Definition of MARRIAGE
1 a (1) : the state of being united to a person of the opposite sex as husband or wife in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law (2) : the state of being united to a person of the same-sex in a relationship like that of a traditional marriage marriage>b : the mutual relation of married persons : wedlockc : the institution whereby individuals are joined in a marriage
2: an act of marrying or the rite by which the married status is effected; especially : the wedding ceremony and attendant festivities or formalities
3: an intimate or close union
Statistics to date records that of course out of 2,077,000 of marriages with a rate of 6.8 per 1,000 total population the divorce rate will be 3.4 per 1,000 population over 44 of the states reporting and D.C.)- I’m sure you can translate that to mean what we all have been hearing and that is that over half of marriages in the U.S. will end in divorce. No doubt that half of that total can just be applied to Hollywood marriages on its own. But then that leaves the rest of us in the U.S.
The everyday American people, working, raising children, taking care of aging parents, tending to upside mortgages, living pay check to pay check, not living enough for today but hoping for tomorrow, cars messed up, every bill due, scratching and surviving little ol’ us the American 99%. We are headed down a steady decline for marriage survival but a constant trend upward towards divorce.
Where are we headed with this?
The Huge Elephant of a question looming is WHY??? Why are we having such an impossible time surviving marriage? I think in order to really answer this question we would have to dig deeper into the reasons why Americans are even getting married in the first place. Then we would need to also understand the perceptions that each and every person had towards life and marriage. Did you know that some people actually still carry a blind romanticism as it pertains to marriage? At least most of the “first timers” do anyway.
Yes some have no idea that the story does not begin and end with the wedding day. I find that amazing in this day and age. For some, this could be because of the initial effort to first find love. Then to actually even get to a place of understanding that there is even a mutual love and respect for one another enough to take this leap that over half of the population is not succeeding in. Then to actually choose to proceed towards that commitment in marriage; this is in and of itself one pursuit toward happiness that is utterly exhausting for most people. So by the time you get to the place of actually living the “life of two” most are just ready to coast and believe that it should be nothin but smooth sailing because after-all we’re “in LOVE”. Well to all the people out there who are walking around believing that just because you’ve finally found the love you want after walking the earth all this time alone, that you should now just slip into wedded bliss… This is your WAKE UP CALL! First understand “A WEDDING doth not a MARRIAGE make”, your work is just getting started. Finding the Man-Woman is not the hardest part in marriage. Guest what there is something that goes in between that Happily_ Ever After, something that Disney failed to tell us about. Why? Because happy is just better. Our attention goes immediately to happy. I mean if there was ever evidence to my theory just look at our distorted concept of finding love and marriage as it has been played out on abc’s The Bachelor and God help me, The Bachelorette. I mean really people, is this supposed to be an example of anything except for how warped our outlook and expectations for happily ever after have become? Hey wait, isn’t abc a subsidiary of Disney Corp (message)?
In most cases we are not at our happiest without having someone by our side to share in our life experience. I believe that we envision or at least hope that there will be more joys than sorrows in life, but that having someone to travel the road with us will make the experience bearable and in some cases even more joyful . Even when taking those vows, we know that we have to get through saying “For better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health”, most of us are optimist and we hope and can clearly picture the happier of the two of those declarations. Unfortunately life is life and marriage is also life and that being the case we all are finally realizing that life and marriage are difficult, both at times seemingly impossible. So what do we do?
I believe that in order to make either life or marriage work, it takes knowing what your purpose is for either. If you personally feel as though there is no purpose, value, or mission to your life then it will make every endeavor intolerable. Likewise with marriage. There has got to be a greater mission, a sense of purpose and value that carries you past the initial years of starry-eyed wonderlust, and well into those moments where you can not only tolerate but still love one another through the expanded waist lines, and negative account balances, even through the dimples on the side of your once well tones ass. You must also have that plain and simple true grit. That stuff that makes you stubborn as hell against the attacks that will inevitably come.
The initial love and or lust that first brought you together will work to get you through maybe the first 5 years but then everything after that is shear will and determination. Don’t underestimate strong will and determination, they can tack on another good 5 years. But taking this a little more microscopically, what are we really looking for people? Years, sticktuitiveness, getting through it for the kids? This is clearly a quantity vs quality question. You’ve gotta know what you’re looking for and what you hope to get out of it well before walking down the aisle.
In our fast food nation we are treating marriage the same way we treat our diets, “Get in my belly (say it like Fat Bastard) ” . We’re saying who cares that the freakin big Mac has 1 million calories and causes heart disease, I’m hungry and I want it now. Well that’s how we treat finding and sustaining a “life” partner. We don’t do the preliminary work on ourselves nor on them. We don’t have the lengthy conversations, we just go with how it feels, does it feel good well then hey I’m on board for now, because I’m hungry, I have a need, I have a biological clock, or I want somebody now “Get in my belly”. We’re not careful we hardly know ourselves and we damn sure don’t really know the people that we vow to stay with til the end of time. IT ALL TAKES A LOT OF WORK! This is the thing.
Same as when we realize that work needs to be done on ourselves we’ll take action, seek out guru’s or pastors, or Ashrams or Chapels, Mentors, or Yoga posses. For ourselves most of us will fight to survive, and not only that we’ll fight to grow and get better than we used to be. Marriage (real marriages, committed marriages) are in essence an extension of ones own self. They are a reflection of our beliefs of our commitment to our own lives, of our devotion and faith to the God that we serve. Sometimes though if they are too bad and there is absolutely no work around then of course there needs to be a time or an opportunity for an out. You and only you can determine that.
This is why you’ve gotta know yourself first. If you don’t know what you want, how in the hell do you really expect for someone else to be able to swoop in and define your life for you? Maybe not all the years together will be of the best quality, maybe some years will and others will suck, will you be able to get past the sucky ones in order to see if there are better years on the other side? Who knows but you’ve got to know what you hope to gain and kids can’t be the sole motivation, either in wanting to have them or stay together because you’ve got them. Marriage is not a mystery. It is like the rest of life. It comes with challenges, goodness, greatness, doubts, misery, impossibilities, triumphs, moments of both heaven and hell on earth. Ultimately like life there is a recipe for success and a value in all of it, unfortunately one that we often overlook or don’t see until they are both over.
- Divorce Questions: Should We Stay Together For The Kids? (huffingtonpost.com)