Saturday, July 9, 2011

Why my marriage didn't work...

I had always wondered why my marriage didn't work. I was always the girl who believed in happily ever afters and that marriage was supposed to last for the rest of my life or at least until one of us was ceremonially stuffed into a box. One or the other...

But in my recent sociology class, they offered an answer. According to the class, the increasing state of anomie in our society causes our 52% divorce rate in this country. We expect our significant other to fulfill us and make us whole when the things we buy don't fill up that hole.

While this is a very logical argument, it suggests that there is no thing as Mr. Right (or Ms. depending on the reader.) It says that to be happily ever after, the two parties have to be whole already and not need someone else to complete them.

As a romance writer, I have some serious qualms with this theory. Having studied relationships around me, I find that each party in a successful marriage compliments the other in some way. One isn't great with money; the other does their budgeting. One likes to travel; the other to plan. One loves to cook; the other to eat. When they have at least this going for them, it seems to last longer.

Are these people in successful marriages so very different from the rest of society? Are they somehow more whole and not looking for bits that complete them in a partner? If you were so wonderfully whole and replete with very thee that you didn't need anyone to make you happy, why on earth bother adding someone else to the mix?

To this I offer that people love people. People love to have someone there. If there is sex involved, well that is gravy on the happy platter. I don't think that everyone in our society is so numb and alienated that they cannot find happiness within themselves. Maybe a few, but the ones who are looking for love and think someone else is going to provide the happy are pretty darn obvious.

Haven't we all said that whoever can't stand to be alone and that is why they bounce from relationship to relationship? But the fact that we can recognize that suggests that more people are 'awake' and not looking for that in the love market than our 52% divorce rate suggests.

So why all the divorce? I think it is that stupid line, 'A diamond in the rough.' How many of us have gotten into relationships thinking that the other has so much 'potential?' Thinking that piece of paper is magically going to give them the room they need to transform into who they could be rather than who they are?

If we looked at people and took off the dewy pink lensed glasses of love and really saw their flaws and determined we were okay with them--or conversely, very not okay with them-- and therefore stopped in our tracks before we tripped down the aisle, could we avoid becoming another casualty to the Hallmark idea of love?

As a romance writer, I invent relationships on paper that are realistic. They have to have flaws and passion wrapped into one believable bundle or no one would read them.

But I am not sure I believe in the happily ever after love in reality. I am not a cynic. I understand lots of people do believe strongly in it. But I still write romance. Why?

Because I believe in the theory. Kind of like I believe that government should care about all of its people. I believe that it would be a warmer and fuzzier world with love in it and that the adventure and pulse racing madness of falling in love is one of the few magics left in our metal and electronic age.

Anyway, the title of this was why did my marriage not work. I told you what sociology taught me that they believe. What I believe is that I had the rosy blinders on. I saw potential and figured that was the direction life was going to take. How many of you have believed that someone you loved was going to magically transform into all that they could be? How many of you now are on the same page as me? How many are loving who they are when they are with that person?

And in closing... 'You complete me.' -Jerry McGuire.


  1. I'm right there with you!
    Let's have some cake.

  2. Interesting. I agree with you. We just enjoyed out 27th year wedding anniversary and discussed how we are two different people who have different gifts that make our marriage whole. Sure we disagree sometimes, but communication keeps us aware of each other and our differences.

    Actually, marriage works best when the two people are different and have different skills and gifts.

    Love is a very complicated emotion, sometimes it can be painful and sometimes joyous, but always complicated. When we're young we sometimes confuse lust and passion with love. Love is a far more deeper experience than our modern society uses the term. I love pizza is as common as I love my wife/husband etc. Believe me loving pizza is much simpler than loving another person given how humans are such complicated beings.

    Great topic.

  3. Yes!! I was actually at a friend's house and watching the Voice and brought up that very thing. Each of the judges 'loved' their contestants and of course the contestants 'loved' the judges... Really? You love them? I love froyo but I am not going to spend the rest of my life with a tub of Ben and Jerry's.

    And as to the differences being the glue that holds the relationship together... I truly have come to believe that from my people watching.

    Also... Yes, Lisa. Let's get cake :D