Settling for a Marriage of “Good Enough”

WeddingEight years ago today, Rush and I were wed in a ceremony we described as “good enough.” It proved a blessed refrain for the marriage that followed.

My laissez-faire attitude may have been due to the fact I didn’t know any better when we got engaged. When Rush proposed to me at the top of Stone Mountain, I was less than a month into my senior year of college. The ring toddled clumsily on my finger – I had used fashion jewelry at Claire’s to guess my size – and I toddled clumsily into the wedding-planning process. Rush and I bought an Emily Post etiquette book with the thought that “at least we’ll know what rules we’re breaking.”

We set a date for six weeks after my graduation and began to swiftly check-off the to-do list. First, there was the photographer, a Mr. Rogers-looking man who we thought modern because he did “photojournalism.” Good enough, we said. At least he’d go unnoticed. Then, there was the florist who asked what flowers we wanted and the only ones we could name were daisies and lilacs. Good enough, we said. At least they were cheap. When I went to pick out my dress in Cincinatti’s famed bridal district, the saleswomen worried I wouldn’t have time for alterations.  Nevermind then, I said, and I found a mermaid dress at the mall.  Good enough. At least there was still time to sew in cups.

Sometimes when we’re reminiscing about our ceremony, Rush and I laugh at the details we tended so casually. The photographer ended up being less like a skilled paparrazo and more like a family portrait artist from Sears. The singular flowers at the end of each pew sagged without the weight of other varietals to prop them up. Rush wore a brown suit too big for him and I wore underwear that showed through satin.

Still, we don’t regret a thing. How could we when “good enough” was such a good way for us to begin life together? I remember a conversation I had with a campus minister when we were first dating about how Rush just wasn’t the man I pictured for me. He wasn’t literary. Or well-traveled. I was sure she’d counsel me to break thing off. Instead, she said, “What if you don’t have to worry about all those things? What if your job is just to enjoy him?” If enjoying him was a good enough goal for dating, surely it was a good enough goal for wedding-planning and, later, marriage-making.

Settling for good enough doesn’t mean being lazy about the things that matter. Rush and I put more thought into the liturgy of our ceremony than we did the scratchy groomsmen ties. When it comes to my professional life, the standard of good enough has sometimes be an excuse to shrink from ambition. But for the most part, good enough has been a refrain that stops the endless lust for more and better: better friendships, more intimacy, better wine. Instead, I ask myself, “What if your job is just to enjoy this life?”

I love that even God stopped the endless work of creation-planning and called it good, very good. And if good is good enough for God, it’s good enough for us.

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5 responses to “Settling for a Marriage of “Good Enough”

  1. Well said. Too often we forget to enjoy our lives, each other and especially our loved ones.

  2. LOVE this, and it came to me at a much needed time in the wedding planning!

  3. Cara Strickland

    Oh Erin, this is lovely. Thank you for sharing.
    Good enough, indeed.

  4. Good enough indeed!

  5. this one hits particularly close to home right now. thanks for the reminder to stress less and enjoy more.

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