If you had something to say, you'd write it on a piece of paper, then you'd put a stamp on it and they'd get it three days later. Boys would call the girls and girls would turn them down. Staying married was the only way to work your problems out. -- Miranda Lambert, "Automatic"
I stumbled upon Anthony D'Ambrosio's piece, "5 Reasons Marriages Just Don't Work Anymore," (originally seen in the Asbury Park Press.) Not even halfway through I was rolling my eyes so hard I gave myself a headache. I was going to keep quiet, as everyone is entitled to their own opinion on matters, but as the day passed, I began to see via comments (which I honestly usually bypass through), that others were just as put off as I was upon reading it.
D'Ambrosio claims that marriage is set up to fail nowadays because of the following: our dependence on technology, need for outside attention, lack of sex and finances. He also claims these hindrances did not cripple marriages of years gone by.
Let's break down some of his claims using actual statements from his article that has now gone viral.
I had this desire to ask her about her day simply because I didn't know...texting was just starting to make its way into mainstream society, so if I wanted to speak to her, I had to call her...if I wanted to see her, I had to drive to her house and knock on her door. Everything required an action on my part, or hers.
So let me get this straight: Just because your significant other might post tidbits of her day on social media, you have lost the desire to ask her about her day? Just because she Snapchatted herself at the gym, doesn't mean you know how her workout was. Just because she tweeted that there was a hair in her food at lunch today doesn't mean you know how disgusted she actually was. These are lighthearted examples, sure, but regardless of what is shared "with the world," that is only the tip of the iceberg of someone's day. They share what they want to share, for a "like" or a laugh, that's just the time we live in, but they are most likely saving their deepest fears and concerns just for their inner circle and as a spouse or long-term partner, you are the eye of their storm. Always ask about her day. Always.
Everything still requires action. Just because a lot of our lives are now set to technology auto-pilot (I am still dying to test drive the car that parallel parks itself), doesn't mean relationships will ever have a "set it and forget it" mode. Relationships, especially marriages, will always require action, work, blood, sweat and tears.
"It's no wonder why insecurities loom so largely these days. You have to be perfect to keep someone attracted to you."
Spoiler Alert: The one thing that marriage, or any long-term relationship, isn't is perfect. A decade later and my significant other has seen me at my most imperfect, and is still attracted to me. He has loved me through morning breath, the flu, food poisoning, you name it. And the moment I am healthy again, he is just as attracted to me. He has seen me at my inwardly most "imperfect" as well. On days when I can be selfish or rude.
I have confidence and security in my relationship, which allows me to be myself, which believe me, is far from "perfect." To even think you have to be "perfect" to keep a marriage and attraction going is completely ridiculous. Marriage is an eye-opener, that's for damn sure, and maybe some of us these days rush into things we aren't ready for, but someone not being "perfect" is not why it won't work out. Newsflash: No one is perfect, ever.
"Finances cripple us."
"Finances cripple us" -- said every couple, ever. Yes, homes are expensive and a college education is expensive. I can't argue with the fact that the cost of living is very different now. And yes, like Anthony said, "you'd be naive to believe this stress doesn't cause strain on marriages today." But you are naive if you think finances have not been the cause of stress in marriages since the beginning of time. Money is always a touchy subject, and there is never enough of it. This is not a new problem.
I would love to say that if you got married in your 30s, finances wouldn't be as big of an issue, but there's a good chance they still could be. That dark cloud is looming over most couples today.
You can either begin to resent each other because of these inevitable stressors, or you can feel supremely privileged that you have a partner in all of this. Dealing with money issues, as long as your partner is reasonable in his/her spending and budgeting, can be easier with someone else in your corner. Don't use this as a reason to turn against one another. Instead, use it as a platform to grow... together.
"Your husband had flowers delivered to your job... through an app on his phone."
I don't have much to say about this comment. It just made me laugh. Why does it matter HOW someone is ordering flowers? The same delivery guy you don't know at all is going to be delivering them. It's the sentiment behind the gift that counts, not the means in which they ordered the damn flowers. When people stop sending others flowers, then I'll worry.
We've developed relationships with things, not each other. Ninety-five percent of the personal conversations you have on a daily basis occur through some type of technology. We've removed human emotion from our relationships, and we've replaced it colorful bubbles.
These days, we usually only have one available hand because the other is holding onto some sort of device. Agreed. If connecting on a person-to-person level is still important to you (and if you are married it should be a priority!) there are simple fixes. For example, we have a rule. No phones at designated moments. It is not torture. It is a welcomed break that I get to share with the one person who means the world to me (regardless of our money issues or imperfectness, might I add.)
You want to know why your grandmother and grandfather just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary? Because they weren't scrolling through Instagram worrying about what John ate for dinner. They weren't on Facebook criticizing others. They weren't on vacation sending Snapchats to their friends.
This really threw me for a loop. Our grandparents and great grandparents didn't just celebrate their wedding anniversary because they didn't have Instagram or Facebook or Snapchat. And if they did, that would be the least of their worries. They had harder mountains to climb. Wars separated married couples (still do today, and guess what, in those instances, technology aids in keeping them connected!) They corresponded through handwritten letters that reached their partner whenever time allowed. They might have survived the Great Depression (talk about money woes.) They survived things that honestly most couples today would never stand a chance against, and it has nothing to do with the fact that we are dependent on technology.
IN CLOSING, I am not a psychologist. I am not a marriage expert. I am not a "sex columnist." I am just a person who has been in a committed relationship for most of my adult life, and all I can say is, if marriage isn't working these days, it's because of the people we are today not anything else.
What is really different these days than years gone by is that we are so quick to leave when the going gets tough. If it's broke, don't fix it, just send it back and start over with something new. Our devices and products are not made to last anymore, upgrades are readily available. We are the lovers of instant gratification. If we hit a hard patch, we might truly believe it will never get better. We would rather be through with something than work through something. With divorce having less and less of a stigma, it makes it even easier on the moral compass to bounce. We are so quick to get married in the first place. The wedding is one day, the marriage is presumably forever. Make sure you know your partner inside and out. Date, woo, ask the hard questions (money, kids, goals) before you commit to a lifetime together. We have a tendency to be selfish. One thing I agree with Anthony on is that some people's "desire for attention outweighs the desire to be loved." This runs deep, and I fear that some confuse attention for love.
I am not saying stay married if it definitely isn't working out -- after you investigated every avenue of repairing your relationship. We are allotted one lifetime per person, and everyone deserves a chance to be happy. But please, let's stop using technology as a scapegoat for why our relationships aren't working out because at the end of the day, Love isn't about tangible things. Love has always been about two people.
If you decide to commit your life to someone, you better believe that it's going to be the hardest work you have ever put into something, and the most rewarding.