The marriage Chronicles Pt II: Does marriage actually suck

Posted: July 20, 2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , , ,
Dont do it! Reconsider! Read some liter...!

"Don't do it! Reconsider! Read some liter...!"

So last week, we talked about using Indian Style dating to get out of this ircular strategy of dating the wrong people for the wrong reasons. You’ve found the one you want to be with, and by jove, man, they want to be with you too. You plan an elegant yet understated affair, whose pictures will be ruined by your tacky second cousin showing up in a pastel orange suit with a powder blue tie looking for all intents and purposes like the Syracuse Orangemen mascot or perhaps Ricard Petty’s pit crew chief.

From the 1998 Steve Harvey Collection. Ascot sold separately

From the 1998 Steve Harvey Collection. Ascot sold separately

But it was a lovely ceremony and now you’re going to live happily ever after, right? Fuck naw! Statistically at least, your marriage is likely to be a soul-crushing exercise in crippling boredom, spite, and passive-aggressive power struggles. That’s according to a couple new articles out here. Enjoy:

“I love my husband” said Shanna Woodbury of their marriage. “But I feel so overworked and underappreciated. I work full-time like my husband, but if I don’t maintain the domestic responsibilities of the house, nothing gets done. Added to that, I manage our rental properties and take care of everything for our kids, alone.”

Her husband started to echo similar frustrations.

“I’m faithful to my wife, I give her my whole paycheck but I work the late shift and my job is demanding. When I come home, I don’t need to hear her mouth — I just need to watch my favorite football game in peace.”

Shanna grows more overwhelmed, tempers flare and the two begin arguing more and listening less. Tension took over their home and their fighting began to take a toll on the rest of the family, resulting in disciplinary issues with the kids.”

Sounds like a heap of fune. Or how about this, from the Atlantic, written by a woman freshly divorced:

While a Rutgers study suggests that only 38 percent of married people in America describe themselves as happy, we stay married for many good reasons. Take, for instance, the otherwise unaffordability of homeownership.

Some of us stay married because we’re in competition with our divorcing 1960s and 1970s parents, who made such a hash of it. What looks appealing to us now, in an increasingly frenetic, digital world, is the 1950s marriage. Writes Karen Karbo, in Generation Ex, reminiscing about her mother’s evening routine of serving old-fashioneds to her dad by the pool:

At the turn of the millennium, our marriages and remarriages bear almost no resemblance to these single-paycheck, cocktail-hour unions. Once considered sexist and monotonous, these staid marriages are emblems of an easier time. What seemed too dull and constricting a mere fifteen years ago now looks luxurious, like those huge gas-guzzling cars with all that chrome and the tuck-and-roll seats.

Some of us stay married because along with fancy schools, tae kwan do lessons, and home-cooked organic food, the two-parent marriage is another impressive—and rare—attainment to bestow on our fragile, gifted children.

Some of us stay married because … what else is there? A lonely apartment and a hot plate?

That said, it’s clear that females are dissatisfied—more and more, divorce seems to be initiated by women. If marriage is the Old World and what lies beyond is the New World, it’s the apparently stable men (comfortable alone in their postfeminist den with their Cook’s Illustrated and their porn) who are Old Worlders, and the Girls’ Night Out, questionnaire-completing women who are the questing New Worlders. They most embody what Tocqueville described as America’s “restless temper,” or l’inquiétude du caractère. (Interestingly, according to EnlightenNext magazine, some northern European women are reportedly eschewing their progressive northern European male counterparts and dating Muslims, who are more like “real men.”)

To work, to parent, to housekeep, to be the ones who schedule “date night,” only to be reprimanded in the home by male kitchen bitches, and then, in the bedroom, to be ignored—it’s a bum deal. And then our women’s magazines exhort us to rekindle the romance. You rarely see men’s magazines exhorting men to rekindle the romance.

Sounds pretty shitty. The interesting stat there was that only 38% of married couples are happy. And knowing the 50% divorce, it almost makes you wonder, what are your chances here? And why are these numbers so appalling? Everyone I know wants to get married, men and women alike. they all say, they’re only going to get married once, won’t cheat on their spouse, and it will be a lovely time. But someone here is lying. And if they really wanted to get married that bad, wouldn’t they be already. I’m beginning to think that people are starting to realize that what people envision married life to be is for the most part a fantasy promoted by endless romantic comedies and trite love songs. In all truth, single life is probably much better than married life. I mean, think about it. No more threesomes with drunk college girls. You can’t buy that Porsche you wanted because you need a minivan to haul around a shitload of toys for junior. Your woman is most likely going to get fatter. And lazier in the bedroom. And stop wearing lingerie to bed and throwing that rag on your head. And then harass you about where you were last night with Darryl and them. Ladies, your man’s hair is gonna start falling out. He’s going to get a beer gut and a limpy from all that drinking and fried food he gets from poeyes since you’re too tired to cook. He’s going to trip every time some other man gives you the slightest bit of attention. But he’s not going to fuck you either, because his sex drive has gone to zero with all the stress at work and your sagging bitties.

Oooh, I hate you!

"Oooh, I hate you!"

I’m just playig devil’s advocate above, but let’s be honest, that does happen to a lot of people. So how does one keep a marriage intact, fun, and productive? I mean, I know it can be done, I’ve seen it.

1. Marry the right TYPE of person:

Why Him? Why Her? explains the hormonal forces that trigger humans to be romantically attracted to some people and not to others (a phenomenon also documented in the animal world). Fisher posits that each of us gets dosed in the womb with different levels of hormones that impel us toward one of four basic personality types:

The Explorer—the libidinous, creative adventurer who acts “on the spur of the moment.” Operative neurochemical: dopamine.

The Builder—the much calmer person who has “traditional values.” The Builder also “would rather have loyal friends than interesting friends,” enjoys routines, and places a high priority on taking care of his or her possessions. Operative neurotransmitter: serotonin.

The Director—the “analytical and logical” thinker who enjoys a good argument. The Director wants to discover all the features of his or her new camera or computer. Operative hormone: testosterone.

The Negotiator—the touchy-feely communicator who imagines “both wonderful and horrible things happening” to him- or herself. Operative hormone: estrogen, then oxytocin.

Fisher reviewed personality data from 39,913 members of Explorers made up 26 percent of the sample, Builders 28.6 percent, Directors 16.3 percent, Negotiators 29.1 percent. While Explorers tend to be attracted to Explorers, and Builders tend to be attracted to Builders, Directors are attracted to Negotiators, and vice versa.

I’m an Explorer. I need to find another Explorer. See, I’ve already knocked oy 74% of the population who won’t fit.

2. Stop letting yourself go Unless your husband’s a chubby chaser, he will be disgusted by your body if you gain 15 or more pounds. Fellas, if you never take your wife out, some young dude with a cougar complex will and trendy jeans will. Maintan yourself.

3. Marry a good looking person It’s hard enough for a couple to stay faithful just because of sheer boredom. They’re doing the same tricks over and over, and the novelty wears off. But at least if they look good, it might be still be a good trick. It’s like having an old car. that 1979 Porsche 930 may be old as shit, and not quite handle like it used to, but when you shine it up, you can still appreciate its beauty and be proud to own it. That 1984 Dodge K-car, not so much. Be prepared to pay for the Porsche.And yeah, they’re gonna be a little more high maintenance, it’s worth it.

Still fine after all these years

Still fine after all these years"You shole is ugly!"

4. A man room For man stuff. And a woman place in the house for their shit. Have your own identity and your own thing going on. Just cause you’re married doesn’t mena you cease to exist as an individual. Uness you’re both co-dependent. That’s fine then

5. Agree about sex I think people just assume that the same level of humping that occurs during the first getting to know you phase is going to last perpetually. I don’t think it does. And no one talks about it. You’ll talk about money, religion, and all the other gamebreakers, but no one has a game plan for one of the top two marriage-killers. Figure out how often you need it, how often they need it, what to do if one partner gets less attractive, or wants to get some side action, whether or not all that freaky shit y’all used to do is going to disappear once you’re legally bound, what to do if he gets ED, or if she goes through those weird hormonal thingies, etc. There should be a plan here, people. If you’ve covered #3, you’re already ahead of the curve.

6. I really don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve never been married. I’ve just recently been in a relationship over a year in duration for the first time. If you’re listening to what I’m saying, you’re stupid. Like learning to drive from an Asian person or something. What’s wrong with you? But seriously, what are your thoughts, both those who are married and those just thinking about it?

  1. I’ve never been a woman to have a boyfriend for boyfriend sake and I won’t be a woman who marries just for the sake of doing it as well.

    On a side note: I’m a Director by the way…we’re a bitch to match…too often I’ve dated Builders and that’s NOT a good mix. I also don’t like negotiators…that works if the man is a Director not the other way around so much.

    With that said I think too many people compromise on most of the rules you’ve written. My homegirl now is talking about how her dude doesn’t have to be attractive…I think that’s a mistake waiting to happen…no one’s saying hold out for idris Elba…put if sex is too happen and happen regularly you need to be attracted to that person.

    And know what you want is a big one.

    For example I would NOT marry a man who couldn’t take care of a family on his income alone. I don’t beleive in two-income households in the traditional sense. 2nd incomes should be used for savings and extras like vacations, those tae kwon do lessons you mentioned, Date nights etc.

    That’s not something I would negotiate on.

    I also wouldn’t have another child without a full time Nanny – I have a 5 year old – Years 0 – 5 are no joke…i don’t beleive in daycare so help is expected and needed since I work form home.

    Also not negotiable.

    I don’t mind being single. i get companionship and sex without having to say “I do” so there needs to be *more* than that for me to jump the broom.

    Marriage doesn’t have to suck, but like you said, people need to make sure they’re marrying the right type of person.

    After all forever, ever is a long time.

  2. Jubilance says:

    I fully support him having a man room, cause you better believe I’m going to have a woman room. Everybody needs their space.

    I think way too many folks have no clue what it takes really be married and stay married. Its something that isn’t discussed in a lot of homes, and look at how many folks grew up in single parent homes (either from divorce or some other means). I just think folks have no clue how to make it work, and when it gets them down its easiest to just walk away from the situation.

    Given that marriage seems to make folks so unhappy, I wonder if we’ll see a rise in the number of folks who do domestic partnerships or just shack up and a decrease in the marriage rate.

  3. Anna says:

    The best long term (10 yrs or longer) marriages I’ve seen involve a lot of compromise. And respect – I spent a lot of time with a particular couple and noticed that they didn’t downgrade each other ever, even when they were in the middle of an argument. This was a total departure from the marriages I saw growing up and gave me hope that I could achieve it as well.

    The worst marriages I’ve seen are ones where one or both partners are not flexible or willing to put in work in tough times. One of the authors from the article references the 1950’s as an example of how great marriages were back in the day. Well, times have changed. Let’s face it, we are working harder and making more $ at a younger age than our parents – just to maintain the same lifestyles our parents had. The cost of living is growing faster than our salaries.

    The housing crash and ripple effect on the economy are only adding fuel to the fire. This hot fiscal mess is showing a lot of people who they are really married to. I read an article where a British matchmaker was getting bombarded by women who were still married, demanding she find them new men to marry because the old ones had lost their high paying jobs. They went so far as to begin verbally and physically abusing their husbands when they were told they couldn’t indulge in certain luxuries or use the Black AMEX anymore, lol.

    Beside all this mess, there are a lot more outside opinions in the average marriage. Books, blogs, your married girlfriends, your single girlfriends, Dr. Phil – everywhere you turn someone is trying to tell you how to live your married life and what you *should* want. Just silly. I think if you are prepared to be a true partner – as in “You and me against the world!” you’re heading in the right direction.

  4. TheSweetestThing says:

    I’ve been married before.It was a terrible choice, and I knew it. But I’ve learned from that experience. I do want to do it again, but I swear it seems more impossible with each passing year! Even though I’ve been married before, I just don’t think I know the rules anymore; nothing’s like it used to be, people don’t act how they used to act. I would like to grow old with someone but unlike Brandon, I have not been in a relationship over a year in a while…I usually max out at aound 3 months. That’s usually around the time he has worked my nerves so much I want to stab him with the heel of my stiletto (a la Single White Female).Maybe its me (its not me), but the idea of marriage seems more and more unattainable.

  5. Reina says:

    Marriage and the fact that it is forever keeps me from being even mildly interested in that institution. Maybe once they make it renewable, I’ll be more intrigued.

  6. Maybe once they make it renewable, I’ll be more intrigued.


  7. Ladya says:

    Great post,

    A very interesting project to check out –> (The link has a few great snippets from the piece) It’s a documentary on the black marriage sponsored by the folks who run the Black and Married with Kids Blog ( Both sites are worth a look.

  8. B. Collins says:

    marriage doesn’t suck. people suck at it.

  9. LoveToTalk says:

    All valid points. But the biggest and most important one is number one. And i guess if you have got that one wrong already then there is very little you can do 🙂

    Do you notice that it’s mostly women who talk about marriages? I have seen very few blogs from men about relations and marriage.

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