Wednesday, November 6, 2013

My Marriage Reality

An article has been circulating around the 'net recently--dare I say it--gone viral, entitled "Marriage isn't for You".  On first blush (heh), I quite liked ALL that was said--why wouldn't I?  It implied that the man should put his girl first, & everyone else for that matter, but I'm getting away from my train of thought....I do love the sentiment though.  The basic idea came from his dad who said, " I’m going to make this really simple: marriage isn’t for you. You don’t marry to make yourself happy, you marry to make someone else happy. More than that, your marriage isn’t for yourself, you’re marrying for a family. Not just for the in-laws and all of that nonsense, but for your future children. Who do you want to help you raise them? Who do you want to influence them? Marriage isn’t for you. It’s not about you. Marriage is about the person you married.”  Nice!  Who wouldn't want your man doing all he can for you??  But it won't work.  Evah!  Not to say to be all Debbie Downer, but let's be realistic here.  What man will willingly debase himself like that & be pussy-whipped for a woman?  I don't know too many of you don't either.  Instead, I like to think that marriage, or any serious long-term, committed relationship is a 60-40 proposition--otherwise known as the 60-40 rule.  I've talked about this before--sometimes you give 60% & your SO gives the 40.  And sometimes that is reversed--just depends on the situation & the partner's need at the time.  And, what I really take from this little incredibly loving statement to his wife, is that marriage really is hard work.  As the author Seth Adam Smith says, "It (his father's advice) went against the grain of today’s “Walmart philosophy”, which is if it doesn’t make you happy, you can take it back and get a new one."   I agree 100% with that statement.  People will so easily cast aside their relationship & are unwilling often to do the hard work.  

So lo & behold, across the web comes the counter article: Why Man's 'Marriage Isn't For You' Essay Misses the Mark.  And I definitely agree with this excerpt:

According to Andrea Bonior, PhD, a Washington, D.C.-based licensed clinical psychologist, Smith's intention may be good, but his message is muddled. “People live crazy, hectic lives, so taking time to appreciate your partner and the commitment you made to each other is a positive thing,” she tells Yahoo Shine. “However, marriage is not just about one person's needs." Science substantiates that: One recent study conducted by Monmouth University found that couples who focus on their own personal growth, as opposed to their partner's, are more committed and enjoy longer marriages.

Reality check.  The rest of the article discusses what the consequences could be if the advice is taken literally--abusive spouse?  Do you bend over & take that or is there a time when enough is enough?  Mentally ill to the point of incapacitation?  Emotional abuse?  See where I'm going here?  I believe that Smith wrote the article for the marriages that face the daily slings & arrows....and being reminded of how important it is to love one another, & work through the issues is always a good thing.

In the end however, it is this little facebook thingy that I liked the most:

 An old man calls his son and says, "Listen, your mother and I are getting divorced. Forty-five years of misery is enough."

"Dad, what are you talking about?" the son screams.

“We can't stand the sight of each other any longer,” he says. "I'm sick of her face, and I'm sick of talking about this, so call your sister and tell her," and he hangs up.

Now, the son is worried. He calls his sister. She says, "Like hell they’re getting divorced!" She calls their father immediately. "You’re not getting divorced! Don't do another thing. The two of us are flying home tomorrow to talk about this. Until then, don't call a lawyer, don't file a paper. DO YOU HEAR ME?” She hangs up the phone.

The old man turns to his wife and says, "Okay, they’re both coming for Christmas and paying their own airfares.