Love Notes, Marriage and the Back Burner Person

I was going to blog on “Marriage Isn’t For You,” the newest article taking Facebook by storm. It’s a good read. (And this follow-up is a very good read.) The original post is written by a Mormon and has been criticized for not going far enough. Yes, it’s a good thing to be self-sacrificing for your spouse; however, that is not the ultimate point of marriage. The ultimate point is to reveal God and bring Him glory. Good stuff.

But I’m not blogging on that. (Although you are free to post your thoughts on it here.) Sometimes you just need something simple and sweet and revealing of human nature … from a kid’s perspective.

My dad sent me this article about a young boy’s “love” note to a classmate. The boy’s note is one of those, “Will you be my girlfriend? Circle yes, no or maybe” types. Remember those? (Oh, if only dating stayed that simple.) The girl circled no, but added this disclaimer:

I’m sorry I alredy have a boyfriend Kyle but when we break up, your my next choice. [original spelling retained]

Then she adds:

P.S. That will probaby be a month or two.

So he has a chance! My dad told me this entertaining post brought back memories: 

Your dad was a party to a few of those notes back in the day. One time, in sixth grade, I was listed as boyfriend #3 on this one girl’s list. I gave her a gift—two packs of gum—and went to #1 for a few weeks. SWEET!”

I think this is a humorous example of how we like to keep our options open when it comes to dating. One of my guy friends used to describe it this way: “You have your main dish. And then you have your back burner person.” The main dish is the person (or type of person) you would ideally like to end up with. The “back burner person” is, well, your fallback plan. Seems Ashley (the recipient of the note) was locking in her back burner person. 

OK, so maybe I should have blogged on “Marriage Isn’t For You.” It really isn’t. And as I told one friend, sometimes making your marriage (or relationship) about God feels very much like making your marriage about the other person. Had the author taken his thesis a step further to talk about why we love the other person (because it’s an example of Christ and the church), I would have been on board. That said, probably the biggest practical way in which you glorify God in your marriage is by laying yourself down for the other person (something that goes against human nature and takes effort). That is what honors Him and makes the marriage an example of His love for us. 

As far as the “back burner person,” although it may be tempting to keep that person in pocket, it’s not really a productive practice. Either make them the “main dish” or leave them alone. No one wants to be your “next choice.”