first marriage keeps rising? The latest figures indicate that the average age for women getting married the first time in America is 26.2 years, and for men it’s 28.2. (In 1990 it was 23.9 and 26.1.)

I keep thinking of God’s statement in Genesis 2:18: “It is not good that the man should be alone.” God did not create marriage to limit us, but to give us a partner—a companion, lover, and helper—who will make us more fruitful as we go through life. You can accomplish more together than you can alone.

And those dreams you want to pursue, those things on your leap list? They will mean much more when you pursue them with your spouse.

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