'Til Reality Do Us Part: Gen-Y Is To Blame For The State Of Marriage
“I promise to love you conditionally, to honor you for all of our days together, to laugh with you when you're happy, to reluctantly support you when you're sad, to ignore you when you ask for direction, to allow you to settle for less and allow you to do the same for me. "I take you to be my lawfully wedded wifey, to have and to hold for a long time, for good or for better, for richer or for wealthier, in health and good spirit, to love and to cherish from this forward until we realize we made a mistake.”
What's my problem with marriage?
It's everywhere I look, but I've always been able to tolerate it — until now.
Of the 2009 graduating class, a few of my peers were married just shortly after graduation, and a few of that freshman class are engaged today, leaving constant adorable photos on my newsfeed.
In the midst of my hate fest, I always remember my reasoning for being single. With each newly engaged young couple, I react with a single rhetorical question: Why rush to get divorced?
In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded over 2.1 million marriages in 44 states. Statistics show that for every seven married couples, there were four divorces.
Statistically, half of those cute newlyweds on Facebook will be divorced, and hopefully just once.
So, when I come across these examples of holy matrimony, I don't see weddings, I see divorce. Maybe we should all adopt this less misleading “modern vow,” instead.
I take my love life seriously, which is why I've never been the casual dating type. In high school, even the people I admired most had been divorced at least once.
It was such a common occurrence and my own parents eventually succumbed to it. I became emotionally hesitant as it seemed divorce couldn't be avoided.
If love wasn't enough to sustain a marriage, perhaps I needed to reestablish my definition of it. A true vow is literally meant to last a lifetime.
We've all seen the couples who were married for only 72 days. Whether it was the marriage or the divorce, one of those decisions wasn't made carefully or seriously.
In my determination to prevent a similar outcome for myself, I extracted four uncommon truths from my relationships:
There are different ways of showing love. Author Gary Chapman calls them The 5 Love Languages.
In past relationships, I've been with women who displayed their love toward me through excessive gift giving. On the other hand, I have always preferred personal time rather than materials.
A lack of understanding how someone loves can easily break a relationship.
Just as there are multiple ways of showing love, there are as many ways to interpret what a marriage should be.
The institution of marriage should not be an unchecked box on the list. It's not like buying a house or getting a good job. It has be done both cautiously and genuinely or not at all.
So your eight-month, argument-free relationship doesn't necessarily guarantee marital success.
Unfortunately, I've had the experience of witnessing the process of divorce in court. In some states, a 30-year marriage literally takes minutes and a couple of lies to end.
Whether between a husband and wife, or even between brothers and sisters, these bonds can never be broken.
Even with option of divorce, the sad truth is that the bond marriage never breaks; we do.
Why do you think it's called "breaking up?" Even in my own romance, I've ended relationships with women for not being able to take it anymore.
As clichéd as it sounds, we all have dreams and aspirations, and most of us will never reach our dreams for a simple reason: failure to protect them.
We let others to plant the seeds of doubt in our minds and hearts. Then, we feed those doubts with our own fears until they eventually become sad realities.
By this time, we have long since forgotten why we pursued those dreams and allowed "reality" to do us part. Marriage is the same way.
Thanks to Judith S. Wallerstein, Ph.D. and coauthor of "The Good Marriage: How and Why Love Lasts," the American Psychological Association published nine psychological tasks for a good marriage.
Four of those nine tasks include "protecting" the mind. In order to defend my relationships, romantic or otherwise, defending my mind is imperative. Separation starts in the mind, first.
Years ago, I had a dream I was standing at the altar. My groomsmen sported immaculately designed suits and the bridesmaids drew an unprecedented suspense for the bride.
Unable to control the rush of emotions, I tried to calm my fidgeting body until the matrimonial melody sounded.
The crowd rose to their feet as the doors of the church narthex opened, revealing my bride.
In that moment, I woke up in a sweat to one of the scariest nightmares of my life. As an unpopular thought, marriage is one of life's greatest fears, not because one too many episodes of "Bridezillas," but, rather, because of my deep respect for its sanctity.
The thought of spending the rest of my days with someone else leaves me in awe.
If you really take the time to consider your past relationships, how many of them can you say were truly "marriage material?"
Like most of us, I have never been married. I used to fear marriage and doubt if I would ever be ready for such a commitment.
However, I find peace of mind in my knowing of what love is. We all know what love is; we have loved family through sickness and in health, and we have loved our best friends unconditionally.
Death has separated us from loved ones, but it hasn't extinguished our love for those we've lost. It is an active choice to cherish these people for the rest of our lives.
That, my friends, is the real vow.
Citations: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), The 5 Love Languages (Gary D. Chapman), nine psychological tasks for a good marriage (American Psychological Assocaiton)