There is nothing better than hitting the pavement on a Saturday evening to run off some built up stresses of the week. Running is a love of mine. I do it to stay in shape, but more importantly, it is the time I take for myself in order to think about my life and where it’s heading. We humans often take long walks, runs, or possibly drives in order to reflect on where our future is headed, or to analyze any situation at hand. During my run of about 4 miles, I began to think about my husband and I celebrating our 2 year wedding anniversary in about a month. I smiled to myself thinking about our happiness and what the future held for us. When I came back down from cloud 9 I was faced with a sign that disturbed me. It simply said “Divorce only $199.00″
As I was finishing up the last leg of my run, I began to think more and more about that sign. It just so happened that a few minutes later, I ran up on the same sign again, but on another street corner. These signs were no bigger than a politician road sign, but because of the word Divorce written in bright orange, it can clearly be read by someone driving by. Is this a competition? I wondered. Are companies now competing to see who can offer the cheapest divorce? Are we now promoting divorce instead of marriage? I noticed on my heart rate monitor that my pulse began to rise just thinking of those thoughts. While me being happily married and seeing this sign is one thing, perhaps I was a woman who was out on a run because I had just gotten into a fight with my husband for the countless time. Or perhaps I was a mother of a child and had contemplated filing for divorce and was scared to for financial reasons. Was this sign there to help me make an easier decision to go through the divorce because “Wow, it’s only $199.00!” All of these thoughts of divorce lead me to ponder about how sacred marriage used to be in years past. If you ask any grandparents today, divorce in their time was practically considered a dirty word, and therefore frowned upon. While I do completely understand the need for someone to get out of their marriage due to abuse or infidelity on their partner’s side, my main concern is for those who decide to come to divorce by means of “irreconcilable differences,” or for a more blunt way of saying it, “we just don’t get along anymore.” In addition to that, now an even bigger issue is that people choose not to get married at all.
It’s no secret that the word marriage is a touchy subject because of how thoughts on it have changed in recent years. However, back in the 1900′s and many years after, marriage was something that women dreamed about. Now don’t get me wrong, women today still dream about marriage and finding that perfect mate, but women back then dreamed about it in a different way. When a woman became at a rightful age, her main goal in life was to find a suitable husband. This man was to be the sole provider of her and her future children. There were no dreams of being a doctor or lawyer, it was simply necessary to find a gentlemen to support her. Fast forward to this decade and marriage is something that may or may not be desirable. Yes a woman would like to find a man to support her, but if she doesn’t, she can get her own paying job. And if she does find a suitable man and marries him, if and when trouble starts to brew and the idea of divorce comes about, should she be scared to go out into the world alone? According to the world, by all means no, because she has more opportunity than ever to go out and find a job on her own.
To many, marriage is also not the hot commodity these days because who wants to be tied down to the same person for the rest of your life when you don’t get along? It used to be that when a couple argued and it became an issue, the first step at hand was to seek counseling. Now couples like to skip counseling all together because they don’t want to make the effort to work it out. And with the down economy, who has the money to hire a professional counselor? Is this what the world is coming to? We first see that marriage is something to be desired and something that you stay in through thick and thin, and the word divorce was a disgrace. It then moved to one should stay married until the issues got rough and then divorce was an option. What has it come to now? People decide to not get married at all. They think, why suffer going through any of that pain and just forgo marriage all together right? If you keep on fighting then you can just break up and not worry about going through all the legalities to separate all of your assets. Is this what it has come to? Is marriage or staying married a dying art?
No hold up a minute, you say. Marriage is not some walk in the clouds 24/7. Everyone has their own right to handle their marriage they way that they see fit, and anyone has their own choice on whether they want to get married or not. While all of this is very true, keep in mind that I am well aware that keeping a marriage requires effort on both ends, and I am not judging anyone’s opinion on how to handle it, however when it comes to people’s lack of getting married and/or staying married the real root of the problem is this:
The world’s perception of what marriage is has changed.
How do I know this? Because people tried to influence my own opinion on marriage when my husband and I first got engaged. During our year long engagement, my husband and I were told four different opinions of marriage by several different people. They were:
1. “Marriage is hard the first year because you’re getting to know each other. Then on your 1 year anniversary, everything seems to click.”
2. “Marriage is easy your first year. It’s all about newlywed bliss. Then after your first year it starts to go down hill because you start getting annoyed with that person and their quirks.”
3. “Marriage is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I encourage everyone to marry that person that you love.”
4. “Marriage is hard, don’t do it.”
So which one is marriage? Is it one of those opinions? Two of them? Or possibly all of them at some point or another? While I am no expert in the matter of marriage, I can say what my personal beliefs are. So which opinion describes marriage? The answer is none of them. How do I know this answer? Simple. While my husband and I were counseling different couples some months back and listening to each of them explain their stance and their opinions on marriage, this question suddenly hit hard with us:
Has marriage changed, or has people’s perception of marriage changed?
This caused us both to go back to the one man who created the union of marriage: God. If we want to truly find out what marriage is, and whether it’s meant to be easy or hard, we must go back to the one person who created it. Therefore why do people believe marriage is hard, great, or it’s just not for them? Because people’s perception of marriage has changed. Therefore, how can anyone ultimately contemplate the idea of getting married without having all of these reservations? Also, how can anyone want to save their dying marriage when they perceived that marriage can fail in the first place?
Now, before we go any further on the idea of marriage, and what it was initially designed to be, I am well aware that not everyone has the same opinion on marriage and may possibly think it is not for them. My feelings and beliefs are strictly my own and do not in any way judge or condemn anyone else who differs them. I also realize that many people say that I have not yet experienced “true married life” because I have no children and I’m still in the “honeymoon years.” However, I will say that even if and when those tough times come, my husband and I still plan to use the same tactics that we use now in order to remain a strong and solid couple. In the next couple of posts in the span of a few weeks, I want to address this idea of what marriage is and ways to have and to keep your marriage as it should be according to not me, because I don’t have the answer, but through God who created marriage. However, before I do this, I want to know what your opinion of marriage is. Whether you’re married, divorced, separated, have a boyfriend, or have no significant other in your life as of right now, please explain what the word marriage means to you. No matter what your feelings are, whether they be right or wrong to someone else, your opinion still matters. So what is marriage? Can it be the victor in the long run, or if divorce rates are cheap enough, is it ultimately the loser?
Questions for you:
1. What is marriage to you? It can be based on your own marriage, your parent’s marriage, etc.
2. Is a marriage ever beyond fixable?
3. Do you think marriage is for some people but not for everyone?
4. Does posting divorce signs promote someone to consider divorce because of cheap rates?