It has been predicted that Generation-Y will be the generation of people with the most divorces and the most remarriages than any other generation in history. This shouldn’t come as a surprise as the red flags are right in front of our eyes every single day. Men of our generation make jokes about who they want their “first wife” to be.
When couples get engaged, there is usually someone in their friend group cracking a joke about how it will be a “great starter marriage” for the two of them. Perhaps 10-20 years in the future, step-families will become the norm and first marriages that actually stayed together will become the minority. No, we can’t blame the economy, loosening morals, and we can’t blame each other. I believe the root cause is something much deeper. The truth is we only have ourselves to blame. Yes, that means you.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to go into a rant about how marriage is sacred or how we should compare our marriages to our grandparents' marriages. The truth is that marriage has changed. Society has changed. People don’t get married for the same reasons anymore. Marriages are no longer about covenants between families or for political gain. Our generation has the privilege of having endless freedom and it’s reflected in how we marry.
We don’t see marriage as a gain, we marry much later in life, and we marry for love. We have begun to view marriage as an option not a priority. That’s not always a bad thing, as less strict expectations of marriage have allowed men and women to pursue other goals in life. Seeing marriage as an option isn’t dangerous until you actually get married. Bringing that viewpoint into marriage and treating something that is now no longer an option as still an option is why marriages fail.
I’m not saying that all divorces can be avoided as I know things such as infidelity, drug abuse or domestic violence should never ever be tolerated within marriages. But if a divorce is for any other reason, you have yourself to blame. Let me explain further. Our generation was told by our parents that we could grow up and be whatever we want. Well we listened and this attitude spilled over to into other aspects of our lives. While in college, I’m sure some of us dated often with most of the relationships being quick, physical and shallow.
Now most of us would vindicate our behavior with any number of explanations as to why the relationships didn’t go very far. But the consensus is usually that you didn’t have time for a relationship or you weren’t ready for one. Relationships are hard. They take time, effort and an enormous amount of patience. These virtues are something our generation doesn’t have anymore and it’s pathetic. It’s insulting really as it shows a lack of dedication. You cannot bring this attitude in a marriage.
If you aren’t ready for a “relationship,” why would you ever be ready for marriage? Dedication to something usually leads to some kind of personal fulfillment. And personal fulfillment contributes to your all-around excellence and esteem in your life. Relationships, when done correctly, can provide a fulfillment like none other. Life is about being your personal best and great relationships can certainly help achieve this.
This attitude needs to be brought into our marriages. We need to look at marriages as a reflection of ourselves and other facets of our life. If your marriage is failing and you are two seconds away from calling an attorney, you need to take a good hard look in the mirror. You can’t blame your spouse either. Keep in mind, only weak people blame others for problems they themselves have probably caused.
I’m not saying suffer through a marriage on the rocks to save face at the country club. Take responsibility and be proactive. Most of us probably weren’t taught how to save a failing marriage, but there are professionals who can help you. Educate yourself! If you are uneasy about marriage counseling/relationship counseling, you can always take things slow by going by yourself to see a therapist without your significant other. They can teach you great skills that will help you help yourself in your marriage or relationship.
Samantha Nelson Photo Credit: Tumblr