Came across this great comment while reading the comments of this post: “Those who believe in soulmates are found to be 150 percent more likely to end up divorced.”
This expresses my feelings on life, love and marriage even better than I could:
A few quick thoughts…
Soulmates? That’s a bit like a fairy tale. Nice story, but it isn’t real.
Best result: A couple of good friends who can put up with one another’s numerous…peccadilloes. A few shared interests, with both parties involved in separate hobbies and interests. Decent to good sex…while keeping in mind that it’s really business partnership that you’re involved in, not a porn flick.
Marriage is not a fantasy. Your partner is a real human being. Just like you, they have feelings, emotions, successes, failures, good days and bad. Treat them that way. Always.
Ya gotta be practical, pragmatic and grounded in the real world. Have some fun together and apart, but keep it real.
Start with realistic expectations and you’ll do ok. Anything you go into with phantasmagorical expectations is almost certainly doomed to failure.
Perfection? Nobody’s perfect. Don’t even go there.
That’s with one failed marriage and one successful marriage to my…credit. Seven years invested in the first marriage, twenty-six years this go around. I think I may have a handle on things this time.
Romance? Well, yeah. There’s a bit of that, but it isn’t what the relationship revolves around. It revolves around consideration for one another. iow, simple, common courtesy and treating one another, and other people, as if we were all real, live, girls and boys.
Don’t lie to one another. About anything…except that gift you’ve hidden away for a special occasion.
Humor. Don’t forget humor. A more or less shared sense of humor.
Remember the little things. They count.
If you make a mess, clean it up.
In general, act like an adult, not like a little princess or a spoiled prince.
One last thing. What works for your parent’s marriage, your neighbor’s marriage, or for anyone else you know may not work for you and your partner. Like individuals, every marriage is different.
That’s life, and that’s love. Special, unique, and very often, awe-inspiring, wonderful and infintely surprising.
UPDATE: Heh, of course, half the time I feel the way this guy does:
I find it amazing how many people believe in these medieval notions of love. And the really funny thing about it is that in medieval romances, the relationships are almost always adulterous, as with Lancelot and Guinevere. Strange considering the penalty for adultery at the time–castration for the man, banishment for the woman. But, in arranged marriages, I guess a woman has to have something to dream about.
I don’t believe in soulmates. I don’t believe in love. I don’t even believe in romance, which may sound strange coming from someone with a master’s degree in Romantic poetry, and a minor in medieval literature.
It’s because I understand romance and medieval literature. The problem here, today, is with the law.
Of course, soulmates get divorced. The law allows it. Some medieval idea of love turns sour, and she can take him for everything he’s got. She can even slap him with child support for children that aren’t his.
This is why I have never gotten married. I do not agree to the terms and conditions of the contract. And don’t quote the Bible to me. I’ve read the Bible, several times, in several different translations. This is not about the Sacrament; it’s about the contract. And I’d rather have the money.
All this talk about love and marriage, soulmates, it’s stupid. I am not about to expose myself to betrayal, abandonment and bankruptcy, because of some idiotic idea of medieval romance. And now she doesn’t like it. I really don’t care.
Love is a fleeting emotion. Romance is a game. Just write some silly love poem, make up some rhymes, throw in the word love, and you’re in. Get real.
The problem here is with the law. She has the absolute right to abort your baby, get knocked up by some boy at a bar, slap you with the child support, leave you, take the house and half of your money, have her boyfriend move in so they can raise their love child together. All on your dime. Why any man would agree to that arrangement is beyond my ability to comprehend.
Change the law. Nothing else matters but that. Change the law. Or stop complaining about it.
Yeah, soulmates, give me a break, they have a high divorce rate. It’s no small wonder. The law allows it.
And the man, what about him? He was stupid enough to marry her. End of story.
So the conventional wisdom is that men don’t understand women. Well, I think most men understand women quite well. We understand that the majority of women are completely irrational and emotional in their behavior. As the infamous scene from As Good As Gets goes:
Receptionist: How do you write women so well?
Melvin Udall: I think of a man, and I take away reason and accountability.
And that’s pretty much what seems to be the difference between men and women: men are logical thinkers driven mostly by reason, while women are illogical thinkers driven mostly by emotion.
Case in point is something about women that has annoyed me since college. I’ve been told numerous times in my life by various women that they like men who are “mysterious”. Which basically translates to… a man who is a handsome-looking “bad boy” who doesn’t communicate and doesn’t express emotion or feeling. Yet, at the same time, ask women what they want in a man and they’ll inevitably state they want a man who’s romantic and caring and can express his emotions and who will be their best friend (ie someone to whom they can talk and with whom they can communicate).
Now, men can immediately read this and understand that these are two completely contradictory things. But, of course, girls/women don’t seem to understand that about themselves. They don’t see any contradiction whatsoever in stating what they want is a man who is open and emotional and communicative and yet what they actually go after is a man of “mystery” (ie no communication or emotion).
So what ends up happening is girls will date the “mysterious” “bad boy” and probably marry him. Then, inevitably, they get disappointed that their “mysterious” non-feeling, non-communicative “bad boy” doesn’t magically turn into the romantic best friend of their dreams after they’re married.
Why on earth women do this, I have no idea. If you want something, it is usually a good idea to actually, I don’t know, go after what you want… instead of choosing the exact opposite of what you want and then becoming disappointed and blaming of the guy you chose for not being the man you wanted.
I have run into this sort of girl/woman all the time. She’ll state to me how she wants a certain type of man, yet she’ll turn around and date the exact opposite of that type of man. This has been especially frustrating for me, because I have always been that type of guy who wears his emotions on his sleeve (emotional and feeling) and always seems to be too open and honest to a fault (communicative). (I actually had a good female friend in college tell me that I need to “be more mysterious” and not so open.) Yet, what happens is that girls/women keep guys like me around only as friends… to bitch to about the men of “mystery” they date/marry.
I just shake my head anymore. Ironically enough, if women were more logical with their choices of men, they would have their emotional, romantic and communicative needs filled much more. But, as Melvin Udall stated, women don’t use reason. And, of course, lack of accountability comes into play when women decide that the reason for their relationship troubles is not their own decisions, but rather “men suck”.
Uh huh. Sure. Men understand women just fine. The problem is that women don’t understand themselves.
Well whaddaya know. Just as social conservatives stated would happen if the LGBT community pushed to redefine marriage, so it is coming to pass. They are now pushing for polygamy: ‘Sister Wives’ family to challenge Utah bigamy law — Lawyer says state shouldn’t prosecute people for private relations
A polygamous family made famous by the reality TV show “Sister Wives” plans to challenge the Utah bigamy law that makes their lifestyle illegal, a Washington-based attorney said Tuesday.
Any why not, considering every argument the LGBT community has made in favor of redefining marriage to include same-sex couplings can be made in favor of redefining marriage to include multiple partners.
The LGBT community also stated all along that this was just some radical ‘slippery slope’ scare tactic by social conservatives. Uh huh. Can we say ‘we told you so’ now?
Good discussion of the importance of marriage in the comments of this post at AoSHQ: Wednesday Stupid: Married Couple In Love With Each Other Getting Divorced Because They’re “Fed Up With The Hetero-Husband-And-Wife Brigade That Is Afforded So Much Status and Privilege”
It also got me thinking about people who blame “marriage” for their own bad marriages. I left this as my status on Facebook:
You know, I don’t get it. Some people act as if “marriage” is to blame for them being involved in bad marriages. Huh? Did “marriage” force you to marry the wrong person? Is “marriage” to blame for YOU making a wrong choice? Is “marriage” to blame for YOU not taking seriously the decision to get married? Marriage is what it is. The fact that people screwed up their marriages doesn’t make marriage itself bad.
Not everyone who is divorced does this, mind you, but many do. Instead of taking personal responsibility for their part of their failed marriage, they blame… “marriage”. Sad.
Here are some of better comments, in my opinion, from the discussion at AoSHQ:
Being married pulls you into a new elite. It lends you an air of stability and reliability that singles and divorcees are denied.
Because being married to someone means you made a lifelong commitment to them. It means you can never again make an even moderately important decision without considering someone else.
It means you’re now accountable to another person for everything you do.
It means someone is depending on you to love and support them for the rest of their lives.
Kind of a big deal. Sorry you don’t get equal credit for bringing home a puppy from the shelter, but that’s life.
Posted by: Warden at November 10, 2010 11:10 AM
Lefties dislike marriage because it can sometimes be difficult. Marriage can sometimes be difficult because it is based on love which is an ACT OF THE WILL.
To love another is to CONSCIOUSLY WILL AND ACT for their good- regardless of how inconvenient or disadvantageous that may be for you.
Being inconvenienced is anathema for the left.
Posted by: Nighthawk at November 10, 2010 11:24 AM
Actually, there IS status and privilege and that’s the way it should be. Male and females, in reproductive pairs, make all the new people.
Constraining sexual activity by privileging a legal tie to one partner in wedlock, promotes social order and stability. Children, which may or may not be produced by a given couple in the married state, are as far a possible for the state to encourage, born in wedlock to be supported by the parents instead of the rest of us, or by the state who has taken money from the rest of us to do so.
Bastardy has other ills that attend it – including more poorly socialized individuals.
Encouraging sexual continence and fidelity by privileging the married state is a means to manage the results of human sexual activity.
This is the way it should be and should remain.
Any attempt to lower marriage to some sort of roomate arrangement, easily fungible or dissolved, threatens the stability of our entire society or at the very least, its structure.
This the avowed aim of many – feminists, some gay activists, social revolutionaries, who see the nuclear family as an obstacle to “justice”, who wish to destroy “patriarchy” oppressing women, or eliminate the social unit that gets in the way of the “new man”, and utopia, where family ties are weak, and all are brides of the state.
This means we can spend our own money helping ourselves and our own families to prosper.
Posted by: SarahW at November 10, 2010 11:53 AM
I’ve long argued against not only gay “marriage” (which has little enough to do with any compelling state interest to reduce bastardy and keep order by protecting childbearing women and ensuring orderly transfer of property along bloodlines) but civil unions as well, under the premise that if a “lower tier” sort of roomate relationship is created, that men and women will in heterosexual pairs will demand to have it in the place of marriage, weakening marriage and family stability, with serious, even disastrous, consequences for society.
Posted by: SarahW at November 10, 2010 11:57 AM
I think that liberals are just inherently against order…order of any kind. Of course life without order is chaos, which perfectly suits their style of governing. Up is down and down is up. A tax cut is money ‘given’ you by the overlords of government and reducing the rate of spending is a ‘cut’ in funding. Up is down and down is up.
So they rebel against any form of order in society. God. Marriage. Civic duty. It doesn’t matter if you sit for hours explaining the obvious and horrific stats concerning the fate of children raised without a married mother and father in the home. Their eyes blur over and they repeat their mantra…marriage is oppressive, marriage is oppressive.
They’re just over grown adolescents really. No need to listen to them any more than you are forced to because of sheer proximity.
Posted by: redstatedeb at November 10, 2010 12:12 PM
To love another is to CONSCIOUSLY WILL AND ACT for their good- regardless of how inconvenient or disadvantageous that may be for you.
To hear Hollywood tell it, love just happens to you. That’s an awfully convenient idea for a lot of people because it gives them an excuse to never work hard at their relationships.
But it’s also bullshit.
Love doesn’t happen to you. It’s an affirmative act, not a passive bit of happenstance.
Not every marriage works out — my parents’ marriage didn’t — but a large part of having a successful marriage is deciding that you want your marriage to succeed, then taking the necessary steps to make this happen.
Like not being a selfish, self-centered, uncompromising asshole who lacks the capacity to forgive.
Which is hard for liberals.
Posted by: Warden at November 10, 2010 12:41 PM
Its interesting out here in 50ish single land… how many very Hawt mid 40’s to 50’s women are out there…. who are suddenly newly divorced once the kids are out of the house…
With no intention of ever remarrying. You tolerate a lot during a bad marriage (selfish sex, infidelity, carrying the lions share of the work load, emotional abuse). So when you’re free, the kids are happy adults, why the hell would you ever give up the new found joy of having the remote to yourself, cooking meals you like, sleeping in the middle of the bed, spending money on things you want, having really good sex and not having to endure snoring, being told you’re too fat (when they’re fatter) and becoming Nurse Mom all over again?
Marriage is a needed construct for healthy children and a stable society, but honestly, if you want a happy life afterwards, go for it!
Posted by: EZB at November 10, 2010 12:40 PM
It was meant as a civilization tool, sorta. Why the institution? The above and to ensure children didn’t starve or be killed. It was in a woman’s best interest to ensure the survival of her offspring and to make sure she wasn’t cast out when she was no longer “useful”. This thing where women punch the card for free with no expectations of commitment is counterproductive.
I’m not saying women should be sluts, but I am saying women don’t face misery if they don’t marry. We see it in countries with Sharia law… you’re grateful you’re not starved, beaten or killed. It’s a live or die kind of situation.
Here, because women can earn their own way, pay for their own cars and mortgages, they can also be a little more demanding/discriminating about what they want from marriage and husbands– it’s no longer “if I don’t marry I’ll pereish!” mindset of my mother’s generation. The options were pretty cold blooded when she was a girl- it was pure survival, no romance or affection. Which is why when she and all the ladies in the community became widowed, they became the “Old Widows Club”, ran in a pack and didn’t even look at man— they’d had enough to quote my Granny.
It’s not for everyone. Some components that are pure heaven for some people are pure hell for others. It’s not bad or good, it’s that we are a nation of individuals.
It’s a sign of civiilzation advancing — no longer is marriage a ‘marry or die or watch your children die’ proposition, but a choice for your happy life. If you want children — it’s a must. If you want companionship, lots of company and being alone terrifies you, its a must. If you want to grow old holding someone’s hand, it’s a must. If you don’t , your kids are grown etc…. then it’s an option but not the only or best one.
Posted by: EZB at November 10, 2010 12:53 PM
An attorney explained things very succinctly to me:
Marriage creates wealth.
Divorce destroys wealth.
Marriage. Creates. Wealth.
Wealth creates stability.
Stability creates security.
Security creates happiness.
So, yeah, marriage is better.
Posted by: mpur in Texas (kicking Mexico’s ass since 1836) at November 10, 2010 01:05 PM
This comment — in response to this post at AoSHQ: Is Monogamy Unnatural, Evolutionarily, Secularly Speaking? — is the best answer and explanation I have seen to the typical question from the redefine marriage crowd of “how would a ‘homosexual marriage’ affect your marriage?”
Andrew Sullivan, who vowed that gay marriage would not change conventional marriage one iota and who further vowed that gay marriage would have the salutary effect of reducing and restraining gay male promiscuity, is championing the book, declaring, again, that heterosexual breeders really need to get over their hang-ups about having multiple partners and embrace polyamory.
Thanks for pointing this out, Ace. This is what same-sex marriage opponents are talking about when they say that state recognition of SSM will weaken marriage. Proponents of SSM often (mockingly) ask “how will my marriage do anything to yours?” The question is meant rhetorically, but Milky Loads has unwittingly supplied the answer.
SSM applies the “marriage” label to a significantly large set of relationships between people who have little interest in temporary monogamy, much less lifelong monogamy. The more people who enter into “marriage” without insisting on monogamy, the less we as a culture will understand “marriage” to involve monogamy. “Marriage” then becomes just a basket of rights, like survivor benefits or visiting your spouse in the hospital. It loses the ancient, normal, and overwhelming understanding of marriage as involving monogamy, and reduces it to a partnership based on legal rights and obligations.
That’s what the unmarried are going to understand: that marriage is about getting to visit the person you love in the hospital, and automatically inheriting her shit when she dies. It isn’t about sexual exclusivity, and the related guarantee that all children born of or fathered by each partner belongs equally to the other partner. It’s about a mutual agreement for benefits, like any other contract. If that’s what everyone understands, then the institution of marriage is weaker for it.
Posted by: Masturbatin’ Pete at August 31, 2010 12:45 PM
Some other interesting points made in the thread:
To elaborate on the Scientific American guy’s comments:
The problem lies in assuming that what you have an evolutionary inclination to do is actually what you would have done thousands of years ago, before current religions, laws, and traditions.
Tossing aside all the civilizations besides Christianity where the population at large (not including the nobility) were monogamous, which everybody with the most basic understanding of history should know about — there’s this idea going back to Rousseau that there was an ancient past where everybody acted freely according to their inclinations and was happy. Bullshit.
Many people did have an inclination to cheat. They also had an inclination to steal. They had an inclination to lie. They had an inclination to kill. Your inclination does not equal how you would have acted thousands of years ago (at least without facing serious or even more severe repercussions than you do now).
As this guy points out, just as you might have an inclination to cheat, your wife has it built in her to stop you. These don’t both win out. Nature is not just what your inclined to do. Nature subverts what you’re inclined to do. I may have an inclination to lie, but somebody has an inclination to stop me from lying — you will have the urge to do many things, but the more damaging urge (to your family, friends, and future generations) will eventually lose.
Posted by: AD at August 31, 2010 12:50 PM
Biologically, the goal of a male is to further his genes by having many children.
Biologically, the goal of the female is to make sure her child is given the best care possible — this usually means that it is beneficial to have the father around.
From a biological standpoint, there is a conflict here, since a man cannot protect dozens of children by dozens of women.
So… society came up with a plan. I think it works well.
Posted by: shibumi at August 31, 2010 02:08 PM
Yep. Me too.
So those people who are falling for the plan of the GLBT movement and are now advocating for the government to get out of ‘the marriage business’ altogether, I believe they are wrong. Marriage (one man-one woman) has a purpose in civil society and government has a vested interest in promoting marriage and not redefining it on the whims of pop culture.