Love and Romance: Why We Marry

The first bond of society is marriage.   – Cicero

Happy Valentine's Day

Many still choose the traditional route of marriage, and often for good reasons. Yet the divorce rate climbs each year.

Marriage is not the ‘happily ever after’ that we were sold in the fairy tales.  It takes real effort to make a marriage last.  It takes a strong bond to survive some of the storms that life throws at us.  Some of our idealism comes from the fairy tales, some from our societal views, some from religious upbringing and sometimes from a deep caring of our partner.

In a 2008 survey on marriage and cohabitation, the following statistics are from a poll for why they married:

  • love 91%
  • companionship 88%
  • to signify a lifelong commitment 82%
  • security for children 79%
  • to make a public commitment to each other 77%
  • legal status or financial security 66%
  • religious beliefs 62%
  • response to family pressure 50%
  • desire for a special occasion 45%
  • arranged 27%

In American society it is the norm to marry for love, but this isn’t always enough to make a marriage last. Once past the honeymoon phase the couple has to learn to deal with sharing life with another individual.  The becoming or disillusionment stage is fraught with conflict at every turn.  From clothing left strewn on the floor to the toilet seat being left up, even the tiniest of things can cause conflict.  We learn our conflict resolution from observing our parents and how they handled things.

My mother was a hot head and blew up over the smallest of things out-of-order in her world. I was often out-of-order.  My dad was passive aggressive and I could write you a book on devious acts of the passive aggressive that provoke the hotheaded type A  into a fire-breathing dragon.  Neither approach worked well.  I can imagine psychotherapy attempting to fix their marriage.  The therapist would need a therapist. However, they must have done something right as they managed to last over 50 years together.  Trust me it wasn’t 50 years of wedded bliss.  There was bliss at times, but in between was vast stretches of death valley.

My own marriage has lasted over 25 years.  A milestone to be certain, but again not every moment has been bliss.  We try to work things out, try to be rational but there are times when rationality goes out the window and the gloves are off.  It’s amazing how infuriated the person you love the most can make you over seemingly stupid matters.  After the dust clears we can look back and realize how ridiculous we were, but in that moment of battle it’s on like donkey kong!

Lack of love is never an issue.  Lack of passion hasn’t been an issue either.  Misdirected passions often are.  Not the sort of infidelity passions, but misplaced as far as thrown into being right or getting our way.  It is just as important to BECOME the right person as it is to FIND the right person.  Learning to think outside of yourself is difficult, taking the other person into consideration isn’t our first nature.

Marriage is not about you.  It’s not about your happiness or your self fulfillment.  It’s not even about getting your needs met.  If that’s what your idea of marriage is you’d better hold off.  We are selfish beings.  You are and whoever you want to marry is also.

“Oh no, not my luvvy dovey benjy wenjy.  He’s the most thoughtful loving guy that ever lived.”

Honey, sit down we need to talk. If he/she is human then essentially they are selfish.   NO, no need to cry. I’m not making a personal attack on benjy wenjy. At some point the person you love the most will hurt you the deepest.  There is the true challenge in a marriage.  Working through the deep hurt and pain to resolve conflict and solve your problems together without killing each other, without accusing each other, without running back home to mommy or daddy, and without an all out war.  It’s difficult but not impossible.

Remember why you fell in love with them.   Remember the good times.  Never stop enjoying each other and remember that this is the mate you have chosen.  It is possible to work through the difficulties.

BUT, there sometimes comes a point when you’ve hit the wall, given all you can and tried everything you know of to try and just can’t seem to mend the damage that is there.  At the end of the day you have to be accountable for your own actions. We each have to make our own decisions, and live with the consequences of them.

I am not a marriage counselor, I am simply a wife that’s been married for 27 years.  I’ve made sacrifices and so has he.  When things are good they are amazing, and when they are bad, it’s the worst maelstrom imaginable.  I will emphasize one point – the person you love the most can hurt you deeper than you can imagine.  It’s part of making yourself vulnerable to another. That’s the part that is the hardest for me, exposing myself, making myself vulnerable.

You have to see that it’s a difficult scenario for him as well, it’s a minefield fraught with dangers; a damaged childhood, an independent streak, a rebellions streak, a mean streak – sometimes resembles a wild zebra! I guess all those rodeo trophies he has may count for something after all!

Whatever your reasons for marrying in the first place are, remember them.  Don’t be hasty to throw things away that can be repaired but don’t continue to put yourself in a  situation that is irreparable.  Abuse is abuse and any bit of it is reason to leave.

What does this have to do with writing ?   Romance? Love? Erotica?   I knew you were smart readers!

Write on my friends, write on.