Marriage, The Ultimate Creative Endeavor

Marriage, The Ultimate Creative Endeavor

Millennials are drawn to creative pursuits. Just wait ‘til they hear about marriage.
Grace Stark
By

Bike-toting, mustachioed, Brooklyn-based freelance writer David Infante spurns your hipster labels. Instead he proposes a new title for the twenty-something, likely bearded and tattooed guy who pours your artisan coffee and “doesn’t like gentrification in theory, but love artisanal donuts in practice”: yuccies, or young urban creatives. In his article, though, Infante makes no mention of the most creative (and for their generation, certainly the most stereotype-defying) class out there: young married couples.

Infante describes the hallmark of the yuccie (for which he suggests the unfortunate pronunciation “yucky”) as a fierce need to express oneself and make money creatively. He mentions millennial lawyers-turned-craft-brewers, financiers-turned-music-festival-founders, and college grads foregoing lucrative paychecks for lower-paying (or unpaid) internships in writing, editing, and social media.

Marriage, the Wellspring of a Creative Life

As a millennial, recent college-grad myself, I know well the type of person he’s describing. And while I chose a more straight-laced job immediately out of college—one that definitely doesn’t fit Infante’s “creative” description—I think I embody the creative label he applies to my millennial peers all the same, and perhaps to a greater extent. Why? Because I am 23 years old and married. And being married is the most creative thing anyone can ever do. Plus, it’s, like, so countercultural, you guys.

Being married is the most creative thing anyone can ever do. Plus, it’s, like, so countercultural, you guys.

You see, when you get married—when you make that awe-inspiring til-death-do-you-part commitment to irrevocably tie your life to someone else’s—you create a whole new family unit that never existed before. This union, created through your words and actions, is wholly unique and separate from your own families of origin, and entirely different from your existence as individuals.

In this new unit, there are constant opportunities to create, all of them at the full direction of you and your spouse. You’ll build new holiday traditions, you can handle money with more freedom and creativity (combined income for the win, y’all), and you’ll almost constantly engage in the very lifeblood of creativity: Learning, lots and lots of learning. This learning comes from multiple avenues, whether it’s learning things about yourself (or the opposite sex) that can only be discovered by promising to love someone in sickness or in health and sharing a single bathroom in your starter home, or it’s learning how to navigate the logistics that come with tying your life to another’s.

For example, I recently had to engage in quite a bit of creativity when I found out my husband’s career would be sending us to Guam for the next two years. It was definitely an unexpected hurdle for me, but one that has allowed me to think more deeply about my personal and professional goals, and explore new outlets for making them a reality. Talk about a scenario that the average single, female millennial never would have imagined the need to work creatively around in order to maintain a fulfilling career!

Then There’s Intrinsic Biological Creativity

Finally, and lest we forget, with marriage comes the ultimate act of creativity that anyone can ever engage in: bringing new life into the world. Sure, publishing an innovative think piece that garners thousands of likes and sparks a national discussion, finding a way to make brisket so delicious that seemingly rational people are willing to camp out for four hours to eat it (this author included), and developing the next app that changes the way an entire industry does business are all ways of finding personal, professional, and financial validation of one’s creative talents.

With marriage comes the ultimate act of creativity that anyone can ever engage in: bringing new life into the world.

But are they anything compared to the spectacle of making a whole human being, who never existed before? Of being a part of the astonishing (and admittedly, really fun) process that brings another soul into being? Don’t get me wrong, I’m just as in awe of the creative brilliance of Aaron Franklin as the next barbecue-loving Texas gal—but I’m even more so in awe of the pregnant woman, her husband, and their rambunctious toddlers sitting in front of me at Mass.

So listen up, all you other married folks out there: Cardinal Donald Wuerl wants us to talk about how great it is to live out the sacrament of matrimony, and it’s certainly a good idea. But if we want more millennials to get married—and believe me, there are myriad reasons everyone should want young people like myself and my husband to continue engaging in the institution of marriage—we’ll need to try appealing to their personal aesthetics while we do so. If the hallmark of fulfillment for a yuccie/hipster/millenial/whatever-they’re-being-called-this-week lies in creative expression, then come on, let’s tell them how fun married life is.

While we’re at it, let’s also explain how its inherent creativity will enrich their lives, the lives of those around them, and the lives they’ll make, in this most transformative, fulfilling, and awesome of creative endeavors.

Grace Emily Stark holds a M.A. in bioethics and health policy from the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics at Loyola University Chicago. Her writing has been featured in the Public Discourse, The Linacre Quarterly, The Federalist, The Daily Signal, the National Catholic Register, and Aleteia, among others. She lives in San Diego, CA, with her husband and son.

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