By the Bourbon Man
Many years ago, marriages were arranged. The future couple was fortunate if they met prior to their nuptials. Some were childhood playmates, but for the vast majority, they were complete strangers. Imagine marrying a complete stranger, then being bound for life. Such things, unheard of now, were common place when America was young. That is not to say this article focuses only on America, but rather, this is the country with which the author is most familiar.
Couples found a way to make their marriage work. Some grew to love one another deeply; others merely tolerated one another. There were also the couples that were incompatible and spent their lives fighting like cats and dogs. Divorce was not accepted and couples learned to cope in various ways. Life was sexist and mistresses were common but that was a different time.
Moving forward, couples met, fell in love and got married. Some of the same theories still held true. A percentage spent their lives together being deeply in love, while others formed good partnerships based around family. There were those couples that grew apart over the years, woke up twenty years later and realized they hated their spouse. Divorce was not taboo, but neither was it common place.
Present day marriages seem to hold a couple's attention about the same amount of time as a new cell phone. The moment we gaze upon that sleek new technological marvel we decide it’s something we can’t live without. So, with little forethought our old phone is thrown away and the new one purchased. The first time the phone locks up, we curse, but chalk it up to a glitch or ghosts in the machine. As time goes on however, we come to realize that perhaps the phone isn’t perfect, maybe it has some blemishes, or a crack and it doesn’t always perform flawlessly. One day we come across an advertisement about a new phone. It’s shiny and new and has amazing features. Suddenly, the phone is no better than a couple of tin cans connected by a string. We rid ourselves of our current phone and upgrade.
We now live in an era of instant gratification. When something doesn’t work it’s easily discarded and replaced. The same theory seems to hold true with marriage today. People meet in all the normal ways, sense and attraction and get married after a whirlwind romance. Once the honeymoon is over, life continues and it’s not always easy. In fact, life is hard and chaotic. Marriage is even harder. It takes work, dedication and compromise. Unfortunately, those three words seem get overlooked too often. I used to think that people rushed into marriage. While there is some truth to that, it’s not the only reason. No longer is it “till death do us part”, rather it’s more like “till death do us part, until it gets hard, then we’ll get divorced and I’ll find someone else”. Just like the new cell phone isn’t the answer to your problems, getting divorced and re-married isn’t either. Learn to talk, more importantly, learn to listen and you’ll be amazed at how many world ending problems aren’t all that complicated.
A note from the Bourbon Girl: Gary and I have been married for over 16 years. We met in September and got married the following March. It was, indeed, a whirl wind courtship. We rushed into marriage. But, we were willing to put in the hard work. We still are. It isn't easy, especially with multiple deployments and other absences. People tend to grow in different ways when they're not together. But, you can do the work of loving someone until you learn to love the new differences about them.