MARRIAGE: A Waning INSTITUTION of the 21st. Century?
Three months is a long time to be married in Hollywood.
But ordinary people are not part of the world of make-believe. Ordinary people who live in the real world, make more rational decisions and understand the meaning of consequence. Well ok, most ordinary people do.
Meeting Mr.or Miss Right and falling in love is a journey nearly every human being embarks upon at one time or another. A few times for some, several for others and numerous, for the hopeless romantics. The hope being that one day, someone will be that special one.
Marriage, as has been claimed for centuries is a forever commitment. Better said, Ideally, it's a lifelong partnership with one chosen individual. Perhaps we can all agree that it's certainly a serious decision most of us are faced with at least once in our life. How serious, I suppose depends on one's beliefs and attitude. I will go out on a limb here and say that marriage should not be something we embark upon with scant consideration or little discussion. The reality is, some soul-searching wouldn't hurt.
I accept that there may be drawbacks to deep thought and open discussion. At an emotional time, when blindly in love, can we actually recognize and heed the hard core facts of reality? The scales that equalize heart and mind are completely off balance. We adore everything about him/her and are firmly in denial of any possible flaws. During this initial period, we tend to be in a state of denial for possible future issues.
As it happens, we find ourselves marching down the aisle with the person we're convinced is the love of our life. Gazing longingly into each others' eyes, we pledge our undying devotion and vow eternal love......
It all sounds simple enough. The so-called Honeymoon Stage which varies for each couple, may prove to confirm that we made the right choice. Getting through the first seven years of marriage unscathed by major catastrophe or disruption is an amazing feat. Don't believe this? I'm sorry to say, "Statistics" prove it. 75% of divorces have been sought by husband or wife, near the seventh year of marriage. This allows just enough time for the Love Birds to welcome a couple of children and buy their home, surrounded by white picket fence. Most of that personal struggle and sacrifice toward common goals, begins to emerge as a huge wrecking boulder headed toward destruction of all you worked to attain.
Young lovers are becoming more conscious of these statistics and seem willing to view the possibilities of their future much more realistically. They begin to question the need and desire to tie the knot. The knot so to speak, appears more like a noose to these individuals. Given the blatant statistics, who can blame them for such doubt and trepidation?
Finally, young women are coming to terms with the hard core facts that the lovely fantasy of being a bride, defies all logic and common sense in terms of the lifelong commitment to being a wife. Young men watch helplessly as their coveted life as a bachelor, transforms to a life of priorities, obligations and more work than play. So this is marriage? "Tell me again, why we did this?"
Cruel & Inhuman treatment, irreconcilable differences, infidelity.....
None of these ugly words ever surfaced while you dated and certainly were not mentioned at the marriage ceremony.. We were not selective enough nor did we acknowledge advice or red flags.. Of all the expensive wedding gifts, not a one was a marriage manual with guarantee included.
Between you and me, do we really need to go into the vault of vital statistics? I'm going to guess that we might simply take mental inventory in terms of our own circle....family, friends, co-workers and neighbors. Scroll the list. Count the divorces, second marriages and single-parent homes. It may or may not shock you. It stunned me, as well as included me, when I came up with actual numbers. Six of ten marriages end in divorce? Perhaps a bit less, or might it be more? In any case, I believe we'll agree that the number is staggering. For those not yet married, these numbers scream of doubt and disillusionment.
I admit, I am no longer stunned by the new perception of marriage. Nor am I jaded and cynical enough to believe that suddenly, people have no desire to marry or make solid commitments. However disenchanting, the reality at this point is that fewer and fewer couples who fall in love, are choosing to sanctify their love or legitimize their partnership. We need to at least attempt to understand how this has come to be a new reality in 2012.
It may be sad to some of the older generation that this has become the ever-increasing lifestyle of choice. Together but technically solo, committed but no legal bond. Couples who make this choice obviously see it as a rational and comfortable place to be. I want to understand why the centuries-old, establishment of marriage is being side-stepped by more and more couples. Whether I'm in favor of this trend or not is irrelevant to my curiosity..
"What of the children born into these partnerships?"
I know this concern is expressed often and brought into serious discussion. Single parent couples are quite prepared with response. Their attitude suggests confidence & reason to confirm their status and decisions. "What about our children? they may respond. They are healthy, happy, bright children. We raise them together with love and a solid awareness of responsibility. We are ever present in their lives and have created a nurturing, family environment. How much more intently or appropriately might we do all this with the addition of a marriage license?
If you're brilliant and convincing enough to argue this, by all means, speak up. I know that there are hundreds of studies, stacks of research and thousands of so-called experts who claim to have the answers.. I freely admit, I don't have a valid argument. Even were I confident I could argue this, why would I feel compelled to do so?
I see no immediate reason for alarm or concern.. Every adult generation does what they have chosen to do for their own personal reasons. Suffice it to say that mature, intelligent individuals will rarely make decisions that cause harm or make their lives more difficult. I tend to accept that what is, is meant to be. The attitudes and direction taken by mentally and emotionally mature individuals are those they have a right to embrace. We all surely have this right. Has anyone the right to place judgement?
The very best we can each do for ourselves and to support one another is love, understand and accept. I have this crazy but steadfast belief, the world continues to turn and life goes on, "For better or for worse".... but it does go on.