I’ve read a few articles recently saying that we are getting married later than generations before us, and discussing why that is happening, or why that is bad, etc. One was an article for women, talking about how we are not settling down because we want to do things first; we want to start our careers, travel, whatever. The article was saying that is not necessarily a good idea, because the longer we wait, the worse the selection of men will be, among other things.
My first reaction was to say, “Ok, but I’m not specifically deciding to wait longer. What about the men that are not asking me to marry them? This is a two-sided affair…” Thinking about it more, maybe being picky contributes to that. That article and a few others mentioned that we are a lot more picky than people were “in the old days”. So, maybe indirectly I am “choosing” to wait longer because I am waiting for someone better, when maybe in previous generations they would have been satisfied with someone that wasn’t so “perfect”. Still, it’s not 100% my fault. Relationships can’t ever be decided by one person…
As I thought about this whole issue longer though, I started to think about the differences in our society with how we think about love as a whole, as opposed to in the past. I think that we have grown to idealize and idolize love a LOT more than in past generations. We watch all these movies, read all these books, listen to all this music…the list goes on…about love, and “perfect” people and relationships. So, first of all, we wait longer to get married because we need to find the “perfect” person. If, however, we decided to “settle” for someone that was satisfactory, more like in older generations, I don’t think it would work. So this is where I disagree with those articles, to a degree – we don’t work as hard to make our relationships work than the previous generations did.
Our society’s divorce rate is huge. I believe this is largely due to the idealization/idolization of love that I mentioned before. We don’t make it work! I mean sure, there are times when people should definitely not be together. Abuse, etc. But a lot of other problems are caused by our view of love, or could be solved if we didn’t have that view. People meet someone else, and they think, “But it’s love!” and jump to that person. They don’t treat marriage as something that is actually a commitment, and they don’t try to make it work. I’m speaking in generalities, and not trying to condemn anyone specifically, for sure…but I do think that if our mindset was different, it would be different. And I think that the mindset of older generations was that you did everything you could to make it work. I know that marriages didn’t always last then, and I’m sure there were affairs back then too… If we go way back, affairs were quite commonplace, and people didn’t get divorced because men were just allowed to do that…but that’s completely different and I’m not addressing that type of situation.
So, what I’m trying to say, is that yes we are more picky, and we wait longer, and maybe we should be less picky. Undecided on that so far. But that’s a different subject. My point, however, is that I don’t think we can change that, unless we completely changed our view on love. If we are less picky, I’m pretty darn sure the divorce rate will go up even more. Basically, our society just makes love out to be this amazing, perfect thing, that needs no work, and it’s just magical. Love is work. It’s not perfect. It gets hard, and we still have to fight for it, not just say ooh, look at this new shiny thing over here…this seems nice, but that old thing doesn’t seem nice anymore…so this must be love.
My friend made a poster that addresses this topic, and sent me an email with the link…ironically, after I had decided on this topic as a post, but obviously before I wrote the post. I love how this blog is working out so far. 🙂 The poster says “Fight to Stay in Love”, and it’s fantastic and you should check it out. If you didn’t guess, it’s the photo that I included on this post, but if you click the photo it links to the page where you can buy the posters, read more about the idea for the poster, and check out his website.