While marriage is always a hot topic, it’s just not one that weighs heavily on my mind. I’m currently single! (Woop woop!)
One of the things she asked Jamie is if he feels he’s “built for marriage.” And here’s part of his response:
“I always wanted to be married, 2.5 kids, wood paneling on the side of the station wagon, but… you get your heart broken one good time, especially for a man, it’s catastrophic.
“I always felt for my friends that got married. I would see them married for five years and then see them start to (crumble), and all of the sudden they’re not married and they’re enemies. Like they hate each other. And then I’m stuck in the middle as their friend and there’s kids involved and it wrecks everything.
“I just don’t want that… I know one couple that is married and they’re happy, but everybody else, they are gnawing their arms off.”
Sparked by a facebook discussion with a married woman, I set out to find out how many people I know who can readily name five people they believe are in happy marriages. Yes, we know that “happy” doesn’t necessarily mean perfect, or that every day is just peachy.
After wracking my brain for the better part of a day, I could only think of two married couples who seem happy. In one case, I know the husband; in the other case, I know the wife. Both parties express that through ups and downs, they are committed and in love with their respective spouses.
My Facebook debater believes that misery (single people, I guess) loves company. Okay.
So my unscientific poll consisted of:
– 3 divorced women
– 1 single woman
– 3 married women
– 1 married woman who’s dating
– 1 single man
– 1 self-professed happily married man
– 1 self-professed unhappily married man
– 1 man who’s been engaged over 6 years
– 1 divorced man
RESULTS: only one married woman and one married man polled could name four or more happily married couples.
Do happy marriages exist? Of course. In fact, I have a friend who has a website dedicated to the unions of people of color. www.blackbridalbliss.com. And every time I visit the site, my hope and optimism for successful love and marriage are renewed.
Do about forty percent of all marriages crumble and end in divorce or annulment, as Jamie pointed out? Yes – per the Center for Disease Control. No matter race, education, financial status, etc.
I admit my poll is skewed a little bit. The ratio of women I polled far outnumbers the amount of men. But I just don’t know as many men. *shrugs. And I think had polled the sexes evenly, results would be similar.
In a sense, my Facebook debater is right in implying that married people flock together. The married folks I polled were readily able to name at least two couples who they say are happy (based on their “outside judgment” and what they know), which speaks more to the idea that married couples tend to hang out with other married couples (versus single people), and NOT to the idea that single people being miserable and wanting company – or hating on marriage altogether. Hell, some women even ditch their single friends once they get hitched – especially if they’re attractive. (I wrote about that here.)
And as a single woman, I could care less about the state of someone’s marriage or what goes on behind closed doors. I tell friends in relationships: “if you’re happy, I’m happy.”
Of course, the debater’s experience on the subject trumps mine because she’s currently married. And while I’ve been in a live-in, long term relationship, “that piece of paper” was missing (for what it’s worth), although some people think of a marriage license as JUST a piece of paper.
Why do you think it is that so few us can account for five happily married couples? Obviously we are not alone. Oprah Winfrey and Jamie Foxx couldn’t either. Do you think their perspective would’ve differed if they were both married – given the theory that married people tend to congregate?
I never really defined “happy” in this piece. I think commitment and “partnership” are two required elements though. Please feel free to chime in with your thoughts on that.
- Happily married couples consider themselves healthier, expert says (medicalxpress.com)
- Choosing Singlehood Doesn’t Mean You are Lonely and Miserable, by Mary Jo Rapini (healthyrelationships2013.com)