I came across a column yesterday by Anthony D’Ambrosio on app.com listing 5 reasons we can’t handle marriage anymore. I think he makes some very valid points, and many of the things he lists as individual faults among people today most certainly contribute to failing marriages. In fact, they contribute to failing human relationships of any kind – familial, friendship or romantic.
However, I believe the biggest reason that marriages are failing is because we simply choose the wrong partner and marry for the wrong reasons. Once the luster of a shiny new marriage wears off, where is the incentive to improve the five areas where Mr. D’Ambrosio thinks we’re failing?
I myself spent seven years off and on in a romantic relationship doomed from the beginning. As a woman, I experienced low self-esteem and such a strong desire for a relationship that I ignored many things that were clear red flags. (I am in no way saying that my ex was a bad person; he just wasn’t the right person for me and vice versa.)
After several years of discussion, reflection and even therapy (both individual and couples), I reached a very clear conclusion: the relationship wasn’t for me. Within a few months of breaking up for good, I discovered the book The Sacred Search: What If It’s Not about Who You Marry, But Why? through a friend on Facebook.
The book changed my life. It completely affirmed why my previous relationship had failed so miserably, despite the two of us being “good people”.
I see many younger women doing exactly what I did: seeking self-fulfillment through a boyfriend, or through a wedding, or through growing a family. Women get caught up in the excitement of a man, or of planning a wedding, or of baby showers and baby clothing and adorable babies.
In fact, we get so caught up that we often overlook traits in our mate that do not bode well at all for a successful marriage. And, because we marry for the wrong reasons to begin with, we have very little incentive to “make it work” when things get tough.
My husband and I have certainly not had it easy. We didn’t date long before I got pregnant, and then we got married before we’d even known each other a year. We’ve already faced significant financial pressure, life-threatening complications for me post-pregnancy, job uncertainty and just learning to live as husband and wife with a new baby.
But, fortunately for us, we both believe that marriage is a solemn vow and that the only justifiable reasons to even consider divorce are infidelity or abuse. We both have a common goal, and we both work to help the other reach that goal every day.
We are not selfish. In fact, we are quite the opposite with one another. Many couples I see are not that way. I frequently hear people say or see people write things like “He needs to….” or “She never….” or “He always….”
Rarely do people stop and look at how they treat their spouse. It’s hard to look at your own shortcomings. But, even in the worst of times, we should first think of how we can treat our partners better. And, if you really took the time to think about who you are marrying, your partner will have the same attitude. In other (Biblical) words, you must be equally yoked.
No one is perfect. So yes, there are days where I get short with my husband or do something I know is not supportive of him or our common goal. But we are both quick to say “I’m sorry” even if we aren’t necessarily wrong. We are quick to forgive. We say “I love you” probably a hundred times a day or more.
So, I agree with Mr. D’Ambrosio that the items he lists certainly contribute to failing marriages. But I don’t believe marriage is doomed for millennials or anyone else. I just believe that people need to take marriage more seriously and consider much more in depth WHO it is that you choose to marry and why.