This is in response, or connection to, twobirdie’s recent blog concerning her upcoming nuptials and some people’s attitude’s towards it…
Why are there some people, in defiance of tact and respect, that feel the need to tell newly weds and those engaged that marriage is a mistake? Or that its hard? Or that they’re too young/too old/ too hot? It might be their opinion, which they have a right to have, but saying it out loud? To another person? To another person that is HAPPY? Where’s the logic?
As I see it, there are 2 categories of people lumped in this:
- Those that are unhappy in marriage/relationships in general;
- And those people that are ‘joking’…..or just douche-bags.
Sometimes these 2 categories can run together, ie the joker that really feels marriage is a pitiable institution.
Story Time: My husband and I married when I was 23 and he was 26. At the time, no one really said much about our ages–because really, we weren’t too young. Moving on to when I was 25–I had a few slaps in the face about it. I was on an excavation for the summer, and living away from home for the week, and returning every weekend. There was a guy there who was a bit older, and as I see it, fancied himself a ladies-man. He subtly flirted with most of the women on site, but since we had a bit of banter once in a while, he seemed to zero in on me for a while.
Nothing happened, he never outright did anything, but one day he out-and-out told me, ‘You’re too young to be married.’
What could I say–there were no words. I think I just said ‘O-kaaay…’ and rolled my eyes.
Then, here’s the clincher, he said, ‘You shouldn’t have gotten married so young; you’re missing out.’
My response: ‘Really? I don’t think I’m missing anything.’ It was true then, and its true now.
Seriously, what is it, in their brains, that makes some people (who aren’t close friends, or family) think its all right to say things like that? This guy–he was the type that tested people, tested their boundaries. Others just like to explain how their experiences made them feel–give you advice. Its the same, or so I’m told, when you have a child. People come out of the woodwork to give you advice about everything from chaffed nipples to toilet-training…even if you don’t know them at all! Sometimes advice is good. Sometimes it’s just an excuse for someone to be a busy-body/nosey-parker/ rude-git. More people need to think before they speak (full-stop), and think about what their intentions really are in giving advice or sharing their feelings.
Basically–the only excuse to rain on someone’s parade, ESPECIALLY when its a ‘parade’ like marriage or children, is if that person is in dire need of a dousing. Yes, sometimes you need help open someone’s eyes to a situation, or let them know your reservations. But don’t do it for the sake of doing it, or to vent, or what-have-you. There’s a time and a place.
From experience, marriage isn’t really hard. Certain situations are hard. There are some circumstances that make your relationship hard. Yes, living together year after year can get tedious, or even boring at times. And maybe that’s when you have to work–to change things up. Again, depending on the situation, even changing things up once in a while isn’t exactly hard. You just have to think of it.
I’m not delusional. I know divorce is very common, that there are many married people who are unhappy, bored, virtually celibate, or all of the above. William Crawley, in his blog for the BBC, states that divorce rates in England and Wales are at a 29 year low. Given all that though–someone who has just gotten married, or is getting married soondoesn’t want to hear about bad experiences. Even if their futureselves (or a demon pretending to be your future self, a la Xander in Buffy) came to the past and told them it’s going to be a HUGE mistake to get married, it’s not going to make them change their minds. And more than likely, the person telling this sad-sack-story doesn’t want to STOP the marriage, they just want to give someone else a ‘heads up’. Thanks, but no thanks. Give the bride your best wishes, congratulate the groom, and go sort your own marriage out.
Story Time no.2: Awhile ago, on a solo visit to see my family in America, I met up with a few friends at a bar. One of my friends was recently married, the other, finalising her divorce. I hadn’t seen either person since high school, so there was a lot of catching up to do. However, the friend in the midst of a divorce proceeded to tell us all the messy details of her situation. I mean ALL the messy details. The two of us that were married and happy just had to sit, stare, and sip our beers while she broke it all down for us. Reasonably, I think–hey, this was what was going on in her life–of course she’s going to talk about it. However, why in so much depth? And why, when you know the 2 people you’re talking to are happily married, would you go on and on about the horrors? Especially when you barely know them anymore (but that’s a whole other kettle of fish)? And especially when one of them is still basking in the ‘just-married’ afterglow? There’s a line between sharing and over-sharing–of course there is. But there’s also a line between sharing your feelings and being insensitive.
There are some people I know who have married young/young-ish, and feel like they’ve missed out on playing the field (I sound like an old lady–sorry). Personally, I don’t feel like I’ve missed out. Not really. I love my husband, and have a great time with him. Whenever I think of things I wish I’d done, I see him with me too. The feeling and attitude of ‘I missed out’ is a step or two away from resentment–and that’s definitely something you DON’T want in a marriage. Remember–it was your choice to get married. And its your choice to stay in it.