by Colby Brin
While many modern 20-somethings and 30-somethings say, “I don’t,” a child of one FOF’s divorce makes the case for marriage…
Marriage has been around for thousands of years, but unlike other ancient disciplines that have stood the test of time–like religion, language, and finger puppeteering–it hasn’t evolved much.
It’s still, essentially, one man, one woman, one roof, one bed, till death do you part. Or, as I like to call it, the 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 = INFINITY corollary.
For most of my life, I didn’t see how this added up. Old-school marriage seemed too simple for modern man (and woman).
But, as Jane Jacobs said, ideas should come from experience, not the other way around.
And in this way, I’ve come to believe in marriage. Because the experience of the human race has proven it a good idea. I mean, if history is an arena in which the fittest customs have survived, very few customs look as fit as marriage. Apparently, it hasn’t been broke enough for anyone to fix it.
And if this implicit endorsement weren’t enough, recent research has shown that a successful marriage is one of the best predictors of a person’s overall happiness.
Chew on that, modern brain.
Still, in the past I’ve criticized many of my married friends. And if I wasn’t finding fault with their decision to marry, it was with whom they were marrying. But I’ve come around on this as well. Because part of believing in marriage is accepting that you don’t partner up with another person so much as you partner up with the institution of marriage. As something that will provide you with the best odds of being happy.
Two wise people try to make a good marriage, and ultimately, this will make them happier than they could make each other, and happier than others could make them, without marriage.
A good marriage is more like two people holding onto the same inner tube than it is them clinging onto each other. It will provide the ballast they need to be able to reach for their other ambitions.
Along these lines, I think my parents are an example of a successful marriage, even though they got divorced. Their union produced two adoring children; it established a lasting bond between them–they’re still close–and on the whole, it benefited them both financially. In short, it did everything anyone could ask from a marriage, aside from them still being in love and living together. Not a long time ago, I would have looked at that last part as canceling out the rest, but that thinking was too simplistic, itself.
The bottom line is, I don’t know when I will get married. But I very much know that I want to.
Image via Millie Motts
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