Considering how marriage is viewed in the Western world, what a pedestal it’s put on, I am convinced that most couples must go through a certain amount of disenchantment after they wed, before they succeed in either settling into reality and building a nice home together, or else, divorcing.
It’s amazing how much we do have hopes for our marriages to be the ultimate in wonderfulness. It should fulfil us, make us happy (huh?!), make us feel constantly loved, never lonely. Right? Because it would make no sense to feel lonely when you’re with the love of your life, of course.
What a recipe for disaster. I think that any research showing married people to be less happy than singles is because our expectations for marriage are so high that it practically doesn’t stand a chance. On the other hand, many of us just see singlehood as a thing that is. It just is. So the lower expectations gives us a chance to actually feel happy when in it.
(Yeah, I know that singles are not necessarily happy but I’m not gonna go there right now.)
I don’t get it, though. I mean, has no one noticed the divorce rates? Has no one noticed how many people they personally know who are divorced or in unhappy marriages? How is it even possible that there is so much fantasizing about this institution despite everything we see around us?!
It is a true case of blindness and it’s amazing how, if people want to keep believing something, they can, no matter what they see around them.
Ah, but one might say that many of us singles aren’t getting married because we already experienced the disenchantment, outside of marriage, and so we aren’t willing to enter into matrimony.
But I think it’s the opposite. I think a lot of us have such high expectations from marriage that we’d rather stay single, even when we don’t want to be, and wait for the “right one,” rather than get married to the wrong person. (A most sane and genius decision, btw, if you ask me.)
I definitely think that a reality check pre-marriage is a safer bet than having to go through it post-matrimony. I have heard of marriages that went through a horrible first year and it probably had to do, in part, with detoxing from the fantasies.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t have hopes for our marriages. I think it’s good in so many ways to yearn to commit to someone in that way and yearn for the ultimate relationship with someone. And, of course, I do think that marriage has the potential to bring us lots of happiness.
But I think that it is not in anyway a fairytale. I think that one can feel sad and lonely in a good marriage. I think that one can be married to the “right” person and, at times, wonder if they made the wrong decision.
It’s complicated. Period.
Here is a video of a couple who got married in Joplin, Missouri, a week after a deadly tornado hit. It’s nice they’re getting married but so much weight is put on it, the whole thing seems so showy and fake… I can’t help but feel strange about the whole thing.