Tuesday, May 02, 2006
1) We are raised to take care of ourselves. We are raised to be independent people, unaffected by those around us. Sometimes, the training doesn't work, and we become people desperate for connection. We live at the extremes: independence or over-dependence. The best advice for marriages is interdependence. Relationships are helped when people are interdependent. In other words, both bring something to the table and add to the other, while still being distinct.
2) Culture plays against marriage. Listen to the songs, watch the TV and movies. We are surrounded by poor images of marriage. In fact, the dominant theme is having affairs and having casual sex. Neither are very healthy and helpful for marriage.
So, the roots are there, and then exacerbated by what we bring to the table. Marriage advice wants to make it some deep fault of each individual, but that is just the flavoring on the steak, not the meat of the issue.
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Marriage is a lot of work. I don’t know this from first hand, but I know my parents (who recently divorced) and they did try, but couldn’t (or wouldn’t) resolve their differences.
Also, there is the cult of the individual. It is a modern concept, though most don’t realize this. It is the motto “looking out for number one” that so appeals to Americans. We have to remember that we are not the only ones involved with a marriage. There are two parties (or more, depending on your weird threshold) involved with a marriage, and mutual happiness is pretty much the only way to work it, especially here in the US where it seems that people will divorce at the drop of a hat.