There's an article called '5 reasons marriage doesn't work anymore.'
I'm just going to come right out and say it: I hate it.
In it, the author laments the difficulties of modern-day marriage. He cites his expertise as a divorcee himself, and details the complications texting, narcissism, social media and financial woes place on the union.
Well, sex columnist Anthony D’Ambrosio, I respectfully disagree with your jaded, lazy view of husband and wife.
There, I said it.
I thought this the first time I read your column a year ago, and I thought it again this morning when I re-read your blog on Valentine’s Day. Not because I was feeling overly romantic, but because you can’t blame the institution of marriage for your own faults (or your spouses’).
Marriage works. And we need it now more than ever.
I’ve been married to my spouse for three-and-a-half years. You can go ahead and judge me or disqualify me right now if you think that’s not “long enough” to know anything about marriage.
Before we got married, we reached an agreement.
It was very simple: don’t be selfish.
Each one of us would put the other first. It’s the foundation we built our relationship on. And no, we aren’t perfect. And I won’t claim to be.
Life is full of challenges.
But, if we simply say that text messages, social media and student debt are what’s hindering marriage in our generation, we are doing ourselves a disservice (and our parents and our grandparents).
It’s not marriage that’s broken – it’s us.
The title of the article should be “5 reasons why marriage is difficult.”
Marriage is difficult because it requires you to put someone other than yourself first. Marriage is challenging because you share every part of your life with someone – even the stuff you maybe don’t want to.
It’s not easy because you have to balance each other, kids, work, commitments, and, yes, finances.
Marriage is also worth it.
Some of my fondest memories are living in a small, Midwestern town as a newly-heartbroken young 20-something, going out with my coworkers, sleeping in as long as I wanted, planning my weekends exactly how I desired. Eating breakfast for dinner if I darn well chose to.
It was great to be selfish. I think everyone needs some of that.
Then, rather unexpectedly, I met my (now) husband. And slowly, I realized that the small sacrifice to be married was to put a few of those selfish desires behind me, and to begin to see the value in the both of us against the world instead of just me.
Marriage is difficult because it requires this effort to think beyond ourselves, to take the trash out even when we’re tired and don’t want to, to make a special meal on the weekend and sit down and enjoy it without phones.
It requires us to be thoughtful, to be patient, to be understanding and kind. And those things are challenging in a world with lots of easy distractions. It’s real work to try, day in and day out, to be a good wife or a good husband.
My husband and I didn’t take a honeymoon. We helped pay for our own wedding. Anyone who has gotten married in the last decade knows how expensive it can be. We didn’t spend much and had the most fantastic day.
And we’re still happy, despite not having a honeymoon, despite not taking lavish vacations together, despite living modestly and paying for all of our own bills.
We’re happy despite our home with outdated bathrooms and Broncos’ orange carpet in the bedroom (seriously). I know many others of you reading this are, too.
If you blame your problems on your finances, look deeper.
Don’t take vacations to enjoy each other’s company – do that every day no matter where you happen to be.
My favorite memory with my husband didn’t cost a thing.
Don’t overstretch your budget to buy the perfect dream home right away – enjoy the moments of moving in to your first place, no matter its quirks.
Think more about the foundation on which you build your relationship than where you build it.
This Valentine’s Day, I invite you to think about your perceptions of marriage and love.
This ‘failure’ of marriage is not Pinterest’s fault, it’s not your best friend’s Facebook post’s fault. It’s not the fault of a text message instead of a phone call.
D’Ambrosio is right, marriage will never work – if you balance the success of it on something as trivial as an Instagram post.
Don’t fall victim to thinking you can’t succeed in today’s world – a world plagued by too many distractions and photo filters. You can.
True love can be as happy and magical as a fairy tale, yes. But it’s a fairy tale indeed to think it happens without any sacrifice or effort.
So, Mr. Sex Columnist, marriage is not what does or does not work anymore. The institution of our own marriage is simply as good as the work we are willing to put into it.