For the most part I quite agree with the article. There are a lot of people out
there that don't impress me as capable of marriage today because they
expect perfection, don't want to compromise and certainly don't want
to work at it. Trouble is, they do it anyway, seeking the perfection and
redemption of 'happily ever after'. That idea is a myth. And they make
it worse with kids. Having kids should require more proof of qualification than
almost anything else the average person would do. I'm not worried about any
of this decline of the family, marriage under attack, population not growing,
whatever theme of the week we're on here. I'm worried that people seem
to be losing the ability to think things through, plan, take responsibility for
themselves, or make a sound commitment. To anything. I'm not fretting
marriage; we need to have those characteristics and skills for everything. At
least we should, if we want to be adults. If you haven't the sense to get
into a marriage that lasts, or stay out of one that won't, how are you
going to get ahead in life?
As I read this article, I realize that I have been happily married to the wrong
person for 63 years now, and counting. We made a deal when we got married - we
agreed to do things together, and to accept each other (faults and all) and
never let an argument last longer than today. If some difficult decision needed
to be made, and anger seemed to get in the way, we would put it on our calendar
for another day (when tempers could be cool) and put it out of our minds for
now. We are far from perfect as our 10 children well know. But we are happy -
and the happiness becomes broader and stronger every day.
True, true and Amen! Marriage was meant to be hard work and sacrifice from the
first kick 'out the Garden'.However, I'm thankful God
allows second chances and lessons learned. this year marks 25 years with the
love of my life, my best friend, most awesome counselor/advisor/helper/partner
any woman could ever hope for. He ain't perfect, but pretty darn close.
He sez it like it is, is a gentleman and a rogue when it is appropriate. Will
never let you down, but expects honesty and commitment commensurate with his.
Oh, and we love the same God. That's our key.My first husband
and I tried hard, hevwas "all that and a bag of chips", gave me five
beautiful children in 14 years of marriage. But we were/are like oil and water
and tried too hard to please family, friends and church. True love
is worth the fight and the work.
Everybody living longer is a downside to sainted widow and widower-hood.
Statistically, people have just about even odds divorcing or dying in a
marriage. Some People who have qualms about divorce and are in awlful marriages
secretly pray for death everyday but won't admit to it.
She had me at hello.
I was a drug addict when my wife married me. What she saw was not the drug
addict, but the man I could and did become. I'm no longer a drug addict
and would never touch the stuff again. I had severe depression and PTSD, she
helped me break it and I'm now depression free and the PTSD is quickly
leaving. I'm fat, balding and have terrible arthritis, but she still loves
me.It isn't the outside that counts, it's what's
President Hinckley said, "marriage is an adventure." Like navigating
together in a car. there will be bumps in the road, but overall, enjoy the ride.
love comes in layers. After 35 years of marriage, when I'm with my husband,
I feel like I just sat in a comfortable chair. I'm not worried about my
looks anymore, nor am I clamoring around tending to young children. The
difficulties add a layer of love each time you resolve it. When young people
tell me that a marriage certificate is 'just a piece of paper" I reply,
"So is a $100 bill."
TwoBitsWorth - So well said! I'm at 25 years and counting, not even half
way to where you are. Your rules are wise! I love the other
positive comments. Marriage is not easy - even in the best of marriages. But it
really is worth the sacrifice required of both.
Once there, it's best to make the best of it. But it's not like
buying a hamburger, and anyone who advises young people to go into a
"settle-for" relationship is simply not giving sound counsel. It's
the most important of decisions, and there are reasons why so many marriages
fail, and why so many of the failed marriages actually end in divorce. Not the
time to be just reaching in the barrel and pulling out someone who can fog a
mirror on a cold day.
The real problem with looking for the perfect woman is this: when you find her,
she's not going to be interested in you because she'll be looking for
the perfect man. The best any of us can hope for is to find someone whose flaws
we can live with and who can accept our flaws.
There is one rule of thumb that if most people follow, they will avoid marriage
and life issues.Try not to be selfish.
Many of the sentiments expressed in this article and the comments are ideas that
abused women and children (most often) invoke to justify sticking with abusive,
very bad marriages.I get the idea that nobody's perfect, and we
should be more tolerant of that fact in order to make our relationships work...
but there really are far too many "wrong" spouses!And for
those who proclaim their imperfections and think they are being pseudo-humble,
but are hiding abuse and trying to get away with it, you should take a hard look
at yourselves and determine whether or not you really are "the wrong
person"!Domestic violence, physical and emotional spouse and
child abuse, are rampant, under-reported, and a plague in our society - yes,
even in LDS society! Church leaders too often help cover it up; co-dependant
spouses too often hide it, thereby enabling the abuser to continue; too many
emotionally and physically abusive, controlling spouses (typically men) continue
in denial, telling themselves they are not abusive.Only the truth
will set anyone free.
So, I disagree with this article. I don't think most people are looking for
perfect spouses. I think most people are just looking for someone who won't
turn into a nut case; who won't take them for granted and treat them like
property; who won't yell and scream at them and belittle them constantly;
who won't become a control freak and try to be the "patriarch" of
the family and force everyone to comply with their whims; who won't flip
out over every little thing, and then try to make up for it by buying stuff, as
if money can fix abuse.People are just looking to be treated
decently.People are not so stupid as to believe they will find a
perfect spouse. But they are hopefully getting smart enough to believe the
wisdom of Proverbs 21:19 "It is better to dwell alone and in the wilderness
than with a contentious, angry, abusive spouse."
@ Y ask Y:I understand your point, and unfortunately there are many
marriages where just being treated nicely and reasonably would be a big step
forward.... But most of us seek for more more than that. The kind of
fulfillment this article speaks to is attainable through several steps.Choosing the right one is what you are referring to, someone reasonable and
nice.Supporting and building up your spouse is how we help them become
more than they could ever be alone.If both parties take this
position, the kind of fulfillment the articles speaks to is more than just
possible. It is likely.A great marriage makes both parties more than
they could ever be on their own.
Before leaving the mission field, our mission president counseled us to not get
married as soon as we got home - saying that was usually just hormones. Also,
not to wait too long - since during that time, we tend to add to our list of
expectations for marriage to the point that such a person doesn't exist;
and if they did, he said, they wouldn't marry us.Society has
taught us that gratification is instant, credit cards can almost buy happiness
and someone else is at fault when ever something goes wrong.Marriage
isn't a past time, a hobby or a diversion; nor is it an escape from
problems. It is an adventure that can have a happy ending, but only after the
challenges have been faced and overcome as a loyal team.
My wife and I have been married for close to 40 years. When people ask us to
list a reason for our success, I use one word, commitment. My wife is committed
to making our marriage work; so am I. Without her forgiveness, we would have
quit trying long ago. Without my becoming a more empathetic and loving person,
our marriage would have failed decades ago. But nothing has been more vital to
the length of our marriage than our mutual commitment. I have never thought of
divorce; my wife seldom has. I'm imperfect but still trying. She hardly
has to try to be a better person than I, and I don't seek perfection in her
or dwell on her imperfections. I hope to be a better husband next year than I
am this year. And she has faith that I will improve, or maybe she would give
up, but she truly loves me for the person I am, warts and all.
@Y ask Y-- The article addresses unrealistic expectations that are set up in
society about marriage. You are talking about something totally different--
being married to a controlling, abusive person. Obviously, that's a
different scenario and when there's any kind of abuse you should get out.
But just because you didn't see the warning signs (yes, they were there)
doesn't mean that there isn't a place for an article addressing
keeping expectations real when you have a marriage between two decent people.
I heard today on the radio driving in to work that a survey of 18-65 yr olds
rated a good, solid marriage as 8th or 9th on their list of "must
haves".In this survey, among other things, a nice TV, an
internet connection and air conditioning beat out marriage.That is
absolutely pathetic. How long, Lord, how long?....
I say this as a person married 24 1/2 yrs who has struggled a ton with a
difficult marriage:On the one hand, the perfect future spouse simply
does not exist.Yet, on the other hand, looking for, and holding out
for a person who has some basic "human interaction" skills AND
personality traits that are somewhat complimentary with your own personality
traits and needs, is wise. Know that "holding out" does NOT mean
there's only one person like that for each person on the planet. Such
thinking is foolishness; there's probably tens of thousands of people who
would make good spouses for each of us. Look for them. Keep your
eyes open and your mind totally objective. Obeying the Lord's law of
sexual conduct is probably the BEST tool to helping you find that kind of
person. Why? Because sexual activity before marriage invariably causes one to
lose their objectivity; it messes up our ability to see things as they really
are. We each need a "friend" far, far more than we need a
"lover" because "fireworks" sex eventually fades, or at least,
does not occur every encounter, and that's OK.Read "The
Five Love Languages"!
Eastern girl"But just because you didn't see the warning
signs (yes, they were there) doesn't mean that there isn't a place for
an article addressing keeping expectations real when you have a marriage between
two decent people."Who are you talking about? I am still married
to the love of my life, my first and only wife, now coming up on 25 years!But just because I found and married the perfect woman does not mean
that there aren't a lot of people who didn't, through no fault of
their own.My point still stands.
I once asked a woman who was coming up on her 65th wedding anniversary if she
could somehow distil what worked best into one simple sentence. She cocked her
head and looked at me (as it to figure out if I was worth the gem of wisdom she
was about to give me). I smiled at her and expected a joke to follow. But what
she said was one of the most solid bits of marriage advice I have ever heard.She finally said, "He really tries to put me first in everything he
does... and I... I try to do the same. I know that sounds strange. But
somehow... it has worked."
To: Y ask Y (first of two part message)While most of the posts here
are overwhelmingly positive, your first one had a little negative in it, as a
warning against potential problems you see that we should look out for in our
quest to find a mate. That isn't bad at all. It is just how you see things.
And, I can agree with you to a point, as well as disagree with you, to a
point.One thing I noticed, which I find interesting, is that your
examples of the problems you advise us to watch out for seem to be mostly about
male traits that cause problems. I find myself wondering if you had experiences
in your life which were negative and which were also predominantly male
dominated? Again, that isn't "bad"; it just "is what it
is".Perhaps I noticed this because it is also where my
experiences mostly come from. My father was a very troubled man, who often told
us about the various things in his past which caused the problems. (continued
part two, next message. I just couldn't edit it enough!)
(part2 Y-ask-Y)I longed to grow up and get away from him, without
realizing even that trait had been taught to me by him! That is, solve problems
by getting away. I was lucky to find my wife, who has been the most patient,
devoted woman I have ever known. She has helped me change and I think we may
make me a decent person one day. After 43 years of marriage, 5 children (3
RM's, all married in temple, 14 grandchildren, etc.)I wonder
what would have happened if either of us had decided the other was not "the
one"? Fortunately, when we were dating, President Kimball was writing books
and preaching sermons about marriage, so we followed his advice, and tolerated
each other's imperfections. I think we both "settled", in that we
did not hold out for an ideal mate. There is a slide show which I've seen
while watching a talk on BYU TV about "Fanny", a girl who dreamed of
marrying a prince and living in a castle. It taught that "good enough"
was an acceptable attitude, ie, "settling" is OK. It is on the BYU web
For many of you they're a great analogy in the Church.In the mission
field there was always that elder/sister you wanted to be companions with. You
were sure you would be the best, happiest, successful missionaries in the
mission. Then it happened. You were put together and within a month you
couldn't stand the sight of one another. It didn't stop the work, but
you were in the depths of emotional purgatory trying to bear through this. Sometimes you marry the wrong person because you didn't take the time to
learn to know them. Engagements don't last 2 months. If you haven't
known him/her for at least a year or two you have no business getting married.
Wonderful article,we need more like it. Tyler's blog "More Cross Shaped
Stuff" is worthwile to read as well.