Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Marriage Is Easy and Anyone Can Do It

When you've been a crotchety old man since you were 11-years old, you'd better have a sense of humor. So, I try to laugh as much as possible.

When I'm not duking it out with the AARP about their inflexible admission standards, this blog offers me the occasional outlet for a chuckle.

One of the surest bets for a laugh that I've embraced, is undermining the advice and dubious claims of others on the Internet via their BS blogging and opinion posts.

We see it all the time.

Parenting blogs offering solutions and surefire fixes to the difficulties and dilemmas of raising a kid.
Sure, they'll admit terrible pilots but one
thirtysomething is out of the question. 

Then there's so-called marriage experts and motivationalists who believe that, if only others did it their way, they too would achieve fundamental, if not spiritual, fulfillment.

It's the people suggesting that they've got it all figured out who inevitably provide the best laughs.

Once you position yourself as an authority on something as singularly indecipherable as marriage, or you're offering sweeping advice on raising kids, you've positioned yourself for a fall.

And all my research suggests falls are funny. Further research concludes that, when it's a know-it-all hitting the ground, it's downright hilarious.

With this in mind I was ecstatic recently to come upon an article entitled: "5 Reasons We Can't Handle Marriage Anymore."

After a first read, my suspicions were confirmed.

The author hit all the usual check marks.

First there was the sensational title: "5 Reasons We Can't Handle Marriage Anymore." I'll bet that title alone helped garner him a few more clicks. (Ahemm...)

Next, he spoke in sweeping generalizations. He even had the gall to use the first-person plural to justify his ludicrous assertions.

"We" can't do this. "Our" problems are that.

The crux of the author's argument was that marriage is doomed to fail thanks to an unconquerable alignment of the perils of modern life.

Technology, specifically social media, has created a digital wedge and alienated us.

Pictured: the typical advice blogger in college.
Debt, be it student loans, a mortgage or just the cost of raising kids, means we're crippled.

"Forget going to dinner," the author exclaims, "you have to pay the mortgage."

In this author's eyes, modern marriage reduces life to a daily reminder that you're not attractive enough, not interesting enough, not wealthy enough and more concerned with posting pictures of your dinner to Instagram than you are in genuine, human connection.

It was bleak and presumptuous.

I've had good fortune to meet and fall in love with someone uniquely perfect for me. Then I had the common sense to sink my hooks into her via the socially-accepted construct of marriage so that she can never escape.

After seven years living together and five years as a married couple I feel it is indeed possible to "handle marriage" in today's world.

I'm no expert, but I'm qualified enough to proclaim that just about every word this guy wrote was wrong. I looked forward to having a laugh and pointing out how his assertions were tissue thin and as steady as a house of cards.

But, before I did, I needed to re-read his post, to better collect this guy's words and point them right back at him.

As I read the piece again, I noted that early in the article the author mentioned that he was divorced. That became the lens through which I viewed the the post this time and when I finished, it was clear this guy had some really, really good points.

I read it again and it didn't read like a screed against marriage so much as a warning and one that I'd do well to heed.

She didn't even point out that I'm wearing plaid with stripes.
Perfect indeed.  
Finances destroying marriages? Sure, this wasn't news to me; according to numerous studies, financial concerns are a top cause of divorce.

What about technology as a wedge? I would have argued against this one but, a preponderance of recent evidence shows I'm wrong.

Most recently, I noticed that my wife and I were both on our phones at the dinner table, while our son sat in front of his meal.

And truthfully, the last light to go out in our home most nights is my iPhone.

Further, I don't know how many times I find myself more concerned with using technology to capture a "beautiful moment" than simply enjoying that moment.

Ultimately, it was one of the author's last lines that resonated most.

"I hope you never experience the demise of your love. It's painful, and life changing; something nobody should ever feel. I do fear, however, that the world we live in today has put roadblocks in the way of getting there and living a happy life with someone. Some things are in our control, and unfortunately, others are not."

Here, this guy has experience that I don't and I'm thankful he imparted it — and glad I took a moment re-read it.

Without that step, I might still be under the impression that I'm an expert on something.

No comments: