This time of the year, everyone seems to have an opinion on love and marriage. From crazy economic data stating that income inequality is due to lower marriage rates, to crazy fuzzy Modern Love columns on the New York Times: love is a point of discussion.
But that’s not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about marriage. Marriage gets a bad rap and it’s totally unfair! Just like most things, people who are in bad situations tend to be the most vocal about subjects whether it’s I HATE MY JOB ITS THE WORST to I WANT A NIGHT OFF FROM MY NAGGING WIFE or even OMG IM SO FAT I NEED TO WORK OUT. The people who are happy with their choices sit smugly and don’t add fuel to the fire. People on the sidelines are left to wonder “Is marriage/my job/whatever really that bad?”
My husband often tells me how men are bashing marriage in the pit (he is a trader, the most macho job imaginable, I know). The men who are in happy marriages quietly stand by, and even have been quietly vocal to him about how marriage is the best thing….just so long as the other guys don’t hear.
So why is marriage bashing such a prevalent thing?
Marriage is pretty frickin great. My husband and I highly recommend it. Now- you could argue that we are newlyweds or that we’re an exception. I would say, sure we’ve only been married for 8 months, but we’ve lived together for almost 4 years and marriage is scientifically proven to be good for men’s health (mixed results for women’s health).
After my wedding, lots of people asked me if anything really changed post nuptials. The answer is both no and yes- our relationship did not change because we had been together for so long. However, there was a mental shift in thinking about things- for example, no longer did we have to think about “the wedding” or the future because it was here. We loved thinking of ourselves as a family in the eyes of our families and in each other’s eyes. It was some sort of inexplicable, nuanced mental shift that is hard to explain- but it’s real.
Lots of people say marriage is hard work- I think anything worth doing is work. Serge and I always put our relationship first- we always think about what the other person might want or say when questions come up. I used to think that the definition of love was when your happiness relies on the happiness of someone else- I still think that’s true but there is a lovely duality when happiness is just understood to be mutual.
Which is why I don’t understand the marriage bashing and general negativity around marriage in popular culture. My parents have been married for 40 years and they would recommend marriage as much as my husband and I would. Maybe it’s a generational thing?
I don’t know. My point is: to all the single people out there, if you want to find a partner, look hard, invest in your relationships, commit if it’s the right one, and consider marriage. I highly recommend it.
PS We don’t have kids yet. That tends to be when marriage happiness goes down statistically speaking.