I’ve been working on this post for a while, both in my head and here in my drafts. It’s about Marriage.
All of a sudden, I’m hearing about all these unhappy marriages. It’s crazy, but every time I get that feeling that everyone is coupled up or married, along come a dozen stories of miserable matrimony to validate my choice to be single.
I recently heard from someone who I thought was very happily married that he and his wife don’t even talk anymore, and sometimes he’s so aggravated and sick of her that he invents errands and finds himself wandering around the grocery store talking to people who work there, just so he can have non-frustrating human contact.
I also have a distant family member who was just married a year ago, already filing for divorce.
Then I heard from a friend that her sister and brother-in-law are fighting and there’s talk of divorce and who gets the baby – talk that has never occured in any of their fights before.
So, this begs the all important question ~ Are people getting married without really knowing each other or are they marrying the right person and just not trying hard enough? As the divorce rate climbs, I have to wonder what the real reason is behind the divorces.
My own feelings on marriage are this: I have never fantasized about a dream wedding. I think that fantasy clouds the underlying event – the marriage. I lived with someone for the better part of 6 years. In that time, we wavered on whether we should get married or not. I loved him dearly, more than anyone ever in my life, but his casual attitude toward money presented a problem for me. Eventually we parted ways, after deciding that we were no longer better together than apart. Our relationship lasted longer than a lot of marriages, and for us it was a clean break. No lawyers, no custody battles, no support payments. But, I know people who have those money differences, or religious or family differences, and they try to defy the odds and get married. Stupid.
Now, a pop quiz, but it only has one question:
How long does it take to really get to know someone?
a) You “just know” right away if they are the right person for you.
b) About 3 months
c) One Year
d) After your first major fight
Ladies and gents, if you answered anything other than “E,” thank yourself for jacking up the divorce rate statistic. You never really know someone. Why? Because people are always changing. You could meet me today and have me all figured out, but time can change and warp me in some ways. If you don’t believe me, watch the true crime dramas on A&E at night. Someone always kills their spouse for one reason or another, and the friends always testify that they never knew that the problems in the marriage were any more severe than anyone else’s issues, and that they “knew Bob since he was in kindergarden and he could never kill Lucinda.”
I’m not saying that everyone’s spouse is eligible to become a murderer. But give it some thought. Haven’t you ever done something out of character that you shared with almost no one, and most people wouldn’t believe you even if you told them to their face? I’m the host of about one scandalous event a year, that no one “who knows me well” would ever believe.
I don’t know the answer to this question of marriage. I do know that the right person for me at 25 wasn’t the right person for me at 30. So if that’s true, how do I know that a (hypothetical) person I marry today will be the person I want to be with in 30 years? They say “You just know.” Do you? I don’t even know which bra I want to wear tomorrow. How can I pick out a permanent mate? And who’s to say that marriage has to be permanent? Who made all these damn rules?
What about the issue of “other people’s marriages” – what’s the answer? Are people jumping ship too soon? Or are they walking down the aisle with people they barely know? Why is everyone getting divorced? Why is everyone in such a rush to get married in the first place? Is living with someone for the rest of your life really the way to go?